\Saturday 11 August 2012

Greenock Morton 2 - 2 Livingston
Weatherson (7)
Wallace (80)
I.Russell (25)
Scougall (39)

Morton and Livingston shared the spoils in their opening league game, with both sides coming from behind in the game.  Peter Weatherston put the home side ahead early on in the game, before Iain Russell levelled the score, midfielder Stefan Scougall put the Lions ahead before Tony Wallace’s late equaliser clinched a point for the home side.

Both teams opened the game brightly, determined to get their season began successfully.  Less than a minute in, Livi midfielder, Tony Andreu was felled in the box, but the penalty calls were denied by the referee, and Iain Russell’s shot was easily saved by Derek Gaston.  Morton’s first opportunity came by way of Stephen Stirling, who failed to test the keeper, sending the shot high and wide from a good position.  At the other end, Livingston’s Jordan Morton sent a long range shot in which Gaston did well to hold.

With just 7mins on the clock, it was the home fans that were to celebrate first.  Peter Weatherston at the back post, latched onto a great cross, accurately send his header past Andy McNeil.

Though Livingston dominated the possession, it wasn’t until 25mins in that they clinched the equaliser, a great long ball over the top of the defence by Ross Docherty was latched onto by Iain Russell who scored a neat shot under the keeper.

Morton attempted to respond just seconds later, Michael Tidser shot just cleared for a corner.

Jordan Morton almost put Livingston ahead a few minutes later, but his 20yd shot was just wide after twisting his way through the defence.  Minutes later, Morton had a series of chances in the box, eventually going out for a goal kick.

With less than 10mins to go until half time, Livingston were lucky to keep ten men on the park as a lunging tackle by Craig Barr took out his opponent.  The resultant free kick by David O’Brien was just over, but never looked like troubling Andy McNeil.

Livingston went ahead with five minutes till half time, Kevin McCann sent in an excellent cross to the back post which his opposite number, Calum Fordyce did well to head back in to Stefan Scougall who scored his first goal of the season with a great header.

Less than a couple of minutes later, Jason Naismith was lucky to stay on the park with a nasty foul on Iain Russell.  The striker was sent flying head first into a the stand’s gate, looking badly injured, but fortunately returned to the game a few minutes later.

Poor passing by the Livi defence almost gave Morton a way back into the game just before the half time whistle, but fortunately the shot hit of the side netting.

Both teams came out the traps quickly in the second half, Fordyce doing an excellent save off the line from an O’Brien cross before Gaston denied Docherty at the other end.  McNeil then came to the rescue of the visitors, saving a Weatherston header. 

Moments later, there was a few nervous minutes for both sides as Craig Barr and Tony Wallace leapt for the same ball and instead crashed heads together.  As the whole ground waited in silence, both players got up much to the relief of both sides.

Morton began to batter the Livi goal, with Stirling, Wallace and Naismith all having good opportunities, but never testing Andy McNeil.

Marc McNulty was next to test the home keeper, after a good passing move by Livi, he sent in a good shot, but Gaston was more than equal.  Substitute Keaghan Jacobs then had a shot saved by Gaston before Morton finally equalised.

Andy McNeil made a brilliant save from Tony Wallace’s initial header, but could only deflect it back to the feet of the Morton player who made no mistake on his second attempt to draw the teams equal with just 11mins to go.

O’Brien was then denied a winning goal by the Livi defence, after being set up by Tidser, his close range shot deflected wide for a corner.   Minutes later O’Brien was denied again by the alert Livi defence.

As the clock ticked down, both sides were determined to take the three points, Jordan Halsman seeing his 20yd shot go just wide before Stirling’s shot was saved by McNeil and cleared by Fordyce.

Scougall almost clinched it at the death for the visitors, after brilliantly twisting through the defence, he could only manage a weak easily saved shot just in front of goal before the final whistle blew.

On the whole, the game warranted a draw, a result that both sides will have been happy with at the end.  Both sides showed good quality attacking, but some defensive nerves.  Livingston will be hoping to make home advantage count against First Division new boys Airdrie Utd.

Greenock Morton:
Gaston, Taggart, Naismith (Graham 46), Rutkiewicz, Halsman, Reid, Wallace, Stirling, Tidser, O'Brien, Weatherson
Subs not used: Combe, Campbell, Wilkie, McDaid

McNeil, McCann, C.Barr, Watson, Fordyce, Andreu (McDonald 88), Docherty, Scougall, McNulty, Morton (Kn.Jacobs 71), I. Russell (B.Barr 58).
Subs not used: Hurst, Beaumont

Referee: Craig Charleston

Official Attendance: 1,898

Match report: Chris Naismith