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The Dark Blues
  • Match Reports 2011

    Dundee's fine recent run came to a disappointing end with a 1-0 defeat at home to Morton today. Morton also won 1-0 at Dens Park in August, and in many ways today's defeat was reminiscent of the Dee's early season poor spell.

    Dundee were a long way short of the dominant form they've shown over the last couple of months. However, they still played some good football today, but the ball just wouldn't fall for them in penalty area scrambles and they lacked the composure that would surely have created match winning chances.

    The best chance of all was a penalty at the start of the second half, but Dominic Cervi's marvellous save rescued Morton.

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    Nicky Riley returned from suspension and Ross Chisholm stepped in as a straight replacement for the suspended Stephen O'Donnell.

    Morton were set up to play an adventurous formation with a four man midfield diamond; ex-Dee David O'Brien sitting behind the strikers and trying the exploit the space between the Dee midfield and defence.

    Morton's approach meant it was an open game, with both teams able to find plenty of space. The goalkeepers were soon in action. Douglas had to save from Jackson's angled shot and then Cervi had to back-pedal smartly to keep out Hyde's clever 25 yard lob.

    Morton took the lead after 20 minutes with a fast goal on the break. Tidser tackled Riley deep in the Morton half and sent Campbell away down the left. He swept his cross low across the penalty area and the onrushing JACKSON just managed to beat Douglas to the ball and nudge it over the line.

    Dundee responded well and had the better of the remainder of the first half, but an endless succession of crosses failed to create a clear chance.

    The second half started with Dundee storming down the slope and putting fierce pressure on the Morton defence. After 49 minutes Dundee were given the best possible chance to equalise.

    Gary Irvine moved forward, played a clever exchange with Gavin Rae and was chopped down by O'Ware, almost on the penalty spot, before he could shoot. The Morton defender was fortunate to escape a red card, and Morton's escape was complete when Cervi guessed right and brilliantly tipped Matt Lockwood's effort round the post.

    Dundee kept their heads and kept up the pressure on Morton. Jake Hyde was having a fine game, taking the ball well and linking with the supporting players. He had a great turn and sent a fierce 25 yard shot fizzing wide as the Dee kept pressing.

    Callum Elliot fired another shot wide from 28 yards, but Dundee eventually started to lose their composure the longer the game went without an equaliser.

    The Morton formation meant that their midfield was dangerous on the break, but it failed to provide enough cover to their defence. The ball constantly seemed to be bouncing around the away penalty area, without a Dundee players being able to get a shot away. Eventually it would be hacked clear, and usually it would be quickly returned.

    Morton have two excellent midfielders in Bachirou and Tidser, and there was always the chance that they would break and grab a decisive killer goal. They couldn't do it, and Rab Douglas's second half was largely a matter of dealing with back passes.

    The swirling wind was a constant menace to good football, and some rather fussy refereeing and some poor use of the advantage rule frustrated both teams.

    Dundee never gave up, and an equaliser looked possible right to the end. Chisholm's fierce low 25 yarder was spilled by Cervi, but the ball fell for a defender. The Dee's last half chance fell to Hyde, whose header was comfortably saved by Cervi.

    It's frustrating that Dundee lost, and failed to score, in such an open game when they should have been able to create and put away enough chances to win. Morton deserve credit for their willingness and ability to play football in midfield. In Michael Tidser they have a player who is sure to play at a higher level.

    Sadly, today the conclusion has to be that Dundee weren't quite good enough to claim the points the large Dee support were desperate for. A spot of luck, or a bit more composure and the game could have been very different, but the Dark Blues have no-one to blame but themselves that it didn't go their way.

