Match Report: Dumbarton 1-0 Morton

Match Report: Dumbarton 1-0 Morton
by Jonathan Mitchell

Greenock_Morton_FC_logodumbarton-logoDumbarton 1 – 0 Morton

Vaughan (59)

 

Morton slipped down to third in the Ladbrokes Championship on Saturday following a disappointing 1-0 defeat away to Dumbarton at the Cheaper Insurance Direct Stadium.

In the conclusion to a memorable seven-day period in which they lost their first home game in just under a year before securing a fine point away to Hibs on Wednesday, a Lewis Vaughan strike was enough to earn the Sons a surprise victory.

Manager Jim Duffy rang the chances after a monumental effort in Edinburgh during the week, but despite hitting the woodwork on three separate occasions, the Ton crossed the Erskine Bridge empty handed.

The dramatic 90 minutes-plus in Leith had taken a lot out of his squad, and the Cappielow gaffer elected to freshen things up by making three personnel changes in the forward areas.

Ross Forbes, who looked spent when he was subbed late on at Easter Road, Aidan Nesbitt and Gary Oliver all made way for Scott Tiffoney, Luke Donnelly and Lawrence Shankland.

The Donnelly-Shankland loanee strike pairing almost combined to good effect in the first five minutes, but the former’s slide-rule pass for the latter just had too much on it and ran through to Alan Martin.

With Forbes on the bench, fellow left footer Tidser assumed set-piece duties, and he had Sons shot-stopper Martin scrambling with a swirling, wind-assisted free-kick from the right that just dropped onto the roof of the net at the last second.

Back in February, we announced that Dumbarton forward Robert Thomson had signed a pre-contract with us here at Cappielow, and many amongst the travelling support would have been keeping a keen eye on his performance.

The imposing targetman would have caught the eye as he put himself about and proved a handful for the Morton back four, seeing an early shot crucially blocked by Michael Doyle before rifling another effort just over on the 15-minute mark.

Shankland was Ton’s focal point and proved their main attacking protagonist, posing a threat for the first time after 20 minutes when Tiffoney squeezed a cross to the front post and he directed a snapshot at goal only to see it deflect into the side-netting.

He turned provider with a clever reverse pass to release Donnelly six minutes later, but the rangy Celtic loanee was outmuscled by Stuart Carswell as they went shoulder to shoulder in pursuit of the ball.

Shankland-shot-comes-back-off-the-crossbar-_925x581_acf_cropped
First of three … Agony is etched on Shankland’s face after hitting the woodwork                                     © David Bell

But the biggest chance of the half, and perhaps the whole 90 minutes, fell his way when, on 35 minutes, a Michael Doyle cross deflected to him inside the box and he cracked the underside of the crossbar with a rasping, rising half-volley with his left foot.

Before the Sons could set themselves and recover their composure, the ball was worked back into the box to Donnelly, who did well to control and swivel but swept a tame shot straight at Martin on the turn.

At the other end, Mark Russell made an incredibly brave and important contribution when he put his head in where it hurts to nod a Gregor Buchanan header off the line under intense pressure from Thomson and send the sides in level at the interval.

Morton had perhaps shaded the first half, but they were far from fluent and seemed to be suffering a hangover from their midweek exertions against the league leaders.

They re-emerged for the second period with renewed purpose and struck the woodwork for a second time, Andy Murdoch blasting against the base of the left-hand post after working a neat exchange with engine-room collaborator Jamie Lindsay.

However, it was Stevie Aitken’s Sons who would draw first blood. Sloppy defending saw the ball forced through the middle of the Ton box and out as far as Vaughan, who took a touch and rifled low back across into the net on 59 minutes.

Dumbartons-Lewis-Vaughan-shot-flashes-across-Gaston_925x581_acf_cropped
No mistake … Lewis Vaughan’s low strike beats Derek Gaston                                                        © David Bell

Ton pushed for an equaliser in the final third of the match, and it was third time unlucky when teenager Tiffoney, making his first start since 3 September, whipped over wicked cross that sailed over Martin but rebounded off the inside of the left-hand post to safety.

Duffy sent Forbes and Nesbitt on for the final 22 minutes, and the playmaker almost made an instant impression, winning a free-kick in a dangerous position and then flashing a disguised effort low around the wall and a whisker wide of the upright.

Although it was almost incessant Morton pressure at this point, Gaston was required to produce a fantastic reflex save to keep his side in the game when he pounced to his right to parry Sam Stanton’s stinging, angled strike.

And their efforts looked to have paid off when Shankland headed the ball into the net with quarter of an hour remaining – only to see the ‘goal’ chalked off for an alleged foul on Buchanan.

The Greenock men continued the hunt for that elusive leveller right to the death but could not find a way through and suffered their second league loss in the space of seven days.

 

Morton (442)

1. Gaston
6. Doyle 4. O’Ware (c) 3. Lamie 17. Russell
37. Tiffoney 21. Murdoch 10. Lindsay 12. Tidser
16. Shankland 19. Donnelly

Subs used: 8. Forbes (for Tidser, 68), 11. Nesbitt (for Tiffoney, 68), and 7. Oliver (for Donnelly, 77).

Subs not used: 14. Scullion, 18. McDonagh, 39. Strapp, 30. McGowan (gk).

Dumbarton (4411): Martin; Smith, Barr, Buchanan, Harvie; Vaughan (Nuttall, 79), Carswell, McCrorie, Stirling; Stanton (Gallagher, 85); Thomson.

Subs not used: Docherty, Lang, Prior, Ewings (gk).

Referee: John Beaton

Attendance: 1,323 (664 away fans)

Images: David Bell