Patton (63) McAleer (44, 45+1), Mitchell (48)
McWilliams O.G. (69), Langan (71)
A Morton XI made up of a mix of first-team players, development squad starlets and a trialist midfielder ran out comfortable 5-1 winners in a friendly against Greenock Juniors at Ravenscraig this afternoon.
The challenge match was being played for the second successive summer as both Greenock-based clubs look to foster closer community relations.
Andy Millen’s men managed a 3-0 triumph in the corresponding fixture last July but went one better in terms of the margin of victory this time around thanks to goals from Caolan McAleer, who bagged a brace, John Mitchell, a Ryan McWilliams O.G. and Ruaridh Langan.
Striker Kudus Oyenuga scored for the first-team in their 1-1 draw with Dumbarton yesterday and he was given a run out as he looks to build his fitness for the season ahead.
After picking up an early booking for an off the ball incident, he got his game head on and went close for the visitors with a swerving strike that glanced off the top of the crossbar.
McAleer forced a couple of smart stops from ex-Morton goalkeeper McWilliams, while Greenock striker Jonathan ‘Jasper’ Donnelly brought out the best in Jamie McGowan with an improvised back header that required a fantastic acrobatic intervention.
It would take until the 44th minute for the senior side to break the deadlock, and like the old London buses cliche, two goals came along in quick succession.
McAleer is no stranger to junior football having spent time on loan at Arthurlie while a Partick Thistle player as well as being farmed out at Kilbirnie Ladeside for the second half of last season by parent club Airdrie.
And the Northern Irishman opened the scoring today with a superb strike from 20 yards that crashed into the net via the underside of the crossbar despite a fingertip touch from McWilliams.
No sooner had the winger broken the deadlock than he was celebrating his second after arriving right on cue at the far post to slam home Jamie McDonagh’s clipped cross from the left.
Defender John Mitchell added a third on 48 minutes, meeting Jon Scullion’s inswinging corner with a downwards header that bulleted beyond McWilliams’ grasp and into the goal.
Greenock were presented with an opportunity to pull one back from the spot three minutes later when McGowan was adjudged to have fouled Reece Williamson, but Donnelly’s firm, side-footed penalty cracked the underside of the bar and rebounded to safety.
Stephen Mooney’s men would get their consolation goal, though, and in fine style, sub Darren Patton rifling a fierce shot high into the net on 63 minutes.
Ton re-established their three-goal cushion six minutes later, but it came gift-wrapped when McWiliams fumbled into his net after defender Cory Hughes had sent the ball towards the goalkeeper in a desperate bid to nick the ball away from Lewis Strapp.
Under-20s skipper Langan completed the scoring on 71 minutes by pouncing to force the ball over the line after sub keeper Robbie Graham had blocked our trialist midfielder’s thunderous volley with a terrific reflex save.
2. Hynes 5. Mitchell 4. Langan 3. Strapp
7. McDonagh 8. Trialist 6. Russell 11. McAleer
Subs used: 10. McWaters (for Oyenuga, 58), 15. Purdue (for Scullion, 68), 13. Duffy (for Hynes, 80), 17. Docherty (for McAleer, 80), 16. Anderson (for McDonagh, 85), 14. Eardley (for Trialist, 88), and 19. Armour (for Russell, 88).
Subs not used: Miller.
Booked: Oyenuga (9).
Greenock Juniors (442): McWilliams (Graham, 78); M. Orr (c), D. Orr (McLaughlin, 49), Hughes, Doherty; Stanton (Mooney, 79), McNeil (Patton, 60), Gailey, Regan Williamson (Docherty, 62); Brown (Reece Williamson, 46), Donnelly
Booked: Stanton (79), Gailey (88).
Referee: G. Grainger
Images: Gary Bradley