Stirling Albion 1 - 2 Morton

Stirling Albion 1 - Aitken (61)
Morton 2 - Harding (60), McGuffie (82)

Att - 1,256

A debut goal by Ryan McGuffie turned out to be the winner as Morton grabbed all three points at Forthbank.

This was a terrible match played in freezing conditions in a ground with no atmosphere - a great way to start the new year.

The first half was - and I seem to be repeating this a lot this season - a non event. The boredom was only alleviated when Peter Weatherson was sent clear one-on-one with Myles Hogarth. He slowed to compose himself and from my position (ground level - I was about to get a pie) it looked like he tried to curl one into the top corner but put it into the side netting. I've since been informed Hogarth made a decent save pushing it round the post.

Morton took the lead when Ryan Harding acrobatically volleyed a loose ball into the net from close range. The chance came after a Kieran McAnespie free-kick was deflected into his path. McAnespie's performance and set piece deliveries were one of the positives that can be taken from this game.

The main positive however, was the debut of new signing Ryan McGuffie. Without looking overly impressive McGuffie gave signs that he could be the box to box midfielder we have needed for god knows how long. He has a presence, is strong and tall, can pass and adds a goal threat. Never more evident than in the 82nd minute when he rammed home a sweet half volley from from just inside the box.

Morton's defensive frailties were exposed again in this match. The first mix up came when Ryan Harding apppeared to collide with a team mate which presnted a Stirling player a free run on goal but Lee Robinson was alert and made an excellent block. The second resulted in the Bino's equaliser which came only 1 minute after we took the lead. A cross from the left side of our defence was allowed to run across the box right to unmarked former Morton player Chris Aitken who had all the time in the world to fire past the helpless Robinson.

The only other moment of note was the booing when Brian Graham replaced Iain Russell and not Peter Weatherson. This seems to have been happening for a few weeks now and is clearly angering the fans and justifiably so in my opinion. Russell works hard and offers some sort of goal threat while Weatherson wanders about doing nothing much yet every time the substitution is made it's Russell who's number is up. I'd be interested to know how the player feels about this.

As with a lot of games this season this match would have been one to forget on the basis of lack of entertainment but the fact that McGuffie made an encouraging debut and scored a cracker winner in a match against potential relegation rivals you've got to be happy with the three points.

Morton (4-4-2):

1. Robinson - 7
2. Shields - 6
3. MacGregor - 7
4. Harding - 6
5. Greacen - 5
6. McAnespie - 7 (15. Stevenson - 78 mins)
7. Finlayson - 6
8. McGuffie - 7
9. Weatherson - 5
10. Russell - 7 (16. Graham - 81 mins)
11. McAlister - 7

Subs Not Used:

12. McLaughlin
14. Templeman
20. McGurn

Booked: McAnespie, McGuffie

Shields Harding Greacen MacGregor
Finlayson McGuffie McAnespie* McAlister*
Weatherson Russell

* McAlister and McAnespie swapped positions at half time.

Stirling Albion: Hogarth, Nugent, Forsyth, Ellis, Graham, Aitken, Hay, Bell (Harris 37), McKenna, Lilley (Walker 74), Tomana (Taggart 55). Subs Not Used: McBride, Christie.
Booked: Ellis, Hay.

My man of the match: Jim McAlister

Sponsor's man of the match:

Matchday Programme (Click to enlarge)

BBC Match report: http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/scot_div_1/7165336.stm

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