Dunfermline Athletic

Dundee 4 Dunfermline 2

Tuesday, 24th Jan 2023

SPFL Trust Trophy Quarter Final: Young, O’Hara, Todorov and McCann start. Paul McMullan (29) 1-0: Lewis McCann (38) 1-1: Finlay Robertson (59) 2-1: Luke McCowan (83) 3-1: Max Anderson (90+1) 4-1: Craig Wighton (90+3) 4-2

After two attempts to play this tie were postponed due to the weather, the sides eventually met on the eve of Burns Night. Visibly the pitch looked much improved from two Tuesdays ago apart from a heavily sanded area on the halfway line in front of the main stand. Both sides had played 120 minutes of football just three days before in the Scottish Cup and both had gone out to higher league opponents on penalties.

James McPake on his first visit to Dens Park in charge of an opposing team made four changes from the team that he put out against Partick Thistle. Chris Mochrie was cup tied and Aaron Comrie, Matty Todd and Craig Wighton were on the bench meaning starts for Kevin O’Hara, Nikolay Todorov, Lewis McCann and 17 year old Sam Young.

Dundee were missing Shaun Byrne (back spasm), Ben Williamson (ankle injury), Ian Lawlor (father to be) before Saturday’s cup tie and lost Tyler French (broken leg) during that match against St Mirren. In total they made six changes from the side that started in Paisley. Harrison Sharp was in goal and into the team came Josh Mulligan, Max Anderson, Finlay Robertson, Lyall Cameron and Kwame Thomas.

There was a minute’s silence prior to kick off to mark the passing of former player Patrizio Billio at the age of 48. It was Paul McMullan who kicked off for the home team attacking the goal in front of the 458 travelling supporters. Within two minutes both Kyle Macdonald and Lewis McCann had shots at goal. The first was blocked and the second went wide right.

Alex Jakubiak forced a fourth minute corner but captain Ryan Sweeney headed wide. McCann headed another attempt over the crossbar two minutes later after Rhys Breen had made a break and fed Josh Edwards for the cross. Macdonald won an eighth minute corner on the right but when taken short it was then over struck.

Another corner followed as an O’Hara shot was turned around his post by Sharp. Todorov then had a header deflected over the top and from the corner on the left Kyle Benedictus volleyed over. It had been a particularly strong opening ten minutes from the Pars but no goal.

A 14th minute run by Breen laid the ball off for McCann to his left but again his shot was off target. Dundee’s response was an effort from the edge of the box by Jakubiak that was suitably blocked. The home side settled down enjoying more possession but with the Fifers threatening on the counter.

In 27 minutes Macdonald was shown his first yellow card of the season for a challenge on Jordan Marshall and two minutes later Dundee were celebrating the opening goal. It was Paul McMULLAN who netted when a Thomas cross from the left found the former Par in space on the edge of the box with time to pick his spot. 1-0

Breen seemed to twist awkwardly as he went into a 32nd minute challenge and required the physio but he was fit to continue. It was the defender who put in a vital tackle to deny McMullan’s pass towards Thomas leading to another Dundee goal.

Dunfermline were back on level terms just seven minutes from half time. O’Hara was sent up the right and his delivery was perfect for McCANN to get between Lee Ashcroft and Sweeney to forcefully head past Sharp. 1-1

The visitors’ tails were up as Hamilton headed a Chalmers corner over the bar and Edwards bent a shot from the left that Sharp held at his right hand post. Another good half where Dunfermline showed some good attacking play. Dundee came into it in the middle and got their reward but McCann’s goal made it all to play for in the second half.

Half Time: Dundee 1 Dunfermline 1

Cammy Kerr came on as a substitute for Jordan Marshall before the match resumed. O’Hara won a 47th minute corner but Dundee defended it and then when O’Hara fed Edwards a chance his effort was wildly over the bar. McCann then cut back for Hamilton who chipped his shot over the bar from 25 yards out.

After Dunfermline made a triple substitution in 54 minutes bringing on Aaron Comrie, Matty Todd and Craig Wighton for Sam Young, Kevin O’Hara and Nikolay Todorov, Dundee replaced Kwame Thomas with Cillian Sheridan.

It was Dundee who took the advantage in 59 minutes. A clever quick taken corner on the right was gathered by Mulligan on the byeline and he was able to cut back to Finlay ROBERTSON on the top of the box and his low shot found the net for 2-1.

Macdonald produced a fine cross to pick out Edwards on the left side of the penalty box but his cut back for Wighton was intercepted. Dundee then snuffed out an on target header from McCann and next Breen sent a free kick over the Dundee bar from 25 yards out.

When Hamilton was cut down by Cameron, Chalmers was able to pump the ball into the Dee box from the 76th minute free kick but unfortunately no Pars player could make contact. Wighton was pulled back by Cameron and another Chalmers free kick was defended and Macdonald’s return was then too close to keeper Sharp.

The tie had slipped into its last ten minutes as Dunfermline continued to push for an equaliser. Macdonald tried to find Wighton then McCann’s cross was headed behind for a corner. The equaliser was not to be and with seven minutes remaining a Sharp clearance was headed on by Cillian Sheridan for sub Luke McGOWAN to wriggle into space on the edge of the box to dispatch the ball past Mehmet. 3-1

Andrew Tod replaced Lewis McCann for the final two minutes and added time. Macdonald smacked a low shot wide right but the tie was over when Max ANDERSON slotted in an added time fourth from the edge of the box, his shot taking a deflection off Comrie to give Mehmet no chance. 4-1

Remarkably in the time remaining WIGHTON swept in a second Dunfermline goal in the third added minute. Comrie went up the right and his cross was controlled by Tod to lay an inviting ball off to the former Dundee striker whose left footed shot found the top left of the hosts’ net. 4-2.

The final scoreline possibly did not reflect how close the Fifers came to Dundee. The home side capitalised when Dunfermline tried to push for the equaliser but it was another positive performance from James McPake’s side. Dundee progressed to meet Raith Rovers in the semi final.

DUNDEE: Harrison Sharp: Josh Mulligan, Lee Ashcroft, Ryan Sweeney (c), Jordan Marshall (Cammy Kerr HT): Finlay Robertson (Jordan McGhee 68): Lyall Cameron, Max Anderson, Alex Jakubiak (Luke McCowan 64): Paul McMullan (Zak Rudden 64), Kwame Thomas (Cillian Sheridan 56).
SUBS NOT USED: Adam Legzdins (GK)
SCORERS: McMullan (29), Robertson (59), McCowan (83), Anderson (90+1)
YELLOW CARD: Thomas (50)

DUNFERMLINE: Deniz Mehmet: Sam Young (Aaron Comrie 54), Kyle Benedictus (c), Rhys Breen: Kyle Macdonald, Chris Hamilton, Joe Chalmers, Josh Edwards (Miller Fenton 85): Kevin O’Hara (Matthew Todd 54), Nikolay Todorov (Craig Wighton 54), Lewis McCann (Andrew Tod 88).
SUBS NOT USED: Taylor Sutherland, Max Little (GK)
SCORERS: McCann (38), Wighton (90+3)
YELLOW CARD: O’Hara, Macdonald (27)

REFEREE: Craig Napier

NEXT MATCH: cinch League One (away) v Clyde, Saturday 27th January 2023, kick off 3.00pm at New Douglas Park

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