Greenock Morton 2-3 Saints

Tuesday 9th July 2019

Saints continued their pre-season campaign this evening with a friendly against Greenock Morton at Cappielow.

Saints started brightly and Michael O’Halloran gave Tommy Wright’s men the lead on 15 minutes. That advantage was doubled 11 minutes later as Scott Tanser converted from the penalty spot after the left-back had been tripped in the box by Reghan Tumilty.

It was a positive first half with Saints creating numerous chances. The only negative was that Zander Clark had to be replaced after 13 minutes by Elliot Parish after picking up a knock.

4 minutes into the second half Saints got a third courtesy of a David Wotherspoon strike.

Despite Saints dominance Morton make a couple of changes before Aidan Nesbitt pulled a goal back on 56 minutes for the Ton. Then 3 minutes later former Saints striker John Sutton grab a second for the hosts as he converted from close range.

That gave David Hopkin’s men confidence as they pressed forward but Saints were able to see the game out to secure a third consecutive pre-season win.

Next up for Saints is a trip to the Highlands on Friday evening for a friendly against Inverness CT at Grant Street Park, home of Highland League outfit Clachnacuddin, kick off 7:30pm.

MATCH REPORT

Saints made the trip to Inverclyde this evening for a pre-season friendly against Championship side Greenock Morton. Tommy Wright made three changes to the team that started the first half against Linfield on Saturday as Kyle McClean, Michael O’Halloran and Callum Hendry came in for Liam Craig, Chris Kane and the trialist striker.

Morton’s Jim McAlister got the match underway and the first chance of the match came after 10 minutes as Kyle Jacobs had a shot from distance which went well wide of the target.

Saints were then forced to make an early change after 13 minutes as Elliot Parish came on for the injured Zander Clark. Then 2 minutes later Saints took the lead. Murray Davidson played a good ball to Michael O’Halloran and the Saints attacker cut inside, dribbling the ball past three Morton defenders, before unleashing a shot that beat Sam Ramsbottom in the home goal and nestled in the bottom left-hand corner of the net.

On 19 minutes a good interchange between Kyle McClean and David Wotherspoon saw the later play the ball into Richard Foster, who was in on goal. However, the Saints right-back couldn’t get his shot away as the Morton defence got back to knock the ball behind for a corner which came to nothing.

Saints continued to create chances and on 22 minutes Danny Swanson did well to control the ball in the middle of the pitch before slipping it to Callum Hendry and the young Saints striker unleashed a shot from just outside the box that went narrowly over.

3 minutes later Saints were awarded a penalty after Scott Tanser was tripped in the box by Reghan Tumilty after he had slipped past the Morton right-back. The Saints left-back stepped up to take the penalty and he calmly slotted it into the bottom left-hand corner to double Saints advantage.

A great bit of skill by Swanson on 38 minutes saw him pick the ball up just past the halfway line before going on a mazy run into the box and having a shot but Ramsbottom was out quick to make a good low save.

4 minutes into the second half Saints got their third of the evening as Swanson passed the ball to Wotherspoon who cut inside before firing past Ramsbottom.

On 51 minutes Morton were claiming for a penalty as they felt an Aidan Nesbitt free kick had struck the hand of a Saints player as it was delivered into the box but the referee waved away the appeals. Then a minute later Nesbitt had a shot from 25 yards but that didn’t trouble Parish as it went wide of the target.

Nesbitt though wasn’t to be denied on 56 minutes as he volleyed a Cameron Salkeld cross past Parish to pull a goal back for the Ton.

Then three minutes later the hosts got a second goal. Steven Anderson had done well to block the initial shot from Nesbitt however, the Morton striker picked up the loose ball and squared it to John Sutton who knocked it home from close range.

Sutton then came very close to a second goal on 64 minutes as Nesbitt broke at pace down the left before crossing to the striker but Parish made a good save to deny the former Saints striker.

The hosts were showing confidence and another former Saints player Chris Millar was next to have a strike at goal but Parish was alert to the danger. The Saints goalkeeper then made a good save on 66 minutes as he got down well to palm away a Salkeld effort.

Nesbitt went on another impressive run down the left on 70 minutes and his delivery into the Saints box again picked out Sutton who headed the ball into the side netting.

Saints thought they had got a fourth goal on 77 minutes as a Wotherspoon free kick picked out Jason Kerr who powered a header past Ramsbottom however, play was pulled back as the Saints captain was deemed to have been in an offside position.

As the match entered the closing stages the heavens opened as the rain started to pour down and the only chance of note was a David McMillan shot which was palmed away by Ramsbottom.

Greenock Morton: Ramsbottom, Tumilty (Cadden 45), Strapp (McHugh 78), Trialist A, Trialist B, Grant (Trialist C 87), Jacobs (Lyon 75), McAlister (Millar 45), Orsi (Sutton 45), Nesbitt (Muirhead 72), Salkeld (Hynes 77)

Unused Substitutes: Trialist (GK), Dykes, McGrattan, Eardley

Booked: McAlister

Scorers: Nesbitt (56), Sutton (59)

Saints: Clark (Parish 13), Tanser, Anderson, Davidson, Wotherspoon, Swanson (McCann 69), Kerr, O’Halloran, Foster, McClean, Hendry (McMillan 74)

Unused Substitutes: Duffy, Callachan, Gordon, Craig

Booked: Davidson

Scorers: O’Halloran (15), Tanser (26 pen), Wotherspoon (49)

Referee: Steven Reid

Attendance: 635

Picture: Danny Swanson evades a challenge from Jim McAlister

Match Report by Daryl Scott