St James 6, Merpro 6
Merpro win 3-2 on penalties
MERPRO travelled through to Dundee on Saturday to record another memorable victory in a remarkably dramatic game to move into the quarter-final of the Bremner Cup.
St James are seen as one of the top sides in the Midlands Leagues and their opening play certainly merited their status. The visitors were pinned back from the start and St James went ahead after two minutes when Ward swept home from 10 yards.
Merpro were hanging on and struggling to match the early pace but slowly worked their way into the game and equalised after 15 minutes. Milne broke forward and his shot was deflected into the path of Scott Graham to calmly stride in on goal and expertly slot past ‘keeper Darling to make it 1-1.
St James were unfettered and shortly after went ahead when Ward collected a pass and outpaced the covering defender to slot into the net from 12 yards to make it 2-1.
St James soon went further ahead when ex-Dundee player McAlpine burst forward from right back to fire in a thunderous 20 yard drive to make it 3-1 in 25 minutes.
The visitors reached half-time still believing the match was far from over and quickly went on the offensive into the second period.
Merpro came back into the match after Greig did well in midfield before firing in a cross which was finely glanced by Scott Graham to find the net off the back post to make it 3-2 in 55 minutes.
The visitors then stunned their opponents further when they equalised again when Scott Graham latched onto a ball and fired past Darling to complete his hat-trick in 58 minutes.
Both sides attempted to search for the winner but the match remained in a stalemate with no further goals despite end to end action.
Merpro quickly seized the initiative in extra-time when Milne latched onto a Donaldson cross, but snatched his shot from six yards and as the ball trundled goalwards, Darren Cruickshank was sharpest in a melee of players to fire into the net from three yards to put Merpro into the lead for the first time in the match after 92 minutes.
St James fought back into the match and scored again with a McKenzie header from 10 yards in 96 minutes.
St James then went ahead again when Turnbull latched onto a ball on the edge of the box to fire in a shot from 18 yards to make it 5-4 after 97 minutes.
The home side then went up the park and Connell looked to have sealed the match with a 25-yard shot skimming off the muddy surface into the net to make it 6-4 in 102 minutes.
Merpro were not to be denied, however, and netted the goal of the game when Chris Milne collected the ball on the halfway line, then proceeded to dribble past four players and play a return pass with Whitworth before firing low into the net from 10 yards to make it 6-5 in 113 minutes.
Henderson then had to make a low diving finger tip save to prevent a breakaway goal in 115 minutes.
Merpro then snatched a dramatic equaliser for the third time when Euan Duff fired into the top of the net from 10 yards after his initial effort had been blocked to make it a remarkable 6-6 in the 118th minute.
Neither side was able to force a winner and the match went into penalty kick drama. Merpro went first but Craig Allan had his effort saved by the ‘keeper.
St James then went ahead yet again, but converted efforts from Chris Milne, Sean Whitworth, Barry Gourlay and a Henderson penalty save allowed Merpro to seal the remarkable never say die win and oust one of the cup favourites.