Morton 0-4 Dunfermline (Reserves)
Tue, 6th Nov 2018
Cammy Gill post Morton Reserves
Tue, 6th Nov 2018
Reserves v MortonTuesday, 6th Nov 2018
Reserve League Cup: Kallum Higginbotham (48) 1-0: Robbie Muirhead (76) 2-0: Lewis Sawers (89) 3-0: Brandon Luke (90) 4-0.
- - Listen to Allan Johnston’s post match thoughts
Dunfermline Reserves 4 Morton Reserves 0
It was Reserve League Cup action for the Pars on Tuesday afternoon as Dunfermline Athletic took on Greenock Morton at New Central Park - the home of Lowland League leaders Kelty Hearts.
Regular Reserve Manager Stevie Crawford was absent in the dugout due to being abroad on a coaching course so first-team manager Allan Johnston and assistant manager Sandy Clark took charge for today`s match. They chose a handful of fringe players who are desperate for game-time, including Cammy Gill; Ryan Williamson, Lewis Martin, Kallum Higginbotham and Robbie Muirhead.
John Sutton`s visitors travelled to Fife with just one first-teamer in their ranks: a familiar face to Dunfermline fans, in former striker Robert Thomson. Fringe players Darren Hynes, Jack Purdue and Lewis McGrattan were all given the opportcunity to impress manager Jonatan Johansson as the Ton got the match off and underway.
Purdue put in a right-footed ball from the left early on but it ran through for a goal-kick. Up the other end, the hosts won a corner which Higginbotham took, finding the head of Martin but he couldn`t direct his effort on target.
It is the side in the tartan red kit who took over from here on in throughout the first-half. Purdue again looked to cause danger with a shot from just outside the box after drifting in from the left before McGrattan found space in behind Williamson, only for Gill to deny him with a strong save up high to his near post, conceding a corner, which Dunfermline dealt with.
Ben Eardley showed good tenacity down the left to work the play alongside Purdue, as he dug out a cross, finding the onrushing Blair Docherty, but, the midfielder was unable to get the ball under control, bouncing out for a goal-kick.
The Pars did manage another corner in the 12th minute but Higginbotham`s delivery failed to beat the first man. It was the Dunfermline number 7 who was causing all the issues as he kinked forward down the right moments later, weaving to the byeline before dinking a ball across goal for Muirhead who was unable to make contact with a spectacular effort before Crosbie and Martin combined to win a corner. Once again, the chance went abegging with Morton clearing their lines.
Docherty was becoming a more influential figure in the centre of the park as he broke forward with a strong run, only to blaze over the bar from 20-yards. Seconds later, he tried a similar effort after Brophy laid it inside but, once again, Gill was untroubled.
Muirhead was taken out on the right, which allowed Higginbotham to swing in a teasing ball which the visitors failed to clear. Gregor Jordan latched onto the end of the spare ball but was denied expertly by Daniel Farrell in the Morton goal.
Captain, Hynes, knocks a long-ball over the top for Thomson to run onto, splitting the central pairing of Jordan and Stuart Morrison. The experienced attacker dragged his shot wide from a good position with just Gill to beat. A let-off for the home side.
Another big chance went awry for Sutton`s men on 27 minutes. Purdue tried his luck from distance and it was blocked out for a corner. McGrattan took it short before getting it back; he fed in Purdue, via Docherty, who smashed the right post with Gill denying Docherty on the rebound before the Pars win a free-kick to relieve the pressure. Straight up the other end and Williamson bombed down the right but was bustled out of getting a cross in, before smashing into the advertising boards: a loud clatter could be heard and concerns initially arose as the full-back remained down but he was back up on his feet seconds later to continue without medical treatment.
Farrell was very quiet in goals during the first 45 minutes, although Higginbotham`s driven cross from the right would`ve required heroics to deny the opener, if a Dunfermline player was able to get onto the end of the low ball into the area.
Danger for Dunfermline was never far away though as Morton continued to create chances. Just before the break, Gill made an unbelievable save to deny centre-half Nathan Durham, as he tipped his header onto the bar following a McGrattan set-piece delivery. Purdue had the final attempt of the half but it went harmlessly over. It was an entertaining first period in Kelty, albeit the Pars were struggling to create many clear cut goal-scoring opportunities. Morton were denied by heroic defending, fantastic keeping and the woodwork as they left the pitch wondering how they weren`t in front.
Half-Time: Dunfermline Athletic Reserves 0-0 Greenock Morton Reserves
One change was made at the interval by John Sutton as Robert Thomson was replaced by Jonathan Lyon. It would be Dunfermline to kick-off though as Muirhead was immediately played in down the right after fancy footwork by Higginbotham, as he scooped the ball over the head of Eardley to set the forward free. His delivery from the right was just too high for Lewis McCann to reach as he stretched to try get a connection with the ball.
It wouldn`t be long until the influential HIGGINBOTHAM was involved again as he latched onto an error by Durham; the Englishman saw Farrell off his line before lobbing the youngster to put the Pars one ahead just three minutes into the second period.
