Airdrie United 3 - 0 Morton

Airdrie United 3 - McGuffie o.g. (34), Lovering (56 pen, 65 pen)
Morton 0

Att: 1,017

Reffin' Hell: Referee Brian Colvin had a busy afternoon as he awarded Airdrie three penalties, sent off Morton goalkeeper Kevin Cuthbert and waved away two Ton penalty appeals. However, most of these decisions were correct - it was his general refereeing performance that was the problem.

James Grady made three changes to the side that drew 1-1 with Raith Rovers in midweek. After impressing as a substitute in that game, it was no surprise that Kevin Finlayson replaced Stevie Masterton at right-midfield. Loan signing David Witteveen made his debut in place of Peter Weatherson, who is rumoured to be carrying a hernia injury.The third change was a real surprise as Neil MacFarlane returned to the starting line-up for the first time since the televised match against Partick Thistle at the start of January.

We almost got off to a great start when, in the 5th minute, Donovan Simmonds skipped past two players out on the right and forced his way into a threatening position in the box, but in the end he hit a tame foot effort that Airdrie goalkeeper Stephen Robertson saved with ease.

The bright start counted for nothing as disaster struck in the 12th minute. Ton goalie Kevin Cuthbert was given his marching orders for pulling back Scott Gemmill inside the box after the Airdrie striker profited from a mix up between Cuthbert and Dominic Shimmin on the edge of the box. This was a huge error by the Morton goalkeeper as there was no need for him to race to the side of his box and even when Gemmill did get past him he should have let him go on and score (or miss) rather than give away a penalty and leave his team facing 78 minutes with ten men.

The Ton custodian, who was only recently restored to the starting eleven, looked crushed as he trudged from the field while being treated to a volley of abuse by the away support.
And he wasn't afforded any sympathy by his manager, who summed up the incident in today's News of the World: "It was a stupid mistake by Kevin Cuthbert and the ref got the decision correct." However, Grady was also treated to a torrent of criticism when he decide to replace new signing Witteveen with sub goalie Colin Stewart. It's a criticism that I don't share as I thought that his only option was to bring off a striker and it was really a toss up between the two.

Amazingly, after all the commotion died down, Stewart saved former Ton youngster Alan Trouten's penalty. The 6' 3" stopper used his long reach to get down to his right and tip the ball round the pot for a corner. I felt that Stewart was harshly dropped a couple of weeks ago, so it was great to see the big man come in and show what he could do.

Unfortunately, this was just delaying the inevitable as Airdrie used their extra man to good effect. It was in the 31st minute that they took the lead. The Diamonds switched the ball quickly from right to left, where Ricky Waddell and found enough space to get a shot away. His strike hit Ryan McGuffie, who got over to close the shot down, and looped over the helpless Stewart and into the back of the net.

The home side should've went in at the interval 2-0 up, but Ryan McCann volleyed into the ground and wide from 8 yards after Diarmuid O'Carroll had nodded the ball down to him.

Grady tried to change things at half-time by bringing off the ineffectual and unfit Allan Jenkins and replacing him with Stevie Masterton, probably with the thinking that our only real chance of nicking a goal was through one of his set-pieces, but it didn't really make much difference.

The league's bottom club almost scored a second just one minute into the second half when O'Carroll met Trouten's cross from out on the right but the Irishman headed over.

The referee was having a nightmare. Every decision was going in Airdrie's favour, and to such an extent that the Airdrie players were laughing about it. There was a particulary bad decision that had Airdrie keeper Robertson running to the subs behind the goal laughing and pointing.

Strangely, I did think that he got it right when he awarded the Diamonds their second penalty of the match in the 56th minute. Kevin McKinlay did brilliant to get across to the right to make an amazing covering slide tackle, but when he got up he appeared to barge into Gemmill with excessive force. Gemmill may well have gone down easy, as other Ton fans have claimed, but I still thought the contact was strong enough to knock him over. Left-back Paul Lovering showed Trouten how it should be done by tucking his penalty into the bottom left hand corner as Stewart dived the other way.

Ten minutes later, referee Colvin pointed to the spot for the third time, and I thought this was the one he got wrong. From where I was sitting, which admittedly was a long way away, it looked like McGuffie and Gemmill tangled legs and both fell to the ground. Lovering didn't care as he stepped up and smashed the penalty to the same side to make it 3-0. Stewart went the right way this time but was beaten by the power.

After this Donovan Simmonds had two penalty appeals turned down - neither of which I thought were penalties - and had a decent effort at goal saved by Robertson in the 68th minute after some neat link up play involving McGuffie, Jim McAlister and Peter Weatherson, who'd come on as a substitute in the second half.

Paul Keegan missed a glorious chance to make it four right at the end when he side-footed wide from inside the six yard box.

In reality, these incidents didn't mean anything as the match was basically over as soon as Cuthbert was sent off in the 12th minute. The team need to put this match firmly behind them and concentrate on getting three points against Ayr United on Tuesday - nothing less will do.

Morton (4-4-2):

1. Kevin Cuthbert - 1
2. Ryan McGuffie - 6
3. Kevin McKinlay - 6
4. Dominic Shimmin - 6
5. David MacGregor - 6
6. Neil MacFarlane - 6 (12. Peter Weatherson - 58 mins)
7. Kevin Finlayson - 6
8. Allan Jenkins - 4 (14. Stevie Masterton - 46 mins - 6)
9. David Witteveen - 3 (20. Colin Stewart - 12 mins - 6)
10. Donovan Simmonds - 6
11. Jim McAlister (c) - 6

Unused Subs:

14. Erik Paartalu
16. Stewart Greacen

Booked: McKinlay.

Sent Off: Kevin Cuthbert (12)

Cuthbert (Stewart)
McGuffie MacGregor Shimmin McKinlay
Finlayson Jenkins (Masterton) MacFarlane McAlister
Witteveen Simmonds

Airdrie United: Stephen Robertson; Simon Storey, Marc Smyth, Bobby Donnelly, Paul Lovering; Alan Trouten, Ryan McCann, Scott McLaughlin, Ricky Waddell; Diarmuid O'Carroll (Kevin Watt, 72), Scott Gemmill (Paul Keegan, 72).

Unused Subs: Tom Parratt, David Nixon, Lee Hollis.

My man of the match: Colin Stewart

Sponsor's man of the match: Scott Gemmill (Airdrie)

Matchday Programme (Click to enlarge)

Greenock Telegraph - Match Report

Scottish Sun - Match Report

bbc sport - Match Report

airdrieunitedfc.com - Match Report

Tontastic Photgraphs

1 comment:

mortonjag said...

Rae can't afford an experienced manager and I wish the Grady bashers would cut our 'rookie' boss a bit of slack. No new money was spent in the transfer window - he's had to do largely with Irons' dregs!

A victory against Ayr tonight will no doubt have him touted for the Cellic job by some of the bright sparks on fans' forums!