Merpro made to work hard for win

Merpro moved into the Ferrari’s Shield quarter-final after overcoming a stuffy Wellbank side who made them work hard for victory.

The visitors were on top throughout and missed a series of good chances but the home side made the most of a defensive slip gifted to them to lead at half time. However Merpro increased their intensity in the second half and scored four goals before a late counter from the home side finished the scoring.

The Montrose men took control of the match straight away and Bruce created an opening for Euan Duff but his header from 12 yards went wide.

The visitors should have gone ahead in 10 minutes after a slick passing move involving Greig and Graham set up Craig Allan to run in on goal, but his left foot shot just slid past.

Wellbank replied with a quick break away and Brown met the resultant cross, but fired over the bar.

The homesters went ahead after a defensive lapse allowed Brown to rob a dallying defender and run through to score in 24 minutes.

Merpro retaliated quickly and a Bruce long throw caused problems before being cleared off the line.

The visitors were keeping Wellbank pinned back and Allan and Whitworth both had edge of the box free kicks blocked in succession.

Graeme Allan had to look lively after a Wellbank attack in 34 minutes and made a good defensive clearance.

Merpro looked likely to equalise after Euan Duff created himself an opportunity after turning his marker in midfield and made a determined run in at goal but the alert Home ‘keeper McLeod made an excellent save to keep his side ahead.

Merpro created another great opportunity just before the break when Graham broke through on goal after dribbling past several defenders, rounded the ‘keeper but hesitated briefly, allowing defenders to get back to pack the goal line. His eight-yard shot was blocked.

Half-time: Wellbank 1, Merpro 0.

Merpro quickly equalised when WHITWORTH rose highest to head into the net from an Alan corner. The Wellbank ‘keeper became increasingly busy and did well on three separate occasions to clear dangerous Merpro cross balls.

The visitors’ pressure eventually paid off after 65 minutes when a Bruce throw in was only partially cleared, allowing GREIG to pounce and skilfully drill a 15-yard shot into the corner of the net.

Greig came close again a few minutes later, picking up a Cruickshank diagonal pass to run in on goal but his effort went just wide.

Wellbank were being kept pinned back and Merpro went further ahead after Ally Duff made a trademark driving run from defence and slid a pass forward for CRUICKSHANK, who had made a lung-bursting supporting run, to deftly touch the ball round the advancing ‘keeper and turn the ball into the net for a classy finish.

Euan Duff set up Graham to run in on goal on 76 minutes but he somehow fired his effort wide for a miss of the season contender. GRAHAM made amends a couple of minutes later when he picked up a clever Milne pass to run in on goal and bullet in a low shot into the corner of the net in 78 minutes.

Graham had another opportunity a few minutes later running at goal but the impressive Wellbank custodian again denied him.

The homesters shocked Merpro with a late consolation when Brown was allowed to run in on goal from the left flank and fired home a well hit shot from 18 yards.

Merpro: Findlay, A. Duff, Bruce, Milne, Whitworth, G. Allan (Lownie), Cruickshank, C. Allan, Graham, E. Duff, Greig (Houston). Substitutes: N. Duff, Murdoch and Pert.

Next match : Ferrari’s Shield quarter-final at home to Newport on Saturday, 2pm kick-off.