SFL v Morton

MORTON 2 DUNFERMLINE 0 Date: 06/11/10

Fixture: Irn Bru SFL Division

Attendance: 1813, Kick Off: 3.00pm.

Referee: Mat Northcroft

Jim McIntyre`s team travelled all the way to the west end of the M8 in search of the three points to keep the heat on the Rovers at the top of the First Division.  The Manager named an unchanged side with the same five subs on the bench as took those seats against Stirling Albion.  Morton made three changes from their previous game with Kevin McKinlay, Jonathan Toto and Carlo Monti replacing Peter Weatherson, Grant Evans and David O`Brien.

The Pars forced the first corner of the game and Wullie Gibson forced keeper Colin Stewart to make the first save of the afternoon in seven minutes parrying away a fierce dipping effort from the left edge of the box.  Stewart was back in serious action in the next minute touching over his crossbar a fine 30 yard attempt from David Graham.

It was Graham who took advantage of a defensive lapse in 11 minutes which allowed the ball to run to him on the left side of the box. David McGregor missed the challenge and Stewart barged in as the blue boot tried a shot but the ball dropped well wide right of target. A valid penalty claim but not one the referee was going to entertain.

On 16 minutes Steven Bell incurred an Achilles injury that could put the rest of his season in serious doubt and had to be stretchered off. Ryan Thomson came on as substitute in 18th minute. It was the 19 year old`s league debut for the Pars, his only experience of the SFL this far being on loan at Albion Rovers last season. 

The injuries interrupted Dunfermline`s ability to get their passing game running smoothly and Morton looked dangerous on the break.  That was certainly the case in 23 minutes as Allan Jenkins broke down the right to give Brian Graham a chance to severely test Chris Smith with a header from six yards.  Smith turned the ball around his right hand post for a corner.

The corner was not properly cleared and Morton were assisted as the ball came back to Dowie off David Graham on the edge of the area. Brian GRAHAM was first to react smashing the ball past Smith to put the Inverclyde men ahead with 24 minutes gone.

Jim McIntyre was shouting to get a reaction from his team but really it was Morton who with their tails up pressed for more. McKinlay swung over a ball that Toto went up for with Smith, neither got it but the defence cleared.  Michael Tidser shot wildly over the bar before Dunfermline earned another corner but that went wide.

The home fans rallied behind their side and in 34 minutes after a powerful run by Tidser slipped the ball to Monti on the left. When his cross was not convincingly cleared Tidser piled a shot in that Gary Mason blocked.  Two minutes later however Calum Woods leaned over Stuart McCaffrey on the left side of the box as they went up for a crossed ball and Referee Mat Northcroft pointed to the penalty spot.  Carlo MONTI took the penalty and sent the ball low to the right with a good left footed finish. 2-0 Morton!

Dunfermline`s response was fairly weak with only Gibson managing a half hit shot that Stewart dealt with easily.  Morton continued to string together good passes but at least Smith held an attempt from a free kick on the right and then a Tidser shot bulleted over the top off Higgins. Dowie headed away a McGregor cross in the final minute of the half and Dunfermline had to be happy to hear the half time whistle that would give them the time out to regroup.

Half Time: Morton 2 Dunfermline 0

In the opening minutes of the second period the Pars looked more composed and more purposeful.  It was sub Thommo who came closest first rattling a 48th minute volley from 20 yards down and out off the crossbar. Higgins shot at a corner was then blocked out but then Gibson got lucky after conceding possession in his own half and Dowie and Higgins stopped a Toto break.  The big Frenchman needed treatment but it was only the 20 year old`s pride that was hurt.

David Graham was chopped down by Jenkins as McCann pushed a ball up the left but the referee and his assistants saw nothing.  Next Chris Smith saw the ball launched at him by Monti and he pulled off a fine save to turn it over off the bar. Just 13 minutes into the second half Jim McIntyre committed his final two subs when Joe Cardle and Steven McDougall replaced David Graham and Pat Clarke.

Woods tried a shot from 30 yards but it went well wide while at the other end Graham tried the same and almost got lucky as the ball was deflected and dropped on to the roof of the net. Thomson battled for possession and won a 70th minute free kick 30 yards out but Gibson`s delivery could only be headed wide by Kirk.

Cardle beat McGregor in 73 minutes but tucked his shot too easily for Stewart to take at his near post.  Gibson drove a 30 yard free kick wide left as the match entered its final 15 minutes. A Cardle pass to Mason was short and Jenkins broke on the counterattack.  He fed Weatherson and the ball fell nicely for Monti to smash a powerful shot at Smith who held well.

In 81 minutes a Gibson cross in from the right was headed down on target by Kirk only to see Smyth clear off his line. Cardle won a free kick on the edge of the Morton D as he tried to get the ball on to his right foot for a shot.  This time GIBSON fired the shot around the Morton wall to find the net at the far right.

The Pars pressed for an equaliser but could not bring Stewart into play. Weatherson missed a sitter in 93rd minute, the time ran out for the Fifers and for the third time this season suffered defeat away from home.

MORTON: Colin Stewart, Stuart McCaffrey, Kevin McKinlay, David McGregor, Marc Smyth, Darren Young, Allan Jenkins (Graeme Holmes 88), Michael Tidser, Carlo Monti (David O`Brien 88); Jonathan Toto (Peter Weatherson 71),  Brian Graham.
SUBS: Kevin Cuthbert, Grant Evans, .
SCORER: Graham (24), Monti (36 pen.)
YELLOW CARD: Tidser (73), Young (75)

DUNFERMLINE:  Chris Smith; Calum Woods, Andy Dowie, Chris Higgins, Austin McCann (c); Wullie Gibson, Steven Bell (Ryan Thomson 18), Gary Mason, David Graham (Joe Cardle 58); Andy Kirk, Pat Clarke (Steven McDougall 58).
SUBS NOT USED: Alex Keddie, Kyle Allison (GK).
SCORER: Gibson (83)

WEATHER: Cold, damp 6C

NEXT MATCH: (home) SFL First Division v Raith Rovers
Saturday 13th November 2010, kick off 3.00pm

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