Morton 2-2 Inverness C.T.
McGinty (3), Blues (66) – Sutherland (4), Mackay (15)
by Brendan McEleny
The ten men of Morton showed they were no pushovers as they worked tremendously hard to earn a point against Inverness at Cappielow last night as both sides were held to a 2-2 draw in the Scottish Championship.
Interim manager Anton McElhone made 4 changes to the side that lost 2-1 in Dumfries at the weekend with Rabin Omar, Craig McGuffie, Cameron Blues and Gary Oliver all coming in to replace Jim McAlister, Cameron Salkeld, Reece Lyon and Kalvin Orsi in the starting lineup.
It was a typical cold midweek fixture in Greenock but that did not stop the fiery start from the ‘Ton as they opened up the scoring just 3 minutes in. A cross into the box by Craig McGuffie on the right was mishit and fell to the feet of Sean McGinty who rocketed a shot into the net to score his second goal of the season.
The visitors however responded immediately from the restart when the ball was played up the park to James Vincent who cut inside the box passed Markus Fjørtoft to lay off Shane Sutherland who slotted the ball through Aidan McAdams’ legs for the instant equaliser with a first time hit.
Despite not playing a competitive fixture since December, the Caley Jags were showing no signs of rust and they went ahead on 15 minutes when a through ball split the ‘Ton defence, found Daniel MacKay and the forward took the ball around McAdams to tap into an open goal to make it 2-1.
The Sinclair Street side had a bit of a mountain to climb now and that incline got even tougher on 29 minutes when Rabin Omar was shown a second yellow card for a challenge in the middle of the park on James Vincent.
A team determined not to let heads drop though, Morton continued to fight and Sean McGinty thought he had scored his second of the game to equalise on 37 minutes when he headed the ball into the net from a corner but referee Peter Stuart penalised the defender for a push in the box.
Much like the game against Queen of the South on Saturday, Anton McElhone’s side came out in the second half on the front foot and created a number of chances within quick succession. On 55 minutes Lewis Strapp delivered one of his trademark throws into the box which was cleared back out to him and, having some space on the left, tried his luck from distance but his effort went over the bar.
Just few minutes later the ‘Ton had a massive opportunity to equalise when Aidan Nesbitt floated a free-kick into the box which Markus Fjørtoft knocked down to the feet of Michael Ledger whose shot from a few yards out was remarkably tipped passed the post and out for a corner by Mark Ridgers.
The determination and hard work to get back into the game paid off on 66 minutes as a brilliant counter attack found the crucial equaliser. Gary Oliver received the ball on the half way line and did superbly well to knock it by two defenders, work play down the left and then deliver an inch perfect cross into the box to Cameron Blues who diverted past Ridgers and into the net to make it 2-2.
For a brief moment in the second half, the Greenock men were reduced to 9 as Michael Ledger had to receive treatment from the sideline. The Highlanders tried to make use of the two man advantage however any ball into the danger area was dealt with comfortably by the ‘Ton defence as they look set to hold on to a vital point.
Much like many games this season Aidan McAdams was called upon to make an important save in stoppage time to deny the visitors from snatching all three points. A cross into the box by Sutherland was deflected towards the goal forcing McAdams to make a great reaction save to his right and put the ball out for a corner kick.
The resulting corner was cleared and the referee blew for full time to confirm a great point for Anton McElhone’s side especially considering they had to play with 10 men for over an hour. The ‘Ton have only lost one of their last five games on home soil and attentions now turn to welcoming Arbroath to Cappielow on Saturday.
Ledger Fjørtoft McGinty Strapp
McGuffie Nesbitt Colville
Subs used: 7. Chris Millar (for Craig McGuffie, 63), 17. Reece Lyon (for Cameron Blues, 73), 14. Cameron Salkeld (for Gary Oliver, 79)
Unused Subs: McLean, McAlister, Muirhead, Orsi
Booked: Rabin Omar (19), Gary Oliver (74)
Red Card: Rabin Omar (28)
Inverness: Ridgers. Duffy, Devine, Deas,Harper, Vincent, Welsh, Mackay (MacGregor, 83), Allardice (Todorov, 70), Doran (Keatings, 70), Sutherland
Unused Subs: Carson, Mackay, Nicolson, Hyde
Referee: Peter Stuart
Image: Gary Bradley