Morton and Queen of the South played out a goalless stalemate at Palmerston this afternoon as John Sutton’s side drew for the first time in Reserve League One.
It meant a second clean sheet in three outings for a young Ton second string that included goalkeeper Derek Gaston and left-back Lewis Strapp, making his first appearance since breaking his toe in July.
Strapp’s return to action was one of five changes made to the team that lost 3-1 at home to Hibs by head of development squad Sutton, who had been on the first-team bench at Partick Thistle just 48 hours earlier.
Ben Eardley made way for the defender, while Jack Purdue, Jonathan Lyon, Shaun Rodgers, and Ruaridh Langan replaced Denny Johnstone, Connor Bell, Scott Tiffoney, and Lewis McGrattan.
Ton made a bright start and threatened from set-pieces in the early stages, with Reece Lyon getting his forehead to Purdue’s inswinging corner and glancing narrowly wide of the right post.
The Doonhamers were restricted to shots from distance by the visitors, Charlie Exley going closest to finding the back of the net after hitting the target with a low piledriver that Gaston scooped up.
Purdue replied with a similar effort, and the outcome was identical, too, with Queens keeper Jack Leighfield doing well to get his body behind the ball and hold the powerful attempt.
Strapp, who had been out since breaking his toe in a Betfred Cup tie against Stenhousemuir back on 21 July, was hungry to make his presence felt.
On 41 minutes, the 18-year-old barrelled down the left and flashed a dangerous delivery across the face of goal, one that agonisingly brushed Rodgers’ toe as he stretched to get on the end of the cross.
The second half was largely uneventful until Langan appeared to be cleaned out inside the box after wriggling past a couple of challenges, but the midfielder’s strong claim was ignored by whistler Jordan Paterson.
Queen of the South’s Robbie Ivison probably should have secured three points on 74 minutes when he leapt to meet Archie Gardner’s floated cross from the right after it had cleared Gaston but headed over the bar.
It would have been harsh on the visitors, though, as the draw was a fair outcome after a keenly contested but fairly even 90 minutes on a dreich day in Dumfries.
2. Hynes (c) 5. Martins 4. Durham 3. Strapp
7. J. Lyon 8. R. Lyon 6. Langan 11. Purdue
10. Easdale 9. Rodgers
Subs used: 12. McGrattan (for R. Lyon, 58), and 14. Brophy (for Easdale, 58).
Subs not used: 16. Watt, 20. Farrell (gk).
Booked: Langan (36), Strapp (83).
Queen of the South: Leighfield, D. Irving, Exley, Gardner (Williamson, 89), Harvey, Thomson, Ivison, Watson (White, 67), Murray, Bell, R. Iving (McMahon, 67).
Subs not used: Williams, Douglas, Gibson (gk).
Booked: Bell (65), Murray (90+1).
Referee: Jordan Paterson.
Images: Stephen Lang