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Partick Thistle Balmoral Stadium Sat 01 Apr 23 / 15:00
Championship / Cappielow Park / Attendence:
Sat 25 Feb 23 / 15:00

Greenock Morton




Cove Rangers


Once again, defensive errors cost us vital points as the team threw away a narrow lead in the closing stages to fall to defeat in Greenock. Leighton McIntosh had carved out a narrow advantage, finishing off a fine move just before half-time, and the team were looking good to hang on to it until a late collapse proved all too costly.

Paul Hartley had opted for an attacking line-up with Michael O’Halloran handed an immediate debut in support of the front two of Mitch Megginson and Leighton McIntosh, who had been restored to the starting eleven. The other change from last week’s draw with Arbroath saw Kyle McClelland drafted in to anchor the midfield. Virtanen, Bangala and Toure dropped to what was a fully stocked bench.

O’Halloran was quickly involved, gathering the ball and driving at the home defence before rolling a pass wide to Scully. The wing-back took a touch and curled in an inviting cross, but Schwake rose highest to catch it.

Morton then constructed their first attack, Grimshaw laying the ball off to Waters who found Blues at the back post, but his header went into the side netting. The midfielder again threatened soon after, his shot from the edge of the box deflected wide by Morgyn Neill.

In the twelfth minute, the manager shook up his side. Logan came over to left-back, Naismith went out to the right and Scully moved forward into midfield in a revised 4-3-3 formation.

Scott Fox pulled off a sensational double save to deny the home team. A low cross from the right found Robbie Crawford at the near post and he flicked the ball goalwards. Scott dived low to keep the initial effort out one-handed, then grabbed it as Crawford fastened on to the rebound.

Connor Scully won a free-kick twenty-three yards out, but Vigurs’ curled effort at goal was high over the angle of bar and post.

Morton then hit back in the twenty-first minute, Crawford controlling inside the box, but his low twelve-yard shot was dragged wide.

We then enjoyed a concerted spell of pressure with Megginson, Scully and McIntosh all having shots blocked inside the area after a good move had opened up the Morton defence.

McClelland was booked after committing two fouls in the middle of the park in short order, and almost immediately he was replaced by Miko Virtanen, the manager clearly fearing the team being reduced to ten men.

Morton countered soon after, McGrattan shooting from twenty yards, but Fox gathered easily on his line.

We won a corner on the right, but when it was cleared, the home side broke in numbers. McGrattan got entangled with Scully just inside the box and the Morton man ran free, but with the goal at his mercy, the midfielder blazed high over the bar.

Having been given a reprieve, Cove then took the lead three minutes before the interval with a well-worked move. Vigurs played Megginson free in the box, Mitch controlled and rolled it back, and Iain took a touch before chipping in a right-footed cross. Leighton McINTOSH climbed above his markers and sent a delightful header looping over Schwake for his ninth goal of the season.

It might have been two soon after. Logan fired in a cross from the left and Vigurs got a touch, but before he could properly control the ball, the keeper dived out to snatch it.

Grimshaw was booked immediately after the restart for a foul on Megginson in what was a lively opening to the second half. Vigurs shot over from thirty yards, then at the other end Pignatiello sent in a dangerous low cross which Logan did well to clear. Jack Baird then went into the book for a late challenge on O’Halloran.

The home side made a triple switch in a bid to gain control of the match, but we had a big chance to extend our lead shortly after. Having successfully defended a Morton corner, Neill broke free on the right and fed a perfect ball down the touchline for McIntosh to run on to, but with Megginson waiting in the middle, Leighton’s cross was cut out by O’Connor.

The big central defender then got involved at the other end, firing high over after a long free-kick from Waters fell at his feet.

Michael O’Halloran’s debut lasted sixty-nine minutes, a lack of game time clearly taking its toll, and he was replaced by Luis Longstaff.

Waters was booked for a cynical foul on Mitch Megginson as the captain looked set to break away in the centre circle. Mitch was fit to carry on, but Connor Scully went down injured, and he had to go off after treatment.

David Bangala took over in midfield and Gime Toure came on for the tiring Iain Vigurs as Paul Hartley again switched formation, the team now shaping up 4-4-2.

Out of nothing, the home side were thrown a lifeline. Robbie Crawford raced into the box, Shay Logan was too late with his challenge, and referee Kirkland awarded what was a clear penalty. Robbie Muirhead lashed the ball off the underside of the bar, it rebounded down and into the net off Scott FOX’s back.

Within minutes, it was 2-1 Morton thanks to another of the self-inflicted goals which have scarred our season. A long free-kick was floated into the box and just as Mark Reynolds looked set to clear, he inexplicably ducked his head, allowing it to pass him. The ball deflected across the six-yard box and Robbie CRAWFORD was first to react, squeezing it home at the back post.

There was no time for the team to recover and the defeat left us still embroiled in the three-way battle at the bottom, the only slight consolation being the heavy defeat suffered by Hamilton, and Arbroath failing to win against Partick Thistle.

MORTON: (4-2-3-1) Schwake; Pignatiello (Miller 54), Baird(c), O’Connor (Ambrose 74), Waters; Grimshaw, Blues; Quitongo (Muirhead 54), R. Crawford (Roy 86), McGrattan (A. Crawford 54); Oakley

Substitutes: Green, Garrity, King,

Goalscorers: Fox (OG 80), R. Crawford (85)

Booked: Grimshaw (46), Baird (52), Waters (73)

COVE RANGERS: (3-4-1-2) Fox; Naismith, Neill, Reynolds; Logan, McClelland (Virtanen 31), Vigurs (Toure 75), Scully (Bangala 75); O’Halloran (Longstaff 69); Megginson (c), McIntosh

Substitutes: Gourlay, Ross, Weston, Dunne, Glass,

Goalscorers: McIntosh (42)

Booked: McClelland (29), Fox (83)

Referee: Steven Kirkland

Attendance: 1,873

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