Granger (69) – Armour (5, 12)
Morton Under-20s made an impressive start to the 2017/18 Development League West season by picking up three points away at Ayr United last night.
Striker Ben Armour bagged a deadly first-half double to fire his side to victory and ensure Darren Barr enjoyed a bright beginning in his new role as player/coach.
Defender Barr selected himself from the start at Somerset Park as the only senior first-team player in his youthful matchday squad.
The Ton teens were fired up for the match, though, and stormed out of the blocks to take the lead within five minutes, Armour sliding in to slip the ball past Lyle Avci after beating the Ayr goalkeeper to a ball over the top.
The 19-year-old doubled his tally on 12 minutes, showing excellent poacher’s instinct to slam home a sidefooted finish at the far post after Jack Purdue had burst in behind on the right and squared across the face of goal.
After that early burst, both goalkeepers produced a number of superb stops to keep the scoreline at 2-0, with McGowan making a brilliant block to deny Kieran Balfour after he had weaved into the box off the left.
At the other end, Avci tipped Mitchell Duffy’s clever clipped effort over the bar. He then plunged down to his left to parry and prevent Armour from completing his hat-trick, as well as beating out a Purdue piledriver.
The pick of the bunch, though, belonged to McGowan when, in the 30th minute, the 20-year-old got a slight-yet-crucial touch to tip James Hilton’s curled shot onto the left-hand post.
His goal was finally breached in the 69th minute, Ayr substitute Scot Granger forcing past the Cappielow custodian from inside the box to score within seconds of coming on.
But the final word went to the impressive McGowan, who produced a staggering and vital save at the feet of Granger three minutes from full-time to equal Armour’s efforts in securing maximum points.
2. Hynes 4. Barr 5. Durham 3. Hayes
7. Eardley 6. Langan (c) 8. Lyon 11. Duffy
Subs used: 14. Docherty (for Duffy, 73), 12. Anderson (for Barr, 78), and 16. Easdale (for Armour, 84).
Subs not used: 15. Miller
Booked: Docherty (89), Purdue (90+2).
Image: Ross Cameron