Dunfermline Athletic 2 - 2 Morton: Fightbacks Par for the course
Following Dunfermline this season should perhaps be accompanied with a health warning after the Pars put their supporters through the wringer for the second successive time on their way to collecting a point against Morton.
Jim Jefferies’ side were staring at defeat yesterday after falling two goals behind after 76 minutes courtesy of Archie Campbell’s brace.
The Fife outfit, however, replicated their dramatic comeback against rivals Falkirk on their last outing by earning a share of the spoils with a penalty and header from Stephen Husband and Ryan Wallace respectively.
A draw, in the end, seemed like the fair result between two teams with designs on reaching the SPL.
“That’s not good for the heart anyway,” said Jefferies, whose side relinquished top spot in the First Division. “I thought we were a wee bit off the pace. Having said that, we dominated the second half. I thought we kept pushing and probing.”
The lack of quality and composure on the ball during a manic opening to the match was offset by the pulsating end-to-end action and commitment shown by both teams.
The hosts mustered the first chance when Andy Barrowman pilfered Michael Tidser in the middle of the park and set Wallace free, but the striker’s near-post shot was pushed behind by Derek Gaston.
At the other end, Peter Weatherson missed with a header from six yards from a David O’Brien cross. Prior to kick-off, Dunfermline and Morton were the First Division’s leading scorers with 20 and 18 goals apiece, so it was even more surprising when Ryan Thomson was unable to convert a wonderful opportunity moments later.
Barrowman was again the provider with a ball that left the midfielder in a duel with Gaston, but Thomson flicked his effort on to the outer side of the post.
Dunfermline then lost their cool and the breakthrough goal after 40 minutes when the free-scoring Campbell beat Paul Gallacher.
His strike was preceded by what seemed an obvious offside error by the near-side linesman involving Wallace in the area. The striker was booked by referee Craig Charleston for taking his protestations too far and the official then turned his attention to calming Jefferies.
The hosts’ mood was worsened by Campbell’s goal. David Graham’s cross was cushioned into the path of the former Rangers trainee and the forward swung a powerful drive beyond Gallacher.
Dunfermline thought they had levelled after the break when Thomson scored but the referee called for a foul by Andy Kirk.
Morton substitute Martin Hardie was given a warm ovation when he was introduced but the home fans did not foresee their former favourite playing such a decisive role in the visitor’s second.
His downward header from Michael Tidser’s corner was unwittingly blocked on the line by Campbell but the striker adjusted his feet and turned the ball past the grounded Gallacher after 76 minutes.
The fightback began with a Stephen Husband penalty in the 82nd minute after Mark McLaughlin was handled from a Wallace corner.
Wallace got on the scoresheet himself when he sent a looping header over Gaston from ten yards from substitute Kirk’s delivery.
Morton manager Allan Moore, whose team remain third behind the Pars and Thistle, said: “I’m gutted; two-nil up and cruising to be honest. We didn’t think it was a corner in the first place for the penalty and we did not think it was a penalty. Things like that change games.”
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Wednesday 22 May 2013
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