Morton 2-2 St. Johnstone

Morton 2 - McGuffie (5), Paartalu (82)
St. Johnstone 2 - Milne (3), Swankie (41)

Att: 2649

A late Erik Paartalu goal earned Morton a well deserved point against title favourites St. Johnstone.

For the first time this season Davie Irons decided to go with a 4-4-2 rather than the 4-3-3 formation he had used up until this match - probably as a result of Brian Wake' suspension. Stewart Greacen replaced Wake and his inclusion meant that Peter Weatherson and Alex Walker moved out from centre-back to right-back and left-back respectively.

A thrilling opening five minutes saw both teams score. Steven Milne was fortunate to get his name on the scoresheet when a Weatherson clearance smacked against him and flew past Kevin Cuthbert in the third minute. Morton equalised through Ryan McGuffie two minutes later. Jon Newby seemed to take the wrong option when his touch took him away from goal in the six yard box but he quickly turned and put an excllent ball across goal. Iain Russell swiped at the ball and missed but Ryan McGuffie made no mistake placing the ball into the net from close range.

Kevin Cuthbert was having a dodgy first half and, from where I was standing, looking suspect for the Perth sides second goalin the 41st minute. Morton were temporarily down to ten men with Alex Walker stretchered off injured and Allan McManus taking an eternity to get ready to come on. The reshuffle of players left us in disarray and in my opinon played no small part in this goal. A ball in behind Ryan McGuffie put Gavin Swankie in on goal. Kevin Cuthbert rushed out and looked to have his angles covered but seemed to hesitate at the final moment and give Swankie just enough room to dink the ball over him and into the net.

When McManus eventually came on we re-organised again; Dominic Shimmin moved to right-back, Weatherson moved to left-back and McManus came into the centre.

Morton dominated the second half and should've scored in the 68th minute. Iain Russell and Jon Newby broke forward and with just one defender between them and the goal they managed to mess it up between them. Firstly Russell should have held into the ball longer by running at the defender and leaving Newby the space to run into and then play him in but Russell released the ball far too early pushing Newby too far wide and giving the opposition defence the chance to get back in position. This is exactly what happened and Newby's attempt at a return pass was cut out by former Morton defender Kevin James.

Morton were piling on the pressure now and went close when a powerful Ryan Harding header was tipped over by Scotland Under-21 goalkeeper Euan McLean.

The equaliser eventaually arrived in the 82nd minute. A scramble in the St.Johnstone box eventually led to the ball being cleared out towards the stand side corner flag - Morton's right - where Stevie Masterton picked it up. In this situation everyone shouts to drill it low and hard across the six yard box and that's exactly what the former Clyde man did. Erik Paartalu read it, got in front of his marker and stuk out a foot to guide the ball into the net for his second goal in the three games.

This was a well deserved point. and shows that there wont be many teams that will come to Cappielow and beat us this season.

Morton (4-4-2):

1. Cuthbert - 6
2. Weatherson - 6
3. Walker - 7 (15. McManus - 42 mins)
4. Greacen - 7 (14. Harding - 52 mins)
5. Paartalu - 7
6. Shimmin - 8
7. McGuffie - 6 (15. Finlayson - 74 mins)
8. Masterton - 8
9. Newby - 8
10. Russell - 7
11. McAlister - 6

Subs Not Used:

16. McGeough

20. Stewart

Booked: Russell

Weatherson Greacen Shimmin Walker
McGuffie Paartalu Masterton McAlister
Russell Newby

St. Johnstone: McLean, Irvine, Rutkiewicz, James, A Trialist, Swankie (Jackson 74), Hardie, Millar, Sheerin (MacDonald 87), Holmes, Milne (Weatherston 80).

Subs Not Used: McCaffrey, Main.

Booked: Hardie

My man of the match: Jon Newby

Sponsor's man of the match:

Matchday Programme (Click to enlarge)

Match highlights

Greenock Telegraph match report

BBC match report

perthstjohnstonefc.co.uk match report

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