Dunferline Athletic 3 - 1 Morton

Dunfermline Athletic 3 - Cardle (62), Graham (71), Bell (86)
Morton 1 - McGuffie (74)

Att: 2411

James Grady's chances of landing the manager's job on a permanent basis were handed a fatal blow when his injury ravaged Morton side lost 3-1 at Dunfermline yesterday.

I say injury ravaged but this might be slightly misleading as there were only two changes to recent starting XIs: Carlo Monti and Erik Paartalu replaced the recently injured midfield duo of Allan Jenkins and Neil MacFarlane in the centre of the park. The other absentees were long term crocks Kevin Cuthbert, Dominic Shimmin, Alex Walker and Stevie Masterton. Greenock-born Under-19s defender Jamie Docherty filled a place on the bench.

The term injury ravaged became more appropriate after just 15 minutes as Brian Graham was stretchered off to be replaced by Brian Wake. From that point on you could sense it wasn't going to be our day.

The first half was rubbish. Morton had a lot of possession but didn't really use it effectively. There was the usual passing from side to side but nothing going forward. This is where I think we really miss Chris Millar. He always liked to get on the ball and drive at people with it rather than be happy to pass it sideways. This is also Allan Jenkins' big strength but I don't think he does it often enough. I also think his runs are more about brute strength while Millar's were more about finesse and darting between players. Both can be effective and I'd just like to see someone do it for us a bit more often.

To be honest the first 45 minues were so brutal that I can't remember much about it. I write match reports from memory and don't take notes, so incidents really need to stand out for me to remember them. One such moment was a superb save from Colin Stewart. Steven Bell headed Greg Ross's cross from the left onto Andy Kirk who was yards from goal, the Northern Ireland internationalist looked certain to score but Stewart flung himself across goal to make a miraculous block. Stewart has often found himself on the end of stinging criticism in the past so it was really good to see the big goalkeeper get a rousing round of applause and rendition of 'There's only one Colin Stewart' from the Ton support. What wasn't so good was when one fan shouted "Thank Fuck!" when everyone finished singing.

We were much better in the second half. Grady has been talking about how they've been working on getting the ball down and playing in training and you could see this come to the fore in the second half. We were moving the ball slickly and working some intricate moves on the edge of the box. In the 51st minute one such move ended with Kevin Finlayson whipping over an excellent cross from out on the right which Peter Weatherson met with what seemed a perfect header at the back post. However, Greg Fleming pulled off a Colin Stewart-esque save when he flung himself across goal to push the ball over the bar.

Morton were taking control of the match and like a good manager should, Jim McIntyre reacted to this by making changes. Before going on and I'd just like to add that I don't mean McIntyre is a particularly good manager just that he reacted like one. In the 58th minute he added pace and width by introducing Willie Gibson and Nicky Phinn for Alex Burke and Graham Bayne - this changed the game.

Four minutes after their introduction Dunfermline scored the opener. David Graham broke down the right and crossed to the back post where the unmarked Joe Cardle bulleted a header into the net. For those who weren't there you might remember Cardle as a winger who scored a superb curling shot that crashed in off the bar at Cappielow earlier this season and, going further back, who had an excellent match against us in an Airdrie shirt at Cappielow in November of last year.

It looked to be game over 10 minutes later when Graham raced onto Stewart Greacen's woefully directed headed clearance and slotted past Stewart with ease. This was the kind of mistake Greacen used to make regularly a couple of seasons ago. Apart from this mistake he had a pretty decent match - hopefully Stewart focuses on the positives rather than let the mistake prey on his mind.

Fortunately he didn't have much time to dwell on the mistake as we hit back instantly. Three minutes after Graham's goal Ryan McGuffie headed us back into the game. The former Gretna man nodded the ball into an empty net after Fleming had saved a Wake header from a Jim McAlister cross.

We were really pressing for an equaliser now and Paartalu - who I felt had a good game - had a couple of chances late on. First his long range effort was tipped over the bar and then he headed over from a corner. Just as we looked like we would score the Pars caught us on the counter four minutes from time. A poor Paartalu pass down the left was intercepted and passed onto Graham (who else), he broke down the right (again) and cut back for Cardle. Stewart raced out to the edge of the box to block but the ball fell to Bell who slotted the ball home with the goal at his mercy.

We weren't great but neither were the home side, and that's what concerns me. The first half was poor and we did pass the ball better in the second half but we really lack pace and a cutting edge up front. Those are just two things a new manager will have to address and for me, it has to be a new manager. Grady and McManus have given it their all and I thank them for that but I just don't think you can give the job to an inexperienced manager who has lost three matches (and in a row that) out of the five he's had in charge. I can see an improvement under Grady and McManus but, for me, it's definitely not been enough to get them the job. More importantly, I don't think it will have been good enough for Douglas Rae either.

Morton (4-4-2):

1. Stewart - 7
2. MacGregor - 6
3. Monti - 6
4. McManus - 6
5. Greacen - 6
6. Paartalu - 7
7. Finlayson - 7
8. McGuffie - 6
9. Graham - 2 (15. Wake - 15 mins - 7)
10. Weatherson - 6
11. McAlister - 7

Unused Subs:

12. Docherty
14. Harding
16. Grady
20. McWilliams

Booked: Paartalu, MacGregor, Monti.

Finlayson Greacen McManus MacGregor
McGuffie Paartalu Monti McAlister
Graham Weatherson

Dunfermline: Fleming, Ross (Higgins 79), Woods, Bell, McGregor, Dowie, David Graham, Burke (Phinn 58), Bayne (Gibson 58), Kirk, Cardle.

Subs Not Used: McDougall, Paterson..

Booked: Ross, Bell..

My man of the match: Erik Paartalu

Sponsor's man of the match: Greg Fleming (Dunfermline)

Matchday Programme (Click to enlarge)


Greenock Telegraph - Match Report

Greenock Telegraph - Match Reaction

The Scottish Sun - Match Report

The Daily Record - Match Report

dafc.premiumtv.co.uk - Match Report

dafc.premiumtv.co.uk - Match Reaction (David Graham)

dafc.premiumtv.co.uk - Match Reaction (Jim McIntyre)

dafc.premiumtv.co.uk - Match Reaction (Greg Fleming)

bbc sport - Match Report

dafc.premiumtv.co.uk - pictures

1 comment:

mortonjag said...

I think that any Manager would have his skills stretched at the moment - we're just SO threadbare!

Don't try to second guess Mr Rae on Managerial appointments. He has a habit of surprising us all!!