Morton 2 - 2 Airdrie United

2 - Graham (52), Kean (64).
Airdrie United 2 - MacKay-Steven (23), Stevenson (47).

The lowest Cappielow crowd of the season saw a spirited second half fightback enable Morton to come from two goals down against Airdrie United to secure a replay, despite being reduced to 10 men.

Old foes Airdrie unsettled Morton with a whirlwind start and eventually took the lead in the 23rd minute when former Ross County and Liverpool youth Gary MacKay-Steven, who was superb all night out on the left of midfield, rifled home a sensational finish from 25 yards.

However, he was outdone by ex-Morton midfielder Jame Stevenson two minutes into the second half, when he, rather inevitably, scored. There was nothing inevitable about how it came, however, as he lined up to take a free-kick 40 yards from goal. But he struck a ferocious low, swerving strike which flew past Colin Stewart into his bottom left-hand corner to double his side's lead.

It was a fine strike but a goalkeeper shouldn't really be beaten from 40 yards and I suspect the Ton custodian will be disappointed to have conceded the goal.

Brian Graham brought his side back into the game shortly afterwards when he arrived right on cue to head Kevin McKinlay's superb cross into the ground and past Hearts loanee Mark Ridgers - who, like MacKay-Steven, is a product of the Ross County youth academy.

Graham has now netted a very impressive seven goals in nine consecutive starts to make him the club's top scorer this season.

The chances of a comeback appeared to vanish when Marc Smyth was sent off in the 54th minute for a pull on Scott Gemmill. The foul earned him a second booking after he'd been cautioned for dissent during the half-time interval.

Allan Moore has a very positive approach to football management: he wants his team to win every single match they play. And that ethos was evident when he decided to play on with three at the back rather than make a substitution to sacrifice a forward player for a defender to replace Smyth.

It paid off handsomely when Stewart Kean raced onto Stuart McCaffrey fantastic 50 yard diagonal pass and fired a low shot beyond Ridgers to level the scores at 2-2 and ensure that he re-joined Graham as the club's top scorer on seven goals.

Diamonds forward Gemmill had three excellent chances to give his side the lead, while Michael Tidser had an opportunity to score with a 22 yard fee-kick deep in injury time. Neither player could hit the target, though, and the match finished 2-2, ensuring that there would be a replay on Tuesday, 25 January.

You can read my full Greenock Telegraph match report here: Comeback Keeps Ton In Cup and reaction from Marc Smyth here: Smyth Sorry For Red Card.

Morton (4-4-2):

1. Colin Stewart - 5
2. Grant Evans - 6
3. Kevin McKinlay - 6
4. Marc Smyth - 5
5. Stuart McCaffrey - 7
6. Michael Tidser - 7
7. Allan Jenkins - 7
8. Graeme Holmes - 6 (15. Fouad Bachirou, 68 - 2)
9. Stewart Kean - 7
10. Brian Graham - 6 (16. Peter Weatherson, 82 - 1)
11. David O'Brien - 7

Subs not used:

12. Carlo Monti
14. Kevin Kelbie
20. Kevin Cuthbert

Evans Smyth McCaffrey McKinlay
Jenkins Holmes Tidser O'Brien
Graham Kean

Airdrie United (4-4-2): Ridgers - 7; Bain - 5 (Muir, 70 - 4), Forrest - 7, Grant - 6, Goodall - 5, (Lovering, 68 - 6); Stevenson - 7, McCord - 6, Devlin - 6, MacKay-Steven - 8; Gemmill - 5, Ferguson - 6 (Craig, 57 - 3).

Subs not used: Fisher, Szpilcynski (gk).

Morton bookings: Smyth (h-t), Tidser (85)
, McCaffrey (86).

Morton sending off: Smyth (54).

Airdrie United bookings: Stevenson (66), Lovering (90+1)

Steven McLean


My man of the match:
Michael Tidser

View from the other side:

1 comment:

mortonjag said...

Colin Stewart may or may not be to blame for Jamie's goal but it was SO obvious he was going to have a shot yet the defence just stood about making no real attempt to form a proper wall. From our position in the stand it looked like he blasted the ball through a hole as wide as the Clyde Tunnel!!

So the question must be -

Who organises the defence at free kicks?

Maybe that takes us back to big Colin.