Merpro moved efficiently into the Bremner Cup 3rd round, following a fine victory over Claypotts on Saturday in Dundee.
Merpro were one of only six matches able to take place, after an overnight frost decimated the MAFA fixture card. An early morning inspection anticipated an afternoon thaw and, although the pitch was playable, underfoot conditions proved to be slippy. However, after three weeks’ inactivity, the match was able to be completed.
Merpro started well, looking to take an early advantage. The visitors almost went ahead following a sweeping pass from Bruce, which allowed Paton to swing in a dangerous cross to the back post. Duff headed back into the path of Graham, but his snap-shot was alertly saved by Seaton, in five minutes.
The ‘keeper again did well, when an inadvertently sliced cross from Greig, had to be tipped over the bar in 10 minutes.
Graham almost set up the opening goal, after dribbling past a couple of players he laid-off a pass for Graeme Allan, but his 10-yard ‘fox-in-the-box’ effort was deflected wide in 12 minutes.
Merpro had the bulk of play but the early breakthrough had failed to materialise.
Claypotts started to find their feet and GK Lownie had to be alert on a couple of occasions to thwart some close-range snap shots.
Merpro weathered the pressure and had another good chance, when a Bruce cross into the box was headed just over the bar by Murdoch, in 30 minutes.
The Montrose side had claims for a penalty a few minutes later, when Paton appeared to be pushed whilst attempting to connect with a Craig Allan free-kick in front of goal, in 40 minutes.
Claypotts had a spell of good pressure just before the break, but Allan and Duff held the defensive line well to prevent any clear openings.
Somehow all square at half-time.
Half-time: Claypotts 0, Merpro 0.
After some refocusing, the Montrose side came out strong again in the second period. Good play by Bruce, set up Graham to run in on goal, but his effort was cleared off the line with Bruce‘s follow-up effort also blocked.
A minute later, Paton collected to run in on goal, but his low shot was excellently saved by the evergreen GK Seaton in 47 minutes.
Merpro were dominating and another good opening fell for Graham, after a corner-kick, but he just pulled his close-range effort wide.
Graham then had another couple of good chances, latching onto a quick pass but hastily blasting a shot over the bar and a few minutes later dallying on the ball, allowing defenders to get back to him.
However, the revitalised, loved-up ‘Hippo’ made amends, to work Merpro a fine opening goal. Scott Graham collected to run at the defence, playing a return pass with Paton to calmly curl a 12-yard effort into the corner of the net, to make 1-0 in 56 minutes.
Merpro had completely dominated the second half opening and soon went further ahead. Robbie Ferries made a storming run into the box, only to be bundled over and a penalty awarded.
Jordan ‘top scorer’ Rausch calmly stepped up, to fire in a well-hit penalty to make it 2-0 after 60 minutes.
Merpro had another chance to go further ahead, as Graham had another effort cleared off the line by Bell in 65 minutes.
Claypotts almost snatched a goal back when the increasingly under-used GK Lownie created some tension. Attempting to save a long range effort with his chest, to maintain possession, he almost inadvertently knocked into his own net, before some nifty recovery remedied the situation.
Merpro were now controlling the game and Paton had another gilt-edged chance to run in goal but again were denied by the wily custodian, in 70 minutes.
Merpro continued to create chances, with Milne setting up Rausch to run in on goal, slipping a pass for Robertson, who fired the follow-up effort wide in 80 minutes.
A few minutes later, Milne and Rausch again combined to set up an opening for Stephen but, with the goal gaping, he blasted his 12-yard effort wide. A comfortable victory in the end in increasingly difficult, slippery conditions.
Full-time: Claypotts 0, Merpro 2.
Team: Lownie, Murdoch(Turriff), Ferries, C.Allan, N.Duff, G.Allan, Paton( Robertson),Bruce, Graham(Stephen), Greig, E. Duff( Rausch).
Next Match: North of Tay Cup 4th Round v Methven (h) 1.30p.m. kick-off.