    Dundee FC 4-4-2

    Irvine, McGregor, Weston (McKeown 83), Lockwood
    Riley, Chisholm (Bayne 86), Rae, Conroy
    Hyde, Milne (Elliot 59)

    Unused subs; Gibson (gk), McCluskey

    Bookings;  Chisholm (foul on Bachirou), Weston (foul on Weatherson?), Riley (dissent), Elliot (foul on Smyth)

    Greenock Morton 4-4-2

    Evans, Smyth, Graham, O'Ware
    McGeouch, Bachirou, Tidser (Young 88),
    Jackson (MacDonald 69), Campbell (Weatherson 59)

    Unused subs; Stewart (gk), Di Giacomo

    Goals; Jackson (20)

    Booking; MacDonald (foul on Weston)

    Attendance; 5,862

    Referee; John Beaton

    Report; James Christie

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    • By TheDarkBlues
      Dundee were unchanged after last week's win, so Cammy Kerr kept his place at right back and Gary Irvine had to take a place on the bench.
      The Dark Blues had the better of a scrappy first half, but couldn't turn pressure into good chances. There was the odd neat passing move, but the pressure on the home goal came mainly from Morton's sloppiness rather than the Dee's slickness.
      The pattern for the first half was set by three Dundee corners in the first three minutes. Dundee racked up one corner after another throughout the half, but only tested home keeper Gaston from one; Peter MacDonald turned and shot, but the keeper saved well at his near post for yet another corner. MacDonald twice, and Gallagher managed to get in headers from corners, but each time the ball sailed over.
      On the half hour MacDonald and Nicky Riley worked a smart passing into the danger area, but a last ditch tackle from Findlay foiled Riley as he was about to shoot.
      MacDonald's quick free kick caught out the home defence, releasing Wighton who tried to touch the ball over the keeper, but Gaston managed to tip the ball away.
      Morton raced upfield to create the best chance of the first half. MacKay dummied over Bachirou's pass, leaving Vine in the clear, but the striker hurried his shot and shot wastefully a couple of yards over the bar.
      The half ended with Dundee pushing Morton back for long spells, winning more corners, but failing to trouble Gaston. In the first half alone Dundee ran up a total of 13 corners, but managed only one fleeting half chance from all of them.
      Dundee started the second half brightly and looked much for threatening in open play. MacDonald fluffed a good chance, miscueing his shot after Gallager had nodded the ball on. MacDonald then flicked the ball through for Wighton to whip a shot across goal and just past the far post.
      There was a nasty moment when Vine was allowed to burrow his way deep into the Dundee penalty area, with the defence taking too long to clear. It was a warning of worse to come!
      Dundee were doing nearly all of the attacking and Riley's 20 yarder was tipped over for a corner. Morton failed to deal with the second ball after half clearing it to Dyer. Gallagher's knock down found MacDonald all on his own, six yards out, but he allowed Gaston to block when he should have scored.
      Just after the hour Christian Nadé came on for Craig Wighton. He wasted a great chance within a couple of minutes when Kerr's long ball found him in the clear. He moved the ball to the side of Gaston as the keeper charged out, and with the goal gaping he shot wide.
      Morton then had to switch keepers after Gaston took a heavy blow when he collided with his own defender, Findlay. Substitute keeper Caraux replaced him.
      Dundee were starting to look too hurried as the clock ran down and their control of the game started to slip away from them as they chased a goal.
      Nadé had a good run down the right and was tripped by Findlay on the edge of the area, landing well inside the box. However, the contact looked to be a foot outside and the referee's decision to award a free kick seemed correct.
      After 76 minutes the moment arrived that the Dundee fans feared. Vine broke away down the right, managed to get round the outside of Gallagher and rolled the ball back for IMRIE to fire home from 15 yards.
      Dundee took off Cammy Kerr and sent on Craig Beattie as the Dark Blues tried frantically to get back into the match. The Dee put Morton under fierce pressure, but couldn't open up their defence. A further series of late corners caused problems for the packed Morton defence. Twice MacDonald found space beyond the far post, but each time his cut back was cleared from the goalmouth.
      Morton could have grabbed a second from a fast break, but Letheren managed to block Bachirou's shot after McKay found him in space.
