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February 24, 2024

cinch Championship

Greenock Morton




George Oakley 9
Michael Garrity 11


Callum Fordyce 88


Callum Fordyce’s second goal of the season wasn’t enough for Airdrie to take anything from Morton, who won the game with a quickfire first-half double.

The Diamonds made four changes to the side which lost to Ayr United last weekend, with player-manager dropping out alongside Craig Watson, Lewis McGregor and Chris Donnell. Fordyce, Aaron Taylor-Sinclair, Kanayo Megwa and Arron Lyall were the players to return to the starting line-up for Airdrie’s fourth visit to Cappielow this season.

Greenock has been a happy hunting ground for the Diamonds so far, with SPFL Trust Trophy wins over Rangers B and Morton, and a victory over the Ton in the first league meeting.

Today’s visit would pan out differently, though, as a physical battle went in favour of the hosts.

The first action of the match saw a sixth-minute clash of heads involving Taylor-Sinclair, who was booked despite the Morton players’ pleas for a more severe punishment. Charlie Telfer was wiped out on the edge of his own box two minutes later, but within a minute Morton were in front.

After defending an Airdrie attack, Robbie Crawford played Jai Quitongo in with a long ball down the outside. The Morton attacker wriggled away from Dean McMaster and swung in a deep cross which George Oakley rose to head home from a tight angle.

Before Airdrie could recover from the early blow, Morton had doubled their lead, Michael Garrity volleying home a well-taken finish, although the midfielder appeared to be well offside.

The home side remained in control for the opening half-hour, defending well as Adam Frizzell and Lyall attempted to create chances for Nikolay Todorov up front, and going close again as Quitongo headed a Lewis Strapp cross just past the post.

Mason Hancock began to get some joy down the left, but his 23rd minute cross was just too high for Todorov, and another two minutes later was bundled behind for a corner.

The home side continued to threaten, and Fordyce and Cammy Ballantyne had to defend well on the half-hour mark before Taylor-Sinclair nodded over from Charlie Telfer’s free-kick.

Morton keeper Ryan Mullen made his first real save on 40 minutes, holding a Telfer free-kick from 25 yards.

Returning loanee Megwa was clearly tripped in the box two minutes before the interval, but with nothing given the ball broke to Frizzell who pulled his shot wide.

Mullen held another Telfer effort in first-half stoppage time, and the home side went in two goals to the good.

There were changes at the break for the Diamonds as McGregor and Donnell replaced Lyall and McMaster.

Frizzell found no way through as Todorov flicked the ball on a minute after the restart, but Airdrie were left frustrated a minute later when McGregor nipped between two defenders to a chase a long ball only for Mullen to race out of his box and bodycheck the striker. A red card for the goalkeeper seemed inevitable, but referee Euan Anderson chose to play on.

McGregor’s afternoon lasted only a minute longer as he caught his studs on the turf as he turned, sustaining an ankle injury which saw him carried off the park.

Morton almost added a third on 50 minutes, Quitongo rising to meet Oakley’s cross and crashing a header off the bar.

Frizzell had the home defence scrambling after leaving Alan Power in his wake on 51 minutes, and Oakley was perhaps lucky to escape with a booking after barging Airdrie coach Bryan Prunty on the touchline.

Gabby McGill was unlucky with a header which drifted just wide as play began to rage from end to end, with Ballantyne acrobatically clearing off the line at the other end following a 59th-minute corner.

Donnell forced a good save from Mullen with a powerful header on 67 minutes, and Cameron Blues was relieved to see his sliced clearance go over the bar eight minutes later.

The Diamonds had another penalty shout with ten minutes remaining, Hancock tripped as he won possession on the touchline, but again the referee was uninterested.

Rae saved an 82nd-minute Garrity effort before Donnell had a shot blocked a minute later, and Mullen got to Hancock’s cross just before McGill as a frantic end to the match continued.

A lovely cushioned pass from Fordyce allowed Calum Gallagher to cut the ball back on 88 minutes, but the pass was intercepted and knocked behind.

Fordyce wasn’t to be denied from the corner, however, Telfer’s delivery finding the defender at the back post and a powerful header leaving Mullen with no chance.

Donnell had a shot deflected back to the Morton keeper four minutes into stoppage time, and Morton held out for the win.

An eventful afternoon, with the Diamonds now facing a midweek trip to league leaders Dundee United.

Stuart Mathie at Cappielow Park.

Photos © Redacted Media. Click to view full-size.

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