By Lewis Laird
Greenock Morton completed a remarkable late comeback in the last 10 minutes to snatch the three points away from Ayr United in a 3-2 victory.
The Toon looked down and out of the match for 80 minutes with Ayr going 2-0 up, but they managed to fight back late on and score three goals within the space of five minutes, as the unlikely Lewis Strapp became the goal hero.
The beginning of the match was a tight affair between the two sides, who were trying to figure each other out with the poor weather conditions. Ayr were the side to have the first half-chance of the game. A low cross found its way right across the box and fell to Ayr right-back Aaron Muirhead, who lined up the shot but blasted high and wide of the target.
Morton retaliated by having their first shot on goal. Markus Fjørtoft fed Josh McPake down the right as he looked to trouble Patrick Reading, playing a cross into the box. The low ball could only find Kalvin Orsi in the box, who held it up and laid it back to Strapp. His effort was palmed over the bar well by Viljami Sinisalo.
United came extremely close to getting that all-important first goal of the game, hitting the post. Some nice play on the right-hand side, saw the ball played into Michael Moffat, who fooled the home defence brilliantly with a dummy that allowed Bruce Anderson the space to have a shot on goal.
He was so unlucky though, as the ball came off the inside of the post and was eventually cleared away. After coming close a few times, Ayr United finally found their opening on the 32nd minute. Cammy Smith, who had looked to threaten Fjørtoft a few times in the right-back area, beat his man and played a low cross into the box.
The goal was given to Smith by the stadium announcer but his effort looked to have deflected in off a Morton player, which was judged to be Strapp. At the beginning of the second half, Morton started on the front foot, with McPake continuing to look dangerous.
The away side were then reduced to 10 men, as the Rangers loanee showed that threat, running down the left-hand side. As he looked to travel down the line, Ayr right-back, Aaron Muirhead left a dangerous tackle on the 19-year old and the referee, Greg Aitkin was quick to produce the red card.
Despite being down to 10, United were the team who managed to score the second of the game and give themselves some breathing space. A nice interchange which saw both
wingers linking up gave them a 2-0 lead. Luke McCowan played a lovely threaded pass between two Morton defenders to Smith’s feet.
The Dundee United loanee held off his man brilliantly and finished into the bottom corner. In the 83rd minute, Morton grabbed a goal back and began that comeback. A long ball over the top by Strapp was controlled brilliantly by Ross MacIver, who just couldn’t get the ball out from under his feet to get the shot off.
After a bit of a scramble and hesitation, Gary Oliver calmly took the ball around the Ayr defence and goalkeeper, before placing the ball into the bottom corner. Just minutes later, Morton were quickly back on level terms. Another long ball was poorly dealt with by the Ayr defence, was pounced upon by Cameron Blues, who was composed and smashed the ball into the same corner.
Remarkably, Morton completed the comeback as they grabbed a late winner in the game, with Strapp scoring a beautifully placed header into the far corner. The diagonal
crossed ball made its way to the back post, where Strapp was waiting. It looked as though the better option would be to head the ball back across, but the left-back managed
to find the corner of the net.
The three points were staying in Greenock after an unbelievable late comeback, which saw Morton scoring three goals in the space of five minutes. Hopkin will be absolutely delighted with how his side fought back but on the other hand, Ayr player-manager Kerr must be bewildered as to how his side lost. Here are three things we learned.
When Ayr scored their second goal, you thought that was it, the three points would be going to the away side. But an unbelievable comeback from Morton saw it go the other way in the last 10 minutes.
Ayr looked comfortable throughout the match but a five-minute capitulation from Kerr’s side saw a resilient Morton comeback. All credit must go to Hopkin’s team, who never gave up, despite being behind for the majority of the game.
Hopkin described the on-loan player’s performance perfectly, saying he took a battering today and to his credit, he never backed down from the challenge. He may not
have been on the scoresheet, but he was probably the home side’s best player on the day.
Always demanding the ball and looking to drive at the opposition defence. He was on the end of a poor challenge by Muirhead, who was sent off for the tackle. Even with that he got back up and continued to try and push forward. The 19-year will certainly be an important player to the Ton this season.
Ayr need to improve defensively
Kerr’s men looked comfortable for 80 minutes of the game. Morton did not really threaten the away goal, but in the final 10 minutes, it completely fell apart. Some may say that is down to the fact they had just 10 men, but they were still unaffected for the majority of the half.
So far this season, the Honest Men have conceded at least one goal in all but one game. It is clear that is what they need to improve on, after today’s performance.