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Greenock Morton produce stunning fightback to deny Airdrieonians title

Greenock Morton 3

Brophy 53, 63, Purdue 57

Airdrieonians 2

Coulter 15, Cowie 38
  • Friday, 20 April 2018
  • Cappielow Stadium
  • Under 20´s
  • Developent League West Title

An inspirational fight-back from Greenock Morton saw them halt Airdrieonians' potential title-party with a 3-2 home success on Friday night.

A Kieran Brophy double was sandwiched in between Jack Purdue's equaliser as the Ton smashed home three second-half goals to turn around a game that looked to be dead and buried. Jake Coulter and Calvin Cowie netted first-half strikes for the visitors.

Airdrieonians went into the game knowing that a win would guarantee them the Development League West title, but initially were surprised by a high Morton press. The Ton were pushing Airdrie back into their own final third at times, and it felt like chances would soon start to flow as Airdrieonians struggled to cope.

However, it wasn't long before the visitors were getting the ball down and put themselves on the front foot. Coulter and Thomas Kennedy were threatening to combine, with the former flicking a header through for the latter, but it was too heavy.

Coulter was extremely lively, and it was he who opened the scoring on 15 minutes. Lovely play down the left hand side saw a cross fizz towards goal. Daniel Farrell could only palm the ball straight out to Coulter, who was on hand to poke home from close-range.

It was exactly the start Airdrieonians were looking for, and things started to settle for them after the opener. Coulter got into a variety of terrific positions, with Kennedy and Grant Brennan providing constant service for the striker. However, Coulter continually had efforts on goal blocked.

These openings came after Farrell got a big hand to a Coulter header, and Brennan had a slow drive from inside the area timely blocked and out for a corner.

The chances just kept coming for a confident Airdireonians outfit, and they would have a golden chance to go 2-0 up on 28 minutes. Brennan again spun round Morton's trialist, who took him out to give away a penalty. Robbie Leighton stepped up but his penalty was confidently beaten away by Farrell.

Farrell was yet again called into action moments later as he palmed Brennan's ferocious drive over the bar.

The pressure was relentless, and the visitors doubled their lead deservedly before the break. A lovely ball from Coulter set up Cowie in the box. After sizing up his position in the box, he smashed a powerful effort high over Farrell, who could only get a slight touch, and into the net.

As the referee blew for half-time and a dominant Airdrieonians went back up the tunnel, there was a subdued atmosphere from the Morton supporters, who would've believed it was a case of how many for what looked like the champions-elect.

Yet, nobody could've foreseen what the second half provided.

  • Half Time:
  • Greenock Morton
  • 0-2
  • Airdrieonians

Morton changed their shape at the start of the half, and immediately forced some early corners. Reece Lyon won a free header from one of them, but it was easily held by Michael McGee, who was called into work for the first time.

The home side's resurgence was being felt by the home crowd, who roared their side on as they showed real signs of promise. Yet the goal still came as a surprise on 53 minutes. Purdue sent a low through-ball down the right-hand side for Brophy to chase. The winger showed terrific pace to get to the ball before tucking home a neat finish through McGee's legs.

A real game-changing moment was to come just three minutes after Brophy's goal. Kennedy whipped in a terrific ball for Jordan Duncan to power an effort at goal, but again Farrell came up trumps with a smart low stop.

And less than one minute later, Morton were level. A lovely move down the left saw a dangerous ball go across the six-yard box. McGee and a Morton defender seemed to collide in the box, with the ball breaking for Purdue to slam home a powerful equaliser.

There was a trend starting to take shape as Farrell again was called into action, this time tipping wide a stunning Cowie volley that looked destined for the top corner.

And, following the flow of the second half, Morton snatched a third to turn the game around. Another lovely Purdue ball for Brophy saw him dart down the right once again. After controlling the ball well, the youngster clipped a superb floated effort over McGee and in at the far corner, capping a stunning turnaround and terrific brace.

Airdrieonians, who at this point looked stunned, had 25 minutes to turn the game around. However, now it was Morton playing the free-flowing football. Purdue lashed a low effort wide after Lyon headed Brophy's free-kick just wide.

Morton were impressively keeping Airdrieonians at bay. Brennan and Coulter just weren't having the same impact that they had in the first half, with Farrell largely untroubled during the final stages of the game. 

The only chance the visitors could fashion was a snapshot from Jordan Armstrong towards the final few minutes, but even that was a half-chance as Morton controlled the final 10 minutes with ease.

Brophy tried a speculative overhead kick that flew wide, but it wouldn't matter as his brace as well as Purdue's strike secured a sensational turnaround to keep Morton in fifth.

For Airdrieonians, they spurned the chance to win the title. It remains to be seen whether they still will, however, with Stranraer facing a disciplinary hearing on Monday over an ineligible player potentially being fielded. 

Morton themselves could still snatch glory should Stranraer be punished and they win their final two games against Albion Rovers and Ayr United respectively.

It all remains up in the air with regards to the destination of the title, but Morton can enjoy a stunning turnaround win in the meantime.

  • Full Time:
  • Greenock Morton
  • 3-2
  • Airdrieonians

Lineups

Greenock Morton
Airdrieonians
1. Daniel Farrell
2. Darren Hynes
3. Trialist
4. Gavin Watt
5. Ben Docherty
6. Ruaridh Langen
7. Kieran Brophy
8. Reece Lyon
9. Jack Purdue
10. Alexander Easdale
11. Ben Eardley
12. Jonathan Lyon
14. Aidan Duffy
15. Andrew Rutherford
16. Ewan Campbell
17. John Gallacher
19. Christopher Stafford
20. Andrew Coyle
1. Michael McGee
2. Craig Truesdale
3. Jordan Armstrong
5. Arran Ross
6. Jordan Critchley
7. Jordan Duncan
8. Calvin Cowie
9. Jake Coulter
10. Thomas Kennedy
11. Grant Brennan
12. Lewis Gracie
14. Jamie Hall
15. Andrew Johnston
16. Lewis Swift
17. Matthew Kerr
20. Robbie Leighton
Star Player
Greenock Morton
Airdrieonians
Daniel Farrell - The Morton goalkeeper made a string of stunning stops at various times in the match to keep his side in the game. Easily takes our man-of-the-match.
Grant Brennan - The pacey winger showed some cracking touches that gave the Morton trialist a tough night. Gave some great service into Coulter in the first-half and was generally the visitors' brightest player.
Magic Moment
Greenock Morton
Airdrieonians
Brophy's second and Morton's third goal was an absolute cracker of the highest calibre. The winger floated home an inch-perfect strike that just seemed to fly into the net in slow motion from an acute angle. A goal well worth seeing again and again.
There was something sweet about Cowie's powerful effort to make it 2-0. Farrell had made some big stops to keep the margin at one previously, but Cowie's blast from close-range was decisive and full of frustration. Gave Airdrieonians a strong advantage, which they ultimately failed to see out.
  • Match report and photos copyright Youth Football Scotland.
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