Dunfermline Athletic 2 - 2 Greenock MortonAuthor: Alistair Campbell Date: Sunday, 21st Oct 2012
For the second game in succession Dunfermline came from behind to gain a point, but this time they surrendered their leadership of the division, as the first round of fixtures was completed. A Campbell double looked to be enough to give the visitors victory, before a Husband penalty and a fantastic Wallace header meant the spoils were shared.
This was the battle of two of the form teams in the division, the Pars unbeaten in seven and Morton having won five on the bounce. Thankfully the road-works on the M9 spur for the new Forth Crossing had been suspended for the weekend, so it was a straightforward scoot across to Fife, and given no-one tried to search my lap-top bag (I must have an honest face) I was able to take my seat in plenty of time to see the pre- match entertainment of some highland dancing, to the accompaniment of some piped pipe music, and to get the early team news.
There was a surprise in the Pars line up with Ryan Thomson being named at number 3. However, we still had a Jordan at left back, with skipper McMillan moving across the back four to fill in and Geggan dropping to right back to accommodate the super-sub. Otherwise the starting eleven was as expected, with Gallacher in goals, Dowie and Morris at centre-back, Husband and Falkingham in midfield with Thomson, Cardle wide, and Barrowman and Wallace up front. Ross Drummond was promoted to the bench where he took his place alongside Kirk and Dargo, as well as Potter and Hrivnak.
Morton made one change to their eleven, David Graham coming in at the expense of Stephen Stirling. Kevin Rutkiewicz would also start on his return to East End Park, but Martin Hardie had to settle for a place on the bench for Allan Moore’s men.
The Pars kicked off in their first choice kit defending the goal in front of the Norrie McCathie stand, and soon tried to get their passing game going. In the fourth minute Geggan found space to put in a cross but his effort didn’t beat the first man; at the second attempt he sent Falkingham down the right but his attempt to beat Dyer was easily read by the former Raith left-back. A minute later O’Brien looked much more dangerous, exchanging passes with Weatherson and hitting the bye-line, but Morris turned behind, before Graham over-hit the corner.
We soon had our first sight of another former Par, when Rutkiewicz was booked for stopping Wallace illegally, but Cardle could do nothing with the dead-ball 35 yards out. Graham meanwhile fashioned himself a shooting chance in 12 minutes when neat play by Tidser found him some space, but he over-elaborated and came off second best to a blocking Falkingham tackle.
Soon Geggan won an aerial battle with Dyer but chose to pass to the offside Barrowman rather than have a shot as the Pars began to get into their stride. They then won their first corner when Tidser lost out to Barrowman who fed Wallace down the line but Gaston beat away the shot from the angle.
O’Brien was looking dangerous down the left and in 20 minutes the Pars had a let off when he again found the bye-line and his pinpoint cross was headed over the bar by Weatherson from 6 yards. That was close, but not as close as a chance at the other end two minutes later when Thomson missed a sitter - Geggan intercepted and burst forward leaving Tidser training in his wake, passed inside where Barrowman flicked beyond the defence but the normally reliable midfielder stroked the ball wide with only the keeper to beat.
Barrowman was unable to trouble the Morton keeper when he spun and shot from 30 yards but Gaston and easily pouched his effort. At the other end Weatherson had a similar opportunity, but his effort was always going wide. There was nearly an incident a couple of minutes later when a first time ball on the turn from Barrowman saw Gaston diving at Wallace’s feet to collect, only to spill the ball, but the keeper was first to react.
Frustration at the lack of chances was beginning to show, and Wallace was booked for dissent after the linesman’s flag brought their best move of the game to a premature halt with Dowie, Geggan, Husband and Wallace all combining.
However, five minutes before the break, the visitors took the lead. David Graham who had done very little, and was roundly booed in any case, got the ball on the right, chipped the ball into the middle where Weatherson nodded the ball down for Campbell to drill underneath Gallacher from 5 yards. A simple goal, and a little against the run of play, but that was what divided the sides as the Pars again trailed at the break.
Half time: Par 0 Ton 1
Morton got the second half under way and soon tried the same trick that had led to their goal, but this time Dowie was alive to Graham’s cross and was able to divert the ball back to Gallacher. Cardle had been quiet but in 51 minutes his reverse pass allowed Wallace to drive in a cross that was deflected behind for a corner on the right. Cardle too drove in the kick from the quadrant but it was easily cleared before Geggan’s fine tackle turned the tables, but the Pars couldn’t dig out a chance despite some better passing.
A mix-up between Dowie and Gallacher nearly gifted Morton a chance in 54 minutes – Campbell was quick to lift the ball over Gallacher at the edge of the box, but there was no team-mate able to cash in from the cut-back. The Pars in turn wasted a chance when Falkingham, who was now playing wide on the right, sent in a good ball but Barrowman scuffed his attempted side-foot finish well off target.