Morton 0 - 3 Oxford United

Morton 0 -
Oxford United 3 - Midson (46), Deering (65), Constable (90)

Att: 859

by Russell Gordon

Photos courtesy of Stephanie Fachau

Oh dear. In the last week that I've volunteered to report on the friendly games, I've tried to be objective, constructive with any criticisms I've had, whilst looking at the positives. I'm really scratching my head after this abject display. This was the sort of game that could get football stopped. True, the goals came in the second half and it tends to be the case that friendly matches open up later on once there's been a few substitutions, but that doesn't take away from the fact that Morton were absolutely dire. The defence that was impregnable for long spells last season seemed to be completely at sixes and sevens, very often clearances were barely even getting out the box and we were punished by a far more clinical side who weren't really made to work for their victory.

In a timid opening, Oxford created the majority of chances, Cuthbert managing to block the first effort ten minutes in, sending it out for a corner before, four minutes later, Neil MacFarlane was caught in possession but the chance went a begging.

MacFarlane was the hero a few minutes after that however, getting back to block an Oxford striker just as he was ready to pull the trigger having been put through on goal.

Twenty minutes in, Morton began to realise there was a game going on as Masterton floated a free kick into the Oxford box which was duly knocked out by a defender. From the resultant corner, Masterton swung the ball onto Peter Weatherson's head at the near post, but his header was easily collected by Ryan Clarke, who was making his debut in goal Oxford.

Easily the best piece of play from Morton all day came five minutes later as Jim McAlister spread an excellent ball wide to Brian Graham on the left hand side. His square ball allowed Allan Jenkins to force a brilliant save out of Clarke in the Oxford goal. Jenkins and Masterton both had chances well saved by Clarke during Morton's best spell.

The second half saw the introduction of Colin Stewart in goal and ex-Celtic star Simon Donnelly, who was playing as a trialist. Sadly, the first of the two called into action was Stewart, and that was to pick the ball out of the net after Oxford's Jack Midson's magnificent 25 yard chip had him looking on helplessly as the ball drifted into the net.

After a flurry of Oxford substitutions, they controversially added a second. Substitute Deering rounded Stewart only to have his shot blocked on the line by Allan McManus. However, the ball rebounded back to him (via his arm in the opinion of most of the home support) and he converted at the second attempt.

Twelve minutes from time, with the game dead and buried, Morton made their only really positive contribution to the second half; Paartalu playing a good ball to Wake whose cross Grady narrowly failed to connect with at the back post. David MacGregor than made his long awaited return to top team action replacing McGuffie late on before Paartalu brought out a comfortable save from substitute keeper Turley late on.

A miserable day at the office was completed in the last minute when Erik Paartalu was far too easily dispossessed on the half way line. The ease that Oxford then passed the ball up the park before James Constable finished things exemplified our frailties.

I said in my report for the Crawley Town game that one positive was that I really didn't expect to see Morton come up against a better team than Crawley in the Scottish First Division next season. Given how easily Oxford won, the same could be argued. However, I really don't know how good a side Oxford are after this game, given that they weren't really made to work for their win. Pre-season games can be misleading... let's hope so.

Morton (4-3-3):

1. Cuthbert (20. Stewart - 46 mins)
2. McGuffie (21. MacGregor - 81 mins)
3. Monti
4. McManus
5. Greacen
6. Masterton (18. Finlayson - 76 mins)
7. Jenkins (15. Simon Donnelly [Trialist] - 46 mins)
8. MacFarlane (16. Paartalu - 69 mins)
9. Weatherson (19. Grady - 69 mins)
10. Graham (15. Wake - 54 mins)
11. McAlister

Oxford United: Clarke (Turley 46), Foster (Killock 58), Day, Creighton, Sandwith, Kelly (Rhodes 60), Clist, Bulman, Potter (Deering 60), Midson (Murray 60), Green (Constable 60).

My man of the match:

Sponsor's man of the match:

Matchday Programme (Click to enlarge)

Greenock Telegraph match report

oufc.co.uk- match report

oufc.co.uk - match pics

Oxford Mail - match report

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