Eardley (6), Armour (30, 63) – McBrearty (83)
Morton Under-20s booked their place in the quarter-finals of the Scottish Youth Cup with a resounding Renfrewshire derby victory over rivals St Mirren at Cappielow today.
An early Ben Eardley goal and a Ben Armour double saw Darren Barr’s side progress at the expense of a Saints side that ended the match with eight men following three second-half red cards.
Despite being minus the services of the likes of Lewis Strapp and Scott Tiffoney and operating on the rung below the opposition on the development ladder, a youthful Ton side put their arch-rivals to the sword.
And with regular goalkeeper Jamie McGowan ineligible due to just missing the age cut off, they did so with 15-year-old Charlie Carracher between the sticks.
Although the diminutive shot-stopper must measure in somwhere around 5ft 5in, he was a tower of strength as his team’s last line of defence.
Carracher made a string of superb stops at key times throughout the match, starting in the third minute with an impressive block to deny Sam Jamieson after the Saints striker surged through one-on-one.
And in remarkably similar fashion to the first-team at Falkirk 24 hours earlier, the Ton survived an early scare and then went up the opposite end and took the lead after following up on a missed penalty.
The spot-kick was awarded after midfielder Ruaridh Langan was hauled to the ground as he attempted to get on the end of Eardley’s floated free-kick.
Skipper Langan took charge and crashed his penalty against the centre of the crossbar, but Eardley was perfectly positioned to head the rebound into the empty net and open the scoring.
St Mirren put pressure on Carracher’s goal as they pushed for a leveller, but they appeared to be missing a frontman with an eye for goal like Ton’s Armour.
And 19-year-old was in lethal form as he doubled his side’s advantage on the half-four mark, flicking a sublime first-time finish around advancing goalleeper David Wilson after pouncing on Mitchell Duffy’s pass.
Huge credit must be paid to makeshift left-back Duffy for his contribution. After emerging from a crunching 50-50 challenge with possession, he then had the presence of mind to slip Armour in with a precise pass.
Armour put the outcome beyond doubt on 63 minutes with another predatory finish, seizing on Lyon’s knockdown from a Duffy free-kick by lashing a left-footed shot under Wilson, taking his tally to eight this term.
Whilst the Ton boys had been right up for the game, they remained disciplined throughout. The same could not be said for the visitors, though, who received three cards in the final 25 minutes after falling 3-0 behind.
Robbie Leitch was the first to walk, for a late challenge on Armour that left the forward requiring treatment, and Evan Horne followed in the final minute for a terrible tackle that saw Eardley limp out of the stadium afterwards.
The final dismissal came in the third minute of stoppage time when Cameron MacPherson was shown a second yellow card for push out on the left.
His first caution came for his contribution to a melee that occured in the home goal after Conor McBrearty had headed home a MacPherson corner to pull back an 83rd-minute consolation for the visitors.
It was unfortunate for Carracher, who excelled in the home goal and really deserved to walk away with a cleansheet to show for his efforts.
However, it was a miniscule blot on the copybook of what can be considered a fantastic derby success for the Ton teenagers as they now look forward to the draw for the final eight.
2. Hynes 4. Ben Docherty 5. Durham 3. Duffy
7. Anderson 6. Langan (c) 8. Lyon 11. Eardley
Subs used: 12. Miller (for Armour, 77), 15. Easdale (for Purdue, 88), and 17. McGrattan (for Eardley, 90+1).
Subs not used: 14. Hayes, 16. Blair Docherty, 20. Trialist (GK).
Booked: Duffy (85)
St Mirren: Wilson; Horne, Barclay, McKendry, McDonald (c), McBrearty, O’Keefe, Glover, Jamieson, MacPherson, Leitch.
Subs: Erhahon, Breadner, King, Reilly, Morrison, Miller, Henry (GK)
Booked: Jamieson (35), Glover (76), Horne (85), MacPherson (85).
Sent Off: Leitch (65), Horne (89), MacPherson (90+3)
Referee: Chris McTiernan
Images: Gary Bradley