Annan 1 - 4 Morton: Stefan McCluskey is Ton hat-trick hero

Morton's hat-trick hero Stefan McCluskey, left, celebrates with team mates. Picture: Craig Williamson/SNS

Morton's hat-trick hero Stefan McCluskey, left, celebrates with team mates. Picture: Craig Williamson/SNS

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A Stefan McCluskey hat-trick helped Morton book their place in tomorrow’s quarter-final draw as Annan failed to repeat the heroics that saw them shock Hamilton.

Ton manager Jim Duffy was pleased with his side’s chance creation. “We played well and thoroughly deserved the win,” he said. “At 4-0 they had a couple of chances but in general I think we deserved the victory.”

Duffy then went on to credit his side for making it this far in the competition. “It’s terrific for the club and the players to be in the last eight.”

The visitors were on top from the off and could have been in front after ten minutes when Denny Johnstone broke free but he failed to make the most of his chance, allowing Annan keeper Jordan Hart to tip the ball round the post. However, the visitors’ pressure paid off on 21 minutes when McCluskey, right, fired the ball into the top corner from Johnstone’s cross. Johnstone was the provider again just before half time as the visitors doubled their advantage, Joe McKee curled home a shot from ten yards following his team-mate’s lay-off.

Annan started the second half well and created a couple of decent opportunities including, one of which new boy Lewis Guy sent an acrobatic effort narrowly wide of the post on 56 minutes.

However, hopes of a comeback were dashed when McCluskey tapped home an easy chance into an open net from a Declan McManus cross after 65 minutes. And, just three minutes later McCluskey secured the match ball for himself as his spectacular 25-yard shot soared into the net to complete his hat-trick.

Annan did eventually pull a consolation goal back through Matty Flynn who headed home a pinpoint cross from Jordan 
Morton after 76 minutes.

However, it was too little, too late and home manager Jim Chapman admitted: “I was very disappointed as I think we contributed to our own downfall in the first half.

“The first 45 minutes were bitterly disappointing, but we came out and fought in the second half and the spirit in the side was good. We struggle at our own level let alone against teams at a higher level.”

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