Armour (70) – Craig (77 pen)
A late penalty saw Morton Under-20s held to a 1-1 draw by Development League West newboys East Kilbride at Cappielow last night.
Although the share of the spoils saw Darren Barr’s side stretch their unbeaten start to the season to four matches, it was also the first occasion on which they have spilled points.
And they will be convinced they did enough to earn all three based on the balance of play and chances created over the course of the 90 minutes.
Midfielder Jack Purdue, starting on the left-hand side of the four, was his team’s attacking fulcrum, and set the tone with a stunning 40-yard shot that forced Kilby keeper Kieran Bell to scramble back and turn over.
Bell was called into action again shortly thereafter, parrying recent academy graduate Nathan Durham’s stinging snapshot before clawing a Purdue free-kick to safety at his right-hand post.
The shot-stopper was left with no chance when Ruaridh Langan showed tremendous technique to control Darren Hynes’ clever angled pass in behind as he darted into the box and slipped a half-volley towards the goal.
His attempt cracked the base of the right-hand post and rebounded straight into his path, but the skipper somehow screwed his shot over an empty goal and will still be asking himself how he didn’t score.
It took an incredible goal-line clearance by Nathan Kanna to prevent the Ton from breaking the deadlock on 50 minutes.
The East Kilbride man got back to nod over his own bar after Armour had headed towards the target with Bell stranded.
Skipper Langan’s frustrations multiplied when he stretched to meet Purdue’s inswinging corner and forced the ball up onto the underside of the bar, down and back out.
From the pressbox it appeared as though the ball may have crossed the line, particularly when the trajectory of the connection was taken into consideration, but the officials waved play on.
Whilst Jamie McGowan was having a quiet evening at the opposite end, he had to look smart to spring to his left and flip ex-Ton man Tony Wallace’s looping header over the top during a rare East Kilbride attacking incursion.
Alexander Easdale was introduced as a substitute on 60 minutes and almost ended the stalemate within seconds of entering the fray.
Squeezing a follow up on target from an acute angle after Bell had parried Purdue’s free-kick, only a last-ditch defensive intervention prevented the ball from finding the net.
The breakthrough finally arrived in the 70th minute and it was no surprise that Purdue provided the assist, nor was it a shock that red-hot frontman Ben Armour was the scorer.
Pouncing on the former’s low cross from the right bye-line, the striker controlled 12 yards out, span and whipped a low shot under Bell to net his fifth goal in four Development League West starts.
The lead, however, lasted just seven minutes. Player/boss Barr was penalised for a foul on Josh Beattie right on the edge of the box, and Liam Craig tucked the resultant spot-kick into bottom-left corner to claim a fortunate point.
2. Hynes 4. Barr 5. Durham 3. Hayes
7. Eardley 6. Langan (c) 8. Lyon 11. Purdue
Subs used: 15. Easdale (for Trialist, 60), 17. Docherty (for Eardley, 68), and 12. Anderson (for Durham, 78).
Subs not used: 14. Duffy, 21. Carracher (GK).
Images: Gary Bradley