Match Report: Morton 2-0 Falkirk

Match Report: Morton 2-0 Falkirk
by Jonathan Mitchell

Greenock_Morton_FC_logofalkirkMorton 2 – 0 Falkirk

 Lindsay (39), Forbes (47)

 

Morton booked their place in the fifth round of the William Hill Scottish Cup with an extremely impressive 2-0 win over Falkirk at Cappielow yesterday.

The victory stretched the Ton’s stunning home record to 17 matches undefeated on home turf, two of which include matches against the Bairns.

This was the first time the sides currently sat third and fourth in the Championship were separated on the day, though, after drawing on Sinclair Street earlier this term, with goals from Jamie Lindsay and Ross Forbes securing their spot in today’s draw.

They looked up for the cup right from the first whistle, Thomas O’Ware heading a Forbes corner over on the stretch before Mark Russell clipped the outside of the right-hand post from close range.

Falkirk gradually felt their way into the game, and it required a fantastic save from Derek Gaston after a defensive lapse allowed James Craigen in on goal.

With just the Ton shot-stopper to beat Craigen delayed pulling the trigger hoping for the keeper to make the first move, but Gaston held his nerve, stayed on his feet and made himself to block the midfielder’s eventual effort.

Bairns boss Peter Houston boosted his ranks prior to the clash by bringing in Rangers midfielder Fraser Aird until the end of the season following his Ibrox departure.

The Canadian international, who once turned out at Cappielow for Scotland Under-17s before choosing to represent the land of his birth, showed a flash of his ability on 22 minutes by swivelling and lashing a fierce drive narrowly over the top.

Craig Sibbald then tried a similar effort shortly afterwards, albeit from a more central position, and forced Gaston into a fingertip save the wicked, swerving shot.

In was proving a relatively even first half and there was a feeling that the first goal would be crucial, and it was the hosts who would break the deadlock in fine style six minutes before the break.

Ross-Forbes-heads-down-for-Lindsay-breaking-into-box_925x581_acf_cropped
Another assist … Forbes nods down into the path of Lindsay arriving in the background                  © David Bell

The ever-impressive Gary Oliver picked out Forbes burst to the back post with an exquisite clipped cross from wide on the left, and the midfielder cushioned a clever header across the face of goal into the path of the in-rushing Lindsay.

Celtic loanee Lindsay gleefully rammed the ball into the net from close range to score his third goal of the campaign, and his second in the Scottish Cup following his strike in the 6-0 rout of Beith.

Ton’s tails were up, and only a great reflex save by Danny Rogers, at which he sprung to his left and clawed Gary Oliver’s swing shot around the post, prevented them from adding to their lead before the break.

But it would take less than two minutes of the second half for Jim Duffy’s side to double their advantage when Forbes crashed the ball into the net at second time of asking.

Ross-Forbes-scores-second-versus-Falkirk_925x581_acf_cropped_925x581_acf_cropped_925x581_acf_cropped
Second attempt … Forbes sweeps in number two after a miscue                             © Gary Bradley

The Ton No.8 miscued when he attempted to turn home with his first attempt after Mark Russell and Oliver had combined to cut Falkirk open down the inside-left channel before the frontman squared to the far post.

But the combination of indecisive defending and pressure from Aidan Nesbitt saw the ball break back to Forbes, and made no mistake this time, converting his eighth goal of the season to add to his 16 direct assists.

Only a goal-line intervention from Bairns captain David McCracken, who chested then hacked clear a Ricki Lamie header from a Forbes corner, prevented that total from creeping up to 17.

Another of his dangerous flag-kicks ended with visiting keeper Rogers producing a stunning save to turn the ball over after Lee Kilday had stooped to direct the ball towards goal ahead of Tony Gallacher’s touch towards his own goal.

And Forbes himself went close on 79 minutes when he latched onto Oliver’s clever clipped pass over the top, checked inside a defender and curled a right-footed shot a whisker over the bar.

Lindsay-Doyle-and-Murdoch-after-Falkirk-match_925x581_acf_cropped
Link up … Lindsay, Doyle and Murdoch head off together at full-time                           © Gary Bradley

It was a stirring second-half performance, with the industry and boundless energy of the likes of Nesbitt, Andy Murdoch and Lindsay too much for their Championship rivals to contend with.

At the other end, the back four were watertight and restricted their opponents to one real chance when sub John Baird scooped over at the back post, as the Ton kept their second successive shutout and sealed their place in last 16.

 

Morton (442)

1. Gaston
6. Doyle 2. Kilday (c) 4. O’Ware 3. Lamie
8. Forbes 21. Murdoch 10. Lindsay 17. Russell
11. Nesbitt
7. Oliver

Subs used: 18. McDonagh (for Nesbitt, 90).

Subs not used: 12. Tidser, 14. Scullion, 22. Orr, 37. Tiffoney, 39. Strapp, 30. McGowan (gk).

Booked: Forbes (42).

Falkirk (4231): Rogers; Muirhead, Watson, McCracken (c), Gallacher; Kerr, Sibbald; Aird, Craigen (McHugh, 54), Hippolyte (Baird, 68); Miller.

Subs not used: Kidd, Leahy, Grant, Gasparotto, Thomson (gk).

Booked: Sibbald (76).

Referee: Greg Aitken

Attendance: 2,349

Images (main and inset): David Bell

Images (inset): Gary Bradley