It was arguably the glamour tie of the round as Renfrewshire rivals Morton and St Mirren battled it out for a place in the next round of the Scottish Communities League cup.
The Greenock side went into the game with an unbeaten record after a fairly promising start to the season. In their last league encounter, the Ton could only muster a draw against Raith, Paul Di Giacomo getting the equaliser in their 1-1 draw.
St Mirren on the other hand have been equally impressive in their start to the season. Although losing to Motherwell after a Tom Hateley last-minute winner, St Mirren went on to earn a fine victory against Hibs with midfielder Steven Thomson getting the goal that sealed the 2-1 victory.
The Greenock side welcomed back Stuart McCafferty from suspension, while Fouad Bachirou missed out. Andy Graham and Sean Fitzharris were also out injured while Bryan Hodge did not feature.
St Mirren were without Paul McQuade, the striker struggling with a hamstring injury.
A gloomy night awaited the expectant crowd, who looked forward to what would be a riveting and pulsating tie.
As what would be expected of a local derby of this calibre, the tackles were tasty and the commitment there for all to see. And with only 5 minutes gone the fans saw the opening goal. A freekick was given to St Mirren for an apparent handball and was duly dispatched by Gary Teale. The ball rocketed into the top right hand corner from fully 25 yards.
The Paisley side nearly found themselves 2-0 up when Nigel Hasselbaink did wonders to wriggle through the Morton defence only for Grant Evans to put in a timely block.
Just when it seemed the Buddies would go onto dominate, Morton hit back with a lovely goal of their own. Michael Tidser picked up the ball from 25 yards, played a one-two with Peter MacDonald, then calmly slotted the ball into the bottom left hand corner.
All of a sudden the momentum was with the home side and in the 25th minute the Ton took the lead. Michael Tidser again orchestrating things, finding Peter MacDonald at the edge of the area, the forward dummied his marker and curled the ball into the top right hand corner. A brilliant goal from the frontman and already this match was producing an entertaining spectacle.
On the brink of half time the Greenock side nearly extended their lead after good work from Paul Di Giacomo, the ex-Killie man showing good strength to shake off Steven Thomson before hitting his shot narrowly past the right hand post.
The two teams came out from the second half, each exchanging a couple of chances before there was a big penalty shout from the away side.
Steven Thompson appeared to be bundled over by Grant Evans, but referee Calum Murray saw nothing wrong with the challenge. St Mirren though would not need the help of the referee to get an equaliser as Nigel Hasselbaink did brilliantly to drill a low cross into the box with Steven Thompson reacting quickest to stroke the ball home.
The game was now ebbing and flowing from one end to the other, but it was St Mirren who went on to take the lead. Hasselbaink again tormenting the Ton defence won a penalty, after being brought down by his former Accies team-mate Grant Evans.
The diminutive forward took full responsiblity and duly sent the keeper the wrong way to give the Buddies a well-earned lead. Within minutes the Paisley side were 4-2 up, a short Gary Teale corner found Jereon Tessalaar who whipped in a delicious cross for Steven Thompson to head home from six yards.
Morton continued to play good football though and were unlucky with a couple of long-range efforts from Tidser.
St Mirren had two golden opportunities to put the game out of sight for Morton, substitute Jon McShane somehow missed when put clean through on goal and Steven Thompson clipped the top of the bar when it looked easier to score.
Morton rode their luck and were rewarded with a goal from substitute Andy Jackson. Jackson did brilliantly to sidestep a challenge and fire his shot into the bottom right hand corner.
With minutes remaining the First Division side nearly put the match into extra time when Jackson found the by-line and crossed for Peter MacDonald who could only scuff his shot into the arms of Craig Samson.
Calum Murray brought an end to this rip-roaring cup tie with the 4,959 supporters going home entertained by the goal feast.
Allan Moore was proud of his players despite the defeat: “Well I’ve got to be proud of the players, they deserved to get the match into extra time. The first half we did well to frustrate them. They had to change their tactics and started hitting long balls which we never really dealt with. That was the only disappointing aspect of this performance.”
Danny Lennon was equally proud of his players: “I was delighted with the character the players showed. We had to change our system 3 times yet the players responded well to the changes. But I must give credit to Morton, they made it very difficult to play our normal game. It was a fantastic game for both sets of supporters.”
Two goal hero Steven Thompson added: “Morton made it very difficult for us. We changed it at half time and this worked well for us. When I got the equaliser I think we felt the change in momentum and we felt we could go on to win it from there.”
Morton: Stewart, McCann, Forsyth, Evans, McCaffrey, Tidser, Di Giacomo, Smyth, MacDonald, McGeouch (Jackson 75), O’Brien (Weatherson 88).
Subs Not Used: Campbell, Little, Deans (GK).
St Mirren: Samson, van Zanten, McAusland, Tesselaar, Mair, Goodwin, Teale (Haddad 72), Thomson, Thompson, McGowan, Hasselbaink (McShane 69).
Subs Not Used: McLean, Carey, Smith (GK).
Referee: Calum Murray.
Other Second Round Results
Aberdeen 1-0 Dundee
Airdrie United 2-0 Raith Rovers
Queen of the South 3-0 Forfar Athletic
Hamilton Accies 1-2 Ross County
East Fife 2-1 Dunfermline
Hibernian 5-0 Berwick Rangers
Photos by Liam McFadden