Dundee 0 - 0 Morton

Dundee 0 -
Morton 0 -

Att: 3736

Morton left Dens Park with a well deserved draw after a battling 90 minutes earned us our first away point at Dens Park in over 11 years. On that occasion, in November 1997, a Warren Hawke header secured a 1-0 win and had the Ton fans singing 'Morton are back' on the sandy windswept terrace.

I think everyone expected the manager to go back to four at the back after his experimentation with a back three lead to a chaotic start - in which we conceded two goals in the first twenty minutes - against Queen Of The South two weeks ago - and that's exactly what he did. Chris Smith returned at left-back, Alex Walker moved over to right-back and Allan McManus replaced Shimmin who was out with a hamstring strain. In midfield Allan Jenkins was the unlucky midfielder who dropped to the bench to accomodate Smith in the back four and Brian Wake partnered Peter Weatherson in James Grady's absence.

Morton had much the better of the first half and former Scotland goalkeeper Rab Douglas was called into action on numerous occasions - something that would eventually earn him the sponsor's man of the match award. First he saved from a Weatherson shot then did well to turn McGuffie's low effort wide for a corner.

Douglas's best save sparked off a huge scramble that you just couldn't believe we failed to score from. First Douglas made a superb one handed save to block a McGuffie header after he connected with a Stevie Masterton corner. The ball rebounded to Wake who looked like he was going to score but the shot was blocked and Craig McKeown eventually cleared after a scrum in the six yard box.

Dressing room DJ Masterton also came close to giving us the lead from a couple of his trademark free-kicks. His first from the edge of the box went narrowly wide while his second from around 30 yards had Douglas beat but hit the post and went wide. Masterton wasn't happy with his efforts though: "I should have done better with the free-kicks. I think I made it pretty easy for big Rab to save them, a part from the one which hit the post."

This season I've been monitoring our assists and it's interesting to note (well I think so anyway) that quite a lot of our goals haven't been directly set up by a team mate (of the 40 goals we have scored this season I have only recorded 23 direct assists). If you think about it we don't have wingers getting to the by-line and whipping over crosses (Finlayson and McAlister have three assists between them) and neither do we have an attacking midfielder threading balls through for pacey strikers to run onto. The whole point of me mentioning these assists is to highlight how important Stevie Masterton's contribution to the team is becoming. As I mentioned earlier on both of the occasions we came closest to scoring he was at the heart of it. It was his corner that Douglas thwarted McGuffie from and his free-kick that struck the base of the post. He is currently top of the assists table on 5 and has scored 5 goals. In the four matches before this one we'd scored six goals, Masterton scored two goals, set-up two and had a big hand in another ( it was his free-kick that Greacen headed on for Wake to flick past Tony Bullock in the Ross County goal). I've said it before but, for me, the threat Masterton poses from set pieces means that he should be first pick in the centre of midfield. The only problem is that we are becoming a bit one dimensional and don't look like scoring from other avenues.

So, 0-0 at half-time. I think we shaded the first half and probably deserved more than to be level at this point.

Dundee's best chance of the match arrived in the 69th minute. Mikael Antoine-Curier's shot was badly spilled by Cuthbert but one time Morton target Colin McMenamin managed to fire over with the goal at his mercy. Before the game I was reading in the Dundee programme how McMenamin has been in decent form after his recent recall to the starting line-up under Jocky Scott but you might see him back on the bench next week after this miss.

Apart from this chance there wasn't much else of note in the second half other than McManus leaving the pitch injured and to say that Greacen was, once again, colossal at the back. The Morton captain was in inspirational form and Bobo Balde-esque (and I mean that as a compliment based on the way Balde performed around about 2003 in the season Celtic got to the UEFA cup final) in the way he was willing to throw any part of his body in front of the ball to stop a shot heading towards goal. One courageous diving header in the closing stages springs to mind.

I'm happy to come away from a venue like Dens Park with a draw but there's no reason why we can't start going to places like this and coming back with all three points. We just have to start creating more from open play.

Morton (4-4-2):

1. Cuthbert - 7
2. Walker - 7
3. Smith - 7
4. McManus - 8 (12. Jenkins - 78 mins)
5. Greacen (c) - 9
6. Masterton - 7
7. Finlayson - 6
8. McGuffie - 7
9. Weatherson - 6
10. Wake - 7
11. McAlister - 6

Subs Not Used:

14. Russell
15. Paartalu
16. Stevenson
20. Stewart

Booked: McManus, Greacen

Walker Greacen McManus Smith
Finlayson Masterton McGuffie McAlister
Weatherson Wake

Reshuffle for the last 12 mins

McGuffie Greacen Smith Walker
Finlayson Jenkins Masterton McAlister
Weatherson Wake

Dundee: Douglas, Paton (Posniak 59), Malone, McHale, McKeown, Lauchlan (Cowan 26), Daquin, Shinnie, McMenamin, Antoine-Curier, O'Brien.

Subs Not Used: Young, Deasley, Roy.

Booked: McHale, Shinnie.

My man of the match: Stewart Greacen

Sponsor's man of the match: Rab Douglas (Dundee)

Matchday Programme (Click to enlarge)

Match Ticket

BBC match report

The Greenock Telegraph - match report

The Greenock Telegraph - match reaction

The Scottish Sun - match report

The Daily Record - match report

dundeefc.co.uk - match report

Tontastic pictures

1 comment:

mortonjag said...

Regarding your comments about Masterton, I couldn't believe he sat out the 90 minutes recently at McDiarmid Park when that game was 'there for the taking'.