Merpro force draw against form side

Merpro 3 Lowson United 3

Merpro continued in Midlands League action on Saturday after their Division One game surviving the overnight rain which postponed several local matches.

Forfar’s Lowson have enjoyed a good run recently, and are currently sitting in fourth position. A keenly contested match was anticipated.

Lowson started the brighter, with a strong breeze behind them, and they dominated the early proceedings with some quick linking play.

Merpro began to settle within a new formation and Bruce made a good run from midfield in the seventh minute, playing a succession of passes to break into the box but was crowded out in attempting to shoot at goal.

Both sides settled and Merpro created the next opening when Bruce collected a Duff pass to run in on goal unopposed. However, his low shot from 18 yards was partially saved by the ‘keeper, and a covering defender managed to get back to clear off the line and prevent an opening goal.

From the resulting corner kick Merpro had another clear-cut chance when Duff rose unchallenged, but his close range header was cleared off the line.

Merpro continued to press, with Murdoch making a strong run down the right flank before firing in a cross.

Allan then set up Pert to run through but as he approached the goalmouth he attempted to pass inside rather than push forward and take a shot himself. This was intercepted.

Lowson then made a good break forward, with the powerful Danny Smith stretching the defence before firing in a low cross to the near post. Merpro defenders somehow got themselves in a tangle, allowing the winger LEITH to follow up and easily shoot home from six yards on 21 minutes.

Merpro hit back almost immediately when Duff managed to turn his marker inside the box, but he fired a curled low shot just past the post.

Lowson again made the most of their opportunities, going further ahead following a short corner resulting in a cross to the back post, with Smith outjumping his marker to head goalwards. ‘Keeper Lownie made a parried save but the ball fell for the alert Rory CRICHTON to tap home from close range in 32 minutes.

Three minutes later Lowson made another break forward but good cover defending from Gove kept Smith at bay.

Merpro were looking to play out the first half but Lowson were gifted an opportunity to go further ahead.

Smith appeared to push Gove in an aerial challenge, and with the ball breaking loose Robertson’s thrashed attempted clearance almost decapitated the forward.

CRIGHTON expertly scored from the resultant penalty kick awarded to Lowson, to make the score appear rather more one-sided than it should have been.

Half-time: Merpro 0, Lowson 3.

Merpro regrouped at half-time and two minutes after the restart got back into the match. Campbell BRUCE collected a pass on the edge of the box to fire in a controlled lofted left-foot shot into the top of the net despite a valiant touch from the ‘keeper.

Merpro created another opportunity when Bruce’s cross fell for Graham but he slipped and lost control at the near post.

Merpro continued to press, with Whyte firing wide and Gove firing over following a corner kick.

Graham made a good run in from the left flank on the hour-mark, setting up Hector, but his close-range shot was blocked and Lowson managed to clear.

Graham then made another good flank run with the ‘keeper managing to make a flap save to deny in 65 minutes.

Merpro continued to push forward and Lowson, who had been pressed back for much of the second half, began to exploit some of the gaps opening up.

On one break forward they came close when a well-hit 18-yard shot crashed off the Merpro bar with 15 minutes left.

Merpro hit back and, after a good passing move, Allan fired in an edge-of-the-box shot pushed onto the post in an excellent save by the ‘keeper. The rebound fell into the goalmouth, with Scott GRAHAM reacting quickest to hold off a strong challenge to prod into the net in 77 minutes.

Merpro were back on top and only another excellent fingertip save from ‘keeper Munro prevented Craig Allan scoring from a 20-yard free kick in the 80th minute.

Merpro were not to be denied and drew level with a deserved equaliser in the 84th minute.

Euan Duff broke forward, evading several tackles, and with momentum behind him fired in a brilliant rising unstoppable shot from 18 yards to level the scores.

Despite some further pressure the home side couldn’t find the winner and an enthralling match came to a close.

Merpro’s composed and concerted play eventually wore down their opponents, capping a spirited second half fightback.

Team: Lownie, Murdoch, Houston, Allan, Gove, S. Robertson (Hector), Bruce, Pert, Graham, E. Duff, Whyte. Substitutes: Petrie, J. Robertson and Smith.

Match sponsor: R. Coull and Son.