Dunfermline Athletic

Dunfermline 0 Greenock Morton 5

Saturday, 3rd Feb 2024

cinch Championship: Xavier Benjamin and Craig Wighton start. Darragh O’Connor (9) 0-1: Jack Baird (33) 0-2: Darragh O’Connor (51) 0-3: Jack Baird (57) 0-4: Michael Garrity (75) 0-5:

The first of three home games was against Morton, the most in form team in the Championship. Dunfermline manager James McPake made a change to the back three that was described last week by Jim Spence as a ‘solidly organised defence’ in keeping Dundee United at bay. Sam Fisher was missing with a calf injury meaning deadline day loan signing from Cardiff City, Xavier Benjamin, came straight into the side. Craig Wighton was preferred to Owen Moffat meaning he was on the subs bench beside his Blackpool team mate, the new loan signing Brad Holmes.

Morton manager Dougie Imrie predictably named an unchanged starting eleven as his team went for a thirteenth consecutive match without defeat. Familiar faces in the Greenock team were former Pars Iain Wilson and Robbie Muirhead.

The visitors kicked off attacking the goal at the McCathie Stand end and they forced the first corner of the afternoon in fifth minute. The Pars defence cleared comfortably but weren’t quite so at ease as Lewis Strapp delivered one of his trademark throw ins. Morton were awarded a free kick on the right side that Muirhead drove into the Dunfermline wall but the visitors certainly had the better of the early exchanges.

Morton continue to press with another Strapp special this time from the right and when the home side failed to get up the pitch Muirhead was able to create an opening for himself on the left. His ninth minute shot was heading outside the far post but Darragh O’CONNOR arrived to stab the ball home. 0-1

The opposition continued to frustrate Dunfermline, playing three men high up the park making it hard for the defence to make positive passes. It wasn’t until 24th minute until the Fifers were able to cross a ball of any danger into the Morton box. It was Joe Chalmers who tried to pick out Lewis McCann but the ball was just too high.

Craig Wighton had received physios treatment earlier but in 28 minutes he was forced off and Owen Moffat became the first substitute of the game. Wilson sent the ball over the Pars crossbar before Mehmet started an attack after catching another Strapp long throw in. Josh Edwards evaded a challenge on half way and raced forward opting to shoot rather than trying to find Moffat to his right. Morton blocked the shot and a Ben Summers corner was defended.

Morton doubled their lead in 33 minutes in the wake of another Strapp long throw in. Headers away by Otoo and Moffat dropped to Cameron Blues and he clipped the ball right for Strapp to sweep into the Pars box. Oakley’s header was saved by Mehmet’s outstretched right hand but Jack BAIRD followed up to net at the left goalpost. 0-2

McCann sent an attempt from a free kick 30 yard out wide left before Crawford and then Power had shots blocked as the home side were pegged back. A 43rd minute from Power led to some head tennis in the Pars box and despite a McCann – Moffat counter and a Moffat shot from a Otoo cross, the half ended with Morton comfortably in control.

Half time: Dunfermline 0 Morton 2

The second half was in its sixth minute when Morton scored again. From a free kick just inside the Dunfermline half Power lobbed the ball into the Pars six yard box. In the scrap that followed Oakley got in a shot that was cleared on to the chest of O’CONNOR and the Morton centre back pounced to stick the ball away. 0-3

Six more minutes passed during which Malachi Fagan-Walcott had managed to hit the Morton crossbar before Morton struck again. From the right Blues chipped the ball into the six yard box where Oakley’s header was stopped by Mehmet but the ball spun up off the shoulder of Benjamin and BAIRD was on hand to stick away his second of the afternoon. 0-4

James McPake immediately made substitutions introducing Paul Allan and Brad Holmes in place of Joe Chalmers and Xavier Benjamin. Dunfermline forced a couple of corners that Allan sent in from the left but Morton survived those.

Michael GARRITY who had come on as a 65th minute sub for George Oakley and he notched Morton’s fifth goal with a relatively simple finish from the left side of the box. The strike took a nasty deflection off the inside of Hamilton’s right leg to find the net between the deceived Mehmet and Otoo. 0-5

Ryan Mullen in the visitors goal pushed away a good attempt from McCann in 86 minutes and then next minute headed wide from a Hamilton cross. This was a painful home defeat for all concerned, the margin of defeat meant that Dunfermline slipped below Inverness Caley Thistle into eighth place.

DUNFERMLINE: Deniz Mehmet: Malachi Fagan-Walcott, Xavier Benjamin (Brad Holmes 58), Ewan Otoo: Michael O’Halloran, Chris Hamilton (c), Joe Chalmers (Paul Allan 58), Josh Edwards: Ben Summers: Craig Wighton (Owen Moffat 28), Lewis McCann.
SUBS NOT USED: Miller Fenton, Taylor Sutherland, Jake Sutherland, Sam Young, Max Little (GK)

GREENOCK MORTON: Ryan Mullen: Tyler French, Darragh O’Connor, Jack Baird (c), Lewis Strapp: Alan Power (Logan O’Boy 84), Iain Wilson (Grant Gilliespie 78), Cameron Blues (Jack Bearne 78), Robbie Crawford (Michael Garrity 65), Robbie Muirhead, George Oakley (Lewis McGrattan 65).
SUBS NOT USED: Calum Waters, Sam Murdoch
SCORERS: O’Connor (9, 51), Baird (33, 57), Garrity (75)
YELLOW CARD: Crawford (52)

REFEREE: Kevin Clancy
WEATHER: Bright 7°C
ATTENDANCE 4701

NEXT MATCH: cinch Championship (home) v Queen’s Park, Saturday 10th February 2024, kick off 3.00pm at KDM Group East End Park

The winner of the 50/50 DAFC v Greenock Morton 03 02 2024 draw which ended on February 3, 2024 3:45 pm was Stacey Robertson WEB6556


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