Dunfermline Athletic

Dunfermline 1 St Johnstone 1

Tuesday, 4th Jul 2023

Pre Season Friendly: Craig Wighton (13) 1-0: Graham Carey (26) 1-1:

Pre season friendlies are often seen as academic but both Dunfermline’s James McPake and St Johnstone’s Steven MacLean were keen to use this match as valuable preparation for the Viaplay Cup which kicks off in just 11 days time.

Rhys Breen started his first match since mid March and Matty Todd returned to the Pars starting eleven having missed the final three matches of last season and the first two pre season friendlies. St Johnstone were missing Max Kucheriavyi who was sidelined with an eye injury but youngsters Alex Ferguson and Liam Parker started.

Craig Wighton kicked off for the home side and Josh Edwards forced a corner after just 45 seconds but Todd’s delivery from the left escaped through the penalty box untouched. A strong run down the right by Drey Wright won the Saints a fifth minute corner and after a bit of head tennis Liam Gordon got a shot at goal but was fortunately blocked. Stevie May followed up but his effort met the same fate.

Dunfermline threatened when Aaron Comrie broke into the right side of the visitors box but his cross was sent behind for a corner by Tony Gallacher. The short taken corner from Ewan Otoo to Todd saw the 21 year old head for the byeline and cross for Sam Fisher but his low driven shot went narrowly wide right. The home side came even closer on ten minutes after a Wighton fed McCann 20 yards out and his strike was kept out by the right goalpost.

Next time was better. Comrie’s 13th minute cross in from the right was missed by McCann but WIGHTON was on hand to crash the ball home from nine yards. 1-0

The match then went through a period lacking any goalmouth action. St Johnstone overhit their potential chances and crosses from Fisher and Edwards were low and easily cleared. The game was beginning to need a goal but it came at the wrong end. The Perth side patiently played the ball around in front of the Dunfermline box until Graham CAREY from 25 yards out sent a fantastic strike just inside the left goalpost. Deniz Mehmet had little hope of stopping such an effort. 1-1

Carey continued to play balls into the Pars box and in 32 minutes Wright at the far post was able to return a good chance that the home defence swiftly mopped up. Taylor Steven was the first sub of the evening and he was presented with a loose pass from Otoo that allowed him to send Gallacher down the left but May left the Saints fans asking “how did he not score that?”

The visitors pressed and May got the better of Kyle Benedictus to blast a shot on target that Fisher managed to block. Five minutes from the break it looked like Saints just had to score. Ballantyne picked out Wright and he set up May in front of goal but the Pars defence pounced on the ball to clear.

Paul Allan was a 44th minute sub for Dunfermline after Sam Fisher went down and required treatment. After an extremely lively and promising start by Dunfermline, the Premiership had worked their way into the match and had really troubled the Championship team towards the interval.

Half time: Dunfermline 1 St Johnstone 1

Miller Fenton and Trialist (Paul McGowan) were introduced at half time replacing Josh Edwards and Craig Wighton but it was St Johnstone created a great chance within two minutes of the restart when May cut the ball back for Carey. He thrashed an on target shot from edge of the box that was stopped by Benedictus. The unfortunate captain was skittled and required physios attention before play resumed.

A powerful sprint won Todd a corner on the left but his delivery unfortunately was less impressive. Dunfermline did enjoy possession deep into the opposition half with McGowan, Allan and Todd linking up well. Ross Sinclair in the visitors goal was forced into two shaky and hasty clearances while at the other end sub Fenton was looking cool and confident. He got caught out however on the hour and Carey was able to fire a free kick that just cleared the far post.

Joe Chalmers and Andrew Tod were next to enter the friendly as Rhys Breen and Matty Todd were withdrawn. A dangerous Fenton cross was turned behind for a 67th minute corner on the left but Allan’s cross was taken by Sinclair.

Sinclair was then called upon to make two really good saves in 70th minute. Firstly Fenton belted a low effort that the keeper beat away and with the next attack McCann was able to test the stopper with a cracking shot that the keeper again saved.

When St Johnstone got back up the park Carey tested Mehmet with a fierce effort from an angle on the right and Tod headed away a well connected cross from Wright. A Mehmet long throw was collected by McCann on the right touchline and his turbo charged run down the right allowed him to cut the ball back for Tod in front of goal but he tripped and the chance was gone.

Comrie pinged another cross through the Saints box as Dunfermline continued to attack. A winner escaped McCann in 87th minute after he ran on to a finely executed through ball from McGowan but although his touch beat the keeper the ball travelled agonisingly wide of the right upright.

It had been an entertaining second half in which Dunfermline put together several good passages of play but in the end the honours were shared.

DUNFERMLINE: Deniz Mehmet: Sam Fisher (Paul Allan 44), Kyle Benedictus (c), Rhys Breen (Joe Chalmers 62): Chris Hamilton: Aaron Comrie, Matthew Todd (Andrew Tod 62), Ewan Otoo, Josh Edwards (Miller Fenton HT), Craig Wighton (Trialist HT), Lewis McCann
SUBS NOT USED: Taylor Sutherland, Sam Young, Liam Hoggan, Max Little (GK)
SCORERS: Wighton (13)

ST JOHNSTONE: Ross Sinclair: Alex Ferguson (Taylor Steven 27), Liam Gordon (c), Liam Parker, Anthony Gallacher (Callum Booth 65): Ryan McGowan (Fran Franczak 77): Cammy Ballantyne, Ali Crawford, Drey Wright, Graham Carey: Stevie May (Jackson Mylchreest 84)
SUBS NOT USED: Kyle Thompson, Joe Ellison, Bailey Klimionek, Ben McCrystal.
SCORERS: Carey (26)

REFEREE: Kevin Clancy
WEATHER: Damp 11°C

NEXT MATCH: Pre Season Friendly (home) v Hearts, Sunday 9th July 2023, kick off 7.45pm at The KDM Group East End Park

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