William Hill Scottish Cup: Dunfermline 1 Morton 2: 20/01/18

The fifth Scottish Cup meeting between the teams survived the wintry weather courtesy of the Pars undersoil heating. Manager Allan Johnston went with the same eleven that started against Dundee United the previous Saturday, Lee Ashcroft and Callum Smith were fit to return to the bench and new signing James Craigen found himself alongside them.

Morton manager Jim Duffy made four changes from the side that faced Falkirk in their hands me defeat last time out, Ricki Lamie, Mark Russell, Robert Thomson and Bob McHugh making way for Luca Gasparotta, Andy Murdoch, Jack Iredale in his first start since returning from Queens Park on loan and the on loan Don, Frank Ross.

Both sides were disappointed to be facing a team from the same league but the four previous Scottish Cup ties between the clubs have all been home wins so the Pars were looking for the trend to continue.

The teams changed ends before the Pars kicked off attacking the goal at the McCathie Stand end. It was the visitors however who created the first shot of the game when a second minute corner was headed out by Nicky Clark only for Gary Harkins to chest down and fire over the bar from 18 yards.

Callum Morris conceded another corner but again that was defended. In between Declan McManus had got to the byeline and crashed the ball across the face of the Morton goal. Ryan Williamson made a strong run in six minutes but his cut back could not be directed on target by Clark.

The Pars kept up the pressure with a great run by McManus down the left channel punctuated with a good low shot from 20 yards out that made Derek Gaston parry the ball away to his left. Dean Shiels collected and returned the ball to the near post but in the scramble that ensued Morton cleared.

Then in eleven minutes after intricate passing on the right, Joe Cardle delivered a ball for Clark on the six yard line but his glancing header dropped just outside the left upright. Shiels sent in a dangerous ball from a free kick after Ross was yellow carded and play was deep in the Morton third as the home side threatened again. Clark was set up to go through the middle but lost out to the Morton skipper Tom O`Ware.

A Williamson cross was headed behind by Michael Doyle to give the Pars their first corner after 18 minutes but Michael Paton`s cross evaded Jean-Yves M`Voto. Four minutes later there was one almighty let off for the Fifers. Iredale made a good run down the left wing and sent his cross across the face of goal fortunately somehow Scott Tiffoney failed to make the connection. Next minute Iredale got up the left again and this time the ball came off the near post after Oliver had got a flick on it.

The warnings had been dealt out but in 24 minutes Gary OLIVER was picked out on the right side of the Pars box and his angled shot beat Lee Robinson. It was the first that the keeper had conceded for Dunfermline but it was one that the fans in the east end of the main stand clearly thought had been scored from an offside position. 0-1

On the half hour Williamson caused the Morton defence more fear as he got in to the byeline yet again. This time he picked out Cardle in front of the near post but the Pars player`s shot was going wide as it was hooked away.

Four minutes later Williamson strided out down the right before delivering another good ball in from the byeline that was cleared. Next minute Williamson`s cross from the right corner flag was palmed away by keeper Gaston.

Another Williamson run forced a 39th minute corner but when Paton chipped that into the nearside of the box Clark times his run to meet it but sent his header over the top. Ross forced Williamson into conceding a 41st minute corner. The cross was defended out to Tidser whose shot from 25 yards out got trapped and then cleared from the centre of the Pars box.

Dunfermline having had 52% possession, would go in one behind at the break but must have felt frustrated given the service provided by Williamson.

Half time: Dunfermline 0 Morton 1

With 45 minutes to save their Scottish Cup hopes the Pars came out strongly but a 52nd minute free kick for Wedderburn on Harkins allowed Morton to change the emphasis. That was successfully defended but Paton`s foul on Oliver let Morton keep the ball forward and Robinson had to hold a shot from Tiffoney.

At the other end Gaston plucked a Cardle cross away from Clark and McManus. Shiels was robbed by Harkins and then Murdoch broke down a move in the centre of the park before eventually playing through the middle paid off with McMANUS receiving a pass from Clark to make the break and ram the ball home from the edge of the box. 1-1

Having waited so long for a Pars goal another almost followed right away. Paton sent in the ball from a corner on the right and Clark`s powerful header was kept out by Gaston, cleared off the line by Tidser and then cleared off Murdoch after pinball in front of goal. A follow up was then also cleared off the line and then a scramble ensued with the Greenock side coming out on top.

At the other end Robinson watched a Tidser effort past his right hand post and in 68 minutes Oliver`s cut back was hit wide right by Murdoch. Dunfermline had made a double substitution just before the midpoint of the half, Kallum Higginbotham,and James Craigen coming on for Joe Cardle and Dean Shiels but it was Morton who continued to push up.

Paton got the ball forward for McManus to knock down to Clark but his 71st minute crack from 25 yards was too high. Debut boy Craigen made an impact clearing a Tidser shot off the line then next minute the 77th, McManus forced a corner when a good overhead effort was deflected behind and when Higginbotham delivered from the right M`Voto met the ball at the far post only for Gaston to take at the second time of asking.

Into 82nd minute and Higginbotham picked out Williamson on the right side of the box. The full back could have shot but squared and Morton defended the ball out to Craigen who was unlucky with his shot, it being deflected away for a corner on the left. When that one came in both Morris and M`Voto attacked the ball at the far post but Gaston grabbed the crossed ball before it reached them.

Then in 85 minutes fed by Oliver, Morton sub Jai QUITONGO found himself with time to pick his spot from 20 yards out and beat the diving Robinson with a shot that crept in at the right goalpost. 1-2

There was a push for an equaliser but it was not to be and it is Greenock Morton who were in the hat for the fifth round. The Pars felt unfortunate not to have taken the numerous chances that came their way, there was suspicion of offside at the first Morton goal but for the second time this season a late goal from 20 year old Jai Quitongo was the Fifers downfall.

DUNFERMLINE: Lee Robinson: Ryan Williamson, Callum Morris (c), Jean Yves M`Voto, Jason Talbot: Michael Paton, Nat Wedderburn, Dean Shiels (James Craigen 66), Joe Cardle (Kallum Higginbotham 66): Nicky Clark, Declan McManus.
SUBS NOT USED: Fraser Aird, Andy Ryan, Lee Ashcroft, Callum Smith, Cammy Gill (GK)
SCORERS: McManus (57)
YELLOW CARD: Wedderburn (41), Cardle (60)

MORTON: Derek Gaston: Michael Doyle, Thomas O`Ware (c), Luca Gasparotto, Jack Iredale: Michael Tidser, Gary Harkins, Andy Murdoch, Frank Ross (Jai Quitongo 65): Scott Tiffoney (Mark Russell 90+4) Gary Oliver (Bob McHugh 90).
SUBS NOT USED: Lewis Strapp, Ruaridh Langan, Darren Hynes, Conor Brennan (GK)
SCORERS: Oliver (24), Quitongo (85)
YELLOW CARD: Ross (12), O`Ware (77), Tiffoney (90+2)

REFEREE: Alan Muir

NEXT MATCH: Ladbrokes Championship (home) Friday 26th January 2018, kick of 7.45pm at East End Park

50/50 half time draw winning ticket number was 27274, congratulations on winning prize of £591

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