SPFL League One: MORTON 2 DUNFERMLINE 0: 24/01/15
League One's only two full time clubs attracted live television but with the nation watching Dunfermline could not find the winning touch that has eluded them for too long now. Instead it was to be Morton's third win out of three out over the pre-season championship favourites.
Even given until the 5.30pm kick off at Cappielow, Ryan Wallace did not pass the late fitness test and with Gregor Buchanan suspended John Potter made three changes to his starting eleven. Allan Smith and Jim Paterson dropped out while in came Michael Moffat, Andy Stirling and Andy Geggan who returned having served a two match ban.
Morton made two changes Derek Gaston being preferred to Grant Adam in goals and former Hibs and St Mirren player Ross Caldwell coming in for Jamie McCluskey.
The hosts kicked off at Cappielow with Pars in red shirts and black shorts attacking goal at the west end. It was a poor pass back by Ricki Lamie in third minute that gave his keeper a fright and Michael Moffat was unlucky that his charge down on the edge of the box rebounded to the right of target.
Morton stormed forward and there were appeals for a fifth minute penalty when Stefan McCluskey's ball into the box from the left appeared to make contact with Ross Millen's arm. A free kick from the left then caused the Pars defence some concern but Millen shielded the ball back to Ryan Scully. Then Peter MacDonald powered down a cross from Lee Kilday but his header bounced over the crossbar.
Ross Forbes tried a pop at goal but was high of target after Kyle McAusland had headed out McCluskey's 14th minute cross. Next minute the Pars fans broke into song but it was just to cheer a shot and not a goal. Moffat broke through the middle fighting off the challenge of Tom O'Ware but sending his shot rolling past the left post.
Next minute Moffat was provider pulling the ball back from the right byeline for Geggan to prod at goal but his effort also slipped past that left upright. Barrowman won the first corner of the game in 25 minutes but Morton caused their own problems from Stirling's delivery in from the right, conceding a second from the other side and that was cleared again without a Dunfermline player touching the ball.
A Millen free kick from the left in 27 minutes narrowly escaped Geggan's header attempt and then Shaun Byrne and Moffat combined to make space in the box but Byrne's shot was blocked.
After Mark Russell's right footed shot was deflected behind Morton's first corner in 31st minute was a non event. Another for the Pars three minutes later was attacked by Geggan and McCluskey but only another corner was the outcome. Morton cleared that one but then let Stirling in for a loose shot that went wide right.
Morton threatened when Kilday cut back for Joe McKee but Stirling blocked that. Then the ball was kept out at the far post when O'Ware rose to get his head on a corner. Five minutes from the break, Millen's free kick sneaked through to Gaston despite efforts from both sides to connect.
There was one final good chance to take from the first half, Stirling swung over from a 45th minute corner and Geggan's header dropped to the left of the Morton goal. All square at the break but a good first half from the Pars. The half time stats showed 44% to Morton's 56% but both sides had five shots at goal with the visitors having six corners to the home siodes' two.
Half time: Morton 0 Dunfermline 0
Moffat and Barrowman got the second period underway but it was Ross Forbes who tried the first shot at goal in 48 minutes but he pulled that across the face of goal. McCluskey followed that up with a strong 30 yarder than Scully took at his second attempt.
Stirling broke up the left and exchanged passes with Moffat and when the ball was played high into the box Barrowman was denied a header on goal by O'Ware. Moffat had his 52nd minute shot from the edge of the box blocked and then Barrowman deflected the ball on target only for Gaston to gather.
Byrne was shown a yellow card for the third time this season but this looked more of a slip by his opponent than a bad challenge. Lamie fouled Stirling and another Pars free kick 35 yards out allowed Millen to fire the ball into the box where again Geggan came close to serious connection.
A Kilday run set up McCluskey for a great opportunity and although his shot beat Scully McAusland was behind him to clear. The home side had forced the Fifers deeper and deeper and McAusland was called upon again but the Pars broke and won a corner, unfortunately that caused their downfall. Morton broke and CALDWELL made a good job of finishing to the bottom left. Not bad for a player wearing borrowed boots - he left St Mirren so abruptly that he left his boots behind! 1-0
Faissal El Bakhtaoui had replaced Andy Stirling just before the goal and the sub was blocked out at his first attempt at goal. Barrowman's header at the far post was just kept out as Dunfermline turned up the pressure.
In 76 minutes McCluskey broke clear of Millen and he threaded the ball through for MacDonald with Scully coming out towards him. The Morton player spilled in the box but referee Alan Muir saw that not as a penalty but as a yellow card for simulation.
As Dunfermline tried hard for an equaliser the game opened up and play was pretty fluid. It was on the break that Morton scored a second. Forbes raced away out of defence and sent Caldwell on with an accurate pass. As he reached the Pars box he released the ball left for MACDONALD and although Scully made an great attempt to keep it, found the net. 81 minutes gone and 2-0.
There was no way back for John Potter's team and as the game drew to an end it was the home side who were well on top. Geggan had one final chance for a consolation but his header on a Whittle cross slipped wide right. Seven games without a win, it was a long trip back to the Kingdom.
MORTON: Derek Gaston; Lee Kilday, Tom O'Ware, Ricki Lamie, Mark Russell; Michael Miller (Conor Pepper 64); Joe McKee, Ross Forbes, Stefan McCluskey; Peter MacDonald (c), Ross Caldwell (Sean Crighton 87).
SUBS NOT USED: Stefan Milojevic, Craig Knight, Aidan Ferris, Jordan Cairnie, Grant Adam (GK).
SCORERS: Caldwell (67), MacDonald (81)
YELLOW CARD: MacDonald (76)
DUNFERMLINE: Ryan Scully; Ross Millen, Lewis Martin, Kyle McAusland, Alex Whittle; Josh Falkingham (c), Shaun Byrne (Lewis Spence 84), Andy Geggan, Andy Stirling (Faissal El Bakhtaoui 66); Andy Barrowman, Michael Moffat.
SUBS NOT USED: Ryan Thomson, Jim Paterson, Allan Smith, Stuart Urquhart, Ryan Goodfellow (GK)
YELLOW CARD: Byrne (56)
REFEREE: Alan Muir
WEATHER: 5C Overcast
NEXT MATCH: SPFL League One (away) v Ayr United
Saturday 31st January 2015, kick off 3.00pm
Ladbrokes Championship: Saturday 18th March, Dunfermline v Ayr United kick off 3.00pm