Morton 0 - 1 Partick Thistle

Morton 0 -
Partick Thistle 1 - Akins (20)

Att: 3323

Morton blew their small chance of promotion with a poor performance in front of Cappielow's biggest league crowd of the season.

In what must be some sort of record for the season Davie Irons went with an unchanged starting line up for the third week in a row.

The first half was characterised by both goalkeepers flapping at almost every cross that came their way and it was one of these incidents that lead to Thistle's opener (which, as it turned out, would be the winner). Ian Maxwell took a long throw from out at the stand side and Kevin Cuthbert came out to punch clear but his connection was flimsy and he only succeeded in sending the ball to the edge of the box. From there it was knocked back into the box and Lucas Akins - on loan from Hamilton Accies - flicked out a right boot and managed to knock the ball past Cuthbert and into the corner of the net with the outside of his right boot.

Thistle's Jonny Tuffey was also having a nightmare. The Northern Ireland international is usually very reliable but on Saturday he looked as if he couldn't catch a cold. However, his catching and jumping weren't the only errors of judgement he was showing. In the 28th minute Stevie Masterton lined up a free-kick. He struck it low with a bit of curve and Tuffey jumped past the ball with his arms raised to suggest he didn't touch it and was letting it run out of play but he got it totally wrong and the ball crashed off the inside of the post and, frustratingly for the Ton support, bounced agonisingly across the face of goal and out into play.

It was a poor first half and Morton deserved to go on 1-0 down. The most frustrating aspect of the game was that we seemed to have returned to the aimless long balls that blighted our game earlier in the season. I'm not sure if the players were feeling nervous because the match had been hyped up as a last chance for promotion for both sides or Partick Thistle were pressing well and forcing errors but I did notice the midfield's lack of desire to get on the ball. There was an incident in the second half when Alex Walker had the ball out on the left. Allan Jenkins could have easily dropped off his marker to pick the ball up but he stood where he was giving Walker no real option but to clip a high ball forward which was met with a large collective groan from the Cowshed. Usually Jenks is the man who will drop of for the ball, it was just that in this one example he didn't. I'd say Ryan McGuffie and Stevie Masterton are more guilty of avoiding possession of the ball in those situations - McGuffie's tendency to hide really frustrates me. He is a quality player but in my eyes always avoids taking responsibility. You only have to look at the way Jenkins will demand the ball and try to drive forward with it and compare it with the way McGuffie always tries to get rid of it as soon as he gets it.

Thistle, and Akins in particular, really should have put this game to bed in the second half. He had three glaring one-on-one chances but on each ocassion the pacy striker lacked composure; he blasted one chance wildly over the bar, another miles wide and a third directly at Cuthbert. If Akins could add that bit of composure in front of goal to his pace and strength he could score a lot of goals at this level.

Cuthbert's save from Akins was one of three made in the second half to make up for his shaky first half performance. The closest we came to scoring in the second half came from a Masterton corner that struck the cross bar. The way Masterton was whipping them in it actually looked as if he was trying to score all afternoon.

Peter Weatherson also had a header well saved by Tuffey but we failed to make the breakthrough and Thistle left Cappielow with the three points they deserved. It is hard to get too downbeat about this result after our excellent recent form but it was frustrating to see St. Johnstone lose 3-2 to Queen Of The South on the Sunday - particularly as we still have a trip to McDiarmid Park a week on Saturday.

Morton (3-5-2):

1. Cuthbert - 6
2. McManus - 6
3. Walker - 6
4. McGuffie - 5 (14. Russell - 66 mins)
5. Greacen (c) - 7
6. Masterton - 6
7. Finlayson - 4
8. Jenkins - 6 (15. Paartalu - 85 mins)
9. Weatherson - 5
10. Wake - 6 (12. Grady - 74 mins)
11. McAlister - 6

Subs Not Used:

16. Monti
20. McWilliams

Booked: Walker

Greacen McManus Walker
Finlayson Jenkins Masterton McGuffie McAlister
Weatherson Grady

Partick Thistle: Tuffey, Paton, Twaddle, Maxwell, John Robertson, Archibald, Chaplain, Rowson, Akins (McKinlay 80), Doolan (Donnelly 58), Harkins.

Subs Not Used: Kinniburgh, Storey, Hinchcliffe.

My man of the match: Stewart Greacen

Sponsor's man of the match: Stevie Masterton

Matchday Programme (Click to enlarge)

Sold Out when I got there at 2.45.

Greenock Telegraph match report

Greenock Telegraph match reaction

BBC match report

The Daily Record match report

The Scottish Sun match report

Tontastic Pictures

ptfc.co.uk - match report

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