Ladbrokes Championship: Morton 1 Dunfermline 1: 22/09/18

Andy Ryan’s strike midway through the second half looked to have secured a decent away win but an error eight minutes from time allowed Morton yet another late goal against Dunfermline meant that it was one point apiece at Cappielow.

Eighth placed Dunfermline Athletic travelled west to Greenock to take on sixth placed Morton. Following the disappointment of the goalless draw at home to Alloa Athletic the previous Saturday, Allan Johnston made three changes to his starting eleven with Andy Ryan, Aidan Connolly and Malaury Martin coming in for Robbie Muirhead, Myles Hippolyte and Joe Thomson.

Jonatan Johansson the Morton manager made one change from the side that drew at Tannadice, 22 year old Jack Iredale starting in place of Chris Millar.

The home side kicked off playing west to east and Bob McHugh released an attempt on target within 20 seconds but Lee Robinson was ready to hold. The Pars in red shirts forced a free kick 15 yards inside the Morton half but when Martin lobbed the ball into the opposition box, the Pars attackers were blown up for showing too much aggression in trying to get on the end of it.

Ryan posed a dilemma for former Pars keeper Ryan Scully as a through ball died short of him and there was a scramble 30 yards out including Lee Kilday in which Ryan lost out. James Craigen forced a ninth minute corner but when Martin swung that in from the right it was just too high for the challenging Ryan.

The Fifers displayed a very lively opening ten minutes and had certainly been the better team at that stage. Morton earned a 12th minute corner but it was not the best and failed to take any attacking advantage from it.

Next minute Robinson pulled off a fine save turning around his left hand post a Iredale shot from a Regan Tumilty pass. The resultant corner was better but the Pars still cleared. When play switched back to the other end Connolly and Ryan combined at haste on the top of the box leaving Connolly with the cross from the left that Gregor Buchanan headed clear.

A Martin free kick in 21 minutes was neatly controlled by Faissal El Bakhtaoui and he laid the ball off for Louis Longridge but all that would result was a corner on the right that was duly defended. The visitors kept up the pressure with L Longridge and Craigen linking up on the right and El Bakhtaoui tried a shot from 25 yards out that was blocked by the back of Buchanan.

Robinson was shown a yellow card in 26 minutes when he picked the ball up outside the box and ‘Ton were awarded a free kick on the edge of the box right in front of goal. Michael Tidser got the shot on target but the wall did it job and the ball was deflected out right.

Two corners from the left caused the Fifers little problem but Jim McAlister did get a shot away but was well wide right. The Fifers almost got the breakthrough they were looking for from a 37th minute counter when Connolly sent El Bakhtaoui away. He fed L Longridge to his left and a desperate sliding interception was required to keep out his cross. When L Longridge won possession back he released a shot that Scully dived high to his left to keep out.

Jackson Longridge was shown yellow for his challenge on a Morton attacker and that gave Morton a chance from the free kick thirty yards out. Ross MacLean fired at goal but the wall again stopped the effort and the on loan Motherwell player was then shown yellow as he cut down L Longridge as he raced away with the ball.

It had been a fairly even first half with Scully’s save denying the Pars a half time lead. The visitors had shown greater urgency and at times linking up passes impressively.

Half time: Morton 0 Dunfermline 0

Jonatan Johannson made a change for the restart Scott Tiffoney a straight replacement for Jack Iredale at left midfield. Within 30 seconds Ryan made ground down the left to deliver a cross that Kilday headed away.

The Pars were awarded a free kick on the right when the Morton sub blocked Craigen. Taken short to Martin his cross was defended out to James Vincent and his header towards Mark Durnan at the left goalpost found him in an offside position.

El Bakhtaoui picked out L Longridge on the left and his angled ball in was blocked by Scully’s leg and only Andy Ryan ended up in the back of the net. The home crowd were growing increasingly unhappy as Dunfermline were playing the better football but again finding it difficult to penetrate a defence.

A Ryan cross from the left tried to provide El Bakhtaoui with an opportunity but with Buchanan in close attention his effort went wide. Then in 64 minutes a fine defence splitting pass from Connolly looked to have played in Ryan but as Scully blocked him the offside flag was raised.

Connolly switched the ball on to El Bakhtaoui and he in turn for Ryan but the striker smashed his shot over the crossbar. The striker had been receiving some good balls and in 68 minutes RYAN found the net, accepting a very neat diagonal ball from L Longridge on the right to sweep the ball low into the bottom right of the ‘Ton net. 0-1

The home side showed their frustrations with Tiffoney’s heated tete a tete with L Longridge and then Rory McKeown picking up a yellow card. Johannson brought on striker Gary Oliver and tried to get into better attacking positions.

Then a display of acceleration and skill on the left allowed TIFFONEY to cut in and hit a 82nd minute swerving shot on target that went through Robinson’s fingers. 1-1

Dunfermline immediately tried hard to redeem things but Morton were just as keen to find the winner. Few were leaving this match early and Durnan had to keep out a fine headed attempt by Johnstone in 90th minute.

In the end it was another draw, a much better point than the previous Saturday’s but as Allan Johnston would later point out his side needs to turn performances like this into three points.
MORTON: Ryan Scully: Reghan Tumilty, Lee Kilday, Gregor Buchanan, Rory McKeown: Jim McAllister (c), Michael Tidser, Ross Maclean (Charlie Telfer 61), Jack Iredale (Scott Tiffoney HT): Denny Johnstone, Bob McHugh (Gary Oliver 72).
SUBS NOT USED: Kerr Waddell, Ruaridh Langan, Ben Armour, Derek Gaston (GK).
SCORERS: Tiffoney (82)
YELLOW CARD: MacLean (43), Tidser (65), McKeown (74), Johnstone (90+3)

DUNFERMLINE: Lee Robinson: James Craigen, Lee Ashcroft (c), Mark Durnan, Jackson Longridge: Louis Longridge, James Vincent, Malaury Martin, Aidan Connolly: Andy Ryan (Myles Hippolyte 82), Faissal El Bakhtaoui.
SUBS NOT USED: Tom Beadling, Joe Thomson, Stuart Morrison, Lewis McCann, Robbie Muirhead Cammy Gill (GK).
SCORERS: Ryan (68)
YELLOW CARD: Robinson (26). j Longridge(42)

REFEREE: Euan Anderson
WEATHER: Sunny 13C

NEXT MATCH: Ladbrokes Championship (home) v Partick Thistle, Friday 28th September 2018, 7.45pm kick off at East End Park.

Half time draw was won by ticket no. 34955 for a prize of £447.30

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