Morton 0 - 2 Partick Thistle

Morton 0 -
Partick Thistle 2 - Buchanan (53), Donnelly (56)

Att: 2738

A game of two halves: failing to take our chances when we were on top meant that we got nothing out of a match that we could've, and should've, won.

James Grady has been given permission to make some badly needed additions to the playing squad by chairman Douglas Rae and the result was the appearance of two trialists in today's starting line-up. Interestingly, and encouragingly, Grady has taken days to try and sort out a problem that other managers have ignored for years - the full-backs; Alan Reid started at left-back with David van Zanten on the right. Reid should be familiar to most Morton fans having had two previous spells with the club (on loan in 2001/02 and two trialist appearances last season). van Zanten has an impressive pedigree having just been released by Hibs after spells with Celtic and St. Mirren.

The arrival of full-backs meant a reshuffle elsewhere: David MacGregor moved in one to centre-half; Allan McManus dropped out of the squad; Kevin Finlayson moved forward to right-midfield and Ryan McGuffie movied infield to centre-mid. Young Ryan Kane and player/manager James Grady kept their places on the bench.

It seems to have been the story of our season so far - we start brightly but miss several good chances, chances you just know our opponents more clinical strikers would be taking. Then, as the game goes on our opponents capitalise on some poor defending to open the scoring. From then on all our good work goes out the window as the team's confidence instantly drains away and we go on to concede more shocking goals.

The sequence started not long after kick-off as Peter Weatherson burst from midfield and when faced with two options - play in Wake or shoot - when he got to the edge of the box he couldn't make up his mind and eventually stumbled over the ball conceding possession in the process.

Weatherson had another good chance in the 20th minute. The Englishman arrived right on cue to meet Finalyson's cross from the right but his header looped over the bar and landed on the roof of the net.

Four minutes before half-time it was Brian Wake's turn to pass up an excellent chance. To the big striker's credit he fashioned the chance for himself by dancing past a few Thistle defenders in the box but just when he'd got beyond the opposition rearguard, and with the goal at his mercy, he stabbed his shot straight at Jonny Tuffey in the Thistle goal. It was so frustrating to see him do all the hard work and then lose all composure and blast the ball with his toe when all that was required was a calm side footed finish into the bottom corner. "Easy for you to say" I hear you say, but then I'm not paid to score goals for a living - Wake is.

That wasn't our last opportunity in the half, just two minutes after Wake missed Peter passed up a good chance when he drilled a shot into the side netting. For a split second it looked to me as if the ball had gone in. Unfortunately, my eyes deceived me - the ball had rippled the net on the wrong side.

The away team weren't without their chances. Thistle's Liam Buchanan wasted an excellent opportunity of his own in the 31st minute. Simon Donelly's flick on found Buchanan in behind the Ton defence but the ex-Cowdenbeath striker snatched at the chance and hooked the ball wide of Colin Stewart's right hand post. It wasn't far wide though and I thought it was actually in when he hit it. Unfortunately, for us Buchanan would make up for his miss by scoring later on.

Donnelly was also denied minutes before half-time when MacGregor got back to head off the line after Stewart had fumbled.

The two sides went in level at half-time and Grady had reason to be pleased with his team's performance. We were playing the better football and creating more chances but you just knew our failure to convert any of those chances would come back to haunt us in the second half.

And so it came to pass. Two identical goals three minutes apart sealed the win. David Rowson burst into the box and despite Alan Reid's desperate lunge managed to cut back for Buchanan to slot home the 1st in the 53rd minute. Then, in the 56th minute, it was Buchanan who turned provider. The pacy frontman left MacGregor trailing in his wake as he raced down the left before squaring for player-coach Donnelly to side-foot home. I was at the Wee Dublin End of the Cowshed (and talking during the lead up both goals) so I'm not really in a position to analyse them in detail but Reid and MacGregor both seem suspect as both goals came down the side, were almost identical and happened minutes apart.

The game died a death and even though McGuffie had a header from a corner cleared off the line we were a beaten team. It was so obvious that even the (decent) Thistle away support knew it and rubbed salt in the wounds by singing 'You're going down with the Airdrie, down with the Airdrie'. Five straight defeats says they might be right if things don't change soon. Getting a fast striker in on loan and van Zanten - who had a very good game - signed on a short-term deal before someone else snaps him up would be a great start.

Photos courtesy of Tam S (aka moneton!!!)

Morton (4-4-2):

1. Stewart - 6
2. Van Zanten [Trialist] - 8
3. MacGregor - 5
4. Reid [Trialist] - 6
5. Greacen - 6
6. Paartalu - 6
7. Finlayson - 6 (15. Kane - 76 mins)
8. McGuffie - 6
9. Wake - 6 (16. Grady - 67 mins)
10. Weatherson - 5
11. McAlister - 5

Unused Subs:

12. Harding
15. Monti
20. McWilliams

van Zanten Greacen MacGregor Reid
Finlayson Paartalu McGuffie McAlister
Wake Weatherson

Partick Thistle: Tuffey, Paton, Archibald, Hodge (Adams, 46), Robertson, Maxwell, Cairney, Rowson, Buchanan (Lovell, 65), Donnelly, Erskine (Corcoran, 68).

Subs Not Used: Corrigan, Hinchcliffe.

My man of the match: David Van Zanten

Sponsor's man of the match:

Matchday Programme (Click to enlarge)

Greenock Telegraph - Match Report

Greenock Telegraph - Match Reaction

The Scottish Sun - Match Report

The Daily Record - Match Report

ptfc.co.uk - Match Report

ptfc.co.uk - Match Reaction (Ian McCall)

bbc sport - Match Report

moneton!!!'s Flickr Pics

Tontastic Pics

ptfc.co.uk - Pics

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