Petrofac Training Cup: Spartans edged out as Morton reign in the rain

Posted on Saturday, July 26th, 2014

A 26th minute goal by Cameron O’Neil gave Morton the narrowest of winning margins in the Petrofac Training Cup against Spartans at a soggy Cappielow.

Spartans pushed the SPFL 1 side all the way and earned many plaudits in conditions that wouldn’t have looked out of place in December, rather than the opening competitive encounter of the season in July.

Referee Gavin Ross got the game underway in front of the 928 fans dispersed around the ground, including the travelling band of Spartan Army faithful in the main stand.

Morton had the best of the opening exchanges and it needed an alert Kevin Swain in the Spartans goal to keep Duffy’s side at bay.  The summer signing had to look sharp to deal with a long-range Russell strike whilst he could afford to watch a Barrowman acrobatic overhead kick clear his crossbar.

Donal Henretty’s 13th minute strike was easily gathered by Derek Gaston after a Spartans ‘route one’ move gave the seasoned campaigner a chance to open the proceedings.

A stramash in the Spartans six-yard box saw a pinball-esque effort poked net bound by Andrew Barrowman however he didn’t bargain for Danny O’Donnell to be stationed on his post and the ball was hoofed to safety.

Morton took a 26th minute lead that they weren’t to surrender after a neat one-two between Cameron O’Neil and David McNeil saw the latter finish off the move and breach Swain’s last line of defence.

Spartans had a chance to level proceedings in the 32nd minute when Jack Beesley rampaged through the heart of the Morton defence, his pass finding Michael Herd who couldn’t convert.

Half Time: Morton 1-0 Spartans

Whatever was said in the Spartans changing room at the break almost paid dividends within 11 seconds of the restart when Herd was offered the freedom of Cappielow as he waltzed through the home defence, only to see his shot go agonisingly wide.

Another fine stop by Swain on the hour offered further evidence of why Spartans boss Dougie Samuel was keen to sign the keeper from LTHV in the summer.  Diving at full length, he pushed Milojevic’s shot to safety, the ball by this point like a proverbial bar of soap.

Beesley produced another trademark run up the wing, his inviting cross was met at the near post by Bremner who saw his sliding attempt skid wide of Gaston’s post.

Keith McLeod replaced the industrious Sean Muhsin in the 65th minute and moments later, McLeod had a golden opportunity to earn the tag of ‘super-sub’ as he broke into the box, only to pull his shot wide.

The comedy moment of the game saw Danny O’Donnell penalised for a foul throw after mistaking the faded additional line-marking for the actual touchline.  Unfortunately the officials failed to see the funny side of it and awarded a throw to the home side!

Spartans threw everything into the dying stages of an energy sapping encounter but they couldn’t find that elusive goal to take the game into extra-time.

Final Score: Morton 1-0 Spartans

Spartans: Swain, O’Donnell (MacKinnon), Cennerazzo, Sivewright, Bruce, Stevenson, Beesley, Muhsin (McLeod), Henretty, Herd & Bremner. Subs (Not Used) McWhirter, Atkinson, Hunter & Gilpin (GK)

Man of the Match: Sean Muhsin

Next Fixture

Date: 23/07/24
Opponent: Forfar Athletic
Venue:Ainslie Park
Competition: Premier Sports Cup
Kick off: 7.45pm

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