Morton 0 Dunfermline 0Friday, 15th Jan 2021
Scottish Championship: Declan McManus, Ryan Dow, Steven Whittaker and Dom Thomas return
Despite having the better chances and the lion’s share of the game Dunfermline failed to take the three points their performance merited.
Stevie Crawford took his team to Greenock for Dunfermline Athletic`s first match of 2021 and they were in search of their first win there in seven visits. For the hosts it was just their fifth home league match of the campaign, they had won three and lost one to Hearts.
After the freezing conditions earlier in the month it was a balmy two degrees on Clydeside and the pitch that had been covered to protect it looked good considering what it had withstood with a few bare patches here and there.
The Dunfermline side showed four changes from the team that faced Inverness on 29th December. On to the bench went Kevin O’Hara, Kyle Turner, Lewis Mayo and Kerr McInroy to make way for Ryan Dow, Steven Whittaker, Dom Thomas and Declan McManus.
Morton skipper Jim McAlister was relegated to the bench with Rabin Omar coming in as their only change from the side that drew at Alloa last time out.
The Pars took the field from a lounge under the area of the main stand that usually accommodates the away fans and the teams changed ends prior to Dunfermline kicking off attacking the goal at the away end.
Morton were on the attack from the start and Josh Edwards made two clearances within the opening two minutes and Owain Fôn Williams fisted away a fifth minute corner. Next minute the Fifers had a chance from an Edwards cross into the Morton box that just skimmed off McManus’ head.
In 12th minute Thomas got in a shot after Whittaker linked with McManus but the shot did not have enough on it to trouble Aidan McAdams in the ‘Ton goal. Next the visitors had an opportunity from a free kick earned when Iain Wilson was flattened 25 yards out on the right but Lewis McCann just couldn’t get high enough to meet Dow’s delivery.
Lewis Strapp had a chance to launch in his first long throw of the evening in 18 minutes but Paul Watson met it to clear. At the other end after a Thomas cut back was only half cleared, Wilson was able to test McAdams with a low shot that the keeper took low at his left hand post.
As the rain got heavier, a McManus break down the left was turned back for Wilson and his shot was deflected behind for a 29th minute corner. Euan Murray connected with Thomas’ cross but his shot went over the crossbar. Then from a corner on the left there was a challenge in the six yard box but only the Pars captain ended up in the net.
Twelve minutes from the interval Whittaker picked out Thomas in the middle of the park and he fed McManus who was able to shoot from 15 yards out but Markus Fjørtoft slid in to block.
Then from a free kick on the left Dow fed Thomas the ball short and he was able to shoot from the edge of the box and the keeper only just got to it to concede and corner on the right. The corner came back to Thomas from Dow and his in swinging cross landed on the roof of the net.
At the break McAdams had been by far the busier keeper, the Fifers had made seven shots to Morton’s two and again their greatest threat had come from throw ins.
Half time: Morton 0 Dunfermline 0
First promise of the next half came in the sixth minute of the second period when an Edwards interception was slipped with speed through Thomas and McManus to Dow on the right but the Morton defence had to pick out a dangerous cross to deny the visitors.
Four minutes later the same defence blocked a Thomas cross after McCann had fed him the chance and then in 56 minutes McManus smashed a shot on target from 25 yards out but McAdams dived to his right to keep the match goalless.
Kyle Turner was the first substitution of the match replacing Iain Wilson midway through the second half. Then in 74 minutes Thomas saw his shot deflected behind for a corner after McManus had won a challenge on the keeper and Dow squared towards the shouts of his team mate.
Fraser Murray then subbed the unlucky Thomas. Dunfermline looked the better and more threatening side but they were just not getting the chances to take. Turner popped a 79th minute shot from distance but was off target.
Next minute McCann’s low shot from an angle was tipped away for a corner by McAdams but Fraser Murray’s corner would change nothing. Kevin O’Hara then replaced McCann before an Edwards effort was skied over the bar.
The two Pars central defenders were up for Turner’s free kick but despite claims for handball as Whittaker tried to return the ball just two corners followed and both were defended at the second attempts.
