Logie Harp 3
MERPRO suffered their first league defeat this season in controversial fashion on Saturday.
In the top of the table clash against second place side Logie Harp the Montrose side lost the game in the final minute to a disputed goal.
Merpro went into the match with a three-point lead and despite the defeat they remain on top of Division One on goal difference.
Due to the recent wet weather the pitch was in poor condition and slippery in areas which proved to have a significant influence on the match.
Both sides started tentatively but it was Logie who made the first breakthrough.
Logie made a long ball defensive clearance which went over the Merpro defence. Henderson reacted quickly and came out to parry the initial shot but as he was about to collect the ball slipped and Rosleveld was left to fire into an empty net from 16 yards to make it 1-0 after four minutes.
Merpro began to slowly find their feet and Gourlay sent a long ball forward for Graham to run onto but it held up before he could get chance to fire in his shot at goal in eight minutes.
Merpro created another good opening three minutes later when a Gourlay long throw fell for Cruickshank at the back post. His snatched effort was deflected into the path of Greig but his header from six yards was cleared off the line to safety.
The match settled into a stalemate but eventually Merpro created another gilt-edged opening.
Craig Allan made a good run and then sent in a cross for Graham to fire in a low goalbound shot which was saved by the ‘keeper. The ball rebounded for Euan Duff but, leaning back, he was unable to get a full contact on it and from five yards out scuffed his effort allowing the custodian to get back and save in 22 minutes.
Three minutes later, Logie went further ahead after their initial short corner kick routine had been cleared but a further pass into the box fell for the unmarked Wallace to rifle a well hit shot into the net from 15 yards to make it 2-0.
Logie then had a spell on top but Merpro began to recover and Greig managed to fire in a left-foot effort saved by the ‘keeper in 35 minutes.
Merpro were then denied a penalty when Milne latched onto a cross ball and headed goalwards from 12 yards but in the process was taken out late by a high lunge by the covering defender. Despite loud appeals the referee waved play on in 38 minutes.
Merpro were now controlling the match and brought the game back in reach when Cruickshank evaded a couple of tackles before setting up Scott Graham with an incisive reverse pass for him to run in on goal and drill a low 14-yard shot past the advancing ‘keeper in 40 minutes.
The Montrose side had their tails up and created another opening when Whitworth flicked a long throw in to the path of Graham to fire in a vicious dipping volley from the edge of the box which just went over the bar.
Another great opportunity soon arrived when Craig Allan sent in a free kick which fell for Cruickshank, but his header from eight yards just went over the bar in 45 minutes.
Logie started the second half well keeping Merpro pinned back for the first 10 minutes. The local team found it difficult to clear their own lines and this allowed the Dundee side to put them under pressure.
Merpro began to get back into the match and Euan Duff did well to shrug off couple of tackles and fire in a low 16-yard drive which cannoned back of the post. The ball rebounded for Cruickshank, but with the ‘keeper lying on the ground his outstretched effort from 10 yards went agonisingly over the bar in 56 minutes.
Two minutes later, Henderson had to make a good save when a long cross ball from left-back Donald almost sailed into the back of the net.
The match was now in the balance and Christie broke through but was fouled on the edge of the box. His resultant 18-yard free kick curled agonisingly wide with the ‘keeper beaten in 62 minutes.
Graham then broke through but the alert custodian saved his attempt at goal.
In 75 minutes, Christie again came close when he acrobatically fired in an overhead shot from an acute angle across the face of goal.
Graham was next to threaten when he picked up on an Emerson through ball to run in on goal but the covering defender did well to force him wide and smother his effort at goal.
Merpro were now exerting persistent pressure and were rewarded with the equaliser in 88 minutes. Milne spotted Christie free in the box but his attempt to turn in on goal was foiled. However, the ball broke for Scott Graham to calmly drill a low 15-yard shot under the ‘keeper into the net for a deserved equaliser.
However the match had a sting in the tail when Logie forced some late pressure and were awarded a contentious throw near the Merpro goal.
Merpro had defended long throws well all game but on this occasion the ball failed to be cleared effectively and appeared to take the slightest of glances off Whitworth to sail straight into the net to make it 3-2 for Logie to collect the full points.
This was Merpro’s first league defeat since May, 2010, and, incredibly, only their second league defeat since January, 2010.
Despite the obvious disappointment Merpro can take pride in their outstanding league form over the past year.
Team: Henderson, Gourlay, Emerson (P. Duncan), C. Allan, Whitworth, G. Allan, Greig, Milne, E. Duff (Christie), Cruickshank (Gibbon), Substitutes: Bruce and Findlay.
r Next match will be against Dundee University at home with a 2pm kick-off.