Defeat snatched from the jaws of a draw


Douglas Athletic 2

Merpro returned to MAFA Premier League action after a seven-week layoff due to the festive break and bad weather.

Merpro should have gone ahead after five minutes. Bruce played a diagonal pass for Gammie to get in behind the defence. His low cross was met by Christie but he contrived to send the ball in the opposite direction from the goal.

Merpro continued well and Hutchison made a strong run inside to lay off for Craig Allan. His carefully executed 16-yard shot skimmed just over the bar.

The visitors settled and pressed Merpro but sound defending kept them at bay.

Christie managed to work himself some space to fire in a dangerous 20-yard effort but the alert keeper tipped over the bar in 20 minutes. A few minutes later Bruce broke through and his dangerous cross almost deflected into the net.

Douglas went ahead in 35 minutes with a long pass superbly collected by Malone to run in on goal to score from 18 yards.

Christie came close with a 20-yard free kick parried by the keeper as the half came to an end.

Merpro stepped up the tempo in the second period and began to take consistent control of the midfield.

The pressure paid off in 62 minutes when Gammie made a forcing run into the box. He slid a pass for Scott Graham to come off his marker to collect and compose himself before curling a low shot past the keeper from 15 yards. With his infant son cheering him from the sidelines the Boulder came close a few minutes later with a cross-cum-shot coming off the bar.

Merpro were well on top with Gammie and Turriff combining well on the flank to apply pressure. The Montrose side were looking to find the winner in the closing stages.

Riach had a flurry of activity with a 20-yard shot parried wide; from the resultant corner a close range header was saved. With the final minutes approaching the home side continued relentlessly pushing and had a great chance when Riach was sent through on goal but his shot was saved at close range by the keeper.

The visitors survived and just as it looked likely there could only be a home goal Merpro were hit by the sucker punch. A long ball clearance fell for Malone to collect and drift past couple tackles on the edge of the box to finish well into the corner of the net for the winning goal in the last minute.

A deflating outcome for the home side especially after dominating the second period and creating most chances.

Team: Lownie, Turriff, Whyte, Greig, Murdoch, N. Duff, Gammie (McDougall), C. Allan, Christie (Graham), Bruce, Hutchison (Riach). Subs: Keogh, Mallie.

Match Sponsor: R Coull and Son.