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20/01/24

GREENOCK MORTON 2-0 MONTROSE

A good fan following from Montrose in a crowd of 1,646 saw a quite strong Mo team take on Championship side Greenock Morton at Cappielow Park. Referee Matthew MacDermid got the game started on a better day than expected but with light rain and windy all afternoon.

Morton started on the front foot but Montrose defended well but a Steeves cross from the left found nobody else on the end as keeper Mullen gathered safely. 

Shots at both ends followed, firstly a Mo shot by Shrive from a ball from Williamson was blocked then at the other end a Morton forward headed over the top from close range. Gill saved at the expense of a corner and saved again from the second ball shot.

Then came a game changing decision by the referee on 10 minutes. A cross from the left resulted in an attacker colliding with his marker then collapsing to the ground. Penalty said the referee but the Mo fans at that end would think otherwise – but a penalty it was and Grant Gillespie put it away to make it 1-0. 

That meant Montrose had to do more than defend and breakaway and they did just that. That said, it was clear who were the Championship side but even so Montrose competed on a 50/50 basis for the rest of the first half.

Morton were a threat down both wings with speed but Montrose almost scored on 16 minutes as a Webster header hit the angle of the post and crossbar with Keeper Mullen well beaten – but the ball rebounded back into play and the defender was onto the second ball first. A Steeves cross was headed over at stretch again by Webster who with the next move hit the side netting with a shot. Webby seemed to be enjoying his game well upfield on the day.

The next few notes up to half-time show 3 corners for Montrose and 3 for Morton all of which came to nothing so it stayed at 1-0. On balance maybe Morton shaded the half but the difference was the somewhat harsh penalty decision.

No changes for the second half and Hester had the ball in the net on 47 minutes but as the Mo crowd at that end cheered the far side linesman put his flag up for offside.

Instead of an equalising goal a couple of minutes later it became 2-0 to Morton. A free kick wide right was not cleared by Montrose, nor was the second ball and the resultant shot was deflected onto the crossbar but again it was a Morton player who reacted first and scored with a close-range header- the scorer being George Oakley on 51 minutes.

Corners were exchanged at each end and wasted then the first changes were made by Morton. On came Strapp and King replacing Quitongo and Waters on 58 minutes. Mo keeper Gill saved in a 1 on 1 situation then Webster had a shot blocked for Montrose before a triple change by the Mo. On 65 minutes on came Watson for Quinn, Lyons for Shrive and Brown was replaced by young Harry Craig.

Not much else happened until another change saw Hermiston come on for Williamson who took a knock and Batchelor came on for Hester. In fact Hermiston was only on the pitch for a few minutes then went off because of injury which meant Montrose were down to 10 men for the last 10 minutes. 

Another change for Morton saw Garrity replace Gillespie, McGrattan replaced Crawford and then Bearne replace Oakley. Montrose were on top now despite having only 10 men and a free kick from 30 yards by Watson was saved then Webster and Lyons were denied. Play by Morton became scrappy towards the end and two of their players were yellow carded in the last few minutes, Strapp and Blues were the culprits.

Morton did have the ball in the net again after a scrap in the goalmouth but the referee gave a free kick to Montrose. The final bit of action had Gardyne flicking a ball to Watson whose overhead kick went just wide before the final whistle.

On the balance of play it was the home side who just about deserved it but Montrose did have good possession but just lacked the finishing touch.

Report by Steve Doyle

Post Match Interview https://youtu.be/y8PAo0fitMQ?si=ZCEEEK8El-eZFb3O