      The last chance fell to Iain Davidson when Gallagher headed on a long free kick, but he couldn't get any power into his header and keeper Caraux saved easily.
      This defeat means that the Championship title is no longer in Dundee's hands. All they can do is try to win their last two games and hope results elsewhere go their way. Certainly Morton gave a spirited performance today, and ever Dundee supporter will be hoping they give their all again in their last two games, against the Dee's rivals, Falkirk and Hamilton.
      Today's defeat was a disappointing and desperately frustrating experience. Dundee had the pressure and the chances. Sadly today was one of those days when the chances were spurned. The Dee really can't afford any repeats in the final two matches.
      Greenock Morton FC 4-5-1
      Gaston (Caraux 67)
      O'Ware, Findlay, Cole, Russell
      McKay (McNeil 90), Robertson, Taggart, Bachirou, Imrie
      Vine (Campbell 84)
      Unused subs: Knight, Fulton, Cairnie, McCormack
      Goal: Imrie (76)
      Booked: Findlay (foul on Nadé)
      Dundee FC 4-4-2
      Kerr (Beattie 79), Gallagher, Davidson, Dyer
      Boyle, Rae, McBride, Riley
      Wighton (Nadé 61), MacDonald
      Unused subs: Twardzik (gk), Irvine, McBride, Conroy, Beattie, Cummins, Nadé
      Booked: Davidson (dissent), Rae (foul on Imrie)
      Attendance: 2,117
      Referee: Mat Northcroft
      Report: James Christie    
    • By TheDarkBlues
      Paul Hartley made one change from last week's disappointing defeat against Cowdenbeath. Carlo Monti dropped out and Christian Nadé came in for his first appearance at Dens Park. The Dark Blues took up an aggressive 4-4-2 formation, with Boyle and McAlister pushing in from the flanks and both full backs galloping forward to provide width.
      Dundee's hard working pressing in the Morton half made life difficult for the Morton defence, who did themselves no favours by repeatedly dallying on the ball. Christian Nadé nearly snatched an eary goal when he robbed Cole 30 yards out. He dribbled round goalkeeper Gaston, but his angled shot was cleared off the line by Findlay.
      Nadé didn't have long to wait for his first goal for the Dee. MacDonald played the ball out to Boyle, who hit a perfectly flighted cross that allowed NADÉ to score with a firm header from 8 yards out.
      The big centre forward could have made it two only a minute later. His glancing header from McAlister's cross drifted agonisingly wide of the far post with Boyle arriving just too late to turn it in.
      Boyle then skinned full back Fitzpatrick with lovely wing play and pulled the ball back for MacDonald whose shot was blocked.
      Morton came into the game more later in the half, but couldn't turn possession into a real goal threat. Vine and O'Connor each had fleeting half chances, but neither could get the power or direction into their shots to trouble Letheren.
      Dundee started the second half brightly and Derek Gaston in the Morton goal had to work hard to keep out the eager Dark Blues. First he had to turn a fierce Boyle shot wide. Next he pulled off a fine close range save from McAlister, who had combined cleverly with Boyle. The ball broke free to Rae, who set up MacDonald but he scooped the ball over the bar from 16 yards.
      Jim McAlister robbed Bachirou in midfield, allowing MacDonald to run down the left. He cut inside and forced Gaston to parry his fierce shot.
      Dundee's invention and clever close passing in the final third should really have led to more goals, but frustratingly the Dee couldn't get the crucial second goal. Christian Nadé came desperately close to a goal that would have been the talk of the Dundee pubs this evening. With his back to goal in a crowded penalty area he turned and danced through the Morton defence, only to pull his shot inches past the post.
      The home fans were warming to the French centre forward, whose good control and hard work created plenty of space and good possession for his teammates. He got a big round of applause when a clearance was battered upfield in his direction. As the ball was whizzing past him waist high Nadé stretched out a foot and pulled the ball down under perfect control - as smoothly and nonchalantly as a fan picking up the half time pie.
      Not surprisingly when he was substituted after 82 minutes he received a standing ovation. The applause was repeated moments later when he was inevitably named the sponsor's Man of the Match.
