SFL v Morton

MORTON 0 DUNFERMLINE 2 Date: 30/04/11
Fixture: Irn Bru SFL Division
Attendance: 4626, Kick Off: 3:00pm.
Referee: Brian Winter

The penultimate league match of the 2010-11 First Division season saw Dunfermline travel to play Morton at Cappielow where a¬ 2-0 win secured the three points that were enough to see the Pars return to the SPL after an absence of four seasons.

Morton made¬ three¬ changes from the team that lost to Partick Thistle the previous Saturday while Jim McIntyre was without last Saturday`s hero, Martin Hardie. Martin had not trained all week after picking up an ankle injury against Raith.¬ Dunfermline¬ consequently¬ made three changes - Kevin Rutkiewicz, Andy Dowie and Steven McDougall all returning.¬ Striker Liam Buchanan and central defender Chris Higgins dropped to the bench.¬ Morton`s three changes were Kevin McKinlay, David McGregor and Peter Weatherson for Marc Smyth, Stuart Kean and Carlo Monti.

Traffic jams on the way into Greenock. The away seated terracing filled up quickly from before 2.00pm.¬ Press box jammed packed and a great atmosphere drummed up by the shirt sleeved Pars Army who were soaking up the pre match sunshine. The Morton cheerleaders tried their best to whip up the excitement but the Pars fans were making a far better job of dancing on the terraces.

Morton in their red away strips kicked off attacking the goal in front of the travelling support.¬ Early play was in that direction but Michael Tidser finished that with a wild free kick over the crossbar from 35 yards.¬ First Dunfermline threat was from a Joe Cardle free kick in four minutes that Colin Stewart held with ease.

Within a minute Cardle cut inside from the left and drove a better on target effort that Stewart fisted away. The second of two Pars corners in eighth minute brought a welcome¬ early opener. Cardle pumped the ball over from the right, Rutkiewicz¬ timed his run well to power his header on target and McDOUGALL turned the ball past Stewart from close in.

Another corner five minutes later this time from the left saw Kirk head wide at the far post.¬ Morton were kept well away from the Pars goal and restricted to long shots until an Alex Keddie flick back caught Smith out and two home corners turned the heat up on the visiting defence.¬ At the other end a Kirk ball from the byeline almost cost Morton as Grant Evans guided it into his keeper`s hands.

In 22 minutes McDougall created a great chance for himself on the right side of the box but his shot was tipped round the far post by Stewart.¬ Had he failed to do that the inrushing Kirk would have finished. The corner kick nearly brought the second goal of the afternoon but Rutkiewicz`s shot was blocked in front of goal by McDougall!

McDougall made the next chance in 29 minutes again creating space on the right to shoot on target.¬ Stewart beat the ball out and David Graham looked certain to score but his shot from 15 yards was driven wide to the right of goal. Bachirou dispossessed Dowie in midfield to send Morton forward.¬ Gary Mason blocked two shots before Tidser tested Smith from 30 yards but the big keeper reacted to get up and smother the loose ball.

A Derek Lyle free kick was headed away by Dowie and Cardle broke up the left. He switched play to far right for Graham and his cross was aimed at Kirk but the Irishman handled the ball as he tried to sidekick home. In 38 minutes¬ David O`Brien sprang the right side of the Pars defence sending Peter Weatherson on to a great chance. The Morton no.9 beat Smith but saw his shot¬ brilliantly intercepted on the line by Alex Keddie.

Three minutes later McDougall`s neat flick on a Woods pass was targetted at Kirk running in on the right side of the Morton box but the offside flag was up. Then next minute Cardle`s cross was knocked down by Kirk but MacGregor cleared the loose ball.

Despite several good chances in the first half, at half time the Fifers were just one up.¬ Morton have had their moments and if the stress levels are to be limited an early goal in the second half would be good.

Half Time: Morton 0 Dunfermline 1

Gary Mason brought down O`Brien on the edge of the box to give Morton a chance from a 48th minute free kick. Lyle sent the ball over the defensive wall but Smith pushed the ball away to his left and gathered before any red shirt could get near.

The Pars earned possession and made it count as Mason fed McDougall who in turn prodded the ball out right for David GRAHAM. His options looked limited but drilled a fantastic finish low into the far side of the Morton net. Great celebrations as the players ran to the away fans in the Main Stand and the travelling support behind the goal spilled on to the pitch.

With their tails up Dunfermline continued to bother Morton although they had a moment or two of their own. Smith saved, then Rutkiewicz cleared and then in 61 minutes the two of them kept the ball out but¬ Kevin`s clearance landed for Tidser on the edge of the box but Chris Smith held the Morton midfielders well struck low shot.

Pat Clarke replaced Steven McDougall and for Morton Peter Weatherson was subbed by Stuart Kean, both in 64 minutes. Neither side gave up and Smith saw more of the ball for a while.¬ Pat Clarke had a header into Stewart`s arms before with fifteen minutes remaining Nick Phinn,came on for the injured Calum Woods.

Stuart Kean sent an overhead effort over the crossbar while at the other end Kirk headed a Cardle corner over the crossbar. Joe pulled up with a hamstring problem and was replaced by Liam Buchanan with seven minutes left.¬ Phinn had a shot deflected for a corner down on the left and the time was soaked up as another followed.

The fans were celebrating the result long before Referee Brian Winter contemplated the minutes required to be added. 17 stewards lined the end behind the Morton goal where the Pars Army were on their feet. It was to be a hopeless case to prevent a pitch invasion.

The final whistle confirmed Dunfermline`s return to the SPL.¬ It had taken four hard season`s.¬ Jim McIntyre had improved Dunfermline`s position year on year since he took over in January 2008 and this time lifted the ultimate prize.¬ Well done to Macca, his players and all the backroom staff.

MORTON: Colin Stewart; Stuart McCaffrey,Grant Evans, Kevin McKinlay (Carlo Monti HT), David MacGregor, Allan Jenkins,¬ David O`Brien, Michael Tidser, Fouad Bachirou, Peter Weatherson (Stuart Kean 64), Derek Lyle (Graeme Holmes 73),
SUBS NOT USED: Darren Young, Kevin Cuthbert (GK)

DUNFERMLINE: Chris Smith; Calum Woods (Nick Phinn 75), Kevin Rutkiewicz, Alex Keddie, Austin McCann (c); David Graham, Gary Mason, Andy Dowie, Joe Cardle (Liam Buchanan 83); Steven McDougall (Pat Clarke 64),¬ Andy Kirk.,
SUBS NOT USED: Chris Higgins Greg Paterson (GK).
SCORER: McDougall (8), Graham (51)

WEATHER: Sunny 19C

NEXT MATCH: (home) SFL First Division v Falkirk
Saturday 7th May 2011, kick off 3:00pm¬ ¬ ¬ ALL TICKET



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