Nivison Cup 2011/12
A Nikki Paton goal in the first period of extra time won the Nivison Cup for 10 man Morton Thistle atWhitehillsParkon Wednesday night. Morton playing in their first final for five seasons defended valiantly to keepUpper Annandaleat bay, especially after they were reduced to 10 men in the second half of normal time.
The early exchanges were pretty even with Morton having a couple of half chances as a re-jigged Uppers defence settled into the game. It was Morton who took the lead with only five minutes on the clock. Uppers keeper Cammy Grierson fluffed a free kick wide directly to Morton striker David Bradbury who took his time to curl an angle ball into the empty net from 25 yards out. In the minutes after the goal Morton with their tails up had several long shots at goal most notably a Steven McDill volley which just shaved the Uppers left hand post. Uppers settled into the game and from 20 minutes onwards they made most of the play. On the half hour Darren Ferbie levelled the scores when he lifted the ball over onrushing keeper Billy Gracie after he was picked out with a fine ball from Neil Roddick. Chances after this were few and far between with a lot of the play in the midfield areas although Graeme Kilpatrick fizzed one just over the bar for Morton and Michael Swan failed in an attempt to chip keeper Gracie near the end of the half.
The second half started with Uppers on the front foot and the Morton defence had to withstand a period of sustained pressure to keep the scores level. Bob Clark did have an opportunity on the break but his shot went wide. Uppers maintained the pressure for most of the half and despite some good opportunities failed to make them count. Morton were reduced to 10 men when striker Bradbury was ordered off for a second booking but they re-organsised and Uppers failed to make the extra man count. Morton who kept two strikers up front after the sending off nearly nicked it in the closing five minutes of normal time during which time they had several good chances. Kilpatrick had a powerful shot blocked by Peter Pagan and McDill had two attempts one of which Grierson did well to save.
Morton took the lead early in the first half of extra time with a well taken goal from substitute Nikki Paton. Initially it looked as if Uppers defender Ross Dawson would close the Thistle player down but Paton took his shot early and found the corner of the net from 18 yards out.
Uppers who have had a heavy schedule in the last few weeks continued to pile on the pressure and should have levelled but a combination of great defending and good saves by Gracie denied them. With on a minute left on the clock Uppers had a great chance to take it to penalties but the contact was poor from Neil Roddick and Morton defender Chris Ross had time to clear the ball from the line.
After the match league secretary Graham Lockhart thanked both teams for an entertaining game after what was the best final of the season. He also thanked Lochmaben AFC for hosting the final. Morrell Mackenzie of McQueen Trophies presented the trophies. The man of the match award deservedly went to Steven McDill who was outstanding for Morton throughout.