Barnhill started the strongest, disrupting the home side by flooding the midfield and pressing intensely, preventing any fluency of Merpro play. However, Merpro began to literally weather the storm and gained a foothold in midfield.
It was a long range 25 yard shot from Euan DUFF which broke the deadlock, managing to slip under the keeper.
The Motown side stunned their visitors with a quick fire double to go further ahead with a fine opportunist goal. Whyte broke forward but his 22 yard shot was blocked falling for Scott GRAHAM to collect and twist round his marker and fire in a low drive on the turn from 12 yards into the net. Merpro resumed attacking with Craig Allan slipping in a deft low pass into the front of goal but unfortunately no one had read his intention.
Graeme Allan broke from defence, drifting past several players, eventually being brought down on the edge of the box. Brother Craig stepped up to take the 22 yard free kick but his effort was saved.
Half time: Merpro 2, Barnhill 0.
Barnhill came out strongly at the start of the second half and Merpro almost gifted an early equaliser when a loose pass from defence allowed an attacker in on goal but an alert save from GK Lownie prevented the opening.
Pert appeared to have made a good interception tackle in the box but the official awarded a penalty amidst furious complaints from the home side. CASSIDY kept his composure and slotted home.
Merpro began to regain some ascendancy and should have went further ahead after Craig Allan curled a perfect cross to the back post but Duff’s close range header was agonisingly glanced wide in 65 minutes.
Merpro had regained their composure and created another gilt edged opening when Duff did well to shake off some tackles to breakthrough on goal but his low effort from 15 yards was saved by the GK. The rebound fell for Cabrelli but he slipped and the ball was cleared to safety.
Barnhill began to push players forward but it was Merpro who created another opening hitting on a quick fire break. Bruce collected a diagonal pass to run in on goal but his unselfish low pass attempting to find Graham in front of goal was cleared to safety.
Merpro had been holding off the visitors but a mix up in defence when two players went for the same ball allowed an attacker to rush in on goal but Aul’Jim Lownie in goal made a superb rush save to deny the chance.
Merpro again had to thank Lownie a couple minutes later after a back heeled midfield pass fell to a Barnhill midfielder who burst forward at pace to set up a quick pass into the box but an alert save thwarted the close range effort.
Merpro heeded the lesson and managed to maintain possession in the latter stages to seal the victory to take the full points.
This win takes Merpro four points clear at the top of Division 1 with a game in hand to take into the New Year.
Team: Lownie, Murdoch (Ferries), Whyte, C.Allan, Pert, G.Allan, Bruce (Houston), Cabrelli,Graham, Greig, E.Duff. Subs: Collie, J.Robertson and Wink. Match Ball Sponsor: R Coull & Son