Rovers lose out to last-gasp penalty at Cappielow.
Off the back of good high-scoring victories last weekend, both teams went into the game in decent form, and fans may have been entitled to expect a game full of goalmouth action and goals – they were to be disappointed.
The game itself was delayed 15 minutes as the Rovers’ team bus struggled to make it through the road works and Glasgow traffic – probably much to the relief of the travelling fans too.
Rovers gave John Frederiksen his first start up front since signing, as Ethan Ross dropped out of the squad altogether, with Jamie Gullan moving out to the left hand side. However, Gullan’s game was cut short as he broke down injured inside the first 10 minutes and had to be replaced by Dylan Easton.
The substitution actually gave Rovers a bit of spark and went on to control the majority of the first half. A nice run and cutback from Easton saw Liam Dick put a chance over the bar on the 12th minute. And, although Morton managed a couple of corners, it was Rovers that continued to look the more dangerous: Frederiksen had a header well-saved by Schwake in the Morton goal and Easton saw his curled shot from the left-edge clip the top of the bar and go over. Connor O’Riordan was next to pass up the opportunity to take the lead as he put over from a few yards out. Rovers’ final chance of the half was a fizzed effort from Easton but his goal-bound shot was deflected over by Darragh O’Connor in the Morton defence.
Morton came back into it as the game approached halt-time. They had a flurry of corners, and chances for McGrattan and Crawford went over and wide respectively.
Half Time: Greenock Morton 0-0 Raith Rovers
The second half was an extremely scrappy affair with both sides struggling to find any grip on the game or make any clear-cut chances.
Crawford hit the side netting for the hosts, who had the majority of the ball without posing much of an attacking threat. Kyle Connell replaced Frederiksen in the 70th minute but never really had an opportunity to impact on the game.
Rovers’ best chance of the half came on the counter as Easton found space through Morton’s defence but instead of shooting decided to cut back and the move broke down. Connolly saw his nicely curled shot flash just wide but it was never really goal-bound. Morton’s Kabia had the ball in the net on 86 mins but it was rightly flagged offside.
The game looked to be drifting towards the goalless draw, which would have been fair on both sides, but there was to be a twist in the tale. Deep into injury time, a long ball wasn’t cleared by O’Riordan and Kieran Ngwenya was then adjudged to have fouled Quitongo in the box. The Rovers’ player wasn’t booked but the penalty was awarded and ex-Rover, Grant Gillespie, stepped up to convert. This was the last kick of the game as referee Greg Aitken immediately blew for full time on the restart.
Rovers’ fans, players and the management team left Greenock disgruntled, whilst Morton’s fans went home happy with the 3 points in the bag.
Full Time: Greenock Morton 1-0 Raith Rovers
© Eddie Doig
Ian Murray spoke to RaithTV after today’s defeat to Greenock Morton FC:
After last week’s excellent 3-0 win over Cove Rangers, Raith will be looking to make it two consecutive wins, by following up with a victory over Morton at Cappielow this Saturday.
Goals from Aidan Connolly, Jamie Gullan and Sam Stanton sealed a comfortable 3-0 win over Cove last weekend, but Morton go into this one on the back of their their big win, after a 5-0 win over Hamilton Accies.
That made it two wins in two for Dougie Imrie’s side, a sequence that now sees them sitting sixth in the table, two clear of seventh placed Rovers, although Ian Murray’s men do have a game in hand, which takes place next midweek against Arbroath.
This will be the second time the sides have played this season, with Rovers running out 2-1 winners at Stark’s Park in August.
Liam Dick and Aidan Connolly had Rovers two up and looking good for the win, but a goal from Cameron Blues halved the deficit, which led to a nervy final 10 minutes, although Raith remained resolute to take their first three points of the campaign.
Saturday’s match referee will be Greg Aitken.
Morton Wins: 65
Raith Rovers Wins: 56