Morton show fighting spirit to claim a point

Published: 16 Jan 2012 12:0010 comments

Morton 1-1 Raith Rovers

MORTON failed to follow up last Saturday's Scottish Cup win over Raith Rovers with a league triumph as they were held to a 1-1 draw in the second match of their double-header.

Last week's Rovers villain Grant Murray, who bundled Peter MacDonald over to gift Ton a penalty to progress in the Scottish Cup, redeemed himself by heading his side into a 55th-minute lead.

However, David O'Brien steered home Archie Campbell's cutback to secure a point and maintain the Cappielow club's trend of coming back from a goal behind.

The most recent recovery, at Stark's Park the previous Saturday, was sparked by the introduction of MacDonald as a second-half substitute.

And while his performance would have likely secured a return to the starting line-up, a hairline fracture to Andy Jackson's jaw, which will rule him out for between four and six weeks, meant MacDonald's inclusion became a necessity. Injuries to Derek Young and Grant Evans also ensured Peter Weatherson would fill the right-back berth, while Paul Di Giacomo replaced Darren McGeouch in a straight switch.

Meanwhile, Lewis Hawke, son of former fans' favourite Warren, was rewarded for his stunning record of 16 goals in 10 appearances in the Under-19s - which he added to yesterday with two more goals in a 6-0 win against Annan - with a place on the substitute's bench.

Despite the inclusions of Weatherson and MacDonald - the principal protagonists behind Ton's turnaround in the cup - and Allan Moore's plea for his players to perform straight from kick-off, Ton made an alarmingly anaemic start.

Inside the first three minutes, John Baird had a swerving shot deflected wide by Andy Graham and then saw his downward header from Iain Williamson's outswinging corner bounce just wide of the upright.

After missing a penalty last week, Baird could have been forgiven for thinking he was cursed when it came to playing against Ton as his sixth-minute, goal-bound header was blocked by Graham.

Shortly after, Marc Smyth deflected a Baird 25-yard curler wide in an almost identical manner to how Graham had shortly after kick-off.

Yet, despite being pinned back, it was the hosts who almost took the lead against the run of play when a neat exchange of passes between Michael Tidser and O'Brien presented Campbell with an opportunity.

The in-form frontman snatched at the ball, but strike partner MacDonald was alert and fastened onto the mishit, firing off a snapshot from six yards which former Cappielow custodian David McGurn did fantastically to bat away at his right-hand post.

Through a combination of hard work and Tidser's increasing influence, the Greenock side began to gain a foothold in the game.

And skipper Tidser, who turned 22 yesterday, underlined his adroitness in the final third with a slide-rule pass which originally had some fans in the mainstand groaning before it skidded off the turf to perfectly dissect full-back and centre-back and run into Di Giacomo's path.

The wideman was making his first start in six weeks and looked rusty as he skewed his shot off the upright to pass up his side's final chance of the half.

Rovers' keeper McGurn was forced into a fantastic save 10 minutes after the break, when he darted from his line to make an important block to thwart Campbell after Thomas O'Ware had picked out the jet-heeled frontman with an elegant crossfield switch.

Nevertheless, it was Raith who went ahead when Murray rose highest to head Joe Hamill's inswinging corner into the goal at the Sinclair Street End despite Graham's desperate attempt to prevent the ball from crossing the line.

But, whereas the team of two months ago might have crumbled in similar circumstances, this side, which had come back from behind in their previous two matches, managed to extricate themselves from the situation for a third time.

In his programme notes, chairman Douglas Rae christened Campbell 'Human Dart', and the young striker demonstrated exactly why he'd earned the moniker in the build-up to his side's equaliser.

After bursting into the box and taking a heavy touch, he somehow managed to reach the ball before it ran out of play and chopped back across his body and into the path of the inrushing O'Brien to convert from six yards and level the score at 1-1.

The joy would have been extremely short-lived but for a top-class reaction save by Stewart, who thrust up both arms to push Baird's thunderous half-volley from 10 yards over the top, before collecting the resultant corner to ease the pressure on his side.

Ton threatened periodically in the final 15 minutes, with Smyth forcing a smart save from McGurn with a hooked effort after MacDonald had flicked on a Darren McGeouch cross, but they never really looked like finding a winner and the game petered out to a tame finish.

Allan Moore's side moved up to fifth place while stretching their unbeaten run to four matches.

