SFL v Morton
MORTON 0 DUNFERMLINE 2 Date: 15/08/09
Fixture: Irn Bru SFL Division One
Attendance: 2661, Kick Off: 3.00pm.
Referee: Willie Collum
Dunfermline were without captain Stephen Glass, out with a hip injury.┬ Austin McCann came in at left back and Manager Jim McIntyre made no further changes from the side that was so unlucky last week to lose to a goal in added time. James Grady replaced Kevin Finlayson in the home side that ran Dundee close last week.
During warm up keeper Bryn Halliwell took a back spasm.┬ Colin Stewart and Kevin Cuthbert are both on the Morton books but it was the Under 19s keeper Ryan McWilliams who stepped in to make his first team debut. The Pars kicked off attacking the goal at the west end and a sweeping pass out to Willie Gibson created early danger that the `Ton defence headed clear.
Peter Weatherson thought he had sprung the offside trap in the third minute, he failed to beat Greg Fleming as the yellow and orange chequered flag was raised on the main stand side.┬ James Grady and Neil McGregor clashed in eight minute bringing the physios on but both were fit to continue.
Stewart Greacen was shown yellow by Willie Collum after a late challenge on David Graham as the winger┬ threatened to break up the left. There were 13 minutes on the clock when a cross from the left was headed out only as far as Steven Bell but his shot┬ on the angle from 10 yards was blocked.
Weatherson dwelt on a chance to shoot but in 15 minutes he did pop a shot on target from 30 yards but nothing to trouble Greg Fleming. Three minutes later a Ryan McGuffie cross evaded everyone as it slipped through the penalty box to Fleming.┬ A fine move in 20th minute gave the Pars the lead. Great stuff with Woods and Gibson exchanging passes on the right before Woods crossed from the byeline for Andy KIRK to head beyond McWilliams.
A Higgins foul on Weatherson earned him a yellow card and Morton a 27th minute free kick 35 yards out. Stevie Masterton hammered the ball at the Pars wall but the home side enjoyed a degree of territorial advantage until Graham again forced his way down the left requiring Greacen to cover behind McGuffie to blot out the Pars man`s shot.
Morton had their best effort so far in 31 minutes when Neil McFarlane`s long ball was flicked on by Weatherson into the path of Grady but Fleming pulled off a fine save on his six yard line as the shot directed the ball to the keeper`s bottom right.
Back at the other end an Austin McCann played a short free kick to the left wing where Graham collected and drove passed McGuffie deceiving the defence with an early prod┬ off his right boot that Higgins headed over the crossbar.┬
Five minutes from the break Jim McAlister fired a long range shot wide left but then it was back to the other end with Graham sending over a ball that Kirk turned on to the near post.┬ Bell missed the follow up and as the Pars turned up the pressure Kirk headed a Gibson cross into the net only to be adjudged to have bundled McWilliams off the ball as he rose to head home.
Half time: Morton 0 Dunfermline 1
Gerry Docherty was deployed again after an┬ injury to David Graham in 49th minute as he tried to cross after successfully getting on the end of a Graham Bayne pass. In 51 minutes Fleming was forced into making a good save, diving to his right to deny Weatherson who had turned and powered in a low shot from the edge of the box.
There was no doubt that Davie Irons side had started the second half better but Gibson lined┬ up Bayne for a Pars shot two minutes later.┬ The stand in captain`s sights were set too high and the ball landed in the crowd behind the Morton goal. Bayne almost took advantage of a poor McWilliams kick out in 54 minutes.┬ He beat off McGuffie to get in a shot from the edge of the box but McWilliams held.
In 59 minutes Joe Cardle came on from Willie Gibson and Morton introduced both Brian Graham and Allan Jenkins.┬ It was Graham who nearly┬ made an immediate impact chipping the ball over the Dunfermline crossbar from the edge of the box.┬ Morton continued to press with Jenkins sending an inviting ball through the Pars box.
A Cardle run across the pitch brought the Pars back into it with McFarlane on two occasions, possibly lucky to avoid contact that would have brought him a certain yellow. A nice pass from Cardle to Kirk was switched on to the right wing by Kirk and McDougall`s cross was into the danger area but well defended.
In 71st minute there was a huge let off for the Pars. Passes from Weatherson and Jenkins split the Fifers defence to let McAlister in on the left side of the box and his lay off to Graham teed up a great chance. Fortunately Graham`s effort escaped narrowly wide of Fleming`s left hand post.
A Burke shot went for a corner on the┬ left but the visitors failed to make it count. Then McDougall`s corner from the right was met by Higgins but his downward header bounced over the target.┬ Nick Phinn came on for Andy Kirk but it was sub Joe CARDLE who did the damage in 79 minutes. The former Airdrie man accepted a Steven Bell pass and flighted in a wonder strike from the corner of the penalty box to bulge the right sidenetting.┬ It may be his first goal since November last year but he won`t get any much better.
Phinn hit a shot wide and then forced McWilliams quickly off his line to be denied in 85 minutes.┬ Fleming required Higgins to sweep away the ball as he parried a Brian Wake effort.┬ In 88th minute Fleming came well out of his goal to try and fist away a cross from the right but Graham`s header got in first. ┬ The ball bounced up on to the crossbar and slipped over on to the roof of the net.┬ Morton had passed over two good opportunities to tie the game┬ but having survived the late purge, in the end it was a comfortable Pars victory, their first in Greenock since 2007.
MORTON: Ryan McWilliams; Ryan McGuffie, David McGregor, Allan McManus, Stewart Greacen, Neil McFarlane, Steven Masterton, Jim McAlister, Carlo Monti (Allan Jenkins 59), Peter Weatherson, James Grady (Brian Graham 59).
SUBS: Ryan Harding, Iain Russell, Brian Wake,
YELLOW CARD: Greachen (11)
DUNFERMLINE: Greg Fleming; Calum Woods, Neil McGregor, Chris Higgins, Austin McCann; Willie Gibson (Joe Cardle 59),┬ Steven Bell, Alex Burke, David Graham (Steven McDougall 64); Andy Kirk (Nick Phinn 78), Graham Bayne (c).
SUBS: Andy Dowie, Greg Paterson (GK)
SCORER: Kirk (20), Cardle (79)
YELLOW CARD: Higgins (27)
WEATHER: Sunny 18┬║C
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Ladbrokes Championship: Saturday 22nd April, Dunfermline v Falkirk kick off 3.00pm