Just a minute later and Farrell was made to work again by the winger after good work by Lewis Crosbie and Lewis Martin down the left. Daniel Martins failed to fully clear his lines before Higginbotham curled the ball towards the top corner, only to be denied by the shot-stopper.
A Muirhead header from the resultant corner dropped wide as the ball was floated into the back-post from the left. Another corner a few moments later looked for a similar routine but, this time, the yellow Mitre could only swirl in the wind and land out of play for a goal-kick.
Crosbie was almost in but his touch let him down as he entered the danger zone, after good play by captain Morrison. Then, Muirhead done well to make space for himself to delivery but Eardley cleared the danger with McCann lurking.
Muirhead was beginning to get on the ball more, now, as he picked up possession 20-yards out but dragged his shot wide of target. Come the hour mark, he laid the ball down the left for Martin after neat play by right-sided duo Higginbotham and Williamson; the cross was an inswinging effort but it drifted behind to safety, for the visitors.
Dunfermline continued their command of proceedings and it was them who then won a free-kick 40+ yards out. Higginbotham lurked over the set-piece as he went for the spectacular, trying to catch Farrell off guard. The teenager was alert to the situation as he gathered the long range strike on the line.
Minutes later and Williamson then charged infield on to his weaker left foot. Being encouraged to shoot by a vociferous Higginbotham, the full-back obliged, only to see it dribble the wrong side of the post for his liking.
Higginbotham`s last contribution came on 63 minutes as he drifted from right to left, before being brought down by Martins. The defender was booked before Muirhead struck the post with the set-piece. Crosbie fired the rebound over the bar. Higginbotham and Williamson were then replaced by Lewis Sawers and Josh Robertson.
Sutton`s side found a second-wind as they began to push for an equaliser. Brophy`s cross was deflected off Martin before Morrison cleared for a corner. McGrattan took it short and got it back as he swanned into the area unchallenged. His low driven cross-cum-shot was blocked out at the near post with just over twenty minutes remaining. Purdue would then blaze over seconds later before Dunfermline regrouped and went again.
Appeals for a penalty arose when Hynes battled with Crosbie at the far post to try get on the end of Docherty`s delivery from the left. The ref shook his head as the hosts broke forward: Paul Allan struck but it went behind for a bye-kick.
A long ball by Gill was flicked on by McCann for MUIRHEAD who got in ahead of the high Ton back-line. The striker beared down on goal before coolly slotting the ball home with a left-footed finish to make it 2-0 with 76 minutes gone.
At this point, the final two subs were made for the Greenock side as Durham and Brophy made way for debutant, Jamie Black, and Shaun Rodgers. Johnston also swapped things about for the closing stages as Crosbie was replaced by Paul Brown.
This seemed to make the encounter slightly more frantic as Robertson jinked inside before his low cross deflected off McCann for a goal-kick. Then, Jordan was nearly dispossessed by Docherty at the edge of the area but Gill swept up the danger. Farrell would then be called into action again, saving the curling free-kick of Muirhead to his right before diving onto the spilled ball to keep the deficit to two.
Sawers skipped away from Hynes on the left but his cutback was cutout for a corner. That delivery was over-hit, but, the pressure remained as Martin charged down the flank and cut inside to strike across goal, only to see his goal-bound effort tipped behind for another corner by the impressive Farrell.
Brown couldn`t hit the target with his effort from the resultant set-piece while Muirhead saw his shot parried, only to be scrambled clear by Black for yet another flag-kick. Morrison was denied this time, as he headed straight at the keeper.
SAWERS confirmed the result with a goal as the clock ticked closer to ninety. Muirhead with the assist this time as he knocks the ball over the top and in behind the away sides back four for the substitute to run onto - the youngster remained composed to place his shot beyond Farrell and put the result beyond doubt.
A ball in from the left in the last seconds of the match found Brandon LUKE free and his shot from 12-yards added gloss to the final scoreline as the hosts finished with a flurry. The right-footed shot would leave keeper Farrell looking despondent as the Morton defence fell apart as the match went on.
Overall, a good afternoon`s work for Dunfermline Athletic with fringe players getting vital and valuable game-time; a morale-boosting scoreline, as well as a clean-sheet, will delight the unavailable Stevie Crawford, as well as give management duo Allan Johnston and Sandy Clark a headache of the right kind this weekend, as the first-team entertain rivals Falkirk on match-day 13 of the SPFL Ladbrokes Championship.
SUBS NOT USED: Craig Burt (GK)
SCORERS: Higginbotham (48), Muirhead (76), Sawers (89), Luke (90)
MORTON: Daniel Farrell; Darren Hynes (Captain), Daniel Martins, Nathan Durham (Jamie Black 76), Ben Eardley; Kieran Brophy (Shaun Rodgers 76), Lewis McGrattan, Blair Docherty, Jack Purdue; Alexander Easdale, Robert Thomson (Jonathan Lyon HT).
SUBS NOT USED:
YELLOW CARD: Martins (63)
REFEREE: Greg Soutar
WEATHER: Cloudy 12C
NEXT MATCH: Reserve League Cup (away) v Dundee, venue and kick off TBC
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