Ladbrokes Championship: Dunfermline 0 Morton 1: 27/04/19
Yet again Dunfermline paid for not taking their chances and Morton headed home with all three points after being awarded a late debatable penalty.
The East End Park playing surface was looking in remarkably good condition after the test of 17 previous home games, pre match hailstones and torrential pre match rain.
Morton were the opposition for this the last home league match of the season and despite sitting fifth Dunfermline were still in search of at least one point to avoid the relegation play offs.
Stevie Crawford made three changes from the side he put out at Dumfries the previous Saturday- James Vincent, Myles Hippolyte and Danny Devine replacing Ryan Williamson, Matthew Todd and Faissal El Bakhtaoui.
Morton manager Jonatan Johansson made one change from the team that defeated Falkirk the previous Saturday, Andrew Dallas coming in upfront in place of Gary Oliver. After one minute applause before kick off in memory of the former Celtic captain Billy McNeill who passed away earlier in the week, Greg Kiltie kicked off with the ‘Ton attacking the goal at the McCathie Stand end.
It was a tentative start from both sides and first effort though way off target came in sixth minute, from Hippolyte who after breaking down the right cut inside and sent his shot from the edge of the box well wide left.
Four minutes later he got another opportunity and although closer this time, still wide left. In between Michael Tidser, Jack Airedale and Killie connected for the latter to fire towards Ryan Scully’s goal but the Pars defence blocked the shot.
In 11th minute Hippolyte avoided the offside trap, rounded the keeper only to see his effort scooped behind by Gregor Buchanan. Ryan Blair’s corner from the left was hit low to the near post and when flicked on by Devine and he made Morton keeper Robby McCrorie pull off a very necessary save.
Next Louis Longridge received the ball on the centre circle, advanced, checked and then picked out James Craigen on the right. His diagonal ball to the far post was met by Jackson Longridge but his header was plucked from under his bar by McCrorie. Dunfermline kept play in the Morton half and L Longridge tried a shot from 25 yards that narrowly travelled outside the left upright. Hippolyte then sent one wide right and L Longridge broke in on the right side of the opposition box but ran the ball out.
In 28 minutes with Anderson bursting through on to a long ball McCrorie came well out of his box to just get the touch with a header to deny Anderson. Two minutes later Hippolyte’s pass from the left wing found L Longridge and it took a diving tackle from Buchanan to block the Pars no.10’s shot from 20 yards out.
Morton has been kept well clear of the Pars goal but a free kick led to corners in 33rd and 34th minute that required Lee Ashcroft to head clear and Devine to block an on target shot from Tidser.
Four minutes later a pass from Anderson handed Vincent a glorious chance eight yards out but Jim McAllister slid in to do his keeper’s job. Next Anderson got in a fierce shot but from the edge of the box the ball screamed narrowly wide and high left.
Back at the other end Killie released a stinger that the defence dealt with. L Longridge won a corner three minutes from the interval but Lee Kilday was first to the cross.
Scully then easily held a header from Jack Iredale that one of their five first half attempts. Dunfermline had 11 first half attempts and dominated with 56% possession but at the break it remained goalless.
Half time: Dunfermline 0 Morton 0
In 51 minutes J Longridge fouled Reece Lyon and Tidser was able to float the ball into the Pars box from the resultant free kick. Lyon got a good connection but his aim was wide left.
J Longridge collected the game’s first yellow card in 56th minute when he cut down Charlie Telfer on the right just five yards out from the byeline. Tidser lifted the free kick towards the six yard box where McAllister’s header sailed wide left.
Two minutes later Hippolyte rose to meet a Blair free kick but his glancing header sadly travelled wide of the right goalpost. Just past the hour mark both sides committed substitutes and that meant Bruce Anderson was withdrawn and Faissal El Bakhtaoui was brought on.
Morton fired a couple of attempts well wide and Telfer crashed a 70th minute free kick over the Pars wall and crossbar from 32 yards out. Tidser was then shown yellow for taking down L Longridge 20 yards out but Craigen’s effort was driven into the ‘Ton wall.
J Longridge then collected another yellow card for a 73rd minute challenge in front of the opposition dugout. The left back simply ran into Tumilty who had leaped to head the ball on but now the Pars would have to see the game out with just ten men. As a consequence the other Longridge was withdrawn and Lewis Martin came on to take over the role on the left side of the five man Pars defence.
Morton saw the opportunity and pushed up but they were let down by poor deliveries. A Telfer corner from the left in 83 minutes led to the penalty that was to send Morton into the lead. The initial delivery from the left was headed out by Blair but when Tidser returned the ball an alleged push in the back of Kiltie as he rose to try and head in the cross was deemed enough for referee David Munro to point to the spot. Hippolyte was deemed to be the culprit but he would later claim that it was a poor decision against him. Greg KILTIE stepped forward and drove the ball into the bottom right 0-1.
Kallum Higginbotham was sent on in place of Danny Devine in an attempt to retrieve the situation but the away side came perilously close to immediately add a second when Tumilty sent an inviting ball through the Pars box. Kiltie got close but not close enough.
There was one catch for McCrorie to make in added time when a Martin shot was deflected on target but it was to end an away win. Morton fans were the ones celebrating their second away win in a week but strangely with results elsewhere and because Queen of the South play Partick Thistle in their final match, the Pars Championship status for next season was assured.
DUNFERMLINE: Ryan Scully: James Craigen, Mark Durnan, Danny Devine (Kallum Higginbotham 85), Lee Ashcroft (c), Jackson Longridge: Myles Hippolyte, James Vincent, Louis Longridge (Lewis Martin 75), Ryan Blair: Bruce Anderson (Faissal El Bakhtaoui 63).
SUBS NOT USED: Matthew Todd, Stuart Morrison, Callum Smith, Cammy Gill (GK)
YELLOW CARD: J Longridge (54)
RED CARD: J Longridge (73)
MORTON: Robby McCrorie: Lee Kilday, Gregor Buchanan, Reghan Tumility, Jack Iredale: Charlie Telfer, Jim McAlister (c), Michael Tidser, Greg Kiltie, Reece Lyon (Chris Millar 62), Andrew Dallas (Bob McHugh 62).
SUBS NOT USED: Keelan O`Connell, Lewis McGrattan, Dylan Dykes, Darren Hynes, Derek Gaston (GK).
SCORERS: Kiltie (84 pen,)
YELLOW CARD: Tumilty (61), McAllister (63), Tidser (72), Kiltie (90+2)
REFEREE: David Munro
WEATHER: Changeable 10C
NEXT MATCH: Ladbrokes Championship (away) v Inverness Caley Thistle Saturday 4th May 2019, kick off 3.00pm at the Caledonian Stadium
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