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  • Morton3
    2 posts
    Jan 16, 13:18
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    Hope now with young O'Ware getting in sunday mail team of the day he will get a break from all the booooo boys in far stand, they should try and encourage the young ones rather than roast them,shame on you lot

    Recommend?   Yes 13     No 1

  • treblig
    3 posts
    Jan 16, 13:24
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    Where's the far stand?

    Recommend?   Yes 0     No 2

  • LAS
    40 posts
    Jan 16, 14:12
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    It depends what half trblig. If the ton are defending the WDE then it could be the main stand or could be the end of the Cowshed at Sinclair Street. If the ton are defending the Sinclair Street end it could be the away fans in the main stand or the end of the Cowshed at Sinclair Street...

    Recommend?   Yes 0     No 3

  • UnkilGed
    179 posts
    Jan 16, 15:22
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    There is only one stand at Cappielow and there has only ever been one stand at Cappielow and to eliminate any confusion it is where the team runs out of at the start of the game. Standing at the WDE it is to the right and standing at the Sinclair Street end it is to the left.

    As Morton3 says shame on any so called Morton supporters that boo players of their own team. If you feel the need to do that then just stay away from the ground, Morton don't need you there.

    Another nice read J.

    Recommend?   Yes 8     No 2

  • ningin
    99 posts
    Jan 18, 13:26
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    h'mm always thought the WDE was the sinclair street end and the other joy-sullivan end 70 its never too late to learn.....but it was good reading .....4 morton players in the team of the day .....well done lads....

    Recommend?   Yes 1     No 0

  • UnkilGed
    179 posts
    Jan 18, 16:08
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    The Wee Dublin End was so called ningin because of all the Irish Navvies that used to congregate at the opposite end from Sinclair street.

    I don't know if you can remember the WDE when the stairs behind the goal only went as far back as the bar of the goal in height. When the midges were out in force they used to light small grass fires on the piece of ground just behind the top of the stairs to keep the suckers away, the midges I mean not the navvies.

    I can't remember when the stairs were upgraded and the piece of ground was staired up to where the current level is.

    Ah the good old days LOL.

    Recommend?   Yes 2     No 0

  • ningin
    99 posts
    Jan 19, 12:27
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    thx unkilGed...i was talking late 59s early sure yer on about that time too and btw was one of them navvies but yer safe now ,am re-patriated....still fond memories of the oul place watching eddie beaton and big hinshelwood , even johnny boyd plyiny their trade....greenock was a mans town

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  • UnkilGed
    179 posts
    Jan 19, 13:08
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    It was season 60-61 I started watching with my Dad and we never missed a home game until 79 ningin due to illness. It is probably nostalgia but I looked forward to every game and the squads of groundsmen on the park at half time putting back all the kicked up sods to keep the park in the pristine condition it has become famous for.

    There was always a good crowd at the games due to people being in work and could afford ticket prices and a great cameradery. A couple of games always stick out in my memory at Cappielow, drawing 1- 1 with Rangers a penalty was awarded to Morton and Alan McGraw stepped up to take it and with dreams of winning briefly in my thoughts, Alan hit the corner flag and reality set back in as willie Johnston scored and the Gers ran out 3-1 winners.

    Another game 3-0 down to Celtic 15 minutes to go and Per Bartram scored a hat trick to make it 3-3 he rifled in a 4th goal only to everyones amazement the referee blew his whistle and said the game was over and the goal didn't stand, pure mayhem ensued.

    Anyway ningin give a shout if you ever visit again and we can go and watch a game together and maybe a few after the game.

    Recommend?   Yes 1     No 0

  • ningin
    99 posts
    Jan 19, 13:38
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    remember that celtic match well unkilGed was ot that end toostood about a dozen steps up just to the left off the and me big mate Norrie Boyle ,wonder what happened to him........think jack mowat was the son of a bitch ref who cancelled out the score and ran off the pitch......but great times then......used to travel over by easyjet to the games a few years ago and be home same evening.......but thx to their wisdom they abandoned the return trip on me.....think it was early rumblings of michael o'leary's era.......thx for the memories unkil great times keep dementia at bay........

    Recommend?   Yes 1     No 0

  • UnkilGed
    179 posts
    Jan 19, 14:43
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    It wasn't Willie Johnston that scored in the game I mentioned but Willie Henderson that scuppered that win.

    Alan McGraw went on to become a Morton Legend as you know ningin and his penalty miss was soon forgiven as I picked him on the bus sweepstakes 4 away weeks in a row to supply fish suppers to me and my Dad with his fantastic goal getting ability.

    Recommend?   Yes 0     No 0