It was the 89th minute when McManus made a shot on target from a Turner cross from the right but McAdams saved. That was the final chance to break the deadlock.
Dunfermline finished the game with 15 shots to Morton’s four and none of the opposition’s were deemed to have been on target. The away side had always looked the more likely to find the net but after the three added minutes it ended 0-0.
Not the most exciting of matches, yes a shut out but a feeling of two points dropped.
SUBS NOT USED: Jim McAlister, Alexander Easdale, Darren Hynes, Lewis McGrattan
DUNFERMLINE: Owain Fôn Williams: Aaron Comrie, Paul Watson, Euan Murray (c), Josh Edwards: Steven Whittaker: Ryan Dow, Iain Wilson (Kyle Turner 67), Dom Thomas (Fraser Murray 76): Lewis McCann (Kevin O’Hara 82), Declan McManus.
SUBS NOT USED: Lewis Mayo, Kerr McInroy, Matthew Todd, Cammy Gill (GK)
YELLOW CARD: Wilson (60)
REFEREE: Steven Kirkland
WEATHER: Cold 2°C
NEXT MATCH: Scottish Championship (home) v Ayr United, Saturday 23rd January 2021, kick off 3.00pm behind closed doors
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Morton 0-0 Dunfermline
Fri, 15th Jan 2021
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Preview MortonFriday, 15th Jan 2021
Scottish Championship (away) Friday 15th January 2021 kick off 7.45pm at Cappielow Park, live on BBC Scotland channel
This Friday night fixture will be the Pars first match of 2021. From a situation of preparing for three important matches in seven days, postponements now mean that Stevie Crawford`s side turn their entire focus on this trip to Greenock.
The second placed Fifers face a major challenge and the much over-used description of away grounds being tough places to go, really does relate to Pars trips to Cappielow where they have won just one of the last ten meetings and have failed to win there over the last three seasons.
Add to that, Morton have inflicted two of just three defeats suffered by Dunfermline Athletic in the last 12 months. There is plenty of motivation to improve the record against Morton while the previous meeting is still reasonably fresh.
Pars v Morton: The Full Record
P59 | W30 | D13 | L16 | GF111 | GA70 | at East End Park
P57 | W18 | D17 | L22 | GF69 | GA78 | at Cappielow
P116 | W48 | D30 | L38 | GF180 | GA148
Last Time v Morton
Scottish Championship, Saturday 12th December 2020
Dunfermline 1 Morton 2, East End Park
An unfancied Greenock Morton side ended the Pars unbeaten run with a sturdy win and a strong defensive performance.
Second placed Pars, unbeaten in eleven matches this season took on seventh placed Morton who arrived in Fife having failed to win in their last five matches and having lost their manager David Hopkin who resigned on the Thursday prior to this game.
Dunfermline 2-1 Hearts
Fri, 20th Nov 2020
Morton would go ahead from a 24th minute Lewis Strapp throw in. A long throw from close to the left corner flag targeted Brian McLean at the near post but it was Watson who headed the ball, Kerr McInroy’s attempt then to clear set up Jim McALISTER poised 15 yards out to volley home with the possible help of a deflection. 0-1
In 74 minutes the ball broke off Aidan Nesbitt’s hand in his own penalty box to earn the Pars a penalty. Declan McMANUS drove the spot kick down the middle past McAdams, his fifth goal of the season made it 1-1.
Morton regained their lead five minutes later. From halfway McLean launched the ball into the Dunfermline penalty box, Murray headed clear but it was gathered by Strapp and Fôn Williams pulled off a great save from the 21 year old’s fierce left footed shot but sub Craig McGUFFIE, on only three minutes, was well placed to bury the loose ball. 1-2
DUNFERMLINE: Owain Fôn Williams: Aaron Comrie, Paul Watson, Euan Murray (c), Josh Edwards: Ryan Dow, Kyle Turner, Kerr McInroy (Lewis McCann 83) Dom Thomas: Kevin O’Hara (Fraser Murray 62), Declan McManus
SUBS NOT USED: Iain Wilson, Lewis Mayo, Matty Bowman, Miller Fenton, Cammy Gill (GK)
SCORERS: McManus (74 pen)
MORTON: Aidan McAdams: Kyle Jacobs (Robin Omar HT), Brian McLean, Sean McGinty, Lewis Strapp: Jim McAlister (c), Reece Lyon, Josh McPake (Aidan Nesbitt 60), Robbie Muirhead (Craig McGuffie 76): Kalvin Orsi, Cameron Salkeld.
