SFL v Morton

DUNFERMLINE 0 MORTON 1 Date; 22/11/08

Fixture: Irn Bru SFL Division One

Attendance: 4400, Kick Off: 3.00pm.

Referee: Mike McCurry

There was three changes in the Dunfermline starting line up from the side that successfully returned from Livingston last Saturday with all three points. Scott Wilson was serving the first of his two match bans, Greg Shields took over in central defence. Nick Phinn and Scott Muirhead made way for Steven Bell and Austin McCann.

Dominic Shimmin replaced Stewart Geachen in a Morton team that showed just the one change from the side that won 4-1 at Dumfries a fortnight ago. The teams changed end for the kick off and the visitors kicked off attacking the goal at the Cowdenbeath end. An early Morton corner picked out Shimmin but then Gallacher was fouled and any danger was ended.

James Grady fifth minute shot was the first of the afternoon but that went comfortably wide of the left post. Stephen Glass tried a long range effort for the Pars but that was blocked and next James McAllister evaded the challenges of both Greg Ross and Steven Bell before releasing a wild shot from 30 yards.

A David McGregor cross from the right in tenth minute was neatly flicked on by Peter Weatherson� but his deflection whizzed wide at the near post. Erik Paartalu launched a long throw into the Pars box and another corner was swung in from the right before the 17th minute DA crowd had something to warm them.

Calum Woods delivered the Pars first corner of the afternoon and Glass` header was aimed for the inside of the right post until Kevin Cuthbert`s lunge turned the ball behind for another. Shimmin was penalised for feet up in a challenge with Graham Bayne and when Glass sent in the 22nd minute free kick Bayne met the ball with a powerful header that just looped over the bar.

Morton eventually capitalised on their pressure with Erik PAARTALU driving the ball home from 27 yards out. Glass and Bell couldn`t get close enough to close him down as the big� 22 year old� of Estonian descent found the net low to Gallacher`s right.

The visitors continued to prevent Dunfermline string passes around or settle and it was 38 minutes before Kirk could try and shoot in a McCann� cross.� Paartalu came away with that and still the side in yellow looked the brightest and more skillful. McGuffie did well to steal the ball away in midfield and after a move that swept left and back Thomson had to blot out a Weatherson chance.

Ninety seconds from the break perseverance got the ball forward through Kirk to Glass but his squared ball to Bayne was hooked and it was back to the other end. Some harsh words would be required from Mr McIntyre at the interval.

Half Time: Dunfermline 0 Morton 1

The only visible change for the second half was Ross pushed forward and Woods back in his most accustomed role on the right of the back four. Glass fired in the first attempt of the second period but Cuthbert held that.� In 54th minute however Glass sent a great� 25 yard strike past the Morton keeper only to be ruled out for illegal force. The chance came from a Woods cross that was knocked down for Bell to feed back.� Stephen Glass gestured to Mike McCurry that it had been� a fair shoulder charge� but that made no difference.

Graeme Holmes made his East End Park debut as he replaced Alex Burke and perhaps roused by the disallowed goal they appeared to look much livelier. The referee played on as McGuffie tried to pull down Bell on the edge of the box and Ross certainly got the advantage but shot narrowly wide of the left post.

Glass then Bell were involved in a move that sent Ross deep right but it was a Holmes ball that eventually looked most inviting but that slipped away to the left. McCann got to the byeline to cross but the keeper held that one. A Kirk dink from the left was headed behind for a corner but as the match slipped into its 70th minute, Dunfermline were not producing anything that was troubling Cuthbert.

In 75 minutes a neat pass from Holmes was flicked into the path of Glass and the home fans hopes were raised until his touch looking for a striker was hammered behind for a corner. When that was defended Glass was able to resend his delivery� but Cuthbert fisted that away.

Nick Phinn replaced Ross with 12 minutes remaining as the Pars tried valiantly to avoid their third successive home league defeat. Twice in a minute sub Brian Wake had� chances to finish the contest.� In the first he was well tracked by Shields and when eventually one on one with the keeper Gallacher pulled off a great save.� Next a Morton free kick found the former Hamilton Accies striker free to shoot from the right side of the box but fortunately he swept the ball out at the far post.

Paul Willis came on for Greg Shields six minutes from time and play was forced to the Morton end but Dunfermline were vulnerable to the counterattack. Having taken play away to the right corner flag they ran down the clock� and despite some high balls into the Greenock teams box there was no salvation for Jim McIntyre`s team.

With St Johnstone without a game Dunfermline lost the chance to top the First Division for the first time since 2000.

DUNFERMLINE: Paul Gallacher; Greg Ross (Nick Phinn 78),� Scott Thomson, Greg Shields (Paul Willis 84),� Austin McCann;� Calum Woods, Steven Bell, Stephen Glass (c), Alex Burke (Graeme Holmes 55); Graham Bayne, Andy Kirk
SUBS: Calum Reidford,� Stuart Dearden.

MORTON: Kevin Cuthbert; David MacGregor, Barry Smith, Allan McManus, Dominic Shimmin, Eric Paartalu, Ryan McGuffie, Allan Jenkins (c), James McAllister, Peter Weatherson (Steven Masterton 87), James Grady (Brian Wake 63).
SUBS: Ryan McWilliams (GK), Iain Russell, Alex Walker.
SCORER: Paartalu (25)

NEXT MATCH: SFL First Division (away) v Ross County
Saturday 6th December 2008, kick off 3.00pm

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