St. Mirren 2 - 1 Morton

St. Mirren 2 -Dorman (24), O'Donnell (67)
Morton 1 - Jenkins (47)

Att: 4316 (1381 away fans)

A weakened Morton side put up a decent fight against SPL rivals St. Mirren but in the end it just wasn't enough as the Paisley side lifted the Renfrewshire Cup to make it four tournament wins in a row.

Davie Irons took the somewhat controversial decision to rest key players for this match with Saturday's trip to Cowdenbeath in mind. Peter Weatherson, Jim McAlister, Ryan McGuffie and Carlo Monti all found themselves on the bench while Neil MacFarlane, Stewart Greacen and Bryn Halliwell were left out of the squad completely. This gave fringe players such as Colin Stewart, Ryan Harding, Erik Paartalu, Iain Russell and Davie MacGregor a chance to stake a claim for a first team place but none of them were particularly convincing. Irons went back to the 4-5-1 formation with most players in the position you'd expect with the exception of Iain Russell who replaced Jim McAlister on the left of midfield.

This was our first visit to St. Mirren Park and it seemed a bit better inside the stadium than it does from the outside or on television. However, as I said, it's only a bit better. I still think it's a pretty poor effort and the small stands and poor acoustics had me, and probably most of the away support, reminiscing about the Caledonia stand at Love Street. The experience wasn't helped by the farcical stewarding by PMC security. Some of their stewards were telling people to sit where they wanted while others were making people move out of seats to accomodate those with tickets and this was creating chaos all over the stand - I watched in amazement as five people were moved from their seat ten minutes into the match while hundreds of youths sat together at the back in the centre of the stand without being challenged.

In an exact role reversal of Saturday's match against Dumbarton we were poor in the first half but slightly better in the second. St. Mirren had some great chances to open the scoring in the first 20 minutes. Michael Higdon - who gave Ryan Harding and Allan McManus a tough time as they tried to cope with his strength and neat link up play - fired a good chance over the bar while in demand midfielder Andy Dorman curled a shot inches past the post. From my seat I thought this effort was destined for the back of Stewart's net and he really should have scored but Morton breathed a sigh of relief.

However, that relief didn't last long as Dorman bundled the ball home from a yard out after some calamitous defending from Morton in the 24th minute. A Steven Robb cross from the right was flicked on by Higdon and landed at the feet of McManus in the six yard box. The experienced defender took an age to adjust his feet to clear the ball and Dorman nipped in to push the ball against Stewart and over the line. The Scottish Sun has since claimed this was a McManus own goal but it definitely wasn't. The English-born Welshman took great delight in his goal after the away support had questioned his sexuality in song every time he came over to take a corner at our end.

Our only real chance in the first half, if you could even call it a chance, came when Kevin Finlayson's cross deceived former Scotland goalkeeper Paul Gallacher and looped over him only to crash off the cross bar and back out into play. It would've been a very lucky goal and one we didn't deserve on the balance of play.

At half time Irons replaced Alex Walker and the ineffectual Russell with McAlister and Monti and this seemed to inject some life into the Ton. McAlister looked particularly hungry and it was no surprise when his pass set up Morton's equaliser minutes into the second period. Jimbo linked up with Brian Wake on the edge of the box and then fed an excellent slide rule pass into the path of Allan Jenkins - who had timed his burst from midfield to perfection. Jenkins side footed the ball past Gallacher and into his bottom right hand corner to make it 1-1.

Stevie Masterton thought he'd given his team the lead when he curled a terrific left footed shot into the top corner but it was ruled out for offside. And correctly so according to Craig Stewart who would've been in better position to judge as he was sitting in the press box covering the game for the Greenock Telegraph.

Unfortunately the hope that we could go on and win the game was quickly extinguished when Stephen O'Donnell scored what turned out to be the winning goal in the 67th minute. Jack Ross was given too much space out on the right and this gave him the time to measure his cross and pick out a team mate with ease the header was glanced on and smashed in off the far post. There was confusion as to who had scored the goal. So much so that the guy on the tannoy asked the player who scored to raise his hand, when no one did so he gave the goal to Dorman. It has since emerged that O'Donnell got the crucial touch and that he is convinced the goal was his, he told the Sun's Ewing Grahame: "It is definitely my goal. I got a good, solid touch on the cross and I was gutted when I turned round and saw Andy celebrating as though he'd scored. I had a word with him and let him know there's no doubt it was mine."

Jenkins passed up a great chance to equalise in the 77th minute. In a move very reminiscent of his goal Jenkins was put through on goal but this time his low shot was touched onto the post by the outstretched foot of Gallacher. If you're Paul Gallacher it's a great save but it was a disappointing miss from a Morton perspective as Jenkins should've really scored without giving the fomer Dundee United man a chance to save it.

Irons threw on Brian Graham, James Grady and Peter Weatherson late on but it wasn't to be and St. Mirren ran out deserved winners and lifted the Renfrewshire Cup while Morton fans got soaked trying to get home in torrential rain.

Morton (4-5-1):

Stewart- 7
2. MacGregor - 6 (14. McGuffie - 79 mins)
3. Walker - 6 (16. Monti - 46 mins - 7)
4. McManus - 6
5. Harding - 5
6. Masterton - 6 (17. Graham - 73 mins)
7. Finlayson - 6 (16. Grady - 83 mins)
8. Paartalu - 5
9. Wake - 7 (12. Weatherson - 73 mins)
10. Jenkins - 7
11. Russell - 5 (15. McAlister - 46 mins - 7)

Unused Subs:

20. Trialist [Sean Milligan]

MacGregor Harding McManus Walker
Finlayson Masterton Paartalu Jenkins Russell

St. Mirren: Gallacher, Ross, Camara, McGinn, Potter (trialist), Mair, Dorman (Brighton), Thomson (Brady), Wyness (Dargo), Higdon (Mehmet), Robb (O'Donnell).

My man of the match: Michael Higdon (St. Mirren)

Sponsor's man of the match: n/a

Matchday Programme (Click to enlarge)

Match Ticket
(Click to enlarge)

Greenock Telegraph - match report

saintmirren.premiumtv.co.uk - match report

saintmirren.premiumtv.co.uk - match reaction

The Scottish Sun - match report

moneton!!!'s pictures

Tontastic pictures

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