Morton v Albion Rovers: match report
Published: 30 Jul 2012 13:000 comments
TONY Wallace reckons a rocket from tough-talking Allan Moore helped Morton shake off stubborn Albion to claim their place in the Ramsdens Cup second round draw.
Morton started brightly and in the second minute David O'Brien just failed to connect with Wallace's cross.
Albion created a 10th minute opening on the break but former Cliftonhill keeper Derek Gaston denied his former club by saving from a Jason Crooks 20 yard shot.
Morton had most of the ball in the first half but Albion were working hard and getting everyone behind the ball.
However, the home side did create a few good opportunities and only good goalkeeping and last-ditch defending denied them.
Stephen Stirling played in O'Brien on 18 minutes but Chris McCluskey tipped his chip shot over.
Mark McLaughlin then had a header cleared off the line by Alan Reid after a precise corner by Stirling.
On the half-hour McCluskey made an outstanding save when he tipped over Craig Reid's glancing header following a Willie Dyer cross.
Morton finished the first period well with Wallace making a great run beyond three defenders before Michael O'Byrne's timely intervention.
The effects of Moore's half-time pep-talk were quickly in evidence and on 46 minutes McCluskey spilled a Weatherson shot but recovered brilliantly to block Wallace on the rebound.
However, Morton finally broke the deadlock in the 48th minute when Wallace netted a simple header from six yards from Dyer's pinpoint cross.
The Cappielow side quickly went in search of a second goal with McCluskey saving Weatherson's shot and then Reid firing across the goalmouth.
Morton deservedly increased their lead on the hour after their best spell of the game.
Michael Tidser played O'Brien in through the centre and the best player on the park kept his cool to pick his spot beyond the keeper.
Rovers went down to 10 men on 75 minutes when Tony Stevenson was given a straight red card for a mis-timed tackle on Tidser.
McCluskey denied Morton a third when he saved brilliantly from Stirling's powerful 15 yard drive after Scott Taggart's pinpoint cross
Albion went close to a late consolation when sub Steven Howarth drilled a shot just wide.
With a tough hurdle negotiated Moore was able to look ahead to the new campaign and believes his squad is better equipped than last year especially with a couple of players still to come back from injury.
He said: "We have more cover now. Kyle Wilkie is to sign his papers on Monday and I thought Tony Wallace showed great energy and enthusiasm.
"Peter Weatherson has had a difficult job up front on his own but Peter MacDonald will be fit soon and we have Archie Campbell and David Graham in attack."
Albion boss Todd Lumsden said: "We will take the positives from this as we restricted Morton in the first half.
"I think they will be one of the favourites for the First Division this year and we gave them a tough game and kept our shape."