Douglas Sports Club 3, Merpro 3
MERPRO remain top of Division One after gaining a hard fought away league point in a dramatic rollercoaster of a match.
This was the proverbial game of two halves with Douglas enjoying the spoils in the opening half but a rollicking comeback by Merpro in the second half almost gave them the full points.
Merpro created the first opening when Bruce set up Euan Duff to run in on goal but Douglas ‘keeper Rice made a great block. The ball then fell for Donaldson but he could only direct his six-yard header over the bar after eight minutes.
The homesters went ahead a minute later following a corner kick routine resulting in a headed goal from eight yards by Myles in nine minutes.
Merpro created another great chance when Graham latched onto a through ball and his well hit snap-shot was alertly tipped over the bar by the ‘keeper in 11 minutes.
Merpro created another good chance with a well worked move involving Graeme Allan and Graham setting up Euan Duff, but again the ‘keeper made a great save to foil the striker in 14 minutes.
Douglas made the most of their next attack when Crerar broke from midfield and evaded a tackle before drilling into the net in 20 minutes to make it 2-0.
The match entered into a dogged phase with Merpro attempting to get back into the game but Douglas kept them at bay and remained the sharper of the sides without creating any further major chances.
Merpro looked to improve in the second half and immediately responded with a goal in the 46th minute.
Graham did well to slip in a pass for Euan Duff to hold off a tackle and drill in a low shot from 12 yards to make it 2-1.
Douglas immediately replied when Crerar latched onto a quick free kick and clipped in a low shot parried by Henderson into the path of Myles to fire into the net from five yards to make it 3-1.
Merpro refused to be stunned and Donaldson came close with left-foot shot from 20 yards in 54 minutes.
Merpro pushed players forward in an attempt to retrieve the game and Euan Duff was unlucky with a low shot which was cleared off the line in 56 minutes.
Whitworth looked to have scored with a close range header but Rice made another great save to tip over the bar in 58 minutes.
Merpro were now well on top and received their reward when a Bruce long throw was headed home by Sean Whitworth from eight yards in 62 minutes to make it 3-2.
Douglas were now reeling and Gourlay was next to come close with 22-yard shot pushed wide by the ‘keeper in 65 minutes.
The Douglas custodian did well again a few minutes later when he was alert to deny Graham from a long range Henderson kick.
Merpro pushing on were caught with a long ball which wasn’t properly cleared allowing an attacker in behind the defence. Henderson came out to meet and diving at his feet was deemed to have brought him down and a penalty was awarded. Henderson’s anger at the award was redeemed when he dived low to save Crerar’s penalty to keep Merpro in the match after 75 minutes.
Merpro soon resumed on the attack and equalised when Graham broke forward and was brought down just inside the box and Craig Allan converted the resultant penalty kick to make it 3-3 in 80 minutes.
Merpro sensed victory and Graham then had another shot cleared of the line in 82 minutes following another long clearance from Henderson.
Craig Allan looked to have found the net with a free kick but yet again GK Rice made a superb save to tip over the bar in 85 minutes.
Merpro continued to push forward and Graeme Allan broke forward from the defence picking up a Whitworth pass to run in on goal but the Douglas keeper again capped an excellent performance by foiling him just as he looked likely to round the custodian in 88 minutes.
A stirring second half fightback by Merpro almost secured the full points however a man of the match performance by the goalkeeper Douglas ensured the game ended all square.
Team: Henderson, Gourlay, N.Duff, C.Allan, Whitworth, G.Allan, Bruce, Greig, Graham (P.Duncan), E.Duff (Gibbon), Donaldson (Houston). Substitutes: Findlay and Gray.