Dunfermline 1-2 Morton
McManus (74, pen) – McAlister (24), McGuffie (79)
by Gerry McDade
Morton picked up their first full points on the road this season by consigning Dunfermline Athletic to their first home defeat of the campaign.
Caretaker Manager Anton McElhone made three changes to the side that went down narrowly to Hearts last weekend at Cappielow with Cameron Salkeld, Reece Lyon and Kalvin Orsi coming in to the team as Markus Fjortoft, Rabin Omar and Ross Maciver started on the bench.
Both sides vied for the early possession and had a couple of efforts on goal but it was Jim McAlister who broke the deadlock for the ‘Ton on 24 minutes after a Lewis Strapp production. The left wing-back chased down a ball and forced a throw-in. A ‘Strappy Special’ was launched and with the Pars’ defence unable to deal with his delivery, the Morton skipper volleyed home a fine finish.
The visitors continued to press and from a trademark Josh McPake run, Kalvin Orsi took possession before laying off to Cameron Salkeld, The young Geordie hit a drive that went over the bar.
There was serious concern for McElhone’s men almost on half-time when Kyle Jacobs, who was enjoying an industrious performance, seemed to pull up with a potential hamstring problem.
Play continued up to the referee’s whistle to conclude the first 45 but it was evident that Jacobs would be unable to continue in the second period so Rabin Omar came on to take his place.
Naturally, the home side started the second-half energetically looking to peg back the ‘Ton and Aidan McAdams made a superb stop from a close-range Declan McManus effort and then, minutes later had to look lively to palm a free-kick away.
Aidan Nesbitt appeared for McPake on the hour mark and saw one of his shots eventually gathered by Fon Williams in the Dunfermline goal.
Five minutes later and there was a controversial moment when Kalvin Orsi thought he had scored after latching on to a superb Salkeld pass across the box but the ‘Ton striker’s celebration was cut short as referee Munro deemed that the ball had not fully-crossed the line.
A short while after, Morton were aggrieved further when Nesbitt was adjudged to have handled in the box and McManus rifled the spot-kick home to level the score.
Dunfermline’s parity was short-lived however when Craig McGuffie, who had come on for Robbie Muirhead moments earlier, was on hand after a Strapp shot had been parried by Williams and the striker pounced to score and restore the ‘Ton’s lead.
The Pars upped the pace, seeking a second equaliser but the ‘Ton held firm to emerge with a credible away victory against a side who have been jousting for the top position in the table throughout these early stages of the season.
Anton McElhone was quick to praise the former Morton manager when he pointed out at full-time; “That was a ‘thank you’ to David Hopkin, who has left a great squad behind.”
Next up for Morton will be back-to-back home matches against Queen of the South and Inverness Caledonian Thistle respectively
Jacobs McLean McGinty Strapp
Salkeld Lyon McAlister (c) Muirhead
Subs used: 22. Rabin Omar (for Kyle Jacobs, 46), 10. Aidan Nesbitt (for Josh McPake, 61), 15. Craig McGuffie (for Robbie Muirhead, 76)
Unused Subs: Fjørtoft, Millar, Oliver, Maciver
Booked: McAlister (56)
Raith Rovers: Fon Williams, Comrie, Edwards, Watson, Murray, Dow, Turner, McInroy (McCann, 83), Thomas, O’Hara (Murray, 62), McManus
Unused Subs: Wilson, Bowman, Fenton, Gill, Mayo
Referee: David Munro
Image: David Bell