Match Report: Falkirk 1-1 Morton

Match Report: Falkirk 1-1 Morton
by Jonathan Mitchell

falkirk

Greenock_Morton_FC_logoFalkirk 1 – 1 Morton

Miller (90+3) – Kilday (85)

Morton were denied a fantastic three points away at Falkirk today with what was virtually the last touch of the ball as Lee Miller headed home a heart-breaking leveller in the third minute of stoppage time.

Substitute defender Lee Kilday looked to have earned his side a valuable away victory when he diverted Ross Forbes’ wicked free-kick between the posts with five minutes remaining but hitman Miller headed in right at the death to snatch a share of the spoils.

Although the circumstances surrounding the outcome meant that a point left a gut-wrenching feeling, on reflection picking up a point away at the Bairns should not be sniffed at particularly on the balance of play in the second half.

Furthermore, the draw continued the Ton’s impressive current form, extending their unbeaten run in Ladbrokes Championship fixtures to five matches and meaning they have lost just two in their last nine in all competitions.

Their most recent outing saw them end a 17-year streak without a win against arch-rivals St Mirren, and manager Jim Duffy made three changes to the team that triumphed in the derby in midweek to fresh things up.

Out went Jamie McDonagh, Ricki Lamie, and Aidan Nesbitt to be replaced in the starting line-up by Michael Doyle, experienced defender Gavin Gunning and Kudus Oyenuga.

There was little between the sides in the first half and only the set-plays of Cappielow midfielder Forbes looked as though they might make the difference.

Time and again this term, he and O’Ware have proven a lethal combination and  the pair combined to produce the first moment of notable goalmouth action.

Taker Forbes sent a free-kick swirling towards the far post from wide on the right, and unlike other successful attempts, his deliver had a little more on it and floated beyond it’s usually target of the six-yard box.

A determined O’Ware made sure he got on the end of it, though, fighting to win a header and sent it looping over Danny Rogers towards goal from a tight angle, and he looked to have scored until Luke Leahy got back to hack clear of the line.

The Bairns back four had managed to keep Jai Quitongo relatively quiet in the first half, but when he eventually got free and picked out Forbes’ burst with a precise square past that saw the midfielder sent tumbling as he scooped past Leahy.

It was prime territory for the former Dunfermline midfielder, and he fooled everyone in the stadium by eschewing his usual attempt to whip the ball up and over the wall and into the net from 22 yards.

Instead, Forbes bent a disguised attempt low around the right-hand side of the wall and agonisingly wide of the left-hand post while goalkeeper Rogers stood planted to his line.

The second half belonged to Falkirk, though, and they signalled their intent within 20 seconds of the restart when left-back Leahy cracked the outside of the right-hand post with a fierce angled drive.

Former Ton defender Luca Gasparotto saw a header cleared off the line by Andy Murdoch while Gaston was required to make a smart save at the feet of John Baird, as well as doing terrifically well to flip James Craigen’s placed shot around the post.

Yet, for all Falkirk’s pressure, it was the visitors who edged in front with just five minutes remaining, and there was no surprise that the source was a Forbes free-kick.

From wide on the right, the 27-year-old wrapped his boot around the ball and flashed an undefendable set-piece across the goalmouth – a delivery begging for a touch that club captain Kilday was only too happy to provide.

The Bairns turned up the heat on a freezing afternoon in the closing stages, but it looked as if Duffy’s men had done enough to depart the Falkirk Stadium with all three points.

That was until, in the 93rd minute, Miller rose unchallenged inside the box to meet Myles Hippolyte’s left-wing cross and expertly steer the header beyond Gaston and into the net via the upright.

Morton (4411)

1. Gaston
6. Doyle 4. O’Ware (c) 5. Gunning 17. Russell
8. Forbes 10. Lindsay 21. Murdoch 9. Oyenuga
7. Oliver
24. Quitongo

Subs used:  2. Kilday (for Murdoch, 56), 11. Nesbitt (for Oyenuga, 56), and 12. Tidser (for Quitongo, 87).

Subs not used: 3. Lamie, 14. Scullion, 18. McDonagh, 20. McNeil (gk).

Falkirk (442): Rogers; Muirhead, Gasparotto, McCracken (c), Leahy; Taiwo (Craigen, 78), Kerr, Sibbald, Hippolyte; Miller, Baird (McHugh, 83).

Subs not used:  Rankin, Grant, Shepherd, Watson, Mehmet (gk),

Booked: Muirhead (37), Leahy (41).

Referee: Greg Aitken

Attendance: 4,432 (363 away fans)

Images: David Bell