By Gordon Aitchison
Ray McKinnon made three changes to the starting line up following the disappointing result in Greenock on Tuesday evening with Mark Durnan, Simon Murray and Tony Andreu replacing Murdoch, Fraser and Obadeyi.
The opening period of the game saw little goalmouth action, with United retaining the ball and Morton looking to utilise the strength and pace of Quitongo on the counter attack. In the seventeenth minute Tony Andreu had the first real chance of the game. Smith, winning the ball inside the Morton box and playing a clever reverse pass into the path of the United midfielder. Morton keeper McNeil, did well to deflect his low effort away to safety.
Morton striker Quitongo was next to threaten. Durnan failed to clear his lines at half way, however he did redeem himself, stretching in to poke the ball away on the eighteen yard line as the youngster took aim at Bell’s goal.
Cammy Smith was unlucky not to get his head on a Nick Van Der Velden cross as United looked for the breakthrough. The United fans screamed for a penalty on thirty four minutes, Murray hitting the deck as he lined up a shot. Referee Cook, correctly, waving away any claims.
The referee became the centre of attention on thirty eight minutes. Firstly giving a free kick for handball to Morton on the edge of the box when it appeared that Durnan could do little to avoid contact. From the resultant kick he waved away Morton penalty claims as the ball appeared to strike another hand. From the following corner Morton struck the post and skipper O’ware fired over with an empty net to aim at.
Durnan was booked for scything down Nesbitt. With half time approaching Blair Spittal lashed over from twenty yards after a neat set up from van der Velden.
Half Time: United 0 – 0 Morton
After a pedestrian first half the second flashed into life after only a couple of minutes. Van der Velden and Andreu combined well down the right and as the ball broke to the edge of the area Murray and Smith got in each others’ way before either could get in an effort. Spittal then brought a fantastic save out of McNeil; latching on to a Simon Murray flick, the United man unleashed a fierce drive which the Morton keeper got the merest of touches on to push wide for a corner. Cammy Smith was then set up by clever play by Andreu but the lay off was just out of his reach.
By the sixtieth minute it was all United, Dixon strode forward and unleashed a rasper of a shot along the ground which was blocked somehow by Gunning. Durnan then got on the end of a Spittal cross, but his header landed on the roof of the net.
Four minutes later United took a deserved lead; Paul Dixon’s cross was deflected to the back post by Van der Velden. Tope Obadeyi, just on the pitch, chipped it back into the danger area where Tony Andreu made space to fire past McNeil from eight yards.
Cammy Smith had the ball in the net with fifteen minutes remaining but the referee adjudged him to have fouled Forbes in an effort to win the ball.
Tony Andreu scored his and United’s second as the game drew to a close. The Morton defence tried to chase out their own clearance, but Simon Murray’s clever flick left Tony Andreu with just McNeil to beat and given his recent scoring record there was only ever one outcome as he swept the ball wide of the advancing keeper.
The referee appeared to ignore his watch as the game progressed well beyond the ninetieth minute and Sean Dillon was unfortunate to deflect a flighted free kick into his own net. However this was the last action and there was relief in the air as Barry Cook blew his whistle to signal the end of the match.
Full Time: United 2 – 1 Morton
Summary: A real game of two halves, after an uneventful forty five minutes the game flowed one way for most of the second half. United had the bulk of possession and turned this into chances, which had been the ask of the manager before the game. Tony Andreu looks like a fantastic addition to his squad, his finishing adding a touch of quality to a hard working front line.
Man of the match: Tony Andreu. In reality he had two chances and took both of them with aplomb.
United: Bell ©, Dixon, Durnan, Toshney, Spittal (Obadeyi 62), Murray, Edjenguele, C. Smith (Fraser 76 ), Andreu, Van Der Struijk, Van der Velden ( Dillon 85)
Unused Subs: Zwick, Donaldson, Robson, B. Smith
Morton: McNeil, O’Ware ©, Gunning, Doyle, Oliver, Forbes, Lindsay, Nesbitt ( Murdoch 78 ), Russell ( Tiffoney 76 ), McDonagh, Quitongo
Unused Subs: Gaston, Scullion, Orr, Strapp
Referee: Barry Cook