      Nicky Riley came on to give the Morton defence new problems with his pace and mobility. The visitors had been huffing and puffing, but were struggling to get through a solid looking Dee back line. They failed to make any chances in the second half, but perhaps should have done better when Lindsay headed wide from a corner.
      The longer the game went on the more ragged Morton looked as they tried to push men forward, making more space for Dundee to attack. Morton's frustration boiled over into a bizarre confrontation that entertained the fans in the Bobby Cox when Findlay and Fitzpatrick raged at each other about who should have been picking up Martin Boyle. It looked like the two defenders were going to settle the dispute with their fists and referee Mr Salmond had to act as a peacemaker.
      Finally, five minutes from the end, Dundee scored the goal they needed to allow the fans to relax. McAlister slipped the ball through for Boyle whose shot was well saved by Gaston, only for Peter MACDONALD to pounce and tap the ball into the empty goal.
      There was still time for one scare at the other end, when Campbell broke through. However, Kyle Benedictus pulled off a great last ditch tackle to rob the substitute. His timing had to be perfect or it would have meant a penalty, red card and one match suspension.
      In injury time Dundee buzzed around the Morton penalty area, threatening to add more pain to the broken visitors. In the end they had to settle for a two goal win. The score should really should have been more convincing, but this was a satisfactory win and performance, even though it was against the bottom team.
      Last week Dundee lacked guile and invention. Today there was plenty of both. If the forward players continue to link up as well as they did today, if they keep working hard and pressing defences into mistakes, then we will see enough goals to keep the fans happy.
      At the back it was good to see the defence back to their usual solid form, and the centre backs looked comfortable all afternoon even though the full backs were pushing forward aggressively.
      There is still plenty of room for improvement, and in particular the finishing and decision making in the final third should be better. With a little more composure Dundee could have put a fragile Morton defence through the wringer today, The Dark Blues made life unnessarily difficult by taking so long to score the vital second. However, this was a good all round performance today that sets the minimum standard for the run in to the end of the season.
      Dundee FC 4-4-2
      Irvine, Gallagher, Benedictus, Dyer
      Boyle, McBride, Rae (Davidson 78), McAlister
      Nadé (Riley 82), MacDonald
      Unused subs; Twardzik (gk), Lockwood, Bonnett-Johnson, Kerr, Wighton
      Goals: Nadé (12), MacDonald (85)
      Booked: Dyer (foul on Mackay), Nadé (kicking the ball away), Gallagher (foul on Campbell), Boyle (foul on Findlay)
      Greenock Morton 4-4-2
      McCormack (Fulton 82), Cole, Findlay, Fitzpatrick
      Mackay, Taggart, Bachirou, O'Brien
      O'Connor, Vine (Campbell 69)
      Unused subs: McIntyre (gk), Smith, O'Ware, Russell, O'Neill
      Booked: Bachirou (foul on Boyle), Fitzpatrick (foul on McAlister)
      Attendance: 4,488
      Referee: George Salmond
      Report: James Christie
    • By TheDarkBlues
      Dee go top!
      John Brown made a single change from last week's cup defeat against Raith Rovers; Craig Beattie came in for young Craig Wighton who moved to the bench. He was joined there by Leighton McIntosh making his first appearance of the season in a first team squad.
      Little happened in a cagey first 15 minutes, but once the Dark Blues scored they took charge and the home side fell right out of contention. Morton lost the ball too easily from a throw inside their own half. MacDonald flicked the ball on to release BEATTIE who ran on to round keeper Caraux and score. The ball struck Mark McLaughlin on its way into the net, but the Morton defender is unlikely to argue about the scorer.
      Morton now descended into a shambles and the rest of the first half consisted of Dark Blue shirts pouring forward through the disorganised home ranks. Morton kept taking risks in their own half and consequently giving the ball away. Dundee should really have put the game well out of Morton's reach long before half time.
      Shortly after the goal a Conroy free kicked flicked off MacDonald's head and drifted inches wide.
      Craig Beattie had an excellent first half. Most Dundee moves went through him. Whether he played a teammate into a good position, or turned to run at the defence he was always involved and effective. Only a last gap challenge by Reid stopped him after he'd powered through the defence.