SUBS NOT USED: Ross McIver, Markus Fjørtoft, Gary Oliver, Chris Millar.
Milestones v Morton (Away)
Last Victory | 25/03/17 | 1-0 | Championship
Last Defeat | 11/01/20 | 2-3 | Championship
11/12/99 | 3-0 | Division 1
23/08/88 | 3-0 | Premier League
25/11/67 | 3-0 | Division 1
Worst Defeat | 16/02/80 | 0-5 | Scottish Cup
Last Goalless Draw | 26/01/19 | 0-0 | Championship
First Meeting | 14/08/26 | 0-3 | Division One
Last Twelve Matches v Morton
The last dozen meetings have resulted in two Pars wins, five defeats and five draws.
12-12-20: (H) 1-2 Championship
11-01-20: (A) L 2-3 Championship
07-12-19: (H) W 3-1 Championship
05-10-19: (A) D 1-1 Championship
05-04-19: (H) L 0-1 Championship
26-01-19: (A) D 0-0 Championship
01-12-18: (H) W 3-0 Championship
22-09-18: (A) D 1-1 Championship
17-03-18: (H) D 0-0 Championship
03-02-18: (A) L 1-2 Championship
20-01-18: (H) L 1-2 Scottish Cup
21-11-17: (H) D 1-1 Championship
Morton have lost only one home match this season against Hearts in early December. They return to Cappielow for only the third time since October but nevertheless are unbeaten in their last four games and won two of their last six.
Dunfermline only lost four matches in 2020 but two of them were against Morton. The Fifers are undefeated in their last four matches since the defeat to Morton on 12th December.
Inverness Caley Thistle (A) D 1-1
Arbroath (H) W 1-0
Dundee (A) D 3-3
St Johnstone (H) D 1-1
Morton (H) L 1-2
Raith Rovers (H) D 2-2
Alloa Athletic (A) D 1-1
Ayr United (A) D 1-1
Queen of the South (H) W 2-0
Dunfermline (A) W 2-1
Hearts (H) L 0-2
Arbroath (A) D 0-0
Current League Stats
League Position: 2nd
League Points: 18
Goal Difference: +7
League Record: P10 W5 D4 L1 GF20 GA13
Last Six Match Form: DLDDWD
League Position: 5th
League Points: 15
Goal Difference: -3
League Record: P10 W4 D3 L3 GF10 GA13
Last Six Match Form: DLWWDD
Last time Out
DUNFERMLINE (v Inverness Caley Thistle): Owain Fôn Williams: Aaron Comrie, Paul Watson, Euan Murray (c), Josh Edwards: Lewis Mayo: Kyle Turner, Iain Wilson, Kerr McInroy (Ryan Dow 66): Lewis McCann (Declan McManus 69), Kevin O’Hara (Dom Thomas 80).
SUBS NOT USED: Steven Whittaker, Fraser Murray, Lucas Berry, Cammy Gill (GK)
MORTON (v Alloa Athletic): Aidan McAdams: Michael Ledger, Markus Fjørtoft, Sean McGinty, Lewis Strapp: Reece Lyon (Chris Millar 88), Jim McAlister (c), Cameron Salkeld (Roman Omar 83), Luca Colville (Gary Oliver 64), Aidan Nesbitt, Kalvin Orsi
SUBS NOT USED: Cameron Blues, Alexander Easdale, James Wallace
Referee will be Steven Kirkland.
Other Championship Fixtures
Alloa Athletic v Heart of Midlothian
Dundee v Ayr United
Queen of the South v Arbroath
Raith Rovers v Inverness Caledonian Thistle
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