Morton 0 - 1 Ross County

Morton 0 -
Ross County 1 - Wood (68)

Att: 2154

Morton's caretaker management team of James Grady and Allan McManus saw their hopes of getting the job on a permanent basis given a severe dent by losing 1-0 at home to Ross County today.

For the first time in a long time we started with the exact same team and formation for two weeks in a row. Unfortunately the difference in performance was so stark that you'd think it was an entirely different starting eleven from the one that played at Palmerston last week.

Morton were as disjointed, disorganised and lacking in ideas as anything we'd seen under Davie Irons. Ross County were the exact opposite: well drilled, slick, confident and intelligent. Derek Adams' side were in so much control that their defensive line was set up on the half way line. Their midfield and forwards - particularly ex-St. Mirren midfielder Richard Brittain - controlled the game by retaining possession with short passes before knocking more expansive passes all around the pitch in an effort to draw Morton out and probe in the gaps left in behind.

The much maligned Colin Stewart was in excellent form though and pulled off excellent stops to deny Paul Di Giacomo and Garry Wood. The Wood save was particularly impressive; the Ton defence parted like the red sea as Wood waltzed through the centre, however Stewart raced from his line and expertly blocked the County striker's shot.

Wood would not be denied and eventually scored what turned out to be the winning goal. Former Morton winger Michael Gardyne sprinted past MacGregor down our left and cut back for Martin Scott whose drilled effort deflected before squirming past Stewart into the net. Wood has been credited as getting the final touch but there are some fans who have suggested that Stewart Greacen got the final touch and that the goal was, in fact, on O.G. All that mattered to those of a Ton persuasion was that the ball was in the net and that we had 22 minutes left to do something about it.

It could've all been so different if referee Chris Boyle hasn't invented a phantom foul as Stewart Greacen headed home Carlo Monti's corner minutes before half-time. In today's Sunday Mail Greacen said: "My header was a big turning point. The ref gave a foul for Brian [Graham] against the keeper but there's no foul there. He had warned Brian before the corner was taken so he made sure he stood of their keeper." This version of events was confirmed by a pal of mine who was standing on the Sinclair Street terracing when the goal went in, in his words: "that goal should've counted, there was nothing fucking wrong it."

Despite our poor performance we did manage to create a few excellent scoring chances. In the first half Peter Weatherson controlled Jim McAlister's ball over the top with an expertly taken first touch but fired over with his left foot. In the second half Allan Jenkins burst through the centre twice but sclaffed wide on both occasions (that might be a bit harsh as one effort resulted in a corner but I thought he should've done better with both chances), Davie MacGregor lashed a shot over the bar and Allan McManus struck the past after lobbing the ball back into the danger zone after the ball had been half cleared from a corner.

The best chance fell to Brian Graham. The young striker chased down a ball over the top but when faced with the onrushing Ross County goalie Michael McGovern he jumped vertically to head the ball which meant that his header went directly up and didn't have sufficient power to loop over the goalie into the goal. A more positive leap forward would have meant that his header would have been strong enough to beat the keeper and ended up in the net but would've also ensured that McGovern clattered into Graham at full speed. It was disappointing to see that Graham knew this (he took a look at the keeper before jumping) and opted to avoid the clash rather than ensure he scored.

In the end the Staggies held on for what was, in my opinion, a well deserved win.

It might be harsh on a management team who have two wins out of three but I don't think Douglas Rae ever had a mind to give them the job on a permanent basis and today's defeat and performance will have done irreparable damage to any chance they did have of getting it. They will definitely be in charge for the Dundee match next Saturday but if yesterday's (10.10.2009) Greenock Telegraph is anything to go by - "An announcement is scheduled to be made shortly after the home game against Dundee on Saturday 17 October." - it will probably be their last.

Morton (4-4-2):

1. Stewart - 8
2. MacGregor - 5
3. Monti - 7 (12. Paartalu - 87 mins)
4. McManus - 6
5. Greacen - 7
6. MacFarlane - 7
7. Finlayson - 7
8. Jenkins - 6 (15. McGuffie - 80 mins)
9. Graham - 6
10. Weatherson - 5
11. McAlister - 6

Unused Subs:

14. Harding
16. Gordon
20. McWilliams

Booked: MacFarlane, Weatherson.

Finlayson Greacen McManus MacGregor
McAlister Jenkins MacFarlane Monti
Graham Weatherson

Ross County: McGovern, Morrison, Boyd, Miller, Keddie, Brittain, Scott, Kettlewell, Gardyne (Vigurs, 81), Di Giacomo (Lawson, 55), Wood.

Subs Not Used: Grant, Moore, Malin.

Booked: Brittain, Wood.

My man of the match: Colin Stewart

Sponsor's man of the match: Colin Stewart

Matchday Programme (Click to enlarge)

Greenock Telegraph - Match Report

Greenock Telegraph - Match Reaction

The Scottish Sun - Match Report

The Daily Record - Match Report

The Sunday Mail - Match Report

bbc sport - Match Report

1 comment:

mortonjag said...

We've been here before with Rae and Management decisions. If we beat Dundee (which would surprise me none), the appointment will go 'on hold'!