      Caraux saved well when MacDonald ran clear onto a Rae pass. MacDonald then led a fast break out of defence, but when he crossed McAlister couldn't control his shot and Caraux was able to save.
      The home keeper was less impressive when he mishit a clearance to Beattie, causing chaos in the home defence. Conroy's shot was blocked and Morton escaped again.
      Seconds before half time the Dee scored the second goal they'd been threatening ever since the first. Beattie had released Riley, whose shot was touched round the post by Caraux. When Riley swung the corner over to the far post Declan GALLAGHER timed his run perfectly to climb high and smash his header into the net.
      Morton totally reorganised at half time and switched to 4-4-2, sending on a striker McNeil in place of left back O'Ware. At first it made no difference and Dundee should have killed off the game in the opening spell of the half.
      A MacDonald free kick from wide on the left broke to Davidson, whose shot was cleared off the line by McLaughlin. The Morton centre back was then muscled off the ball by Beattie who ran clear only to drag his shot wide, whilst seeming to be held.
      Two minutes later Morton hauled themselves back into the game with their very first shot at goal. Bachirou was allowed to much time to work the ball out to IMRIE, who scored with a superb cross shot from 18 yards out, wide on the left.
      The goal transformed the game, giving Morton a huge boost. Imrie again came close after Nicholson had reached the byline, but Letheren did well to turn his shot wide.
      Riley and Irvine worked a neat move on the right, and the full back seemed to be fouled as he ran into the area, but the referee Mr Allan waved play on.
      There was no doubt in the referee's mind when McAlsiter burst clear and was brought down by McLaughlin, but the referee charitably decided the challenge was worth only a yellow card. MacDonald's free kick from 25 yards flew narrowly wide.
      Morton charged forward looking for a late equaliser, but for the most part the Dee defence was composed and in charge. Once the ball did break to Bachirou just outside the penalty area, but his shot couldn't find its way through the crowded defence and deflected over the bar.
      Martin Boyle replaced Beattie for the closing minutes. He seemed to have won a penalty when he raced into the penalty area and was chopped down by Fitzpatrick, but the referee wasn't convinced and play raged on.
      The three minutes of injury time were spent mainly in the Morton half with Dundee calmly keeping possesssion. When the final whistle went the delighted travelling Dees celebrated, knowing what was happening in Hamilton.
      In the first half Dundee looked like they would run away with this game. To their credit Morton pulled themselves back into the game after half time, but over the whole match there is no doubt that Dundee were the better side and deserved the win. Even in the second half the better chances came Dundee's way and Morton were fortunate not to lose a third before they had their first shot on target.
      This was the perfect way to come back from last Saturday's disappointment in the cup. Dundee were unrecognisable from last week's insipid display and it  was a terrific win in at a tough venue, regardless of Morton's recent problems.
      Greenock Morton 4-5-1
      Reid, McLaughlin (Habai 73), O'Ware (McNeil 45), Peclar
      Nicholson, Bachirou, Stirling (Russell 66), Fitzpatrick, Imrie,
      Unused subs; Gaston (gk), Campbell, McKee, Fulton
      Goal; Imrie (58)
      Booked; Nicholson (foul on Lockwood), McLaughlin (foul on McAlister)
      Dundee FC 4-4-2
      Irvine, Gallagher, Davidson, Lockwood
      Riley, McAlister, Rae, Conroy (McBride 76)
      MacDonald, Beattie (Boyke 83)
      Unused subs; Twardzik (gk), Monti, Benedictus, Wighton, McIntosh
      Goals; Beattie (15), Gallagher (44)
      Booked; McBride (foul on Imrie)
      Attendance; 1,536
      Referee; Crawford Allan
      Report; James Christie
    • By TheDarkBlues
      Not surprisingly Dundee fielded an unchanged line-up after Tuesday's improved performance gainst Inverness. The pitch was perfect, the sun was shining and it was a beautiful day to watch the beautiful game. The match didn't quite live up to the setting in the first half hour as Dundee struggled to turn impressive build up play into clear chances. For all Dundee's early pressing and pressure they didn't force Morton keeper Caraux to get his strip dirty.
      A dangerous low Beattie cross was turned out for a corner, and Rae fired over from 20 yards. However, the Dee's crossing and final passes around the Morton penalty area weren't quite good enough to open up the defence.
