Match Report

Greenock Morton 1

Partick Thistle 0

Manager Ian McCall made three changes to his team for this evening’s visit to Cappielow. Willie Kinniburgh, Paul Cairney and Chris Erskine all returning to the starting line up with John Robertson, Ryan McGowan and Martin Grehan dropping to the bench.

On an excellent playing surface which looked to suit Thistle, it was the Jags that made the better start to the game. Barely sixty seconds were on the clock when Chris Erskine’s pass released Kris Doolan but Doolan’s progress towards the Morton goal was halted by a raised flag for offside.

Two minutes later the two players combined again. This time Doolan won the ball in the air with Erskine’s shot from the edge of the box taking a deflection before it found its’ way into the grateful grasp of Cuthbert in the Morton goal.

An Iain Flannigan pass was just a little too far in front of Chris Erskine as Thistle’s impressive start to the game continued before in the 11th minute Doolan tried to lob Cuthbert from 20 yards out. The Morton keeper, however, was just too close to his line to be truly troubled by that effort.

In contrast to Thistle confident opening, Morton were looking nervy but in the 14th minute they took the lead in fortunate, if not controversial, circumstances. Willie Kinniburgh, admittedly poor, attempt at a clearance rising up and striking him on the hand with referee Nicholls’ interpretation clearly that Kinniburgh had attempted to play the ball with his hand. Former Thistle player Derek Lyle made an efficient job of the penalty that followed.

Thistle lost their way a little in the immediate aftermath of the game’s opening goal but were within a whisker of an equaliser in the 21st minute. Chris Erskine was able to cut inside from the right and his curled effort was touched over the bar by Cuthbert.

Morton now a goal ahead were looking a more confident side and Stewart Kean was just about a foot too high with a free kick from 30 yards before Michael Tidser near scored a memorable goal. With no hint of a threat to the Thistle goal Tidser looked up before smacking a shot off the Thistle bar from 25 yards out.

The fluidity and rhythm of Thistle’s early play was missing at this point but they still had two chances to level the scores before the break. Chris Erskine, switched to a role wide on the right after Martin Grehan had replaced Paul Cairney, had a run that took him to the bye line but Morton were able to scramble away his cut back.

Morton too were able to scramble clear an Iain Flannigan effort in first half injury time after he had collected a long clearance from Alan Archibald who was making his 350th Thistle appearance.

The first chance of the second half came Thistle’s way and nearly produced a goal from an unlikely source. Bryan Hodge was able to lay the ball back into the path of David Rowson and Rowson’s low drive through a crowd  of players produced a fine stop from Kevin Cuthbert.

Aside from that Rowson shot there was no hint of a Thistle goal as the second half wore on though there were shouts for a penalty in the 70th minute when Martin Grehan hit the deck after collecting a cross from Paddy Boyle.

With 8 minutes of the game remaining and time fast running out on Thistle, Morton were close to securing the points with a quick incisive break. Michael Tidser’s ball split open the Thistle defence with sub Fitzharris left with just Scott Fox to beat. Fox though was quickly off his line and was able to block Fitzharris’ shot.

That proved to be the last incident of a note as Thistle’s unbeaten league record stretching back to November was ended.

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