Morton 1 - 2 Queen Of The South

Morton 1 - Weatherson (23)
Queen Of The South 2
- Burns (31), Holmes (64)

Att: 1814

Lightning strikes twice: 12 years ago Laurent Djaffo scored a stunning 40 yard volley to earn Ayr United a draw at Cappielow. Today, Queen Of The South's Derek Holmes scored a carbon copy of that goal to earn his side a 2-1 win.

After a run of consistent team selection James Grady decided that changes were needed after a poor second half showing at Dingwall in midweek. Dominic Shimmin was restored to the starting eleven after nine months out injured. As a result, David MacGregor moved out one to left-back to take the place of the suspended Alan Reid. There were also changes further forward: up front, Jim McAlister was preferred to both Brian Graham and Brian Wake (possibly because Grady felt he was more mobile than those two), while Ryan McGuffie took Jim's place in midfield.

Just like in the Ross County match last Tuesday, Morton started brightly. In the 8th minute McAlister headed an Erik Paartalu cross over the bar. Two minutes later Peter Weatherson headed a Carlo Monti cross inches wide.

Morton should've taken the lead in the 16th minute. Monti clipped a free-kick into the Queens box from just inside the opposition half. Weatherson jumped and flicked the ball on and quick as a flash he turned his marker and got on the end of his own header to volley towards goal, but David Hutton was equal to it. However, the keeper's block fell perfectly for the in-rushing McGuffie who only succeeded in blasting the ball right back at Hutton who made another decent save. A goalmouth scrambled ensued, one in which Stewart Greacen had a couple of shots blocked before the ball was cleared to safety. In my opinion, McGuffie really should've scored.

Derek Holmes almost gave the away side the lead a minute later. The chunky striker chased down a backpass and blocked Colin Stewart's attempted clearance. Fortunately for Stewart the ball flew over the crossbar.

We eventually got the goal our play merited in the 23rd minute. Paartalu was quickest to a loose ball out on the right, he steadied himself before drilling an undefendable cross into the six yard box. Weatherson managed to sneak ahead of the Queens of the South rearguard and bullet a header past Hutton for his eighth goal of the season.

Stewart Greacen sometimes comes unstuck when faced with a striker of a similar height and physical stature. Kenny Deuchar has given the big man a torrid time on more than one occasion. I also remember lanky Alloa striker Andy Brown giving him a bit of a runaround in one match at Cappielow. To be fair, he hasn't been coming second best in many of these battles over the last season or two, but he certainly did at the weekend. Derek Holmes was outmuscling him and beating him in the air with alarming regularity. In the 29th minute Holmes nodded the ball down (after outjumping Greacen) to David Weatherston, but Stewart managed to push the pacy striker's shot around the post for a corner.

The Dumfries men equalised in the 31st minute. Willie McLaren skipped past Greacen out on the left and cut inside before releasing Paul Burns down the right. The matchstick thin midfielder ran at Davie MacGregor who backed off, and backed off, thus giving Burns enough time and space to hit a speculative shot at goal that hit off the underside of Stewart's body and bounced up into the net. It was a pretty weak effort that Stewart should've saved, but MacGregor should've never let him get a shot away in the first place.

In the 35th minute referee Steven Nicholl decided to wave play on after Marvin Andrews appeared to foul Weatherson in the box. Kevin Finlayson clipped a diagonal pass in behind Andrews, Peter chested across the Trinidad and Tobago defender at angle that put him past his opponent with no chance of recovery - unless he fouled him! Andrews turned and barged into the Ton striker for what should've been a stonewall penalty. The only problem was that the only man in the stadium who didn't agree was the man who mattered. This proved to be a big turning point.

Just like in the Ross County match we faded spectacularly. To be quite frank, the second half performance was pretty abysmal. We only had two real chances of note in the second half. In the 5oth minute McAlister dragged a left footed shot past Hutton's left hand post. Then, 30 minutes later, substitute Stevie Masterton drilled a 30 yarder inches past the same post.

Queen Of The South's winner was sandwiched in between these two chances. Holmes beat (or 'ragdolled' as the guy standing behind me described it) Greacen in an aerial joust and turned to get on the end of his own flick on - much like Weatherson did at the start of the match. He then proceeded to stun everyone present by letting the ball bounce once before smashing a 35 yard volley over the stranded Stewart and into the net via the post. This wasn't quite as good as Djaffo's goal, but spectacular nonetheless. If I'm being critical I'd suggest that Stewart was a bit too far off his line. This goal turned out to be the winner as Queens held on for a 2-1 win.

In Monday's Evening Times assistant manager Allan McManus said: "I felt we didn’t turn up in the second half. We will need to go back to the drawing board.” The last two results have been poor, but the first half performances have been positive and with more players coming back from injury and the January transfer window almost upon us I still feel optimistic that Grady and McManus are taking us in the right direction. I'd prefer to see it as building on what they've already started rather than going back to the drawing board.

Morton (4-4-2):

1. Stewart - 6
2. Van Zanten - 6
3. MacGregor - 5
4. Shimmin - 7
5. Greacen - 5
6. Paartalu - 7
7. Finlayson - 6
8. Monti - 6 (12. Graham - 79 mins)
9. Weatherson - 7
10. McGuffie - 5 (15. Masterton - 75 mins)
11. McAlister - 5

Unused Subs:

14. Wake
16. Shepherd
20. McWilliams

van Zanten Greacen Shimmin MacGregor
Finlayson McGuffie Monti
Weatherson McAlister

Queen Of The South: Hutton, McMillan, Harris, McKenna, Reid, Andrews, Burns, Quinn, Holmes, Weatherston (Scally 90), McLaren (Kean 74).

Subs Not Used: Wyness, McParland [Trialist], McGeown,

Booked: McMillan, McKenna.

My man of the match: Dominic Shimmin

Sponsor's man of the match:

Matchday Programme (Click to enlarge)

Greenock Telegraph - Match Report

Greenock Telegraph - Match Reaction

Scottish Sun - Match Report

Daily Record - Match Report

qosfc.com - Match Report

qosfc.com - Match Reaction

bbc sport - Match Report

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