MERPRO visited Arbroath on Saturday for a North of Tay Cup coastal derby match, returning with a comfortable victory.
The visitors made several changes in their side and formation as a result of injuries and players away on Scotland supporting duties.
The Montrose side started the match well, immediately pressurising their opponents, with Cruickshank and Craig Allan combining well to create a chance cleared for a corner kick in the first minute.
Merpro pressure continued with a Lownie cross shot deflected wide for another corner.
Cruickshank was next to threaten after picking up a deft Bruce clipped pass behind the defence but he lifted his shot just over the bar from 16 yards.
Whitworth burst through, driving into the box but was brought down with a clearing tackle from behind amidst penalty claims.
Around the quarter-hour mark further penalty claims were denied when it appeared Bruce was pushed off the ball in the box.
Another opening was created following a good move involving Ally Duff and Cruickshank setting up Craig Allan but he fired his left-foot effort over the bar.
Portcullis had done well to keep Merpro at bay but the pressure eventually paid off in 25 minutes when Sean WHITWORTH collected a Houston pass and his first touch set himself up to fire in a ferocious 20-yard drive.
Lownie was next to come close, first firing in a rising shot over the bar in 30 minutes and then having a header saved by the ‘keeper Broomhill following a free kick.
Portcullis were given a lifeline when a mix-up with an attempted cushioned back-header allowed TRIGGS in to score an easy goal just before the break.
Half-time: Portcullis 1, Merpro 1.
Merpro started the second half maintaining the pressure and Craig Allan had a 20-yard free kick saved in the first minute.
Bruce was on form and again came close when he picked up a Whitworth lay-off to fire in a curling 20-yard shot which came back off the bar.
Merpro’s pressure paid off seven minutes into the half when a Whitworth downward header from a corner kick was cleared off the line but Gordon HOUSTON was alert to fire into the net from five yards.
Cruickshank was next to create a good chance making a determined run on the left flank crossing for Brown at the back post but hit his first time effort over the bar from 15 yards in 75 minutes.
Portcullis continued to compete well in midfield but ‘keeper Findlay was rarely troubled as his defence kept the Arbroath side at bay.
Merpro went further ahead when Graeme Allan clipped a long pass over the defence for his brother Craig to run on to, pressurising the defence into a clearance. The ball fell for the supporting Paul DUNCAN to fire in a controlled low left-foot 16-yard shot into the net in 78 minutes.
Portcullis enjoyed a spell of late pressure but the Merpro defence held firm.
Merpro moved into the last 32 of the North of Tay Cup with this victory.
Team: Findlay, A. Duff, N. Duff, Lownie, Whitworth (Duncan), G. Allan, Murdoch (Brown), C. Allan, Cruickshank, Bruce and Houston.