Match Report: Queen of the South 3-0 Morton

Match Report: Queen of the South 3-0 Morton
by Jonathan Mitchell

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Greenock_Morton_FC_logoQueen of the South 3 – 0 Morton

Lyle (71), Jacobs (83), Thomson (90+3)

Morton saw their seven-game unbeaten run end away to Queen of the South yesterday as they suffered a 3-0 defeat at Palmerston Park.

The fact you have to go way back to Saturday 10 December and a 2-1 loss to Dunfermline Athletic for the Cappielow club’s last reverse meant there was an almost alien feeling come the full-time whistle yesterday.

But on what was a rare off-day for the Ton this term, the Doonhamers ran out deserved winners thanks to second-half goals from Derek Lyle, Kyle Jacobs and Joe Thomson.

Jim Duffy’s men travelled to Dumfries fresh from a 4-1 win at Ayr United, and the Greenock gaffer made two changes to the team that bested the Honest Men, bringing in Mark Russell and Jamie Lindsay for Lee Kilday and Michael Tidser.

Whereas last weekend saw Morton make a whirlwind start and score three times in an eventful opening 30 minutes, yesterday’s first half was a flat affair with only a trio of incidents to note.

In terms of goalmouth action, Lawrence Shankland headed Ross Forbes deep free-kick against the outside of the left-hand post from tight to the bye-line for the visitors.

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Direct hit … Shankland’s bullet header cracks off the outside of the upright                              © David Bell

At the other end, John Rankin, one of three new recruits to feature across the Queens midfield four, forced Derek Gaston into a sprawling save down to his right with a crisp strike from the edge of the box.

But the most significant incident occurred five minutes before the break when Gary Oliver was forced to limp off the field after a poor challenge from Chris Higgins left him with nursing a knee injury.

The former Queens forward later left the stadium on crutches in some distress, with the extent of the problem still to be diagnosed.

Duffy brought on skipper Lee Kilday, who was celebrating his 25th birthday, and reshuffled his team by moving Ricki Lamie to left-back, Russell to left midfield and Aidan Nesbitt up just off Shankland up top.

The second half also took a while to get going but burst into life on 70 minutes after Gaston plunged to push clear Dom Thomas’s threatening free-kick from wide on the right.

However, the shot-stopper was left clawing at thin air less than one minute later as ex-Ton man Derek Lyle met Scott Mercer’s clipped ball into the box with an deft back-header that looped over him and into the net.

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Number one … Lyle’s headers floats over Derek Gaston to break the deadlock                           © David Bell

Gaston kept his side in the game with a fantastic one-on-one block – his third in successive matches – to deny Stephen Dobbie, a striker who is so often lethal in those sort of situations.

And the outcome could have been entirely different had Forbes’s swept shot from 18 yards found the back of the net on 81 minutes rather than brush the top of the crossbar on its way over, after Nesbitt had done superbly well to tee him up.

The result, though, was put beyond doubt seven minutes from time, midfielder Jacobs scoring with a shot from distance that goalkeeper Gaston will have been disappointed not to have kept out after seeming to lose his bearings.

A tin lid was put on a disappointing afternoon when, in the third minute of stoppage time, sub Jon Scullion blasted a free-kick against the one-man defensive wall and the hosts subsequently broke away to add a third.

The loose ball was picked up by Celtic loanee Thomson, who ran from inside his own half and punished a Michael Doyle slip by surging past the downed defender before coolly stabbing past Gaston with the outside of his right boot.

Morton (442)

1. Gaston
6. Doyle 4. O’Ware (c) 3. Lamie 17. Russell
8. Forbes 10. Lindsay 21. Murdoch 11. Nesbitt
7. Oliver 16. Shankland

Subs used: 2. Kilday (for Oliver, 43), 18. McDonagh (for Russell, 76), and 14. Scullion (for Forbes, 84).

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

Booked: Lindsay (62).

Queen of the South (442): Robinson; Mercer, Brownlie, Higgins, Marshall; Thomas (Hamill, 86), Jacobs, Rankins (c), Thomson; Lyle (Murray, 82), Dobbie (Dykes, 76).

Subs not used: Bell, Carmichael, Atkinson (gk),

Booked: Higgins (40), Brownlie (50).

Referee: Bobby Madden

Attendance: 1,588

Images: David Bell