Match Report: Morton 0-1 Falkirk


Greenock_Morton_FC_logoMorton 0 – 1 Falkirk

McKee (62)


Former player Joe McKee came back to haunt Morton by scoring the only goal of the game as Falkirk ran out 1-0 winners at Cappielow.

Midfielder McKee found the net with a long-range free-kick just after the hour as a disappointing second-half display saw Jim Duffy’s side slip to a home defeat against a Bairns side bossed by Alex Smith.

Smith had been appointed in the interim period after Peter Houston exited the Falkirk Stadium last Sunday following a 2-0 home loss to Livingston that extended their winless start to the season to seven matches.

The Ton, by contrast, had won two of their last three fixtures, albeit losing in their last outing away at Dundee United despite a positive performance.

Cappielow gaffer Duffy made three changes to the team that suffered that 2-1 defeat at Tannadice, two of which were forced upon him.

Jai Quitongo had not recovered from the hamstring injury that saw him forced off injured against the Tangerines, and he was replaced in the starting line-up by former Falkirk frontman Bob McHugh.

Connor McManus came in for Michael Tidser after the latter had been ill through the week, while Gary Harkins started on the left of midfield ahead of Robert Thomson.

The Greenock men would control much of the first half, enjoying the lion’s share of possession and creating more goal-scoring opportunities.

The Bairns where the first side to really threaten to break the deadlock when, on 15 minutes, Derek Gaston was forced to beat back a powerful Nathan Austin drive before Kevin O’Hara bent the rebound around the right post.

Goal bound … Ross Forbes hits the target with powerful volley but sees it blocked               © Ross Cameron

Goakeeper Gaston then produced an acrobatic save to thwart Aaron Muirhead, throwing up an arm to claw the right-back’s fierce drive from 35 yards over the bar.

Sandwiched in between those attempts was a fine stop by David Mitchell, the Falkirk custodian plunging to his right to turn the ball around the post after Ross Forbes had scooped Harkins’ low cross towards the target.

Forbes was the Ton player who appeared most likely to get his name on the scoresheet, and only a Bairns body prevented him from doing so on 36 minutes when a visiting defender got in the way of his thunderous volley.

On 42 minutes, last season’s top scorer attempted to curl the ball into the top-left corner from the edge of the box following neat combination play from Harkins and Mark Russell, but Mitchell was able to stretch up to claim.

He went for the same spot again shortly aftewards but flashed his shot an inch over the top due to the fact he was off balance whilst in the process of steering towards the target.

The second half proved an altogether different affair, however, particularly after Falkirk took an unexpected lead on 62 minutes.

Former Ton playmaker McKee lined up a free-kick approximately 35 yards out and, faced with a one-man wall, drilled the dead-ball into the bottom-right corner.

Despite being a well-struck effort, it was a disappointing goal to concede from a goalkeeper’s perspective, particulalry coming from the range it did and with just a solitary team-mate set up as a barrier.

The final half hour was surprisingly flat, the hosts failing to muster much in the way of slick attacking football against a determined Bairns side intent on claiming their first league win of the season.

Although young substitute Ben Armour injected life into proceedings, the Sinclair Street side’s only real attempt was a Thomas O’Ware header from a Harkins corner that Mitchell was able to clutch comfortably.

In the end, Falkirk successfully achieved their objective, leaving the Greenock men facing a fortnight wait before having the opportunity to put things right away at Brechin City.

Morton (4411)

1. Gaston
6. Doyle 4. O’Ware (c) 5. Lamie 17. Russell
8. Forbes 3. Murdoch 18. McManus 14. Harkins
7. Oliver
11. McHugh

Subs used: 11. McHugh (for Thomson, 70), 22. Armour (for Oliver, 75), and 15. Tiffoney (for McManus, 82).

Subs not used: 12. Tidser, 21. Langan, 23. Barr, 20. Doohan (gk).

Booked: Lamie (90).

Falkirk (4411): Mitchell; Muirhead, Balatoni, Grant, McGhee; McKee, Taiwo (Blues, 82), Kerr, Harris; O’Hara (Shepherd, 82); Austin (Miller, 55).

Subs not used: Hippolyte, Gallacher, Craigen, Thomson (gk).

Referee: John McKendrick

Attendance: 1,992


Images: Ross Cameron (Full Gallery)

Gary Bradley (Full Gallery)