Walking to Cappielow passing Cartsdyke train station is a journey I’ve made on more than a couple of occasions. The sea of cars parked at each side of the road as you approach the stadium, the road closed sign at the bridge and the swarm of fans meeting and gathering outside the turnstiles.
Whether you are entering the cowshed or the stand, you usually see many familiar faces.
On Tuesday evening that was not the case. A health questionnaire had to be completed to ensure track and trace would be in operation.
Arriving at Cappielow, I was the only person arriving at the time that I did. I entered the stadium and went through a temperature check.
Next, it was off the the hand sanitising station before heading to my seat in the press box. Seeing local Greenock Telegraph reporter – Christopher Dodds – there was a rare piece of reassuring normality.
As part of Government guidelines, I and every other person in attendance had to wear a face covering for the duration of attendance.
Watching the players of both sides warm up without fans cheering at their arrival onto the field was strange as well as the emergence of the players onto the field for the game proper.
The Match itself
Morton started the 2020/21 BetFred Cup Campaign with penalty shoot out defeat at home to Queen of the South at Cappielow Park.
Former Morton defender Gregor Buchanan converted the winning penalty following a topsy turvy ninety minutes.
Morton pressed with intensity from the first whistle and forced Queens back into their own half.
Morton had a shout for a penalty turned down by referee Don Robertson in the first ten minutes when Josh McPake collided with Ayo Obileye.
The dead lock was broken on 18 monitors when a Lewis Strapp through found its way back outside the box to Rabin Omar who fizzed in a driven cross that was duly converted by Sean McGinty.
Within five minutes, Morton could have had a second when Brian McLean headed just wide from an Aidan Nesbitt.
Queens had to wait until after the half hour mark for their first real opportunity of the game. Ultimately, Gregor Buchanan was unable to get into the end of a long throw.
Morton continued to create chances towards the end of the first half with Aidan Nesbitt firing wide inside the box and Josh McPake slipping when clean through on goal.
Queens started the second half with far more verve to their game and tested goalkeeper Aidan McAdams with two corners into the box.
The second of those crosses was deflected for a corner which was duly converted by Stephen Dobbie following a flick on from Ayo Obileye.
Morton could have regained the lead a few minutes later when Kalvin Orsi tried to round goalkeeper Rohan Ferguson inside the box but the goalkeeper did enough to steal the ball from his grasp.
However, on sixty eight minutes Morton’s pressure was rewarded and the lead was regained following a shot across goal by Josh McPake being converted at the back post from Aidan Nesbitt.
Although, Morton’s lead would only last eleven minutes as Queens equalised through Conor Shields. A cagey last ten minutes followed before the lottery of penalties.
David Hopkin and his side will be hoping for win in their next BetFred Cup match against Queens Park at Cappielow on Tuesday October 13th while Allan Johnston and Queen of the South will be hoping to impress again in their next match on Saturday October 10th vs St Mirren.
Referee: Don Robertson
CFB MOTM: Josh McPake
Overall, my conclusion is that we need fans back as soon as possible. Football just simply isn’t the same without them and if outdoor hospitality is allowed to remain open then why can’t a reduced capacity attend football fixtures?
That question is of course not for me to answer however I hope that the Government can clarify their thinking very soon for the good of the game and the financial health of clubs up and down the country.