FORFAR Athletic were hit by a second-half goal blitz as they crashed out of the Ramsdens Cup at the hands of a slick Greenock Morton side at Station Park last Tuesday evening.
The Loons fans were left scratching their heads in disbelief as their favourites crumbled after a promising opening half which should have seen them go in at the break with a two-goal advantage.
Three goals in five minutes ten minutes into the second half ended the game as a contest and Forfar conceded another two without reply to end their interest in the competition for clubs outwith the premier league.
Forfar manager Dick Campbell made a number of changes to the side that drew two-each with Cowdenbeath in midweek, with Martyn Fotheringham and Iain Campbell among the starters.
On a bright, sunny evening, Morton made a bright start and goalkeeper Paterson had to look lively to get down to a Peter McDonald shot.
Soon after, Michael Tidser came close with a crisp 18-yard drive which zipped past the post.
But, as the game wore on, Forfar began to find their feet against first division opposition and, in the fifteen minutes prior to the break, they created a trio of excellent chances.
In the 32nd minute, Ross Campbell got in behind the Morton defence on the right and fired in a low cross which looked to tee up Kevin Byres at the far post.
Alas, the midfielder couldn’t get in a clean strike and only succeeded in steering the ball wide of the mark from a few yards out.
Stevie Crawford then hit a wonderful volley inches wide of the target after a clever knock-down by Chris Templemam.
Next up with a try at scoring was Martyn Fotheringham, his shot being gobbled up by the keeper after another sweet move.
In games against full-time opposition you have to take the chances when they come, and Forfar were to rue not going in at the break in front.
After Ross Campbell had come within inches of getting on the end of a Martyn Fotheringham cross from the left Morton upped the tempo and soon had the Loons in deep trouble.
Fifty-five minutes into the game, with Morton pressing for the opener, David O’Brien managed to wizard his way past two Forfar defenders before blasting home from 12 yards.
Four minutes later the Loons goalkeeper allowed a Peter Weatherson free-kick to slip through his arms for number two.
And, it was game over as a contest sixty seconds later when a lightning raid by Morton had Forfar stretched to the limit, Paul di Giacomo bursting into the area on the right and crossing low for McDonald to steer home.
Morton went four in front 15 minutes from time, when O’Brien was judged to have been upended in the box by Mark McCulloch, Peter McDonald stepping up to slot home the spot-kick.
Three minutes later, and it appeared the roof was about to cave in on the Loons.
Morton, who hit Stranraer for eight in the previous round, went nap through Archie Campbell.
Thankfully, for the home fans, there was no further scoring, Morton cruising to a cosy victory.
In the latter stages, with Hegarty, Gibson and Motion on for Byers, Ross Campbell and Templeman, Forfar managed to keep a lid on anything else Morton had to offer.
The end result sounds like a drubbing, but it was that five-minute cave-in early in the second period that did the damage - for there was never five goals between the sides.
At the time of going to press on Tuesday (yesterday), the Loons were back in cup action, travelling to meet another first division outfit, Queen of the South that same evening, in the second rounder of the Scottish Communities League Cup.
Forfar Athletic - Paterson, Ross, Bishop, McCulloch, Iain Campbell, Fotheringham, Byers (Hegarty), Mowat, Ross Campbell (Gibson), Templeman (Motion) and Crawford.
Greenock Morton - Stewart, Evans, Weatherson, McCarthy (Little), Forsyth, Tidser (McGeouch), Bachirou, O’Brien, Di Giacomo, MacDonald and Grady (Campbell).