Merpro reached the pinnacle of their season, meeting Dundee side St James in the Buckman Mackie Cup final at Glenesk Park.
This was Merpro’s first Buckman Mackie final, competed for by Premier League sides only.
St James are currently MAFA’s form side and were playing their third Cup Final of the season and are also favourites to win the Premier League.
Merpro started well at Dundee Violet’s home ground and went ahead when a Bruce throw in was flicked into the box by Paton for Craig ALLAN to sweep goalwards from five yards. The keeper was not set properly and allowed the ball to slip into the net after only two minutes.
Merpro’s composed start was almost undone when a sliding challenge from Rausch on Kenneth resulted in a penalty being awarded. Lownie made a fine save from Murdoch’s effort and pressured to force the rebound over the bar.
St James were slowly coming back into the match and grabbed an equaliser on 20 minutes when a right wing cross was palmed onto the bar by Lownie attempting to clear with the rebound forced into the net by the alert McCARTNEY.
Despite the setback it was still Merpro who continued to control the play and create further good chances.
A fine twisting run by Paton on the left flank into the box set up Bruce to collect and fire in a low drive from 15 yards, well saved by Darling.
Chances continued to be created with Rausch doing well intercepting to run into the box but his 10 yard left foot effort was easily saved by the keeper.
Merpro’s fine play was rewarded further in 35 minutes when Paton’s header at goal from a free kick fell for John MURDOCH lurking in the box. In what seemed like an eternity his slightly mis-hit low shot from eight yards eased its way into the corner of the net.
The Dundee side were becoming increasingly frustrated and Murdoch was given his marching orders after throwing the ball at Milne.
Half-time: St James 1, Merpro 2.
Immediately St James forced Merpro back with some accurate passes and good play.
The Dundee side clawed back an equaliser when they got in behind the Merpro defence on the right wing. Low fired in a dangerous cross across the face of goal, cleared by Murdoch but his hooked effort was blocked by McCARTNEY behind him and fortuitously went straight into the net at the back post in 53 minutes.
St James went ahead three minutes later. A moment’s concentration lapse following a throw in allowed McCARTNEY to spot an opening and drift inside off his marker on the left flank. He then drove in on goal at pace to fire in a low, fierce drive into the near-post corner of the net for a fine goal to complete his hat trick.
Merpro almost snatched an equaliser when Euan Duff forced himself through on goal but alert goal-keeping foiled his effort on the edge of the box.
The proverbial cliché applied, a game of two halves. An excellent first half performance tactically outplaying their opponents, acknowledged afterwards, but failing to clinically finish off the match and disappointingly unable to replicate their cohesion in the second period.
Full-time: St James 3, Merpro 2.
MeRpro : Lownie, Murdoch (Whyte), Ferries (Graham), Milne, N. Duff, G. Allan, Rausch, C. Allan, E. Duff, Bruce (Stephen) Paton. Subs: McLean and Turriff.