Ladbrokes Championship: Morton 3 Dunfermline 2: 11/01/20

Dunfermline Athletic made their second trip of the season to Cappielow to play Morton on a pitch that had endured heavy overnight rainfall. The weather had taken its toll on the fixture card throughout Scotland including just across the Clyde at Dumbarton.

The Fifers were seeking their first win in Greenock in six visits and Stevie Crawford’s selection saw three changes from the side defeated the previous Saturday by Ayr United. Greg Kiltie had been recalled by Kilmarnock but Dom Thomas came in on loan in the opposite direction and he went straight into the team. Euan Murray returned to competitive action for the first time since August and Gabby McGill started just his second Championship match. Making way for them were Ethan Ross and Kyle Turner.

Having won at Arbroath the previous week, Morton manager David Hopkin named an unchanged starting eleven.

McGill kicked off with the Pars playing east to west. Early play was tentative, the hosts forced and wasted a fifth minute corner before the visitors forced one through Ryan Dow but when Thomas sent that over from the right Kevin Nisbet could not get enough on his header.

Then when Nicky Cadden fouled Dow as he tried to skip past him the Pars were awarded a ninth minute free kick on the edge of the right box that Thomas drove fiercely on target for Danny Rogers to beat away at his near post. The keeper also managed to clear the resultant corner again delivered from the right by Thomas.

The rain pelted down clearing the terracing behind the Pars goal as Dow earned another free kick fir Lewis Strapp’s challenge then another by Jack Baird on Nisbet before Thomas won a 15th minute corner on the left. Dow sent that in but Thomas’ shot was blocked.

A great run by Aaron Comrie then saw him win possession and make ground into the Morton box on the left side but closed out by two defenders the ball was eased back to Rogers. Nisbet did however test the ‘Ton keeper with a good effort from 15 yards out..

Chris Millar was yellow carded for a tackle on Dow in the centre circle and from the 23rd minute free kick Paul Paton set up McGill for a shot that Rogers could not hold. MURRAY followed up to net the loose ball and cued a very special celebration for his first ever competitive Dunfermline goal. 0-1

Morton tried to hit back and seven minutes later Strapp tested Ryan Scully with a well struck shot on an angle from the left 15 yards out. In 31 minutes a surging run by Cadden ended with Danny Devine diverting the ball behind and from the corner Jim McAlister’s header tested Scully.

Ten minutes before half time Morton made the first substitution of the match, Reghan Tumilty replacing Chris Millar. The sub went to right back while Kyle Jacobs moved into midfield. Two Morton corners were defended before Dow was able to deliver one from the left but the Fifers had no better luck.

Danger was created however in 41 minutes when an early ball from Murray sent Thomas into the box with Tumilty struggling to keep up, the low cross was cleared by Baird. Morton went up the park and JACOBS netted with a header into the bottom right after an initial headed effort was stopped. 1-1

It had been a first half that showed more Dunfermline possession and more Dunfermline shots but the home side had fought their way into the game and their equaliser was no surprise.

Half time: Morton 1 Dunfermline 1

Two minutes into the second half Nisbet got a glance on a Dow corner but not enough to trouble Rogers. Morton however struck again with a goal in 50 minutes. A ball swung in from the left touch line by Luca Colville was met by the diving head of Jim McALISTER and it was 2-1.

Two Cadden corners were defended before Colville’s 25 yards out effort narrowly cleared the crossbar. Morton were beginning to get a greater grip of the game with much of the play in the visitors half so in 62 minutes there was a change made with Ethan Ross replacing Gabby McGill. The sub went wide left and Thomas moved inside.

Immediately the Pars showed renewed urgency with Ross causing anxiety to the Morton defence. Martin was forward to switch a Thomas pass from the left side of the box for Dow in the middle but he just could get a shot away.

On 70 minutes Thomas and then Dow both had powerful on target efforts blocked before Kyle Turner came on for Euan Murray.

Turner tried to pick out several team mates before connecting with Nisbet. The strikers lay off to Dow was then deflected over the bar for corner on the right. Thomas earned a second corner before swinging over a ball that Rogers punched clear.

Tom Beadling was the final Pars sub as Paul Paton was withdrawn with twelve minutes remaining. Dunfermline tried hard for the equaliser but the home defence was proving hard to penetrate.

The goal came at the wrong end however. Morton forced an 84th minute corner on the right, Cadden sent in an inswinger and JACOBS from very close range headed the ball over the line. 3-1

There was no way back from this stage but there was to be a late late consolation for the Pars when NISBET was fouled by Brian McLean 25 yards out in a central position. He took the free kick himself and with a peach of an effort found the top left corner. 3-2

The match only restarted before referee Barry Cook blew for full time and the Pars had slumped to their fifth successive defeat and yet another trip to Cappielow without a win.

MORTON: Danny Rogers: Brian McLean, Lewis Strapp, Jack Baird, Kyle Jacobs, Chris Millar (Reghan Tumilty 35), Jim McAlister (c) (Cammy Blues 89), Luca Colville, Robbie Muirhead, Nicky Cadden, John Sutton (Kalvin Orsi 76).
SUBS NOT USED: Peter Grant, Adam Livingstone, Reece Lyon, Sam Ramsbottom (GK)
SCORERS: Jacobs (42, 84), McAlister (50)
YELLOW CARD: Millar (23), Muirhead

DUNFERMLINE: Ryan Scully: Aaron Comrie, Lee Ashcroft, Danny Devine, Lewis Martin: Ryan Dow, Paul Paton (c) (Tom Beadling 78), Euan Murray (Kyle Turner 72), Dom Thomas: Gabby McGill (Ethan Ross 62), Kevin Nisbet.
SUBS NOT USED: Joe Thomson, Lewis McCann, Josh Edwards, Cammy Gill (GK)
SCORERS: Murray (23), Nisbet (90+3)
YELLOW CARD: McGill (59), Martin (81), Turner (90+1)

REFEREE: Barry Cook

NEXT MATCH: Ladbrokes Championship (home) v Dundee, Friday 24th January 2020, kick off 7.05pm at East End Park.

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