Out of the Cup with a whimper
Allan Johnston named the same starting 11 as last week despite Lee Ashcroft being available again. New signing James Craigen was among the substitutes. The formation was changed from last week's 4-4-2 to 4-1-3-2, with Big Nat in the defensive midfield role, and a 3 man central midfield with Dean Shiels on the right, Michael Paton central and Joe Cardle on the left.
MINUTES THAT MATTERED
11' Nicky Clark's header went just past the post
22' Morton's Michael Tiffoney did not connect properly when given a chance to shoot inside the box
23' Jack Iredale saw his effort hit the post for Morton
24' GOAL Gary Oliver took full advantage of the space given to him inside the box, putting the ball beyond Lee Robinson to make it 1-0 to Morton
30' Ryan Williamson made a run down the right and picked out Joe Cardle who somehow put the ball wide from a relatively easy goalscoring position
57' GOAL Declan McManus made a determined run forward and equalised with a shot that Gaston could not keep out
60' Clark was denied what seemed a certain goal when his header was saved
76' New Par James Craigen cleared a Michael Tidser shot off the line at the post
82' Sub Kallum Higginbotham passed to Ryan Williamson. Instead of shooting, Williamson squared the ball but did not find a team mate; the chance was gone
86' GOAL Morton sub Jai Quitongo scored from 20 yards to put his team through to the next round
The match programme showed 1968 Scottish Cup winning captain Roy Barry with the trophy. Sadly, there will be no repeat of that achievement 50 years on. The Pars made it to Hampden this season - in the third round when Queen's Park were defeated. Today's fourth round game against fellow-Championship side Morton represented a good chance to progress but the Dunfermline team failed to capitalise on several half chances and one sitter. Meanwhile, Morton midfielder Gary Harkins was allowed to run the show, with the Pars midfield lacking pace and mobility.
Too many of Dunfermline's regular starters were off the boil: Joe Cardle had a dismal game, losing possession, over-playing, miss-passing and then failing to score when presented with the whole goal to aim at a few yards out. Captain Callum Morris had an all-too-familiar lapse in the first half, losing the ball and eventually being forced into giving away a corner. Morton's first goal came in Morris' area but was caused by Cardle trying, and failing, to play offside, leaving scorer Gary Oliver with time and space to place his shot, while Morris was marking another Morton player. Ryan Williamson had a good first half, in an attacking sense, but in the second period was poor defensively. From a possible man of the match, his game deteriorated the longer it went on, ending with him trying to pass in the Morton box when he had a great chance to shoot. The midfield was ponderous, and even the introduction of new signing James Craigen did not improve things. Craigen's only real contribution was to clear a goalbound Morton effort off the line at the post.
Subs Kallum Higginbotham and Craigen were, at least, given a decent amount of time to make an impact, both coming on after 66 minutes. For some reason, Allan Johnston did not make a later third substitution, with players such as Andy Ryan and Callum Smith left unused, when Ryan in particular should have been brought on for a mis-firing Nicky Clark. After a few good performances, Clark was ineffective today. He did force Morton keeper Derek Gaston into making an outstanding second half save but generally he was disappointing.
As always, in the post match interview the manager thought we were the better team. A draw would have been a fair outcome but as the home team, we did not do nearly enough to win the game.
Photos and edits by Pars Review
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