Merpro suffer a rare setback

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Merpro suffered a rare setback this season after losing a close Division One match against their Arbroath neighbours.

Porty are currently fighting a relegation battle with the help of their promising young side but on this performance look good to remain in the First Division.

Another Baltic blustery day greeted both sides with Portcullis opening with the wind behind their backs.

Merpro started well and had a glimpse of an opening from a Bruce throw-in but the ‘keeper did well to collect a loose ball with Petrie ready to pounce on any mistake.

Still within the first 10 minutes Euan Duff emerged from a crowd at the edge of the box to fire in a low shot but it was well saved.

At this stage it looked more likely that Merpro would be the team to make the breakthrough.

A fine linking move involving Graham, Petrie and Duff finished with a cross into the box for the arriving Bruce but his 10-yard header went just over the bar.

Play then settled in midfield with neither side able to dominate.

Merpro pressure at the edge of the box in 22 minutes resulted in a neat lifted lobbed pass from Bruce over the defence but the alert home ‘keeper, Broomhall, dived at Pert’s fee to deny the opening.

Portcullis had been applying pressure without any real chances, however a dangerous curling, wind-assisted free kick caused some anxiety after flying across the face of the Merpro goal.

Portcullis went ahead on the half-hour mark when winger BROWN broke forward to evade a tackle and quickly poked a low, left-foot shot into the corner of the net.

Portcullis were energised further and kept Merpro pegged back. Another dangerous cross-cum-shot went flying across the face of goal to bye line safety in the 40th minute.

Merpro managed to see out the rest of the half thanks to some stout defending.

Half-time: Portcullis 1, Merpro 0.

The Montrose side were looking to take advantage of the conditions and immediately pressed the home side.

Almost immediately Graham created himself some space with a good turn and hit a 20-yard effort at goal but it was saved well by th
 ‘keeper.

Petrie was next to threaten, turning and hitting a shot at goal but it was also foiled by the ‘keeper.

Merpro were given a reminder from the home side when the nimble Scott burst forward in off the right flank to fire in a low shot well saved by Eadie.

Merpro resumed attacking and Graham soon had a free kick saved comfortably by the keeper in 57 minutes.

Merpro were keeping their opponents pinned back and Duff had a long range effort well tipped over the bar by the increasingly busy Broomhall in goal.

Substitute Rausch, making his Merpro debut, latched on to an edge of the box loose ball following a Graham corner kick, to fire in a rasping rising shot heading for the top corner. Broomhall flung himself across goal and, given that most observers anticipated a goal, made an excellent save turning the ball over the bar.

Merpro were exerting more pressure and had another opening when Graham cut in off the flank to set up Duff, but his 14-yard side-foot effort was again well saved by the ‘keeper.

The visitors again came close when Graham drifted inside past a couple of defenders to fire in a 20-yard curling effort just wide in 70th minute.

Portcullis continued to be pegged back but were always dangerous on the fast breakaway.

Merpro kept pushing forward and came close again in the last 10 minutes from a Graham corner kick which finally evaded the excellent ‘keeper but was headed off the line by Deacon.

Merpro were finding it difficult to make any clear openings as the home side’s deep dogged packed defending continued to thwart
them.

A final opportunity arrived in the dying minutes from a inswinging corner kick but Graeme Allan’s glancing eight-yard header went wide.

A motivated Portcullis held out to claim the win and some valuable points. Although Merpro didn’t deserve to lose neither did they fully dominate and create enough clear cut openings to win the match.

Merpro: Eadie, Murdoch (Ferries), Whyte, Greig, N. Duff, G. Allan, Petrie, Pert (Rausch), Graham, Bruce, E. Duff. Substitutes: Houston and Wink.

Next match: FC Claypotts (h) Division One 2 p.m. kick-off.