Dundee had to settle for a 1-1 draw at home to Morton this afternoon. Neither goalkeeper was overworked until the last quarter of an hour. Aidan Nesbitt put Morton ahead after 79 minutes only for Lee Ashcroft to rescue a point with a late equaliser. Despite frantic pressure in injury time the Dee couldn’t find a winning goal.
James McPake was able to field an unchanged line-up and it was no surprise that he chose to do so after the win at Ayr. The only change to the substitute’s bench was Osman Sow replacing young Lyall Cameron.
Dundee started busily, buzzing around the Morton half without creating any real chances. Morton sat back allowing Dundee to make all the early running. It took the visitors fully 17 minutes to venture as far as the Dee’s penalty area.
Max Anderson turned cleverly and found Jason Cummings whose shot from 18 yards was blocked. Late in the half Anderson led a promising break out of defence that ended with Declan McDaid’s shot being comfortably held by Aidan McAdams.
Dundee couldn’t turn their dominance in possession into clear chances against Morton’s packed defence. There were a few scrambles in the penalty area following set pieces, but these were more a matter of Morton defending untidily than being forced into panic mode.
If the Dee were misfiring in attack they were at least getting the ball forward and making Morton’s defence put in a strenuous shift. The visitors failed to offer any goal threat in the first half and Adam Legzdins had a very quiet 45 minutes.
Dundee improved slightly after the break, without being impressive. Jason Cummings scooped a shot high and wide after Declan McDaid ran down the left and cut inside. A promising move ended with Paul McMullan’s low cross shot being taken by the keeper.
A minute later McMullan found space on the right again and his cross led to a frantic goalmouth scramble in which both Cummings and Anderson had close range shots blocked. Jason Cummings seemed to pick up an injury in the melee and he was replaced by Jonathan Afolabi.
As in the first half Morton offered next to nothing in attack, but started to come out of their shell in the last 20 minutes. They were more adventurous but didn’t get a shot on target, or even have an effort that went anywhere near the goal, till the 78th minute. And then they scored.
Lewis Strapp’s 20 yard shot was firm, low and heading inside the post. Legzdins did well to save, but Aidan NESBITT followed up to score.
A few minutes earlier Osman Sow had come on for Danny Mullen, and Charlie Adam now replaced Max Anderson.
Dundee cranked up the pressure on Morton and at last looked truly dangerous as the snow flurries turned into a thick shower of the white stuff. Adam’s right footed shot from 25 yards brought a good save from McAdams, who touched the ball over the bar. When the corner came in Fjortoft managed to block Lee Ashcroft’s header. Morton couldn’t clear and Dundee kept turning the screw. McAdams had to save well again when Sow met Adam’s cross at the far post with a powerful header.
Lee Ashcroft stayed up in attack and was rewarded when Sow nodded on McGowan’s lofted ball. ASHCROFT wasted no time in scoring, stabbing his shot past the keeper with 88 minutes gone.
There were four minutes injury time, but Dundee couldn’t grab a late winner. They might have done so when Declan McDaid shot high into the net following a free kick. However, the referee, Mr Newlands, ruled that Osman Sow had committed a foul when the free kick came in. It looked more a case of two Morton defenders colliding with each other and Sow as they challenged in the air, with the ball falling kindly for Dundee.
A win would have flattered the Dee, however. They were off the pace for most of today’s game. Morton’s game plan almost worked to perfection, sitting deep, frustrating Dundee, and hoping something might fall their way later on as Dundee chased a goal. The Dark Blues have shown themselves to be adept at opening up defences recently, but today they lacked guile. The passing and movement wasn’t slick enough, and the attacks were usually too slow to open up Morton’s massed defence.
Surprisingly, all the other games in the Championship ended in draws, so the dropped points have no impact on Dundee’s position. However, this was an opportunity missed with three of the last four games being away from home.
Dundee FC 4-4-2
Elliott, Fontaine, Ashcroft, Marshall
McMullan, McGowan (c)), Anderson (Adam 79), McDaid
Mullen (Sow 73), Cummings (Afolabi 59)
Unused subs: Ferrie (gk), Kerr, Byrne, Fisher.
Goal: Ashcroft (88).
Booked: Elliott (foul on Strapp).
Ledger, Fjortoft, McLean, McGinty (c), Strapp
Nesbitt, Jacobs ,McGinn (Blues 82), Colville (Lyon 63)
Muirhead (Sterling 68)
Unused subs: Oliver, Orsi, McGuffie, Hynes.
Goal: Nesbitt (78).
Booked: McGinn (foul on Mullen).
Referee: Alan Newlands. Assistants: Graham McNeillie, Chris Phillips.
Report: James Christie.