      Morton were hardly out of their own half in the first half hour, and the opening goal on 22 minutes was totally against the run of play. The Dundee defence had been given fair warning a few minutes earlier when they won a corner in their first real attack. Page had a free header, but sent the ball straight to Letheren. There was no escape from the next corner when Imrie's good delivery to the near post found the charging PECIER unmarked to crash his header past Letheren.
      Dundee responded by stepping up the pressure and started to create chances. A neat move between Riley and Beattie nearly played MacDonald in. Davidson headed just over from a corner. Beattie's 25 yard shot was on target for the top corner, but an excellent save by Caraux turned the ball out for another corner. A good run and cross by Dyer ended with MacDonald volleying wide. Caraux then pulled off another fine block from McAlister's cross shot and had luck on his side when the loose ball bobbled around the goalmouth with no Dark Blues on hand to tap it in.
      It was ridiculous that Dundee were trailing at half time after playing nearly all the game in Morton's half and creating a stream of chances in the last 20 minutes. It would have been easy for the players to lose heart, but the second half was everything that the supporters were craving.
      The first few minutes of the second half were astonishing as the Dee ripped through a stunned Morton team, turning the game on its head. Morton could only half clear a free kick and Dundee were straight back at their throats. Jim McAlister chipped the ball into the penalty area. Declan Gallagher nodded the ball down and Peter MACDONALD poked the ball over the line from a couple of yards. Hardly more than a minute from the restart and Dundee were back on level terms!
      Dundee kept up the impetus and went roaring back towards the Morton goal from the restart. MacDonald played in Nicky Riley who lifted the ball over the keeper and over the bar when he seemed sure to score.
      Riley didn't let his miss worry him and in Dundee's next attack he set up the second goal with the sort of classic wing play the fans love to see. He shimmied up to left back Fitzpatrick, jinked to the touchline and crossed for MACDONALD to hook the ball home on the volley. Three minutes of play and two goals for the Dee! The nervousness around the stadium had vanished and the delighted Dees were roaring their appreciation from the stands.
      Gary Irvine should have made it three when Riley's corner found him all alone on the edge of the six yard box, but his header flew over the bar. The Morton keeper had a lucky escape when he failed to reach the ball after charging out of his area, but Peter MacDonald's attempt to set up Beattie to score was cut out by Fitzpatrick.
      Craig Beattie was showing his true ability now and was linking dangerously with MacDonald. Every attack had the supporters out of their seats as a third goal seemed inevitable. Dundee were bossing the midfield, and McAlister set up a great chance with a crunching tackle and run into the Morton half. His pass found Beattie, who took a touch and hammered the ball from 15 yards off the underside of the bar.
      BEATTIE'S first goal for Dundee wasn't long delayed. He laid the ball off for Riley to shoot. The shot was deflected back into his path and he coolly drilled it across the keeper and inside the far post.
      When Beattie was substituted after 72 minutes the whole Dundee support rose to their feet to cheer him off the park. Carlo Monti replaced him and his extra energy kept the tempo high as the Dark Blues continued to dominate. With 15 minutes to go Morton created their first chance in open play when Bachirou managed to evade Gavin Rae on the right. Instead of shooting he rolled the ball across for Campbell to scuff the ball wide.
      Peter MacDonald seemed certain to complete a hat trick against his former club as Dundee ended the game in rampant style. He combined beautifully with McAlister, but couldn't get his shot away. A surging run down the right by Riley then left him with a gaping goal, but from eight yards he headed tamely straight at the keeper. Finally, he ran onto a chipped pass from Ryan Conroy, but shot across goal and wide.
      A few minutes from time Riley and MacDonald were replaced by Kevin McBride and Steven Doris. Again the departing players received a well deserved standing ovation. How long is it since all three players being substituted were cheered off the pitch?
