Morton 0 - 0 Dumbarton

Morton 0 -
Dumbarton 0

Att: 1882

Up for the cup: second division Dumbarton came to Cappielow and emerged with a creditable 0-0 draw after a lacklustre Morton failed to match their lower league opponents for effort in the 3rd round of the Active Nation Scottish Cup.

There were few surprises in James Grady's team selection as he went with the same starting line-up for the fourth match in a row. Dumbarton included former Ton defender Chris Smith (pictured, below) at centre-half in a 4-5-1 formation designed to contain and frustrate the Cappielow men. Credit to Sons boss Jim Chapman though - it worked.

In newspaper previews Grady made a point of stating that we had to win the battles and match the effort of our lower league opponents. We didn't quite do that though. We weren't terrible; it just looked the players thought that all they had to do was turn up, and that a goal would come eventually.

Both goalkeepers ensured that there would be no goals at either end. In the first half Jan Vojacek, Dumbarton's Czech shot stopper, made saves to deny Jim McAlister, Ryan McGuffie and Brian Wake.

The second half belonged to Colin Stewart. While Vojacek could only watch as Paartalu's chested the ball down and sent a stunning dipping volley narrowly over and then almost gave away a penalty when he clumsily barged into Stewart Greacen, Stewart made important saves to deny Andy Geggan, Scott Chaplain and Roddy Hunter. Then, in the final minute, Ross Clark put Derek Carcary through on goal with just the Morton goalie to beat. Stewart kept his team in the cup by racing out to make the crucial block - a block that, it turned out, could earn his club thousands of pounds in revenue as the winners of the replay have been drawn to play at home to Celtic in the 4th round.

Brian Graham was the only player to manage to put the ball in the net, but the substitute's 67th minute strike (pictured, below) was ruled out as he was clearly offside. Unfortunately, Graham decided to take nip in to take the ball off the toes of Ryan McGuffie, who would've been allowed to run through on goal after timing his run to perfection.

Vojacek's first-half saves won him man of the match (probably because he was the goalkeeper for the underdogs), but in my opinion the award should've went to the Ton number one. Stewart has been one of the top performers in recent weeks. Grady has that ability that all great managers seem to have - the one where they regularly manage to get the best out of some of the less naturally gifted, and less confident, members of their squad. For example, guys like Stewart, Erik Paartalu, Brian Wake and Kevin Finlayson are flourishing under the Grady / McManus partnership.

Chris Smith was another star performer. Junior was widely criticised for his performances at left-back in his time at Cappielow. However, I always felt sorry for him as Davie Irons insisted on playing him at left-back - presumably, for the simple reason that he was naturally left-footed - even though he was a centre-half to trade. It was obvious that he was uncomfortable in the full-back position. He didn't have the poise, mobility or ball skills necessary to play there. His strengths were all physical in nature: he was good in the air, reasonably strong and robust in the tackle. I think that Chris proved that he wasn't as bad as some people thought, particularly in the way he dealt with Peter Weatherson.

Morton never really managed to get out of first gear and the match finished 0-0. The tie goes to a replay at the Strathclyde Homes Stadium next Saturday. Morton will need to raise their game considerably if they want to face Celtic in the next round.

Photographs courtesy of Tontastic

Morton (4-4-2):

1. Stewart - 8
2. Van Zanten - 6
3. MacGregor - 6
4. Reid - 7
5. Greacen - 6
6. Paartalu - 7
7. Finlayson - 7
8. McGuffie - 5
9. Wake - 5
10. Weatherson - 6 (16. Graham - 60)
11. McAlister - 7

Unused Subs:

12. Monti
14. Kane
15. McManus
20. McWilliams

Booked: Reid

van Zanten Greacen MacGregor Reid
Finlayson Paartalu McGuffie McAlister
Wake Weatherson

Dumbarton: Vojacek, O'Donoghue, Smith, Dunlop, Gordon, McStay, Chisholm, Chaplain, Hunter (Carcary - 76), Geggan (Clark - 81), Murray.

Subs Not Used: Craig, McNiff, White

My man of the match: Colin Stewart

Sponsor's man of the match: Jan Vojacek (Dumbarton)

Matchday Programme (Click to enlarge)

Greenock Telegraph - Match Report

Greenock Telegraph - Match Reaction

The Scottish Sun - Match Report

dumbartonfootballclub.com - Match Report

bbc sport - Match Report

tontastic pictures

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