Dunfermline Athletic

Greenock Morton 0 Dunfermline 1

Saturday, 23rd Mar 2024

cinch Championship: Chris Kane starts in place of Ben Summers. Miles Welch-Hayes (55) 0-1: Deniz Mehmet penalty save (83):

The Pars travelled down to the Tail of the Bank to take on fifth placed Morton seeking a win that would see them leapfrog their hosts. Manager James McPake made one change as Chris Kane returned in place of the injured Ben Summers. After absence since 2nd January with a hamstring injury, Rhys Breen was back on the subs bench. Dougie Imrie’s starting eleven showed two changes from the side that played Partick - Lewis McGrattan and George Oakley came in for Darragh O’Connor and Grant Gillespie.

The hosts were seeking their first win in six games having lost their last four and drawn the other. It was Matthew Todd who got the match underway with the wind and rain on their backs. First threat came from a long Lewis Strapp in six minutes. The defence knocked the ball down and Kirk Broadfoot on the turn sent his effort wide right.

Dunfermline created their first serious chance next minute when Alex Jakubiak got deep into the right side of the opposition box and pinged the ball across the six yard box with Kane just failing to make contact. Malachi Fagan-Walcott fired a free kick from the left into the Morton box and although Miles Welch-Hayes leapt high the ball soared over him into the hands of keeper Ryan Mullen.

Broadfoot hit another effort over the bar after a Strapp throw in from the right was taken short. Welch-Hayes picked out Todd and a corner was forced on the right. Then in 18 minutes a Morton corner was defended but two long throw opportunities opened up for Strapp on the left and then another on the right but the defence did its job.

Todd delivered a 29th minute corner from the left that just evaded Welch-Haynes at the back post. Then Robbie Crawford was yellow carded for a sore challenge on Hamilton and from the free kick 30 yards out Todd crashed the ball into the four man Morton wall. Another yellow card resulted when a blatant Alan Power block halted the progress of Ritchie-Hosler. Fortunately after the physios attention the Pars no.7 was able to continue.

Otoo belted a shot over the bar from 25 yards out and then in 41 minutes he presented Kane with a chance to glance a header on target but Mullen held. The keeper also held a long range attempt from Hamilton after Otoo and Jakubiak had created an opening.

In time added on the Fifers had to defend a free kick from the right just six yards out but that was seen through and the sides went in all square. Morton had enjoyed the greater amount of possession but Dunfermline had registered four shots to Morton’s two.

Half time: Morton 0 Dunfermline 0

Ritchie-Hosler attacked from the right and drove the ball at Mullen before Morton had a string of long throws from the left that Kyle Benedictus twice headed away and Fagan-Walcott one. In the follow up Jack Baird produced a low drive that was blocked by Hamilton.

Kane forced a 55th minute corner on the right that would break the stalemate. It was a clever move with the setplay taken quickly by Kane to Ritchie-Hosler, his cross to the back post was met by Miles WELCH-HAYES and his header looped over the keeper for his first Dunfermline goal. 0-1

Robbie Muirhead was part of everything for a while. Fouled by Hamilton he earned a free kick 28 yards out that he drove into the three man wall. Next Muirhead squeezed in low shot that Mehmet held. A 65th minute corner then created more danger. Edwards inswinger from the right was glanced on to the far post by Kane and Fagan-Walcott’s driven follow up was remarkably kept out with defender and keeper proving their worth.

Dunfermline were then asked to defend a free kick from 22 yards out after handball against Hamilton. The ball was halted by the five man wall this time and Calum Waters follow up from distance skimmed wide right. Morton continues to press with Waters making ground on the left side to fizz the ball into the six yard box area. Oakley and Crawford had stabs at it but the defence survived unchanged to the disappointment of the home crowd.

The visitors required two subs in 78 minutes after both Chris Kane and Miles Welch-Hayes were unable to continue. Jai Quitongo had come on at the same time and it was the sub who was fouled just inside the box by Otoo causing referee Steven McLean to point to the penalty spot. The Pars players complained bitterly since in the lead up they believed Deniz Mehmet had clearly been taken out. Muirhead stepped forward and sent the ball towards the right side. Mehmet went the right way and kept the ball out with the help of his left hand post.

Morton tested the nerves for the final minutes and five of time added on. Pressure was eased when Dunfermline forced a 96th minute corner and the time was seen out at the right corner flag.

The win takes Dunfermline into fifth place with six matches remaining.

GREENOCK MORTON: Ryan Mullen, Tyler French (Darragh O’Connor 79), Kirk Broadfoot, Jack Baird, Lewis Strapp (Calum Waters 53), Lewis McGrattan (Michael Garrity 64), Cameron Blues, Alan Power (Jai Quitongo 79), Robbie Crawford, Robbie Muirhead, George Oakley.
SUBS NOT USED: Jack Bearne, Grant Gillespie, Sam Murdoch (GK)
YELLOW CARD: Crawford (35), Power (38)

DUNFERMLINE: Deniz Mehmet, Miles Welch-Hayes (Sam Fisher 78), Kyle Benedictus (c), Malachi Fagan-Walcott, Kane Ritchie-Hosler Chris Hamilton, Ewan Otoo, Josh Edwards, Matty Todd, Chris Kane (Brad Holmes 77), Alex Jakubiak (Lewis McCann (87).
SUBS NOT USED: Joe Chalmers, Rhys Breen, Paul Allan, Owen Moffat, Michael O’Halloran, Max Little (GK)
SCORERS: Welch-Hayes (55)
YELLOW CARD: Welch-Hayes (43)

REFEREE: Steven McLean
WEATHER: Changeable 10°C
ATTENDANCE 2105

NEXT MATCH: cinch Championship (away) v Arbroath, Saturday 30th March 2024, kick off 3.00pm

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