McMahon (53) – Mitchell (30), Orr (34, 50 pen)
Andy Millen’s Under-20s readied themselves for the second half of the Development League West campaign with a 3-1 win over Ardrossan Winton Rovers in a keenly-contested friendly at Winton Park last night.
A young Ton side including just one first-team regular in Jamie McDonagh edged in front after half an hour when John Mitchell met central defensive partner Darren Hynes’ clipped cross from the left with a bullet header that flew into the net via the bar.
Striker Thomas Orr continued his comeback from the medial ligament strain he suffered against Banks O’ Dee back in November with a 70-minute run-out.
And the hitman doubled his side’s advantage on 34 minutes, pouncing on a loose ball and sweeping inside the left-hand post after Scott Tiffoney’s corner had broken to him inside the box.
Only a smart save from Stephen O’Neill prevented Orr from bagging his brace when he charged clear on goal and unsuccessfully attempted to fire past the advancing Ardrossan goalkeeper.
The hosts boasted a contingent of familiar faces in manager Sandy MacLean, a former Morton youth academy coach, and players David McNeil, who would come on as a second-half sub, Jordan Cairnie and Luke Irvine.
Defender Cairnie, who made three first-team appearances for the Ton top team, was a late inclusion in the starting line-up after passing a pre-match fitness test, but made way just before the break as a precaution.
His side would fall further behind in his absence, with Orr stroking a coolly taken penalty into the bottom-right corner to complete his double on 50 minutes.
Winton gaffer MacLean and his coaching staff felt it was a soft decision, but Orr was adamant he was tripped when asked about the incident after the match by gmfc.net.
Ardrossan provided the Ton teens with decent opposition and Jamie McGowan was required to make a hat-trick of saves to preserve his side’s lead in the second half.
But the teenage shot-stopper was left with no chance when the hosts pulled one back through flame-haired midfielder Larry McMahon in the 53rd minute.
McMahon, a recent signing from Largs Thistle, was a standout performer for the hosts on the night, and his crisp, left-footed strike from just outside the box fizzed into the bottom-right corner.
It was no more than a consolation, though, as the remainder of the second half played out without any further scoring if plenty of effort and endeavour from both teams.
After the match, Ardrossan boss MacLean took to Twitter to express his gratitude to the Ton and wish many of the kids he worked with in the academy well for the future.
@Morton_FC wonderful 2 C so many of the development squad tonight they were a massive part of my life for 3 years.. oh n their mums n dads 2
— Sandy maclean (@Sandymac1961) January 17, 2017
4. Duffy 5. Mitchell 2. Hynes 3. Strapp
11. Docherty 8. Langan (c) 6. Eardley 10. Tiffoney
9. Orr 7. McDonagh
Subs used: 17. Miller (for Orr,70), 15. Armour (for McDonagh, 70), 18. Anderson (for Langan, 71), and 16. Purdue (for Tiffoney, 75)
Subs not used: 20. Connor (gk).
Referee: Calum Scott
Images: Gary Bradley