Morton 3 - 2 Dunfermline: Pars stuck in a rut in rain-soaked Greenock

Dunfermline could have moved to within one point of the play-off positions with a victory here but, in spite of taking an early lead, they collapsed to a fifth successive defeat in the Greenock mud.

Kyle Jacobs celebrates drawing hosts Morton level at a rain-soaked Cappielow.  Picture: SNS.
Kyle Jacobs celebrates drawing hosts Morton level at a rain-soaked Cappielow. Picture: SNS.

The home side, meanwhile, moved level on points with their opponents as a result of this thoroughly merited win, one which took them out of the relegation places from an encounter which made up in excitement what it lacked in quality.

“We have to keep going,” said Morton manager David Hopkin. “Our main focus at the start of the season was to stay in the league with the budget we have but we have young players now at 19 and 20, who are starting to turn into men.

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“We just need to keep plugging away and be hard to play against, but we showed another side in coming back from 1-0 down. Our mentality was fantastic.”

Dunfermline winger Dom Thomas, making his debut on loan from Kilmarnock, tested home goalkeeper Danny Rogers with a free-kick from the far corner of the penalty area before the weather contrived to undermine the match as a spectacle.

The Cappielow pitch was heavy enough to begin with but when the heavens opened shortly after kick-off, the turf began to cut up badly.

Rogers did well again, diving low to his right to keep out a snapshot from Kevin Nisbet, the visitors’ top scorer but, possibly hampered by the conditions, he was culpable when the Pars took the lead midway through the first half, spilling a shot from Gabriel McGill into the path of the inrushing Euan Murray, who had a simple finish from close range.

The hosts mounted a spirited fightback and Ryan Scully produced notable saves to deny Lewis Strapp and Jim McAlister. Their persistence paid off when Robbie Muirhead nodded Luca Colville’s cross back across goal for Kyle Jacobs to head emphatically home from 12 yards.

Dunfermline failed to regain their composure during the interval and they fell behind five minutes after the restart when McAlister’s late run into the box was picked out by another Colville delivery and the midfielder’s emphatic downward header beat Scully.

The Fifers never really looked like restoring parity and Jacobs secured all three points with his second goal, a header from point-blank range by Nicky Cadden’s corner which Scully ought to have claimed. Nisbet’s stoppage-time free-kick, while spectacular, proved to be a mere consolation.

“I thought we were excellent in the first half-hour, when we scored a very good goal,” said Dunfermline manager Stevie Crawford. “That seemed to upset Morton, who came after us and had a good spell at the end of the first half.

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“It’s important, when that happens, to ride it out but we lost a poor goal to allow them right back into the game.

“People say that winning becomes a habit but losing can be hard to break out of as well.”