Dunfermline Athletic 0 - 1 Morton

Dunfermline Athletic 0 -
Morton 1 - Paartalu (24)

Att: 4400

Erik Paartalu's fine strike - and some resolute defending - earned Morton a well deserved victory at East End Park on Saturday.

The only change to the team that beat Queen Of The South two weeks ago was the inclusion of fit-again Dominic Shimmin at the expense of Stewart Greacen. Stewart dropped right out of the squad because his partner is due to give birth any day now. Coincidentally Allan Jenkins was given the captain's armband after he became a father for the first time earlier in the week. Davie Irons said: He’s just become a dad and that’s why we gave him the additional honour of leading the team out today.It’s been a memorable week for him. Stewart Greacen is going through a similar thing, that’s why he wasn’t playing today. His wife is ready to give birth at any minute."

Morton took the game to Dunfermline in the first half. This was epitomised by the strong running of captain for the day Jenkins. One particular incident sticks in the mind; Jenkins picked the ball up in his own half and brushed aside numerous challanges to run the length of the field before losing his balance on the edge of the Pars box. In the eventuality the run came to nothing but it was evidence of the player's desire and seemed to act as an inspiration to the players around him. Former Gretna team mate Ryan McGuffie was also full of running. He pressed the opposition midfield and defence at all times and was always available for a pass in the midfield. This is the kind of performance we all expected from Jenkins and McGuffie when they signed and if they can keep it up I can't see any reason why we can't start to climb the table.

It was another ex-Gretna team mate who scored what turned out to be the winner. Erik Paartalu picked up a loose ball about 30 yards from goal. He seemed to take a bad touch after the ball came to him after Steven Bell's poor clearance. He then got between Stephen Glass and Bell, took a couple of steps forward and drilled a low shot that flew past Paul Gallacher into his bottom right-hand corner. This was an excellent strike, very reminiscent of a goal he scored against Durham City in pre-season.

Glass was disappointed with his failure to stop Paartalu getting a shot away. He told the Pars' official website: "I never really got close enough to the guy. Steven Bell blocked it and it fell between Belly and the guy. He took a touch past me so I couldn't really tackle since the referee had pulled me up for a foul not long before that. I probably should have fouled him but you don't expect him to drill it in like that."

Glass thought he had equalised in the 54th minute. The former Aberdeen and Newcastle man curled a beautiful left footed shot into Kevin Cuthbert's top right hand corner but Mike McCurry had already blown for a foul. The whistle definitely went before Glass struck the ball but I wasn't sure why at the time. After reading the match reports in the Sunday newspapers it turned out Glass had pushed a Morton player to get the ball. Glass felt it was a perfectly legal shoulder barge but thankfully McCurry didn't agree.

We were coming under intense pressure in the second half. Not quite the same as at Palmerston two weeks before but not far off it. However, just like in that game the Morton defence was outstanding. Dominic Shimmin, Allan McManus, Chris Smith, David MacGregor and Kevin Cuthbert formed a resolute back line that looked like it could play all night without conceding a goal. I don't mean that in the way that we were dealing with the Pars attack with ease but that Shimmin and McManus were popping up in all the right positions, Smith was getting his head on everything and Cuthbert was decisive when coming for any crosses. We defended well rather than with ease - if that makes sense.

We could've, and should've, put the game to bed in the last 10 minutes. Brian Wake - on as a late sub for James Grady - bustled his way past Greg Shields (who was the last defender) and found himself one-on-one with Gallacher. The way he stumbled past Shields meant he was slightly off balance but in a strange way the way he was off balance meant his body shape was perfect for a left footed curler around Gallacher. However, Wake readjusted his body so he could take it on his right foot. This meant the ball was stuck under his body and he couldn't get a decent strike on it. He had to stab at the ball and Gallacher made an easy save. My wee brother made a good point when he said that you only realise how bad Wake's shot was when you think that Gallacher was actually able to catch the ball - rather than it hitting off him or him having to parry it - even though it was from point blank range.

Wake missed another chance shortly afterwards but his angled strike slipped past the far post. This chance wasn't as guilt edged as his first chance but still good enough to think Wakey should've hit the target.

We could've lived to regret these misses if Dunfermline had equalised - but they didn't. We held on for another great away win. This makes it four wins in our last five matches including two excellent away wins at two of the form teams in the division. Congratulations to Davie Irons and Derek Collins. I've been very critical of their management since the start of the season but I feel I have to give credit where it's due. They've really got the players playing for them now. Well done!

Morton (4-4-2):

1. Cuthbert - 7
2. MacGregor - 6
3. Smith - 7
4. Shimmin - 8
5. McManus - 8
6. McGuffie - 8
7. Jenkins - 9
8. Paartalu - 7
9. Weatherson - 7 (14. Masterton - 88 mins)
10. Grady - 6 (12. Wake - 63 mins)
11. McAlister - 6

Subs Not Used:

14. Russell
16. Walker
20. McWilliams

Booked: Weatherson

MacGregor Shimmin McManus Smith
Jenkins Paartalu McGuffie McAlister
Weatherson Grady

Dunfermline: Gallacher, Ross (Phinn 76), McCann, Bell, Shields, Scott Thomson, Woods, Glass, Bayne, Kirk, Burke (Holmes 54).

Subs Not Used: McIntyre, Willis, Reidford.


My man of the match: Allan Jenkins

Sponsor's man of the match:

Matchday Programme (Click to enlarge)

dafc.co.uk - video highlights

Greenock Telegraph match report

Greenock Telegraph - match reaction

BBC match report

The Scottish Sun match report

dafc.co.uk - match report

dafc.co.uk - Jim McIntyre's match reaction

dafc.co.uk - Stephen Glass's match reaction

Tontastic pictures

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