Academy spotlight with Cameron Middleton

By Cameron Middleton

Under-18s Come Out on Top in Derby Thriller

Morton Under-18s came out on top in a five-goal Renfrewshire derby thriller at Parklea last Friday, with goals from Kieran Brophy, who bagged a brace, and John Gallacher firing Morton to a 3-2 win over rivals St Mirren.

Sean Crighton’s boys were fresh off three wins in a row heading into the CAS League clash; however, they were up against a tough – and unbeaten – Saints side.

Despite playing against tough opposition, it was Ton who were controlling the game from the start, their high pressing from the kick-off seeing them gain momentum and, ultimately, leading to a corner kick in the eighth minute.

The ball was floated to the back post, allowing forward Brophy to rise highest and place a clever header past the Saints keeper. 1-0 Morton.

As the first half continued, St Mirren began to counter-attack and find their way through Morton’s relentless and constant pressure.

A Saints break saw the visitors to place a ball high in behind the home defence, allowing midfielder Finlay Gray to fire a strike into the roof of the net, leaving Ton keeper Andrew Coyle with no chance.

Shortly after the goal, both sides had huge chances to go in front, and within seconds from each other with one attack leading directly to the other.

Firstly, Morton worked a clever set-piece from a corner, which presented Shaun Rodgers with a great chance at the back post.

However, the No.7 couldn’t capitalise and St Mirren retrieved possession and broke sharply, with the ball quickly played through the middle and behind the Ton defence, with the Saints striker firing just wide of the post.

Just before the break, Ton shot-stopper Coyle was called in to action twice, reacting quickly to rush out of his box and come out on top in a one-on-one before showing strong hands to push a fierce strike over the bar.

The high tempo continued in the second half, with chances falling each way before an early injury forced a St Mirren substitution.

Striker Kyle Docherty was introduced and within two minutes got himself on the end of a low cross from the left to put the Paisley outfit in front.

Nonetheless, the young Morton side were relentless throughout and conceding certainly wasn’t going to knock them off their stride

On 60 minutes, Ton hitman Aidan Duffy saw his shot blocked on the line by a visiting defender, but the Buddies failed to aqequately clear their lines.

The ball ultimately fell to wing-back Brophy, who fired a low shot into the bottom right corner to score his second of the evening.

In true derby fashion, tackles and fouls were common towards in the latter stages of the match; the game was heating up, but it was Morton who would have the final word.

A deep free-kick from inside Morton’s half looked to have come to nothing until Rodgers did superbly well excellent to keep the ball alive on the bye-line before finding fellow reserve regular Brophy.

He was afforded the space to deliver a ball in to the box that found Johnny Gallagher on the opposite side, and he placed a shot beyond the Saints keeper from six yards to win the game.

Head of youth pathway Sean Crighton was pleased with his team’s performance but thought that they could have won by a larger margin.

He said: “The boys are buzzing, it’s a derby at the end of the day. You can see that they have a good togetherness, they want to win games.

“But we do have to be more ruthless as a team in front of goal. We had a load of chances and we’ve just not taken them. I think we should have had the game out of sight in the first half.”

He also praised the performance of playmaker Lyon, adding: “I thought Jonathan Lyon was superb. We look for him to go and get on the ball and to make things happen and he obviously did that tonight.”

Next Up:

Friday 12 October: Morton Under-18s v Fife Elite Under-18s (Parklea, 7.30pm kick-off).

Sunday 14 October: Morton Under-16s v Ayr United Under-16s (Parklea, 2pm kick-off).