Raith Rovers 1 - 2 Morton

Raith Rovers 1 - Smith (pen 79)
Morton 2
- Weatherson (35, 52)

Att: 1,702

raithroversfc.com - Highlights

At the double: Peter Weatherson signed a new two year deal at the beginning of the week and started to repay James Grady's faith with a match winning brace against Raith Rovers at Starks Park today.

Grady made two changes to the team that lost 1-0 to Celtic in the Scottish Cup. Michael Tidser, who was making his debut, replaced Neil MacFarlane in central midfield and Brian Graham took over from Brian Wake up front.

Tidser almost made an immediate impact, but Graham could only head his inswinging free-kick into the hands of Davie McGurn in the 2nd minute.

However, this was our only proper chance of the first half. Raith, on the other hand, missed a number of guilt edged chances.

In the 15th minute former St. Mirren defender, Laurie Ellis, headed wide from an Allan Walker corner from the right. The left-back was all alone in the six yard box and really should have scored.

You'd have thought Morton would've learned their lesson, but you'd have been wrong. Ten minutes later it was Johnny Russell's turn to pass up a glorious chance to put Rovers into the lead. The Scottish youth internationalist, who is currently on loan from Dundee United, headed an Ellis cross against the upright after some clumsy defending from Stewart Greacen had gifted Rovers possession . The ball rebounded to safety and Morton breathed another huge sigh of relief.

Two minutes later Grégory Tadé made a bit of space for himself on the edge of the box, but he leaned back as he struck the ball and his shot flew high into the stand behind the goal.

So, it was a bit of surprise when Morton took the lead against the run of play in the 35th minute. Jim McAlister received an Alan Reid throw in and played a little one-two with the left-back before whipping over a delightful inswinging cross that Peter Weatherson guided into McGurn's bottom left hand corner with an expertly placed header (pictured, below).

We looked as if we were denied a stonewall penatly in the 42nd minute when Grant Murray careered clumsily into Weatherson's back, but referee Crawfurd Allan was disinterested.

Rovers had the last chance of the half but Russell could only blast wide with the goal at his mercy.

Morton doubled their lead seven minutes after the restart. Jim McAlister dispossessed Russell and passed the ball to Graham. The striker gave him it back and Jim broke away down the left before cutting the ball inside for Allan Jenkins. Jenks hooked the ball into Weatherson's path and Morton's top goalscorer took a fresh air swipe before eventually getting a shot away with his toe to beat McGurn. It wasn't a great finish, but they all count - and the goal would prove to be crucial in the end.

The game was a battle from start to finish and the period from Weatherson's second goal to Rovers' penalty was devoid of goalmouth incidents. But it was full of grit and determination as both teams battled all over a quagmire of a pitch. The game style - and the state of the pitch - ensured that it almost impossible for Michael Tidser to use his passing to exert an influence on the game, and Grady decided to replace him with Erik Paartalu in the 55th minute because of this.

I thought Tidser's debut was quite promising without being spectacular. He is a midfield playmaker who looks to dictate the play by putting his foot on the ball and looking for a pass. He isn't an attacking midfielder who runs at people with the ball and gets lots of shots away. He was tidy in possession and looks to have a good range of passing, although he did look to play a couple of very ambitious balls over the top that no one read, and probably wouldn't have got on the end of anyway. I particularly liked the way he could take a pass into feet and accurately lay the ball back into his team mate's path - rather than put it right back to where the other player was standing when he gave him the ball - with one touch. Hopefully there's more to come as he gets to know his team mates and gets the chance to play on a half decent pitch.

The penalty was awarded in the 79th minute. From our position in the stand it was hard to ascertain just what had happened, but the highlights on the Raith Rovers website shows that Dominic Shimmin clearly barged Tadé to the ground. Annoyingly the replays also proved that the foul took place well outside the box. This was a truly awful decision. Kevin Smith wasn't bothered and stepped up to put his side back into the game. He stroked his penalty down the middle, and although Colin Stewart appeared to get a hand to it, the power was such that it still found its way into the net.

The goal inspired Rovers and Tadé had two excellent chances in the 83rd and 84th minutes. He curled the first over the bar and drilled the second straight at Stewart after being put through one-on-one by Smith.

The home side had one final chance to level the match deep into stoppage time but substitute Iain Williamson dragged his left shot wide after a corner from the right found him unmarked at the back post.

Raith certainly deserved something from this match, so it was great to see Morton actually fight and scrap for a result for a change. We should take real encouragement from the fact that we managed to hold on for the three points. As recently as a few weeks back I believe we would've capitulated under the pressure. We proved we are up for the battle and this bodes well for the future.

Morton (4-4-2):

1. Colin Stewart - 6
2. Ryan McGuffie - 7
3. Alan Reid - 6
4. Dominic Shimmin - 7
5. Stewart Greacen - 7
6. Michael Tidser - 7 (14. Erik Paartalu - 55 mins)
7. Kevin Finlayson - 7
8. Allan Jenkins - 6
9. Peter Weatherson - 8
10. Brian Graham - 6 (15. Iain Russell - 79 mins)
11. Jim McAlister - 7

Unused Subs:

12. David MacGregor
16. Carlo Monti
20. Kevin Cuthbert

Booked: Tidser, McGuffie.

McGuffie Greacen Shimmin Reid
Finlayson Jenkins Tidser McAlister
Graham Weatherson

Raith Rovers: McGurn, Wilson, Ellis, Campbell, Murray, Walker, Russell (Darren Smith, 68), Simmons, Kevin Smith, Tade (Weir, 85), Ferry (Williamson, 68)

Unused Subs: Sloan, O'Connor.

Booked: Williamson

My man of the match: Peter Weatherson

Sponsor's man of the match: Mark Campbell (Raith)

Matchday Programme (Click to enlarge)


Match Ticket

Greenock Telegraph - Match Report

Scottish Sun - Match Report

bbc sport - Match Report

Raith Rovers - Match Report

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