Dumbarton 0 - 1 Morton

Dumbarton 0 -
Morton 1 - Jenkins (25)

Att: 1122

Unusually Morton began the 2009/10 season on a Sunday after Dumbarton made the mistake of renting out their Strathclyde Homes Stadium for a wedding before the fixtures had been announced. However, the day made no difference to Morton as we secured a comfortable 1-0 in the Alba Challenge Cup 1st round.

Davie Irons went with a 4-3-3 formation with Jim McAlister and Kevin Finlayson flanking Peter Weatherson up front. Stevie Masterton, Allan Jenkins and Neil MacFarlane made up the midfield, although MacFarlane sat a little deeper. Alex Walker replaced the suspended Allan McManus in the same back four who has started all the pre-season matches so far. Bryn Halliwell was the surprise addition in goal after Kevin Cuthbert was ruled out through injury and Colin Stewart was described as unavailable.

This was Dumbarton's first game after the tragic death of club captain Gordon 'Guido' Lennon and to honour his memory there was a minutes applause before the match while the Dumbarton players wore black armbands and Dumbarton manager Jim Chapman used his programme notes to pay tribute to a player who he described as 'My friend, My Captain and My Champion'.

On the day Dumbarton looked like a club lacking leadership and a bit out of sorts but I suppose this was to be expected in their first game back. Morton took advantage of this and controlled the game from start to finish to such an extent that Halliwell - who is rumoured to have signed on at the club for month - didn't have one save of note to make.

Morton were on the front foot from the start and Jim McAlister looked eager to impress on the left of a front three. He was giving the Dumbarton right-back a tough time by running at his opponent at every opportunity. Jim also looked desperate to get a goal (maybe wanting Dan Petrescu to see his name on the score sheet) but as we have become accustomed to his shooting was wayward. However, it was Jim who created the opening, and what turned out to be the winning, goal. He received the ball tight to the touchline and scooped the ball over his opponent's head. After skipping round the player he'd just skinned he was faced with another Sons player who'd come over to cover. The ball was about 60-40 in defender's favour but Jim charged the ball down and was rewarded for his effort when the ball rebounded in his favour. He then clipped a cross to the back post with his left foot but this was only half cleared and fell right in front of Allan Jenkins who drilled a shot low past Dave McEwan in the Dumbarton goal.

Morton were tidy in possession and looked to pass the ball on the deck most of the time. Carlo Monti was particularly impressive in this respect. The diminutive midfielder has been filling in it left-back and up until this game has come under fierce criticism for his performances, particularly his positional play. However, in this match he was up against inferior opposition and this allowed him to get forward and take his time in possession, pick passes and link up with McAlister in front of him. He also showed a turn of pace to get back and make a couple of crucial interceptions later on in the match. For me Monti was man of the match but I still think that he will be exposed if he plays at left-back against 1st division oppposition.

Our first half performance was much better than the second as we seemed to come out after half time content with our 1-0 lead; maybe we realised the match was won. In the second period Jim squandered another chance or two and Peter Weatherson's hooked shot didn't trouble McEwan much. We seemed a bit more lively after the two Brians, Wake and Graham, were subbed on in the 80th minute. Both players manufactured chances for themselves but were let down by poor finishes - Wake's shot was weak and Graham failed to hit the target.

In the end the failure to add to the lead didn't matter as Jenkins' goal was enough to see us into the 2nd round but our lack of cutting edge and an ability to be ruthless in front of goal may be more exposed when we come up against a better standard of opposition in the 1st division. I think this could be remedied by the addition of a pacey striker who could play alongside Peter Weatherson. Unfortunately, this type of player seems to be thin on the ground and even if someone who fitted the bill was to become available it would appear that we the money isn't there to make the signing anyway.

Morton (4-3-3):

1. Halliwell - 6
2. McGuffie - 7
3. Monti - 8
4. Walker - 7
5. Greacen - 8
6. Masterton - 6 (12. Wake - 80 mins)
7. Finlayson - 6
8. MacFarlane - 8
9. Weatherson - 6 (16. Graham - 80 mins)
10. Jenkins - 7 (15. Paartalu - 68 mins)
11. McAlister - 8

Unused Subs:

14. Harding
20. McWilliams

Booked: Greacen, Masterton, MacFarlane

McGuffie Greacen McManus Monti
Masterton MacFarlane Jenkins
Finlayson Weatherson McAlister

Dumbarton: McEwan, Chisholm, Dunlop, Gordon, McKillen, Geggan, Clark (Chaplain 75), McStay (O'Donoghue 63), Murray, McLaughlin, Carcary (Hunter 75).

My man of the match: Carlo Monti

Sponsor's man of the match: n/a

Matchday Programme (Click to enlarge)

Greenock Telegraph - match report

dumbartonfootballclub.com - match report

The Scottish Sun - match report

The Daily Record - match report

The Lennox Herald - match report

Tontastic Pics

1 comment:

mortonjag said...

Not a particularly impressive show against significantly weaker opposition. Tomorrow night we'll get a proper test against St. Mirren.