Dunfermline Athletic

Dunfermline 0 Kilmarnock 2

Saturday, 22nd Jul 2023

Viaplay Cup Group F: Chris Hamilton and Andrew Tod start in place of Rhys Breen and Matty Todd. Fraser Murray (5) 0-1: Kyle Vassell (82) 0-2:

Dunfermline’s third match in the Viaplay Cup was against the group’s top seeds, Premiership side Kilmarnock. It was a match that would probably determine both teams’ chances of qualification.

James McPake was without Matty Todd, out after injuring his ankle in Tuesday night’s match against Annan Athletic. Seventeen year old Andrew Tod came in for Matty and Chris Hamilton returned having served a two match suspension meaning Rhys Breen found himself on the bench.

The visiting manager Derek McInnes was forced into making a change to his starting eleven as defender Jack Sanders served a suspension. He brought in their new signing Lewis Mayo and Liam Polworth dropped to the bench to accommodate Stuart Findlay. There were four players in the Kilmarnock side that had played at Dunfermline - as well as Mayo there was Fraser Murray, Daniel Armstrong and Kerr McInroy who had played in the black and white.

The visitors kicked off attacking the goal at the McCathie Stand end and after a tentative start from both sides a run in from the left by Corrie Ndaba created the opening goal. It was only the fifth minute but the full back cut back for MURRAY to convert from close in. 0-1

There was another scare soon after when from the right Armstrong flashed the ball through the six yard box and out beyond the far post. A 14th minute free kick 30 yards out gave Dunfermline their first opportunity to exert any pressure on the Kilmarnock defence. Joe Chalmers left the ball for Andrew Tod to play it to Ewan Otoo but his clip into the box was cleared. Lewis McCann won the header when the ball was returned but the defence mopped up.

Killie packed the Pars six yard box for their 20th minute corner, there were sixteen players in it when Armstrong swung the ball over from the right but it went behind. Tod popped a speculative shot from 35 yards that keeper Will Dennis took comfortably. Kilmarnock were enjoying more of the play and restricting Dunfermline’s sorties up the park. Corners came consistently their way. In 27 minutes Sam Fisher prodded the ball behind to deny Kennedy a cross but thankfully Kyle Benedictus in a clearance.

Dunfermline then forced two corners in 29th minute, both were taken by Chalmers and when the second was defended out as far as Josh Edwards he chipped the ball back into the Killie box where Hamilton tried a looping header than dropped narrowly over the crossbar.

There was much disquiet when the match officials awarded Kilmarnock a corner on the right. Every Pars fan believed the decision should have gone the other way and when the corner was defended McCann was able to break away up the right. That was until when in full flight mode he was scythed down by Murray. A yellow card was shown to the offender and Hamilton collected the same for his protests to referee Euan Anderson.

Dunfermline came extremely close to an equaliser five minutes from the interval. Edwards was able to advance into the Killie box and flight a cross to the far post. Aaron Comrie dived in and somehow managed to head on to the crossbar and over the top.

There was one final chance in time added on when McCann played Otoo up the left and his cut back was struck on target by Tod but his effort was blocked. Dunfermline finished the half strongest possibly both on and off the field fired up by the yellow cards incident.

Half time: Dunfermline 0 Kilmarnock 1

Both managers withdrew their already yellow carded players before the restart. Paul Allan replaced Chris Hamilton and Kyle Magennis. The Pars had another great chance eight minutes into the second half when McCann from the left side picked out Tod in front of goal. The youngster spun and shot but his effort was deflected right where Comrie arrived but could only hit the sidenetting.

Lewis then showed tremendous speed to zip the ball around Mayo and collect on the left byeline but the Killie defender recovered to steal the ball. A 58th minute Kilmarnock corner from the boot of Kennedy was headed over by captain Brad Lyons before at the other end Dennis pulled off the save of the match to keep out Tod. Wighton played the Pars youngster into the Killie box and his right footed shot was heading for the bottom right before the keeper at full stretch parried the 63rd minute effort away.

The visitors made a triple substitution as the match entered its final quarter but still the Fifers pressed. Otoo made a surging run and tried a one two off Tod but the final ball was cut out. Dunfermline were putting in every effort to claw back a goal but got stung in the 82nd minute by sub Kyle VASSELL who accepted a pass to the left side of the Dunfermline box and from 12 yards smacked the ball home for 2-0.

Taylor Sutherland and then Rhys Breen were introduced and the home side forced a corner. McCann sent in a dangerous cross from the right and Breen drove a shot at the keeper from 30 yards. Killie hadn’t got it all their own way but their second goal had sealed the Fifers fate, it was the first home defeat since May 2022.

DUNFERMLINE: Deniz Mehmet: Sam Fisher, Kyle Benedictus (c)(Rhys Breen 88), Ewan Otoo: Chris Hamilton (Paul Allan HT): Aaron Comrie, Andrew Tod (Taylor Sutherland 85) Joe Chalmers, Josh Edwards: Craig Wighton, Lewis McCann.
SUBS NOT USED: Miller Fenton, Liam Hoggan, Max Little (GK)
YELLOW CARD: Hamilton (38), McCann (78)

KILMARNOCK: Will Dennis: Lewis Mayo, Robbie Deas, Stuart Findlay, Corrie Ndaba: Daniel Armstrong (Marley Watkins 66), Matthew Kennedy, David Watson, Brad Lyons (Liam Polworth 67): Innes Cameron (Kyle Vassell 66), Fraser Murray (Kyle Magennis HT)
SUBS NOT USED: Aaron Quigg, Steven Warnock, Bobby Wales, Kerr McInroy, Aaron Brown, Kieran O`Hara (GK).
SCORERS: Murray (5), Vassell (82)
YELLOW CARD: Murray (38), Deas (78)

REFEREE: Euan Anderson
WEATHER: Overcast 16°C
ATTENDANCE 2784

NEXT MATCH: Viaplay Cup Group F (away) v Albion Rovers, Tuesday 25th July 2023, kick off 7.45pm at the Reigart Stadium, Coatbridge ML5 3RB

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