Midlands wizards put hex on Merpro

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Merpro travelled to Dundee to meet Riverside Athletic last Saturday in a Tay Valley Shield section match.

The home side are the Midlands AFA’s most successful side and have been the benchmark for a couple of decades.

Murdoch picked up a short corner and drove in on goal but fired his effort over the bar in 10 minutes.

Bruce picked up a loose pass to burst in on goal but his 16-yard shot also went over.

Riverside hit back in 18 minutes when Harris hit a hooked volley off the Merpro bar.

The home side’s McDonald seemed fortunate to stay on the pitch following a two-footed challenge on Bruce in midfield.

Lownie, making a rare appearance in goal, made a fine save.

Merpro created a good opening when a Murdoch cross found Hector at the back post but he dallied and was quickly blocked.

Riverside were beginning to gain fluency in their midfield and applied concerted pressure. They went ahead following a corner kick with Ronnie KENNETH heading home from 10 yards in 34 minutes to break the deadlock.

Merpro created a great opening when Allan set up Graham to shrug off Wemyss, but as a goal seemed certain the ‘keeper managed to save.

Riverside quickly extended their lead with good slick passing, setting up KENNETH to run in on goal and clinically finish in 38 minutes.

Merpro had played well in the first half but the home side’s clinical effectiveness and metronomic passing style gradually gave them the ascendancy.

Half-time: Riverside 2, Merpro 0.

Merpro created another golden opportunity. Graham did well to hold off a challenge from Wallace in the box and slip a pass inside for Euan Duff but unfortunately he was unable to get enough power on his effort and directed his shot into the ‘keeper’s arms.

Riverside quickly went up the park and in 50 minutes replied with another swift passing move down the left flank, allowing KENNETH to complete his hat-trick with a composed finish from eight yards.

Merpro continued to press forward and Allan pulled out a good save from the ‘keeper.

Another good opportunity went abegging when the composed Whyte lofted a pinpoint pass over the head of a defender for Graham but he fired over the bar.

Riverside again began to dominate the match but resolute defending and high work rate in midfield managed to keep them at bay.

Merpro created another opportunity when McDougall and Bruce combined well for Graham to run in on goal but good defending on this occasion forced a corner kick.

Lownie, who was having an excellent game, made a superb save from the ever dangerous Kenneth, tipping a fierce close range shot round the post with eight minutes to play.

The home side went further ahead in 86 minutes when ex-North End player Scott LOCHHEAD found space to drift in at the back post to slip a shot into the net.

Merpro created a last chance in the dying moments when Euan Duff combined well with Bruce but his effort at goal was well saved.

Riverside then denied a further goal in the final minute when Lownie made another fine save to deny Kenneth, followed up by a strong trademark Nicol Duff challenge to prevent the follow up effort at goal.

Merpro: Lownie, Murdoch, Houston, Bruce, N. Duff, S. Robertson (J. Robertson), Whyte, Allan, E. Duff, Graham (Wood) and Hector (McDougall).