A solitary Connor Murray strike separated the sides as Morton reserves suffered a 1-0 defeat against Queen of the South in SPFL Reserve Cup Group D at Cappielow this afternoon.
John Sutton’s side came into the tie in a rich vein of form, having followed up a league win over Celtic with a 2-1 victory away to Dundee in their tournament opener.
After a goalless first half today, Ton upped the ante in the second half and saves from Doonhamers goalkeeper Jack Leighfield foiled Lewis Strapp and Jack Purdue and prevented them from taking the lead.
It was against the run of play that forward Murray scored what turned out to be the winning goal on 70 minutes, whipping a fine shot into the top-left corner to take the points back to Dumfries.
The Cappielow kids claimed maximum points six days earlier at Links Park in Montrose thanks to substitute Purdue’s double, and his inclusion in the starting line-up was one of three changes.
He took the injured Ben Armour’s spot in the starting XI, while Derek Gaston replaced Daniel Farrell between the sticks and Ben Eardley was restored after serving a one-match suspension.
The first half was a fairly uneventful affair with both teams creating half chances without really threatening to break the deadlock, Reece Lyon going closest when he flashed an angled drive across the face of goal.
There was also an early escape for the hosts when Gavin Watt’s backpass was intercepted by Bailey White, who fired past Gaston and into the outside of the netting.
But Queens would survive a number of scrapes as Sutton’s side turned the screw in the second half, starting with Liam Douglas sliding in to prevent Blair Docherty from turning home Darren Hynes’ cross from the right.
On 58 minutes, a vital touch from keeper Leighfield to take the sting of a Strapp’s shot followed by a goal-line clearance by Charie Exley prevented the left-back from finding the net.
Dumfries shot-stopper Leighfield than produced another crucial reflex stop just after the hour to keep the Ton out in agonising fashion from a home perspective.
Purdue bustled his way past the last man and managed to regain his balance before hitting a low drive that the keeper diverted a whisker wide of the left post with an outstretched boot.
And so it was against the run of play that Queens took the lead, Murray collecting a pass as he peeled away on the left-hand edge of the Ton box and whipped a fantastic shot into the top-left corner beyond Gaston.
Morton spent the final 20 minutes on the front foot, even switching to a 3-4-3 system in their search for an equaliser, but couldn’t find the goal required to secure the point their performance required.
2. Hynes (c) 4. Durham 5. Watt 3. Strapp
7. Eardley 8. R. Lyon 6. McGrattan 11. Docherty
10. Easdale 9. Purdue
Subs used: 12. Rodgers (for Docherty, 69), 15. Brophy (for Eardley, 76), and J. Lyon (for Watt, 83).
Subs not used: 14. Martins, 20. Farrell (gk).
Booked: Watt (82).
Queen of the South (442): Leighfield, D. Irving, Gourley, Fordyce (R. Irving, 46), Exley; Watson, Bell, Norman (Douglas, 46), Ivison (Tremble, 71); White, Murray (Potts, 86).
Subs not used: Thomson, Gibson (gk).
Booked: Exley (78).
Referee: Graham Grainger
Images: Gary Bradley