09/02/2009

Raith Rovers Under-19s 5 - 2 Morton Under-19s

Raith Rovers Under-19s 5 - Bryce (2), Graham, Whatley, Wedderburn
Morton Under-19s 2 - Friel (2)

11am kick-off
Sunday 8th February
Dalgety Bay Sports Centre


by Chris Silver

A pulsating game in the Fife sunshine saw Morton Under-19s go down 5 goals to 2 to a Raith side who are well up with the league leaders (pictured, below: Rovers sit 6th while Morton are 12th in the Irn-Bru under-19 youth initiative league).

Alan McManus's side was forced into one change from last week's narrow victory over Dumbarton, Chris Gordon replacing Kenneth McKay in the foward line.

The Ton started brightly forcing a series of corners which made the home side look anything but league challengers.

However, we did get a glimpse of why Raith are up there when they broke away to score after one of our corners. Lee Mitchell's scuffed shot was cleared and Raith's Lee Bryce picked the ball up on our left well inside their half. He then sprinted towards goal like a Gazelle. Mitchell tracked back eating up the ground behind him but with no cover coming across to block the run the striker was clear through and left keeper Ryan McWilliams with little chance, 1-0.

Raith second came due to another defensive mix up. Right-back Scott McNab was put under pressure and passed back to the centre half only for Raith's other striker Tam Graham to steal in and score past McWilliams as the 'Ton net rippled for a second time.

Morton got back into the game thanks to a Daniel Friel goal. A corner kick was sent into the middle of the area where Friel was well positioned to pounce after a shot was blocked and fell into his path. His shot was not the best but had enough pace and direction to go in despite several Raith players on the line as cover.

Raith regained their two goal advantage when some good play down the left found Graham just inside our area to the right of McWilliams goal . He turned the fullback easily (too easily really) and laid the ball to the edge of the area where their influential central midfielder Mark Whatley had been given the freedom of Fife by the Ton midfield. The Raith playmaker's fierce shot gave a fully stretched McWilliams no chance, 3-1.

With the first half rapidly drawing to a close we got a much needed boost when Friel (pictured, above left) reduced the deficit for the second time. A well placed through ball put Friel through on goal and despite the home sides protests for offside the 17 year old unleashed a terrific shot that left the Raith keeper Ross Laidlaw statuesque. 3-2 at the interval.

Into the second half and Morton were still struggling with Raith's superior movement and running off the ball.

Raith's 4th goal came from a corner on our right hand side. A deep flighted cross from Mark Whatkey was met by their centre half Craig Wedderburn who rose unchallenged to header into the Ton net.

McManus rang the changes and made 3 seperate substitutions. A boy called Paddy (I'm unsure of his second name) replaced Anthony Houston at the back, Liam Kerrigan replaced MacNab at right-back. Troy McKerrell moved into an advanced midfield position to complete the changes.

These changes helped stem the constant stream of Raith attacks. The boy Paddy's physical presence curbed the impact Raith 's Bryce was making - the Rovers striker wasn't too happy with the added attention given to him by the Ton substitute. However, Bryce did manage score Raith's final goal and his second. He cut inside the Morton left-back, outstripped the centre-half and left McWilliams with no chance as his thunderous drive whistled past his groping left arm.

The referee was having a bit of a nightmare and this didn't do us any favours. With little time left the referee awarded the Kircaldy side a corner even though the last touch was clearly made by a Raith player. Similarly, at the other end he awarded them a goal kick when a Raith player had knocked the ball out. A furious James Grady - who is helping McManus with the under-19s - protested and the referee gave him a dressing down for questioning his authority - and eyesight. His next act was to blow for full time.

In conclusion Raith deserved their win today, we just made too many stupid errors.

Italic
Morton Under-19s Results - Season 2008/09

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

raithrovers.com - Young Rovers Hit 'Ton For Five

1 comment:

mortonjag said...

It's good to see Grady getting involved with the youngsters. A foretaste of a more established position behind the scenes perhaps?