Talk about winning games the hard way. Two nil down at half-time having squandered a number of early chances, Morton somehow lifted themselves off the floor to snatch victory with Jai Quitongo’s winner in time added on. It was enough to topple Dunfermline from the summit of the Championship and underlined that Jim Duffy’s side may once again be a decent bet for a top-four finish themselves.
It was a triumph of resilience for the Greenock men after they had seemingly shot themselves in the foot through some terrible wastefulness in the opening stages of the game.
They tore at the visitors’ rearguard and could easily have been a couple of goals to the good as Michael Doyle and Ross Forbes skewed efforts wildly off target with Dunfermline keeper Sean Murdoch at their mercy.
The Fifers didn’t hang about in making them pay for it. Joe Cardle, the SPFL Championship player of the month for August, made a brisk start to put himself in contention for further honours with a lovely waltzing run that took him deep into the Morton box and he stroked the ball past Derek Gaston for the game’s opener. Doyle contrived to squander another decent opening but Dunfermline then made the most of their chances with Kallum Higginbotham belting home a penalty after Forbes had caught Jason Talbot in the face with a boot.
Having floundered in front of goal before the interval, Morton obviously needed some kind of change of fortune to put themselves back into the game and the visitors duly obliged. Immediately on the restart Morton were gifted a reprieve when Callum Morris was short with a headed back pass and Robert Thomson slotted it past Murdoch.
The game became a tetchy affair with numerous petty fouls and stoppages but it worked to the hosts’ advantage when the mercurial Gary Harkins once again demonstrated his undisputable prowess at set pieces by curling a free-kick from 20 yards into the top corner of the net to equalise in dramatic style.
An evenly contested closing 10 minutes suggested that a share of the spoils was on the cards, particularly when Quitongo, pictured, missed a glorious chance for the hosts from three yards out in an echo of what had unfolded earlier. Ultimately, however, there was redemption for him when a long clearance upfield saw the youngster beat off his marker to score an improbable winner with just seconds remaining.
“The one thing this group of players have always done since I’ve been here is shown commitment and they’ve done that again today,” reflected the delighted Duffy.