SPFL Championship: MORTON 2 DUNFERMLINE 1: 17/09/16
Ladbrokes Championship: Ryan Williamson dropped out to make way for Ben Richards-Everton. Gary Oliver (24) 1-0: Nicky Clark (30) 1-1. Jai Quitongo (84) 2-1
Bright sunshine welcomed Dunfermline to the Tail of the Bank for this Ladbrokes Championship match against Greenock Morton. The home side had Ricki Lamie (injured) and Mark Russell (suspended) missing and Jamie Lindsay dropped to the bench. New signing Gavin Gunning started and Aidan Nesbitt and Jamie McDonough were promoted off the bench.
Allan Johnston made one change to the Dunfermline side that started against Dundee United Ben Richards-Everton coming in for Ryan Williamson.
A serious tailback caused by roadworks on the north bound Erskine Bridge caused great delays for the Fifers travelling support and the sun kissed terracing behind the west end goal took some time to fill up.
The teams changed ends before Morton kicked off attacking the goal in front of the Pars support. First chance came within two minutes when Gavin Reilly controlled the ball on the right side of the opposition penalty box and cut back for Nicky Clark to attack in a central position just inside the box but Jamie McDonough slid in to stop the shot.
Next Michael Paton despatched a speculative drive over the bar but then in sixth minute a free kick allowed him to float the ball over for Richards-Everton to head on target but keeper Andy McNeill reached to palm away the netbound ball.
Play switched immediately to the other end with Jai Quitongo troubling Lee Ashcroft and in front of goal he fed the ball to his right for Gary Oliver but David Hutton made a good job of blocking the forward`s shot.
In 12th minute any McNeill was out sharpish to take the ball at the feet of Reilly. Next minute Richards-Everton cleared a Quitongo shot off the line after he had beaten off Ashcroft`s challenge and hit the ball past the advancing Hutton.
Referee Kevin Clancy had words with Andy Geggan after the Pars captain clearly felt that his former team mate, Ross Forbes had overreacted to his challenge. Three minutes later Oliver drilled a shot at the heels of Geggan and then a 21st minute corner was sent over by Paton. Morton cleared but both Lee Kilday and Gunning required the physios on.
After a two minute interval play resumed and OLIVER was then able to latch on to a through ball and shake of his challenger sufficiently to rifle in a shot from the edge of the box. 24th minute, 1-0
Kilday was forced to retire three minutes later Jamie Lindsay taking his place although a reshuffle saw McDonagh go to right back to make way for the midfielder. Paul McMullan had two attempts, the first clipping the roof of the net as it went behind and his second being well blocked 18 yards out. The Pars then got a welcome equaliser on the half hour when a Callum Fordyce shot was deflected past McNeill by Nicky CLARK. 1-1
A Rhys McCabe free kick from half way created more danger in the Morton box and their stand in right back was happy to concede a corner by heading behind. When Paton delivered that from the right, Ashcroft`s glancing header sent the ball wide left.
In 37 minutes Geggan directed his looping pass to Reilly on the left of the Morton box but the loanee Jambo fired his effort across goal. Oliver was being most influential in getting Morton forward but Dunfermline soaked up a couple of forays towards Hutton`s goal. Geggan and McMullan combined to create a chance but no one read the move before Oliver fired a shot straight at Hutton.
It was a very competitive first half in which the home side edged the possession but failed to get many shots in on goal. Dunfermline had their chances and forced four corners to Morton`s two but it was all square at the break.
Half time: Morton 1 Dunfermline 1
Morton certainly started the second half the stronger. Kudus Oyenuga had his shot blocked and then in 48 minutes Oliver was able to fend off Richards-Everton sufficiently for the Morton no.7 to hit a low shot that escaped just wide left.
Reilly turned and shot over the crossbar after Fordyce headed down a McCabe cross. Geggan required physio Kenny Murray`s treatment in 52 minutes but was able to continue. Nine minutes into the second half Joe Cardle was introduced in place of Paul McMullan but Forbes then flighted in a free kick from the left that Ashcroft cleared first time.
It was 58th minute when a Geggan through ball picked out Cardle but the Pars sub`s shot from an angle on the right was turned behind by McNeill. Richards-Everton headed wide left when Paton executed the corner.
The home crowd were screaming for a penalty in 63rd minute when Richards-Everton slid in on Quitongo on the left side of the box. McCabe hit a 35 yard free kick low for the keeper to hold down at his right hand post.
The match opened up a bit and Nesbitt drove the ball on target but Richards-Everton blocked the shot and then a diagonal ball into the Pars box narrowly evaded Oliver at the right post. A Forbes free kick in 71 minutes curled from the right touchline across the face of the Dunfermline goal.
At the other end sub Kallum Higginbotham tried to find Cardle in front of goal but the `Ton defence did its job. Cardle played a sweet ball into the path of Reilly but his effort got blocked. Final throw of the dice for Allan Johnston was Farid El Alagui coming on with eleven minutes to go, replacing the luckless Reilly.
Time was running out for the sides but both believed they could snatch a win. Morton sent their 82nd minute corner wide but twoi minutes later when an overstruck cross from the left reached sub Scott Tiffoney he cut it back for QUITONGO to find the net off the underside of the crossbar. 2-1
With the Fifers pushing up Oliver was able to hit on the break but fortunately picked out Hutton`s hands. In the second minute of added time Fordyce`s cross into the box for Cardle could not be controlled and the Pars last chance for a point was gone.
MORTON: Andy McNeil: Lee Kilday (Jamie Lindsay 27), Tom O`Ware, Gavin Gunning, Michael Doyle, Aidan Nesbitt (Scott Tiffoney 73), Jamie McDonagh, Ross Forbes, Jai Quitongo, Gary Oliver (Tom Orr 90), Kudus Oyenuga
SUBS NOT USED: Jon Scullion, Ciaran McAleer, Lewis Strapp, Jamie McGowan (GK)
SCORERS: Oliver (24), Quitongo (84)
YELLOW CARD: McDonagh (61), Quitongo (72)
DUNFERMLINE: David Hutton, Lee Ashcroft, Callum Fordyce, Ben Richards-Everton, Lewis Martin, Michael Paton (Kallum Higginbotham 66), Andy Geggan (c), Rhys McCabe, Paul McMullan (Joe Cardle 54), Gavin Reilly (Farid El Alagui 79), Nicky Clark.
SUBS NOT USED: Ryan Williamson, John Herron, Michael Moffat, Sean Murdoch (GK)
SCORERS: Clark (30)
YELLOW CARD: Martin (59), Clark (61), Cardle (65), Richards-Everton (89)
REFEREE: Kevin Clancy
WEATHER: Sunny 16C
NEXT MATCH: SPFL Championship (home) v St Mirren, Saturday 24th September 2016, 5.15pm kick off at East End Park