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Peter MacDonald brace saves point for League leaders Morton

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Pic: Phil McCloy | Scotzine

Pic: Phil McCloy | Scotzine

A second half double from Morton striker Peter MacDonald saved a point for First Division leaders Greenock Morton at Cappielow.

Second placed Partick Thistle were the visitors to a packed Cappielow and they took an early lead through Chris Erskine, before extending that lead early in the second half through Steven Craig. However, Morton were not going to let the Glasgow side leave
with all three points as Peter MacDonald scored two to level the scores late in the second half.

Before today’s match Morton were eight points clear at the top of the First Division table, however Partick had three games in hand over their west coast rivals in second.

Alan Archibald was in charge for the first time as Partick manager since Jackie McNamara took the hot seat at Dundee United and the new regime got off to a brilliant start when they took the lead on nine minutes through Chris Erskine.

Aaron Sinclair crossed from out left to Erskine who from 12 yards coolly converted as he slotted the ball past Gaston.

Morton nearly instantly replied a minute later when a free kick from Tidser set up Peter MacDonald who had a rasping shot from 20 yards out hit the crossbar with Fox looking beaten.

MacDonald again came close on 17 minutes when O’Brien burst through to the goal line before cutting the ball back to MacDonald who from 10 yards blasted the ball wide of the goal.

Next to miss for Morton was O’Brien who found himself through on goal after a perfect through ball from Michael Tidser however O’Brien from a couple of yards out had his shot denied by a great save by Scott Fox.

Into the second half and Partick Thistle doubled their lead through Steven Craig when he headed home expertly from a Ross Forbes cross.

This goal however only seemed to spur Morton on and after a couple of goal line clearances from the Partick defence Morton finally got their first goal through MacDonald on 57 minutes.

From 20 yards out Michael Tidser set up Peter MacDonald from a free kick which MacDonald lashed low into the bottom corner past a diving Fox.

That goal could have become irrelevant had Erskine executed the perfect chance he was presented with on 65 minutes, however all he could do was head the ball straight at Gaston from a couple of yards out.

Erskine was to pay for that missed chance as Morton got their equaliser ten minutes from time. Hugh Murray handled in the box and Euan Norris pointed straight to the spot.

MacDonald stood up to take it and he blasted the ball down the middle to give Morton their much deserved equaliser.

Pic: Phil McCloy | Scotzine

Pic: Phil McCloy | Scotzine

Thinks then got much worse for Partick when minutes later Murray received a second yellow for attempting a head butt at a Morton player.

In the end neither side could find a winner with Morton part of the 5647 in attendance at Cappielow probably the happier with them keeping their eight point advantage over Partick.

Next up for Morton is a trip to third place Dunfermline while Partick Thistle are home to Hamilton this Tuesday before facing Airdrie this coming Saturday again at Firhill.

After the game Greenock Morton manager Allan Moore was happy with the result, he said: “The games against them in the past have being tight games. I was disappointed to go in one nil down because we had the best two chances of the first half, but we didn’t take them. We regrouped at half time, I said the last time we played them we were one nil down and we won that one so if we could get the first goal in the second half I think the momentum would change our way. However we lost a bad goal, we gave away a stupid corner and we didn’t clear it well enough. At two nil you think it’s a mountain to climb, the change at half time bringing Hardie on gave us a wee bit of momentum, no disrespect to the wee boy Wilkie but he wasn’t getting it. We thought Hardie with his experience and a bit of guile from free kicks and corners would help.”

New manager Alan Archibald gave his thoughts after his first game in charge of Partick Thistle, he added: “It was a rollercoaster, I was delighted with the boys, the effort was fantastic. It was great; everything was there, just that position of trying to hold a two goal lead can be horrible for a player. Next goal is crucial and we happened to lose that from a set piece which is very disappointing. We know how dangerous they are from set plays and that’s what got us.”

Greenock Morton: Derek Gaston, Scott Taggart, William Dyer, Fouad Bachirou (David Graham), Kevin Rutkiewicz, Thomas O’Ware, Kyle Wilkie, Michael Tidser, Peter MacDonald, Colin McMenamin (Peter Weatherson), David O’Brien (Martin Hardie).

Subs not used: Jordan Halsman, David Hutton.

Partick Thistle: Scott Fox, Sean Welsh, Aaron Sinclair, Paul Paton, Aaron Muirhead, Conrad Balatoni, Hugh Murray, Stuart Bannigan, Steven Craig (Stephen O’Donnell), Ross Forbes (Steven Lawless), Chris Erskine (Kris Doolan).

Subs not used: Alan Archibald, Glenn Daniels.

Attendance: 5647

Referee: Euan Norris

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