Queen’s Park 2 – 0 Morton
Cummins (44), Galt (47)
Morton fell at the first hurdle in the Irn-Bru Challenge Cup this afternoon after suffering a shock 2-0 defeat to Queen’s Park at Hampden Park.
Goals either side of half-time from Adam Cummins and David Galt were enough to eliminate the Ton from the competition and seal the Spiders’ place in the fourth round.
Jim Duffy made five changes to his team following last weekend’s 4-0 loss away at Hibs, with Andy McNeil, Lewis Strapp, Kudus Oyenuga, Caolan McAleer and Scott Tiffoney coming in for Derek Gaston, Mark Russell, Jamie Lindsay, Aidan Nesbitt and Jai Quitongo.
In a flat first half in which neither side mustered much in the way of attacking threat, it was winger McAleer who offered the most for the visitors with a low angled drive that flashed across the face of goal on 15 minutes.
Gary Oliver was then presented with an opportunity to open the scoring on the half hour but failed to punish a slip by Queen’s Park goalkeeper Andrew Murphy on the edge of his box.
Murphy made a more positive contribution for his side moment later, though, when he plunged to his right to smother McAleer’s drilled cross from the right and prevent Oliver from scoring with what would have been a tap-in.
Gus MacPherson’s men began to register some attacking intent towards the end of the half, giant defender Ryan McGeever striding out from the back before pulling an ambitious low drive well wide from distance.
They went much closer on 34 minutes when striker Aiden Malone rose highest to meet a Darren Miller corner and nod a header into the side-netting. That set-piece warning, however, was one that Morton failed to heed.
For it was right on the cusp of half-time that defender Cummins out-jumped the Ton defence to meet Miller’s whipped free-kick from wide on the right with a powerful downwards header that bounced back across the goal and inside the right-hand upright.
Morton required a significant second-half improvement if they were to rescue their cup hopes, but what was an uphill task became a mountain to climb after they conceded within two minutes of the restart.
Midfielder David Galt was allowed to stride forward through the midfield unopposed and seemed to have the freedom of the huge Hampden pitch as he stroked a left-footed shot into the top-left corner from 25 yards to stun the Ton.
The visitors were well off the pace and Ton boss Duffy decided to make a double change, bringing on Quitongo and Jon Scullion in place of McAleer and Tiffoney, to shake things up.
It had the desired effect for a brief period, with Quitongo, who was subject of a bid from Doncaster Rovers through the week, looking lively right away as he got on the end of a Doyle cross and flashed a diving header narrowly over the top while fellow sub Scullion then brushed the roof of the net with a 20-yard free-kick.
That pressure did not last, though, and it was the League One outfit that actually looked more likely to extend their lead as the seconds ticked away on the Ton’s brief time in this year’s Challenge Cup.
6. Doyle 2. Kilday (c) 4. O’Ware 39. Strapp
16. McAleer 8. Forbes 12. Tidser 37. Tiffoney
Subs used: Scullion (for Tiffoney, 58), Quitongo (for McAleer, 58), and McDonagh (for Doyle, 77).
Subs not used: Lindsay, Russell, Orr, Gaston (gk).
Booked: Kilday (70).
Queen’s Park (541): Murphy; Millen, Cummins, McGeever, Gibson, Burns; Galt (Carter, 73), Miller, Fotheringham, Brady; Malone (Woods, 73).
Subs not used: Wharton, McVey, McLeish, MacPherson, Waters (gk).
Booked: McGeever (8), Miller (76).
Referee: Gavin Duncan
Images: David Bell