Merpro 6, Michelin Athletic 1
MERPRO maintained their position at the top of Division One with an emphatic victory over Michelin Athletic on Saturday.
The visitors had provided Merpro with a stern test earlier in the season, but on this occasion they were well beaten as a rampant Montrose side kept up a constant pressure in the match.
Merpro started the match brightly and went ahead after five minutes. Craig Allan flighted a 25-yard free kick to the back post and Gourlay did well heading back across goal for Jharone Gibbon to knock home from five-yards to make it 1-0.
The homesters hit a quick fire double with another goal of the season contender in the eighth minute. A superb quick inter-linking passing move from inside their own half involving Donaldson, Cruickshank and Milne set up Euan Duff inside the box to drill a 10-yard first-time shot into the net to make it 2-0.
Findlay was called into his first serious action when he had to make a save from a 20-yard Michelin shot in 25 minutes.
Merpro soon went further ahead when Milne broke up a Michelin break. Whitworth then collected the ball in midfield and made a marauding run through the defence setting up Euan Duff to calmly run in on goal and slip a left-foot shot past the keeper at the near post from 10 yards to make it 3-0 in 28 minutes.
Michelin were frustrated but were given an opportunity to get back into the match when a Whitworth challenge on the edge of the box gave away a penalty which was duly despatched by Cassidy in 30 minutes to make it 3-1.
The Montrose men were undaunted and continued to press with Gourlay heading over the bar and Milne firing wide as further opportunities were being created.
Merpro should have gone further ahead in 40 minutes when Cruickshank made a break running in on goal but he was unable to direct his shot past the ‘keeper and from the rebound Milne could only curl his 18-yard shot into the custodian’s arms.
Merpro were denied their own penalty claim when, on another break, Craig Allan set up Gibbon but as he went past the ‘keeper he appeared to be taken down but only a corner kick was awarded in 42 minutes.
Michelin started the second half with a brief flurry of pressure but Merpro soon regained the ascendancy and went further ahead after another good linking move in 52 minutes.
Duff collected a midfield through ball from Allan and ran in on goal but as he was forced wide he laid off a pass for Bruce who looked up and floated in an inch perfect cross for Jharone Gibbon at the back post to shoot at goal from six yards. His first effort was well blocked on the line but he quickly despatched his follow up effort into the net to make it 4-1.
Merpro continued to dominate and a powerful run by Milne set up a cross for Whitworth to head flick goal wards before falling for Duff but his drive from 12 yards was well blocked in 62 minutes.
The home side were not to be denied and soon went further ahead with another goal made from their youthful triumvirate. Bruce made a wing run nutmegging his opponent before passing for Gibbon to lay off a pass for Euan Duff to fire into the net from 12 yards to make it 5-1 and complete his first Merpro hat-trick in 66 minutes.
Michelin came back and had a period of pressure but Findlay kept them at bay with good handling.
Merpro came back on the attack with Milne and Graham combining for Craig Allan to drill in a shot from the edge of the box to make it 6-1 in 78 minutes.
Another good performance with a solid defensive base allowing the youthful attack to take their chance and maintain Merpro’s current momentum.
Team: Findlay, Gourlay, Donaldson, C.Allan, Whitworth, G.Allan, Bruce, Milne (Doyle), Gibbon, E.Duff (Graham) and Cruickshank (Greig). Substitute: Gray.
Match Sponsor: R.Coull and Son.