      Doris nearly made an instant impact but his diving header was palmed away by Caraux. When the final whistle went the players were deservedly cheered from the park after the sort of confident, imposing and entertaining display that the supporters were desperate to see.
      In open play the Dark Blues were streets ahead of a Morton side who might have been jaded after their cup tie heroics against Celtic. The visitors only posed a threat from set pieces, and these weren't dealt with consistently well by the Dee. Apart from that Dundee's defence looked very solid, and the midfield was creative and aggressive. Up front the Dark Blues were lethal in that enthralling second half, and the partnership of MacDonald and Beattie looks hugely promising. This could easily have been a real thrashing for Morton, who were flattered by the 3-1 result. The fans know the reality, however; this was a totally convincing win for the Dark Blues, and it sent the fans home in a sunny mood that matched the glorious weather.
      Dundee FC 4-4-2
      Irvine, Gallagher, Davidson, Dyer
      Riley (McBride 87), McAlister, Rae, Conroy
      Beattie (Monti 72), MacDonald (Doris 87)
      Unused subs; Twardzik (gk), Lockwood, Benedictus, Boyle
      Goals; MacDonald (46, 48), Beattie (70)
      Greenock Morton 4-4-2
      Taggart, Page, Pecier, Fitzpatrick
      Wallace, Habai (Stirling 68), Bachirou, Fulton
      Campbell (McNeil 75), Imrie
      Unused subs; Gaston (gk), McLaughlin, Knight, Verleque
      Goals; Pecier (22)
      Attendance; 3,870
      Referee; Iain Brines
      Report; James Christie
    • By TheDarkBlues
      Morton haven't lost an away game in any competition this season, but that impressive run came to a crunching halt as Dundee went nap with goals from Jim McAlister, Lewis Toshney, Colin Nish, John Baird and Declan Gallagher. Michael Tidser's first half equaliser allowed the visitors to reach half time on level terms, but they were blown away in a devastating four goal second half.
      The only change to the Dundee line-up was the return of Kevin McBride in place of the cup tied Gary Harkins. McBride played at the base of a four man midfield diamond with Davidson and McAlister in front of him. Nicky Riley took a free role at the front of the diamond, often heading out to either wing.
      Dundee started the better side, patiently holding the ball and passing it around looking for openings. The first chance came from a set piece, however. Baird's glancing header from McAlister's corner was cleared off the line. Nicky Riley was looking dangerous and sent a 20 yard shot just past the post after cutting in from the left.
      Baird was next to have a go, but fired into the side netting after racing onto Nish's flick.
      Morton were struggling to get through the Dundee defence, but Douglas had to move smartly to turn a 25 yard free kick from Hardie round the post.
      Dundee should have taken the lead after a lovely piece of wing play by Riley. He skinned his man and whipped over a cross that looked gift wrapped for the strikers. Unfortunately Baird missed it five yards out and the ball bounced off a surprised Nish and out of play.
      The opening goal was delayed by only a minute. After 28 minutes Easton played a diagonal ball in to Nish, who sent a cushioned header into the path of McALISTER who scored with a crisp shot inside the near post from 10 yards. It was Jim McAlister's first goal for Dundee, but his celebration was decidedly muted after scoring against the club who gave him his chance in senior football.
      Dundee had been playing well and deserved their lead. Morton had posed little danger, so it was galling for the Dee that they conceded a quick and cheap equaliser. A low ball in from the right was poorly defended. The first shot from MacDonald was blocked, but with the home defence at sea TIDSER's follow up from eight yards crept over the line. Douglas got a hand to it, but couldn't quite keep it out.
      Dundee kept their heads and continued to look the better side, mixing up a neat passing game with the odd high ball for Nish.
      Just before half time a cross from Riley on the left produced a scramble similar to the one from which Morton scored, but this time the defence escaped when Baird turned and shot wide.
      The second half started with the Morton defence getting into a mess trying to defend a high ball and Nish nearly forced the ball past keeper Gaston. That set the pattern for the rest of the game as Morton struggled to cope with Dundee's threat, whether in the air or on the ground.
