East Stirlingshire 0 - 4 Morton

East Stirlingshire 0
Morton 4 - Templeman (49, 82), Moffat (61 o.g.), Linn (83)

Att - 488

Tonight Morton made it three Challenge Cup semi-finals in a row after a convincing second half showing at Firs Park.

McInally announced his team for this match earlier today. The significant changes were Alex Walker's inclusion in place of Jay Shields and a return to 4-4-2 with Peter Weatherson at right back. Brian Graham came in for Kevin Finlayson and played left midfield while Jamie Stevenson moved out to occupy Finlayson's position on the right hand side and Jim McAlister moved into the centre. Chris Templeman played in place of Iain Russell who was cup tied.

The first half wasn't much of a spectacle as both teams huffed and puffed without creating much. Shire played some nice football down the left without really threatening. Morton's best attempts came from a series of long range efforts by Michael Gardyne. We did have a legitimate claim for a penalty turned down as an East Stirling defender seemed to block a header back across goal with his hand. Below is a video of the penalty claim, the quality isn't great but I think you can just about make out the incident.

The game came to life in the second half as Morton turned the screw on their third division opponents. Chris Templeman opened the scoring when he stooped to nod in at the back post after an excellent Jamie Stevenson free kick from the right hand side of the pitch. I've also included a video of this goal (below) again the video quality isn't the best but I think you can just about make it out. Thanks to Harry Thompson for the videos.

We doubled our advantage in the 60th minute. An excellent Jamie Stevenson through ball sent Peter Weatherson down the right wing and his measured cross was met by Brian Graham at the front post. Graham appeared to have hooked the ball across goal and into the far corner for his second goal in this season's competitition but the BBC website has the goal down as an own goal by Shire defender Gordon Moffat.

Jamie Stevenson was having a major impact on the second half and continued to hurt East Stirling when he sent substitute Bobby Linn racing clear with a superb incisive pass that disected the East Stirling defence. Linn didn't connect properly with his shot but the ball slid under Hill to make the score 3-0.

Chris Templeman completed the scoring with another back post header - this time from a Jim McAlister cross. Jim turned sharply on the edge of the box, drove to the bye line and stood up a perfect cross for Templeman to nod home.

The second half performance was a big improvement on the first. Most pleasing for me were Jamie Stevenson's impact on the game and Chris Templeman's performance and goals. Stevenson played a major part in three of the goals, we need to see more of this incisive play from Jamie this season as it is obvious he is capable of much more than he has produced in a Morton jersey up until now. Chris Templeman came in and linked up play and held the ball expertly. It was also good to see him score two goals with his head. Surely he will retain his place in the first team now. Michael Gardyne was lively and appears to want to shoot from everywhere. Darren Hill pulled off an outstanding save from a Gardyne volley late in the game -his performane was another plus point.

This match was a welcome relief from the league struggle and here's hoping we can get to the final this time but I don't think anyone should be fooled by this result. We still have problems and a 4-0 win against a 3rd division team doesn't mean everything is rosy again.

A home tie in the next round please.

Morton (4-4-2):

1. Robinson - 7
2. Weatherson - 7 (14. Shields - 89 mins)
3. Walker - 6
4. Harding - 6
5. Greacen - 7
6. Keenan - 6
7. Graham - 6 (12. Linn - 75 mins)
8. Stevenson - 7
9. Templeman - 9 (16. Coakley - 89 mins)
10. Gardyne - 7
11. McAlister - 7

Subs Not Used:

15. Finlayson
17. McKellar

East Stirlingshire: Hill, Moffat, Kevin McBride, King, Thywissen, Kelly, Craig Donaldson, Oates (Carr 80), Savage, Simpson (Struthers 60), Ure (Doyle 71). Subs Not Used: Upton, Greg Mitchell

My man of the match : Chris Templeman

Matchday Programme (Click to enlarge)

Match Ticket (Click to enlarge)

Chris Fitzgerald's Tele' match report, one which I really enjoyed as I prefer match reports with a bit of character rather than a strict blow by blow account of the game: http://www.greenocktelegraph.co.uk/article.php?sec=2&id=15420


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