Match Report: Inverness C.T. 0-2 Morton

Match Report: Inverness C.T. 0-2 Morton
by Jonathan Mitchell

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Greenock_Morton_FC_logoInverness C.T. 0 – 2 Morton

  Tiffoney (28), Harkins (71 pen)

 

Morton moved up to third in the Ladbrokes Championship this afternoon by recording their first ever competitive victory away to Inverness Caledonian Thistle.

Goals from Scott Tiffoney and Gary Harkins earned Jim Duffy’s side a massive three points in the Highlands as well as moving them above Dundee United in the league table.

The win also saw the Sinclair Street side stretch their unbeaten run to seven matches, with five of the seven recorded on the road and including an impressive six wins.

In a memorable day for the club, long-serving defender Thomas O’Ware made his 200th appearance, helping Ton to their fourth cleansheet in their last six, while 18-year-old midfielder Jack Purdue made his first-team debut.

Manager Jim Duffy has seen his resources stretched to the limit in recent weeks, and defender Luca Gasparotto was the latest player to miss out due to injury, with a rib problem sidelining him in the short term.

Goalkeeper Derek Gaston, though, had recovered from the illness that saw him listed on the bench as emergency back-up against the Sons last Tuesday.

And the Greenock gaffer made three changes to the team that beat Dumbarton in midweek, bringing Gaston back in ahead of Conor Brennan, and replacing Gasparotto and Bob McHugh with Harkins and Tiffoney.

The long-serving shot-stopper was called into action within 60 seconds, taking a powerful Charlie Trafford volley in at his midriff as the hosts made a bright start on a patchy pitch that passed an early-morning inspection.

Ton responded with a dangerous attack of their own, Andy Murdoch seeing a prodded shot saved by Mark Ridgers at his near post after meeting Michael Doyle’s low cross from high on the right.

After spending most of the first 20 minutes on the front foot, the visitors were penned back for a spell in which John Robertson’s side managed to put the ball in the back of the net.

Liam Polworth’s initial free-kick was headed out by Gary Oliver before Polworth returned it with interest, clipping a more measured cross to the far post.

Towering defender Gary Warren ghosted in round the back and sent a looping header over Gaston into the net only to see his celebrations cut short by an offside flag.

Attacking full-back Collin Seedorf, nephew of AC Milan and Real Madrid legend Clarence, surged forward and unleashed a searing angled strike.

The 22nd-minute effort flashed past Gaston and, from the press area, looked for all the world like it was destined to rip into the back of the net. Fortunately, it was an optical illusion and continued past the upright.

Double centurion O’Ware then made an important contribution, covering across the backline to close down George Oakley and send the ball spinning behind for a corner with a brave lunging block.

And it was a route-one counter-attack launched after an opposition offensive that Morton would open the scoring in the 28th minute.

Game changer … Scott Tiffoney opens the scoring before later winning a penalty    © Ross Cameron

The home defence totally misjudged a Gaston punt over the top. Tiffoney didn’t, spun in behind, ran clear and prodded into the net with the outside of his right foot after his initial effort was blocked by a recovering defender.

The Greenock men were back on top, and Tiffoney’s dynamism and youthful exuberance was causing untold problems with him deployed up through the middle and given licence to roam wide.

And Ridgers had to look smart on 35 minutes to plunge down at his left post to prevent the 19-year-old’s hooked snapshot from sneaking inside the upright.

Despite holding sway for significant swathes of the first half, the Sinclair Street side had Caley Thistle’s profligacy to thank for going in leading at the interval.

With less than two minutes until half-time, the hosts passed up a glaring opportunity to equalise, Aaron Doran delivering a low cross from the right that Polworth screwed wide from six yards with the goal at his mercy.

Hearts legend Robertson must have been dissatisfied with the attacking threat posed by his side and brought on Nathan Austin for Trafford at the break.

It required a goal-line clearance from that man O’Ware to prevent them from equalising eight minutes into the second half when he popped up to hook Oakley’s header to safety after the forward had got up above Gaston.

The Highlanders were piling on the pressure and the woodwork denied both Joe Chalmers and Iain Vigurs – the former placing against the left post and the latter cracking the crossbar – as lady luck smiled on the Ton.

With the bar still vibrating as a result of Vigurs’ piledriver, Morton once again made their opponents pay by going straight up the other and scoring a game-deciding second goal on 71 minutes.

It was Tiffoney’s trickery that did the damage, the youth academy product outfoxing Seedorf by feigning to drive infield off the left before chopping the ball inside his body only to be sent tumbling by the Dutchman’s tackle.

Harkins stepped up and placed a precision penalty into the net off the inside of the left post beyond Ridgers’ sprawling dive to take his tally to seven for the season, five of which have been successful spot-kicks.

It was a killer second goal, and a temporary flicker of hope that a late comeback remained possible was extinguished when sub Daniel Mackay was flagged offside after turning into the Ton net on the line.

The tone of the Inverness tannoy announcer’s voice told you everything you needed to know as he issued a correction after prematurely playing a tune in celebration.

Duffy brought on McHugh and Purdue, with the teenager showing flashes of promise in his six-minute senior bow, as his side threatened to add to their lead before the final whistle blew on an historic Ton result.

 

Morton (442)

1. Gaston
6. Doyle 4. O’Ware (c) 5. Lamie 17. Russell
12. Tidser 3. Murdoch 14. Harkins 25. Ross
15. Tiffoney 7. Oliver

Subs used: 11. McHugh (for Ross 74), and 28. Purdue (for Tiffoney, 84).

Subs not used: 16. Strapp, 21. Langan, 20. Brennan (gk).

Booked: Purdue (90+2).

Inverness C.T. (442): Ridgers; Seedorf, McKay, Warren (c), Calder; Doran, Trafford, Vigurs, Chalmsers; Polworth, Trafford (Austin, 46) (Mackay, 66), Oakley.

Subs not used: Tremarco, Elbouzedi, Bell, Harper, Esson (gk).

Referee: Steve Kirkland

Attendance: 2,359

 

Image: Ross Cameron