      Dundee were well on top now and an excellent flowing move through Baird, Nish and McAlister ended when Riley was crowded out before he could get his shot away. McAlister then made space with a skillful turn, but Gaston held his 25 yard shot comfortably.
      Dundee's pressure was forcing Morton to defend deeper. The visitors mounted the odd breakaway, but couldn't unsettle a confident looking Dee defence.
      Eventually Dundee's patience paid off with a well deserved second goal after 64 minutes. Baird won a corner on the left. McAlister swung the ball over and Lewis TOSHNEY met the ball perfectly to score with a firm near post header that O'Brien on the line couldn't keep out.
      Morton now had to open up to try and stay in the cup. That left them wide open for Dundee, who punished the Ton ruthlessly. The final 25 minutes delighted the Dark Blue support as the Dee ran riot.
      Riley was running the Morton defence ragged, and caught them out when he cut in from the right and stabbed a fizzing early cross into the goalmouth with the outside of his foot. Right back Taggart was flat footed and let the ball skim off the top of his head. Colin NISH was standing a couple of yards behind him, in the right place at the right time to let the ball bounce off his head and fly into the net! Lucky? Well, there are times you make your own luck. Dundee had opened up the Morton defence, and Nish was there to take advantage.
      The fun continued when Riley was fouled on the touchline. McBride's free kick was headed down by Nish for John BAIRD to rifle a low shot from 15 yards into the net for his first goal at Dens.
      Morton looked shell shocked and had a go at trying to make the scoreline more respectable. It took a classic Rab Douglas save to deny them, as he leapt across his goal to stop Tidser's 20 yard shot arrowing into the top corner.
      Normal service was quickly resumed at the other end. Declan Gallagher chased a loose ball out towards the corner flag after a corner. There seemed to be nothing on for him, so he shielded the ball to win a free kick. GALLAGHER trotted back into the goalmouth to score with an emphatic far post header from McAlister's cross.
      Steven Milne came on for the last 10 minutes, replacing Colin Nish who got a good round of applause after his goal and two assists. Milne was soon involved in a wonderfully entertaining stramash in the Morton goalmouth in the last few minutes.
      Nickey Riley showed great skill and persistence to burrow his way clear of the defence and into the penalty area. His cut back was touched wide as far as Baird who pinged it straight back into the goalmouth. Riley and Milne then played a thrilling game of pinball with the Morton defence. The ball zipped to and fro, seeming to defy the laws of physics as it refused to cross the line; the Dundee players frantically trying to force it into the net and the defenders hurling themselves around to thwart them. Eventually the ball was pushed round the post for a corner. It might not have been a goal, but an amazing, extended goal-line scramble like that was almost as good for entertainment value.
      Entertainment was very much the theme today, and the DJ played the Jam's "That's Entertainment" as the players left the field to well earned applause. It was a smashing, action packed cup tie, with loads of thrills and goals. It was all played in a good spirit too, with no bookings.
      Dundee's defence again looked solid. The midfield was creative, hard working and effective. Up front Dundee looked dangerous throughout, and after the second goal went in they looked like scoring every time they came forward.
      This was a really pleasing, feelgood result. It was great to see the players getting their reward for hard work and some very good football too. It was also marvellous to see three players getting their first ever goals in Dark Blue; McAlister, Toshney and Gallagher, with Baird grabbing his first at Dens.
      Now boys, let's see you carry this forward into the league! And the quarter final too please, PLEASE!
      Dundee FC 4-4-2
      Irvine, Toshney, Gallagher, Easton
      Riley, McBride (Conroy 85), Davidson, McAlister
      Nish (Mline 79), John Baird (Stewart 85)
      Unused subs; Alex Baird (gk), Benedictus
      Goals; McAlister (28), Toshney (64), Nish (70), Baird (73), Gallagher (81)
      Greenock Mortoni 4-5-1
      Taggart, Reid, Rutkiewicz, Dyer
      Graham (Weatherson 71), Bachirou, Tidser, Hardie (Wilkie 71), O'Brien
      Unused subs; Hutton (gk), O'Ware, Wallace
      Goal; Tidser (30)
      Attendance; 3,336
      Referee; Bobby Madden
      Report; James Christie 
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