Morton 3 – 2 Ayr United
Oliver (83), Blues (85), Strapp (88) – Smith (32, 73)
by Brendan McEleny
Morton staged a remarkable late second-half revival and scored three goals in five minutes to come back from 2-0 down and beat Ayr United 3-2 at Cappielow this afternoon.
Manager David Hopkin made three changes to the side that lost to Dundee last week with Josh McPake, Aidan Nesbitt and Lewis Strapp in for Kyle Jacobs, Michael Ledger and Robbie Muirhead who served his one match suspension.
The ‘Ton had a positive start to the afternoon with Lewis Strapp going close to open the scoring on 13 minutes. His long-range effort was both ambitious and accurate, going close but goalkeeper Vijami Sinisalo did well to get a hand to the ball and push it over for a corner kick.
Another great chance came for Morton on 19 minutes through a near own-goal scare. Cameron Salkeld did well to drive a cross into the box on the right side that defender Sam Roscoe diverted just past his own goalkeeper and the post.
The opposition showed they were not to be taken lightly though and had a huge chance to break the deadlock on 24 minutes as Bruce Anderson’s shot from the edge of the box hit the post and was eventually cleared by the ‘Ton defence.
Aidan McAdams made a strong save for the Sinclair Street side ,on 27 minutes denying Michael Moffat from a few yards out. The experienced forward was given some space in the box to pull the trigger on a powerful effort which the ‘Ton keeper dealt with comfortably, pushing it out to the right.
Classy midfielder Josh McPake continued to look for his first goal for the club and had a chance for the Sinclair Street side on 32 minutes. The 19-year-old did well to dribble past a few Ayr players on the left-hand side before snapping a shot towards goal which forced Sinisalo to make a save to his left.
The visitors would take the lead against the run of play on 32 minutes when a Cammy Smith delivery into the box deflected off of the unfortunate Lewis Strapp and into the net.
Another great save from McAdams denied Ayr from doubling their lead on 43 minutes. Michael Moffat managed to find space to shoot from just a few yards out and the ‘Ton goalkeeper was quick to save with his right hand and deny a goal before the half-time interval.
Ayr United were reduced to ten men on 52 minutes after an outrageous tackle from Aaron Muirhead on Josh McPake gave referee Greg Aitken no choice but to show the red card and send the defender off early into the second half.
The ‘Ton immediately used the extra man to their advantage as David Hopkin encouraged his men to press further forward. Sinisalo was forced to punch away a Jim McAlister header across goal on 55 minutes as the Greenock side continued to hunt for a much-deserved equaliser.
It was 10 v 10 for a brief spell as Lewis Strapp went off to receive treatment after a head knock right in front of the home dugout.
Both sides continued to deal with the adverse weather conditions and the ‘Ton had a real mountain to climb on 73 minutes. Innes Cameron played through Cammy Smith who slotted passed Aidan McAdams to double Ayr’s lead and grab his second of the day.
Brian McLean was a real guardian for the ‘Ton defence on 79 minutes after the defender made a heroic block just a few yards out to deny Cammy Smith his hat-trick.
A glimmer of hope came for David Hopkin’s men on 83 minutes. Sean McGinty played a terrific long ball up the park that was brought down by Ross Maciver. The Motherwell loanee then played through Gary Oliver who cooly rounded the defender before smartly finishing.
The hard work paid off as the comeback for Morton was complete on 85 minutes. McGinty was again the architect with a long ball that was mistimed by the Ayr defence and headed directly to Cameron Blues who finished from a few yards out for his second goal of the season.
As the final few minutes approached the ‘Ton went looking for a last-minute winner and they ensured all three points in dramatic fashion on 88 minutes. Brian McLean played a long ball into the box and Lewis Strapp picked his spot with a low header that eluded the goalkeeper and finished up in the back of the net.
A wild celebration on the park was mirrored in the home dugout in response to an incredible comeback.
The much-awaited final whistle blew and confirmed a brilliant result and performance for David Hopkin’s men. Their desire to come back from two goals behind to win will be something the Manager will take great pride in as the ‘Ton now set their attentions to Raith Rovers next weekend.
Fjørtoft McLean McGinty Strapp
Blues McAlister (c)
Salkeld McPake Nesbitt
Subs used: 15. Craig McGuffie (for Cameron Salkeld Salkeld, 59), 11. Gary Oliver (for Aidan Nesbitt, 69), 23. Ross Maciver (for Kalvin Orsi, 69)
Unused Subs: Ledger, Jacobs, Colville, Omar
Booked: Cameron Salkeld (49)
Ayr United: Sinisalo, Reading, Muirhead, Roscoe, Murdoch, Moffat, Anderson (Cameron, 67), McCowan, Smith (Miller, 86), Chalmers, Baird (c)
Unused Subs: Haire-Reid, Houston, Hewitt, McKenzie, Smith
Red Card: Aaron Muirhead (52)
Referee: Greg Aitken
Image: Gary Bradley