Morton reserves in two-goal Ayr raid
Published: 11 Dec 2013 12:00
After second-placed Dundee had recorded a home victory against East Fife on Monday, Ton required three points to leapfrog the Dens Park outfit at the summit.
With David Hopkin and Derek Anderson watching from the stand and Dougie Imrie and Nacho Novo in the dugout, Ton made an impressive start and went ahead after 13 minutes.
Mark Russell was the provider, dropping his shoulder to beat Andrew Muir before whipping over a pinpoint delivery which David McNeil expertly guided into the top corner with a glancing header.
Striker McNeil should have added a second on 24 minutes but somehow managed to crash Archie Campbell’s low cross against the bar and over from four yards with the goal gaping.
Midfielder Reece Hands, pictured, was making his first start since aggravating a pelvic problem against Celtic in September, and only a stunning goal-line block prevented him from adding a second on 34 minutes.
Despite dominating and creating chance after chance, Ton failed to extend their lead and had goalkeeper Derek Gaston to thank for maintaining their one-goal advantage in the second half.
But the much merited win was eventually sewn up with 14 minutes left to play when Thomas O’Ware met a Joe McKee corner with a downwards header which crept inside the post. The ‘Bomb Squad’ have two league fixtures left to play. Those have been confirmed as: Tuesday 17 December — Airdrieonians (away) 8pm, and Monday 23 December — Queen’s Park (Toryglen) 8pm.
Morton (4-1-2-1-2): Gaston (8); Knight (6), Habai (6), O’Ware (7), Russell (8); McKee (7); O’Neil (6), Fulton (7) (Verlaque 58, 5); Hands (7) (Ferris 72, 3); McNeil (8), Campbell (7) (Cairnie 81, 2).
Subs not used: Irvine, Eadie.