Dunfermline Athletic Under-19s 4 - 2 Morton Under-19s

Dunfermline Athletic Under-19s 4 -
Morton Under-19s 2 - Gordon (2)

2pm kick-off
Sunday 22nd February
Dalgety Bay Sports Centre

by Chris Silver

ItalicMorton under-19s were masters of their own downfall as they went down 4-2 to Dunfermline's under-19s on Sunday.

Allan McManus made several changes to the team that lost 5-2 to Raith Rovers in the last match. In defence Anthony Houston replaced Scott McNab at right-back and an unknown debutant partnered Paddy - whose second name I'm not sure of and whose presence against Raith was sorely missed - in the centre. Kieran Cannon started in goal after his appearance as substitute for the first team at Firhill the day before and Troy McKerrell replaced Darren McGeough in the midfield.

Morton have a habit of making things difficult for themselves and today was no exception, within 3 minutes from the start the 'Ton were a goal behind. Paddy and a Dunfermline striker challenged for a speculative long ball from their right-back but the ball went over their heads and presented the other Pars striker with a chance. He evaded his marker with a fine touch to his left on the edge of our box and before smashing the ball past Cannon (pictured, above left), who got his first touch of the ball when he picked it out of the net.

We were stunned by the set-back but gradually gained in confidence as the first half wore on. Our first chance came on the half hour mark after good work on the left by Chris 'Limo' Gordon and Nathan Shepherd. Shepherd made an overlapping run and whipped over a deep cross which was met by Daniel Friel. Friel's first touch took him beyond the full-back but he was quickly closed down and his hurried shot went high over the crossbar.

Morton were on top and pushing for an equaliser with the three in midfield, three up front and the rampaging Shepherd at left-back all impressing. However, just as we looked as if we might score Dunfermline increased their lead. Cannon mishit a clearance which went out of play on the Morton right. From the resulting throw in a Pars midfielder managed to create a bit of space to drill a low cross across the six yard box. Everyone failed to connect with the cross until their outside left gained possession, he dragged Shepherd towards the touchline before turning, cutting inside and rifling a shot past Cannon.

So after an encouraging first half performance we still went in 2-0 down at half time. However, McManus's and James Grady's half time team talk must have stressed the positives as they came out for the second half with some vigour and halved the Pars lead immediately. Shepherd and Gordon linked well down the left and Shepherd's low cross was expertly controlled by the impressive Gordon; he turned his marker before curling a powerful shot into the top right hand corner of the net.

The Pars were beginning to struggle while Lee Mitchell was really impressing for Morton. The 18 year old proving to be a real thorn in the opposition's side with his ability to break up play and keep possession. It was no surprise when we eventually scored the equaliser our play merited. The goal was almost a carbon copy of the first goal the only difference was the quality of the finish by Gordon - this time he used the outside of his boot to curl the ball past the keeper at his near post. They say a goalkeeper should never be beaten at his near post but Gordon's shot was hit with too much pace and accuracy to give him any chance.

Our tails were up and Friel went on a mazy run in search of a goal to put us in the lead. However, his run came to an abrupt end when he was cynically fouled from behind thus earning the guilty player a well deserved yellow card. Gordon was denied a hat trick when the Pars keeper pulled off the save of the day from the resultant free kick.

Friel went close soon after but his shot was too high. This proved to be his last involvement in the match as he went off injured after receiving another shocking challenge. Kenneth MacKay took his place.

Dunfermline took the lead against the run of play. McKerrell looked set to clear after a looping cross from the byline landed in front of him however the ball evaded his touch after an unpredictable bounce and the Pars striker made no mistake to make it 3-2 to the home team.

Liam Kerrigan replaced our number 7 in midfield who had tired badly and was allowing players to run off him too easily causing mayhem in the Ton defence.

The Pars completed the scoring when one of their strikers connected with a cross from the right to rocket a header past Cannon.

So, another defeat but we can take heart from the fact that this was a better display than recent performances. There was also a few encouraging individual performances; particularly Limo Gordon, who is strong, holds up play well, has a decent touch and took both goals well. Mitchell is the anchor in centre of midfield, he links play and breaks up opposition attacks while Shepherd makes some great roving runs up the left wing (although I'm not too sure about his status as a left-back). Hopefully one or more of these boys can make an impact on the first team in future, after all that is what the youth set up is really for.

Morton Under-19s Results - Season 2008/09

thescottishfootballleague.com - Irn-Bru Scottish Football League Under 19

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