Match Report: Morton 0-1 Livingston

Match Report: Morton 0-1 Livingston
by Jonathan Mitchell

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Greenock_Morton_FC_logoMorton 0 – 1 Livingston

                    Mullen (60)

 

Morton were unable to prevent lightning striking twice at Cappielow as Livingston followed up their recent Irn-Bru Cup success with a 1-0 win on league duty this afternoon.

David Hopkin’s side returned to Greenock for the second time in the space of 11 days and emerged victorious again thanks to Danny Mullen’s second-half strike.

In between times, the Ton went some way to redeeming themselves after that disappointing Challenge Cup exit by claiming a creditable point away at Inverness Caledonian Thistle.

Gaffer Jim Duffy stuck with the same starting XI that came from behind to draw in the Highland capital last Saturday, only tweaking player positioning slightly by swapping Ross Forbes and Andy Murdoch around.

It also meant that Jai Quitongo was on from the beginning after having to settle for a place on the bench in the last meeting with Livi.

And the Scotland Under-21 striker made a promising start to the match by using his strength and speed to unsettle the Livi back three.

On eight minutes, he turned on the afterburners to go searing clear down the left before being sent tumbling as he eased into the box. The home fans screamed for a penalty but referee Euan Anderson disagreed.

Those early signs of encouragement gradually faded from the memory, though, as the visitors took the game by the scruff of the neck and began to set the agenda.

They were both physically dominant and proving more effective as an attacking force, with Nikolay Todorov wasting a promising chance by slicing wide before Josh Mullin forced Derek Gatson to paw wide.

Clutch moment … Alexander turns McHugh’s stinging shot over the top            © Gary Bradley

Gaston then allowed Mullen’s bending delivery to bounce across his path and wide of the left-hand post. The Cappielow custodian had his angles spot on, although it flashed a little close to the goal for comfort.

There was another near thing on 34 minutes, Scott Pittman rippling the side-netting with a diving header after darting to the near post to meet Mullin’s teasing left-footed centre.

Neil Alexander, on the other hand, was enjoying a comfortable time between the sticks, and his only real save of note came after 40 minutes.

Forbes held off a defender 20 yards out, twisted and turned to make space and snapped off a right-footed shot that the former Scotland cap gathered in at his midriff.

Duffy’s men offered more in the opening 10 minutes of the second half, Robert Thomson teasing an early equaliser with a rising drive that narrowly cleared the crossbar and crashed into the Wee Dublin End benches.

Bob McHugh went closer still, however, forcing Alexander to acrobatically flip the ball over the top with after hitting the target with a fierce angled shot from inside the box.

Ironically, it was from a Ton attack that the visitors opened the scoring when, on the hour, a corner was launched clear by Todorov and Mullen outstripped Mark Russell before prodding through the advancing Gaston’s legs.

Despite having 30 minutes in which to retrieve the situation, Ton were rushed and anxious in their offensive play, frustrating Duffy by hurriedly sending long balls forward as though already in the closing stages.

It was meat and drink to a rugged and committed Livingston who comfortably held out to inflict the Sinclair Street side’s first league defeat of the 2017/18 season.

 

Morton (442)

1. Gaston
6. Doyle 4. O’Ware (c) 5. Lamie 17. Russell
8. Forbes 3. Murdoch 12. Tidser 10. Thomson
11. McHugh 9. Quitongo

Subs used: 7. Oliver (for McHugh, 71), 14. Harkins (for Tidser, 71), and 15. Tiffoney (for Forbes, 83).

Subs not used: 18. McManus, 22. Armour, 26. Iredale, 20. Doohan (gk).

Booked: Doyle (40), Lamie (70), Russell (90).

Livingston (352): Alexander; Gallagher, Halkett (c), Lithgow; Mullin, Pittman, Jacobs, Byrne (Thomson, 77), Penrice (Longridge, 66); Mullen, Todorov (De Vita, 78).

Subs not used: Cadden, Mackin, Carrick, Maley (gk).

Booked: Gallagher (29), Byrne (75), Mullen (79).

Referee: Euan Anderson

Attendance: 1,599

 

Images: Gary Bradley

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