This game was a must win game for the Strollers tonight. Morton were top of the league, having won their last six matches and needing a victory in their final league match to clinch the title. The Strollers were on a roll having won their last three games and still very much I the running to lift the title.
A goal in each half from Victoria and Baty sealed the victory for the Strollers and denied Morton the League title.
The game kicked off in front of a large crowd who braved yet another winter storm. The Strollers who previously were slow to start took control of the game and took the game to Morton.
The Strollers had two good chances to opening the scoring within the first five minutes. A ball was played forward into the channel by BJ. Paul Gallacher took the ball on and played a square ball from the left into the Morton box. Liam Gormley met the ball and fired the ball towards goal only to be denied by a fine save by the Morton keeper.
One minute later Joao Victoria took possession of the ball on the right, beat a defender and shot across the goal. The ball hit the right hand post and rebounded back along the line before being cleared.
The opening goal came in the 15th minute. Kris Gebbie [who was having his finest 45 minutes of the season tonight] drove forward and delivered a fine ball to the back post where Mark McKenna was positioned. Mark squared the ball to Joao Victoria who hammered the ball into the net. A well deserved goal.
The Strollers continued to press Morton and deny them time to build attacks.
Morton however did have a couple of chances. Two free kicks in front of goal that ended up in Lucas Birnstingl’s arms and a header from a corner that Kris Gebbie cleared off the line.
At half time the Strollers coaches stated that the lack of a clinical finish in front of goal had kept Morton in the game. We only had a one-goal lead and needed to increase that lead in the second half. In addition we were playing with the wind in the second half and needed to not over hit the ball.
The second half started with Morton taking the initiative. Against the wind their passes were finding targets and the Strollers were being stretched.
Despite being under pressure the back four and keeper stood tall and prevented Morton from creating any real scoring chances.
The second goal came in the 69th minute. A corner on the right was taken by BJ. All night BJ had been delivering superb balls into the Morton six-yard box. However this time the Morton defence were caught napping when BJ cut the corner back to the edge of the 18s yard box for unmarked James Baty to meet and power the ball into the net
This second goal gave the Strollers a great lift and they took the game by the scruff of the neck. As a team they upped their tempo and closed Morton down. It started with Joao Victoria and Liam Gormley covering the entire width of the pitch to deny Morton time to build play and continued with the midfielders particularly Gavin Mitchell and Paul Gallacher working together to close down space.
The Strollers had a couple of chances to increase their lead late in the game.
First in the 77th minute Liam Gormely found himself clear of the defenders. Liam powered a great shot in only to again be denied by a fine save by the Morton keeper.
Seven minutes later Joao Victoria got free from a defender and from 18 yards out had a shot on goal, which not only cleared the ball but also cleared the fence behind the goal and ended up in the ASDA car park. Joao was later quoted ”The ball took a bobble just before I hit it”.
The final whistle saw the Strollers deserved winners. The result leaves the Strollers three points behind Morton with two games in hand. They are also one point behind Dundee with one game in hand.
No fixtures have been arranged before the New Year.
Coach Tony Quinn commented after the game “Tonight the players were very aware of the importance of this game. Before we chocked as a club at important games but tonight these players stepped up to the mark. You could feel the hunger and desire to win the game in the dressing room before the game. And these boys delivered. A fine team performance once again.
That leaves us needing four points from our last two games. If we play like we did tonight I have every confidence we can get these points.”
Queen’s Park: Birnstingl, Gebbie, Brough, Gobson, Coll, Rooney (Collins 83 mins), Mitchell (Baty 65mins), Gallacher, McKenna (mosson 73 mins), Victoria, Gormley
Subs: Lochhead (g/k)