Dunfermline Athletic

Raith Rovers 1 Dunfermline 1

Saturday, 15th Jul 2023

Viaplay Cup: Rhys Breen returns. Lewis McCann (30) 0-1:Dylan Easton (38) 1-1: Dunfermline won 4-2 on penalties

The first competitive match of the 2023-2024 season took Dunfermline to Stark’s Park for a tasty derby match in the group stages of the Viaplay Cup. Rhys Breen returned after a hamstring scare and in the absence of the suspended Chris Hamilton, Ewan Otoo was in midfield. A familiar face in the Rovers starting eleven was former Par, Callum Smith who made the move from Airdrieonians in the close season.

Torrential rain twenty minutes from kick off had the fans all retreat to the back of the stands while the players from both sides did their best to warm up for the derby. Fortunately the taps had been turned off when the teams emerged and took their places either side of the sponsors arch. The sun even made an appearance as Kyle Benedictus and Keith Watson took the toss. Raith were made to kick off attacking the Penman Stand end.

The home side started very strongly with Sam Stanton sending the first ball into a dangerous area within twenty seconds. Two corners followed within the first three minutes with Dylan Corr and Watson driving efforts wide left.

Pressure eased when Lewis McCann forced a corner on the right but Joe Chalmers delivery was defended. Aaron Comrie made a strong run up the right and his cross found Josh Edwards on the left but he smashed his shot off the post and wide. A tenth minute shot from McCann deflected off Corr for another corner on the right but again Rovers cleared.

It was a competitive match with neither side allowed much time on the ball. Then in 26 minutes a Benedictus challenge on Lewis Vaughan gave Raith the chance from a free kick in a central position 27 yards out. Jamie Gullan was given the opportunity and his well struck effort rattled the crossbar. Next minute it was Dunfermline who were awarded the free kick in a good position 28 yards out after Breen was taken down by Stanton. McCann took the setpiece and he was unlucky to see his attempt dip over the crossbar.

Lewis would soon be on the scoresheet however. His solo run in from the left allowed him to rifle the ball into the far side of the Rovers net and on the half hour it was 0-1.

McCann terrorised the left flank again and just three minutes after putting the Pars ahead his cut back was good for Todd to strike on target but his left footed effort was held by keeper Kevin Dabrowski.

The derby atmosphere went up a notch when Raith Rovers scored a 38th minute equaliser. It looked like a dangerous Vaughan cut back had been cleared but Dylan EASTON gathered and forced his way into the Pars box to chip the ball into the far left of the Dunfermline goal. 1-1

The half ended with Dunfermline pressing well up the park but Raith had registered 59% first half possession but the Pars had got in seven shots to their hosts five. The even first half was reflected by the half time scoreline.

Half time: Raith Rovers 1 Dunfermline 1

When the second half got underway the visitors almost cashed in on a poor Corr clearance but Todd could not take the advantage and Dabrowski collected. In 51 minutes a Fisher cross was aimed at Wighton at the far post but the defence held out. Next minute a short taken corner on the left was sent over by Chalmers but Breen’s header at the far post fell wide of target.

Dunfermline continued to be threatening and with the keeper hesitant a cracking cross by Edwards was narrowly missed by Wighton as he slid in. After beating a couple of men with his close control of the ball, McCann got in a shot from a tight angle but Dabrowski held. James McPake changed things in 61 minutes making a double substitution that saw Paul Allan and Michael O’Halloran replace Rhys Breen and Craig Wighton.

Play went from end to end with a Gullan pass being missed by Mullin at one end and a McCann pass along the edge of the box for Allan to shoot but his shot was blocked. Then the crossbar denied Raith when a Liam Dick header powered a McGill cross at goal.

Yellow cards for Easton and then Fisher only showed how much the sides were battling for the win. Mehmet made a great save to keep out a Vaughan shot and his counterpart conceded a corner in keeping out McCann yet again.

McGill fired wide for Raith and in added time O’Halloran was fouled 35 yards out handing McCann the final chance to avoid penalties. Unfortunately his 35 yard effort was held by Dabrowski.

Full time: Raith Rovers 1 Dunfermline 1

Penalty Shoot Out:-
The penalties were taken at the home end.
1. Lewis McCann scores bottom left. 1-0
2.Jamie Gullan hits the crossbar and clears 1-0
3. Sam Fisher nets low left 2-0
4. Aaron Arnott nets low left 2-1
5. Joe Chalmers left footed to bottom left 3-1
6. Dylan Easton same side 3-2
7. Paul Allan, keeper saves to his right 3-2
8. Lewis Vaughan misses wide right 3-2
9. Matty Todd nets bottom left 4-2

So it was Dunfermline who picked up the two points. Elsewhere Kilmarnock defeated Annan Athletic 3-0 to top Group F.

RAITH ROVERS: Kevin Dabrowski: Scott McGill, Dylan Corr, Keith Watson (c), Liam Dick: Callum Smith (Kieran Mitchell 87), Sam Stanton (Aaron Arnott 88), Dylan Easton, Josh Mullin (Jack Hamilton 69): Jamie Gullan, Lewis Vaughan
SUBS NOT USED: Adam Masson, Andrew McNeil (GK), Robbie Thomson (GK)
SCORERS: Easton (38)
YELLOW CARD: Easton (74)

DUNFERMLINE: Deniz Mehmet: Sam Fisher, Kyle Benedictus (c), Rhys Breen (Paul Allan 61): Aaron Comrie, Ewan Otoo, Joe Chalmers, Josh Edwards: Matty Todd: Craig Wighton (Michael O’Halloran 61), Lewis McCann
SUBS NOT USED: Miller Fenton, Taylor Sutherland, Andrew Tod, Liam Hoggan, Max Little (GK)
SCORERS: McCann (30)
YELLOW CARD: Fisher (75)

REFEREE: Don Robertson
WEATHER: Damp 18°C

NEXT MATCH: Viaplay Cup (home) v Annan Athletic, Tuesday 18th July 2023, kick off 7.45pm kick off at The KDM Group, East End Park

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