by Ewan Boyle
Morton 2 – 3 St. Johnstone
Nesbitt (56), Sutton (59); O’Halloran (15), Tanser (26), Wotherspoon (49)
The Cappielow faithful were able to have a glimpse of the new-look Ton team against St. Johnstone, David Hopkin’s first home game just a week before the beginning of the Betfred Cup campaign.
It was a game of two halves with the Saints dominating the first half and the Ton commanding the game in the final half an hour of the second half.
Both teams had minimal chances in the first 10 minutes other than an ambitious cross in from Reghan Tumilty which the Ton attackers could not get on the end of.
The Saints were the ones to break the deadlock on 15 minutes as Michael O’Halloran went on a fantastic mazey run around three of Morton’s defenders and hit the ball across the face of goal and into the bottom left corner.
Kyle McLean found himself some space in the 22nd minute and launched a shot at goal which ended up heading over the keeper and just over the crossbar.
The referee faced his first big decision of the game as contact from Tumilty on the St. Johnstone striker caused for the referee to award a penalty which led to Scott Tanser sending it home and giving the Saints a two goal lead on 26 minutes.
Ton keeper Sam Ramsbottom continued to impress since his arrival at Cappielow as Danny Swanson’s attempt on goal was denied after the midfielder went on a darting run into the Morton box but Ramsbottom was able to do very well and save the shot.
Shortly after half-time, St. Johnstone looked as though they had put the game to bed as David Wotherspoon turned inside of the Ton defence and sent the keeper the wrong way which gave the Saints their third on 49 minutes.
As the third goal went in, it seemed liked something had clicked in the Morton side as David Hopkin’s men turned on the magic from that point onwards and began what was an ambitious comeback attempt.
Claims for a penalty were heard on 52 minutes from the Morton players after what was questionably a handball however nothing came from it and the referee waved play on.
Morton got their first goal of the game on 56 minutes as a fantastic cross into the box by Cameron Salkeld was met by Aidan Nesbitt who caught it beautifully on the volley and finished it into the net.
The Ton fans were able to see a moment which was highly anticipated for all supporters as John Sutton, who has been very effective in his performances since returning from retirement as a player, found the net after a well-worked cross into the box was met by the experienced front man to finish and get his first goal for the club.
The third Morton goal seemed as though it was a certainty but an incredible save from the Saints’ keeper stopped it after somehow getting a hand to a huge chance and palmed the ball out for a corner.
Aidan Nesbitt’s man of the match performance was highlighted in his sublime run on the left wing to cross the ball in for John Sutton on 70 minutes who was so unlucky to miss out on his second goal and Morton’s third as his header went into the side netting.
The Saints did have the ball in the net on 77 minutes however the goal was not to be as the linesmen had his flag up and the goal was disallowed for offside.
The full time whistle came and both sets of fans were up on their feet applauding both teams following their impressive team performances as the fiery yet end-to-end game was brought to an end and the much improved Ton second half performance came to an end.
6. Grant 5. Trialist 4. Trialist
2. Tumilty 7. Jacobs 8. McAlister 3. Strapp
11. Salkeld 9. Orsi
Subs used: John Sutton (for Orsi, 45), Nicky Cadden (for Tumilty, 45), Chris Millar (for McAlister, 45), Robbie Muirhead (for Jacobs, 71), Reece Lyon (for Jacobs, 75), Darren Hynes (for Salkeld, 77), Bob McHugh (for Strapp, 78), Trialist (for Grant, 87)
Referee: Steven Reid
⭐️ Star Man: Aidan Nesbitt