Scottish Cup Replay v Montrose
DUNFERMLINE 5 MONTROSE 3 - Date 18/01/11
Fixture: Scottish Cup Replay
Attendance: 1541, Kicp Off: 3:00pm
Referee; Crawford Allan
With home advantage for Tuesday night`s Scottish Cup replay the Pars would be expected to put Montrose under pressure from kick off and in the early stages the game seemed set to follow that script.
Midfielder Ryan Thomson should have been the first to test the visitors, ignoring his optimistic claim for a penalty when felled in the first minute, but as Austin McCann delivered a perfect cross to the centre of the box the youngster passed up the opportunity for a dream start by steering his header over the bar.
Calum Woods also came close for Dunfermline in the opening minutes and with just over ten minutes played the home side took an expected lead. When Gibson`s cross floated to the back post Andy KIRK rose above the pack to nod home from close range.
Gibson could have followed his assist with a goal before long but, collecting McDougall`s low pass at the penalty spot, the winger took time to pick his spot but seemed to stumble just before connecting, giving Wood the chance to block with his feet. The Pars domination continued through a string of corners and came closest to scoring when a Gibson corner was deflected just wide of the post, with¬ Keddie seeing a header cleared off the line from the ensuing corner.
There were only ten minutes remaining of the first half before Montrose managed to provide any form of threat to the home team`s goal. Ross McCord was first to try his luck when he gained the ball in a good position at the edge of the box but fluffed his connection such that even describing Smith`s collection of the ball as a save seems vaguely embarrassing.
Embarrassing would certainly have been the right word, at least from the Pars` perspective, had the visitors capitalised on their best chance of the half which followed shortly. When Douglas Cameron forced a corner, his swinging delivery dropped into the box over Smith and a huddle of Pars players, and as they collectively perfected the rabbit-in-headlights look, blushes were spared when the ball skidded just wide of the far post.
Spurred into action however, Smith kicked off a quick counter attack which resulted in the Pars doubling their lead. The ball made its way to Gibson on the right wing and he cut inside and let rip with a stunning strike that beat Wood but smashed off the crossbar and bounced onto the goal line. A sparsely attended mid-week Scottish cup match between Dunfermline and Montrose is unlikely to start many TV pundits deliberating again over the introduction of goal-line technology so the home side were lucky that Steven McDOUGALL reacted first to clear up any doubt, bundling the ball over the line with his chest just as he was bundled into the net himself by an overzealous defender.
Half Time: Dunfermline 2 Montrose 0
With a victory now looking more likely, the most important task the Pars had to carry out following the half-time interval was to make sure they didn`t concede an early goal. Unfortunately this half didn`t start quite as predictably as the first and when Chris Smith parried a shot from McCord, the ball ricocheted back off Calum WOODS into his own net to give the visitors a much needed boost.
There can be no better response however than the one which followed. Straight from the restart the ball was played wide to David GRAHAM who floated a long ball high towards the back post. The ball was missed by everyone but to the amazement of most ended up coming to rest at the back post inside the net.
The Pars came close a few minutes later when Graham once again delivered the ball into the box, this time low and at speed, but it evaded Andy Kirk and skidded out for a goal kick.
If there was more than a hint of luck about Graham`s first there was no such reliance on chance when he struck again on 52 minutes. Austin McCann ran on to a through ball from Gibson and whipped it low across the box where GRAHAM was waiting to fire it home from just outside the six yard box.
It was a sucker punch for Montrose but the visitors were not for giving up and might have clawed the deficit back by a goal shortly after. ¬ A Douglas Cameron free kick dropped to an unmarked McCord in the Pars box but while he managed to poke the ball past Smith it trundled just past the post.
With an hour gone the Pars created another terrific chance when a superb ball from Phinn split the visitors` defence wide open and with Graham bearing down on goal, Stephen McNally had no choice but to collect a yellow card and concede a penalty. After terrorising the defence all game, Wullie GIBSON stepped up to get his name on the score sheet from the spot.
A four goal lead with less than half an hour remaining ought to have seen the Pars plain sailing but they were determined to make things hard for themselves. With twenty minutes to go, Smith made a mess of intercepting the ball and while he saved the resulting shot from Cameron, an offside flag was ultimately what spared the Pars from conceding another shambolic goal. Two minutes later Montrose finally did get their second when substitute Christ Hegarty fired a dangerous ball into the box which was converted from close range by Paul TOSH.
Pat Clark then forced a good save from Wood and McDougall narrowly missed the target with another shot but ultimately the last action of the game was to see yet another shaky moment at the back for the hosts.
With just minutes remaining, Martin Boyle beat Dunfermline`s offside trap, raced free of McGregor and poked the ball past Smith. Collecting the ball on the other side and prodding it home would have been an easy task but for Smith`s wild lunge taking the substitute out of play spectacularly. Referee Crawford Allan had no choice but to give the penalty and despite a brief argument from McGregor which amounted to little more than the pointless protests of a child who`s just been caught with their hand in the cookie jar, a red card for Smith was the only possible outcome. With all three Dunfermline substitutes used, it was up to the captain to take charge and McCann duly took the gloves for himself while Boyle eventually re-entered the Earth`s atmosphere.
Paul TOSH stepped up to send McCann the wrong way from the spot, ensuring that although it is the Pars who make the trip to Aberdeen in the next round they will certainly need to defend better than they did tonight if they are to hold out against the revitalised Dons.
DUNFERMLINE: Chris Smith, Calum Woods, Neil McGregor, Alex Keddie, Austin McCann (c); Wullie Gibson (Paul Willis 63), Gary Mason (Nick Phinn 56),¬ Ryan Thomson, Steven McDougall, Andy Kirk (Pat Clark 63), David Graham
SUBS NOT USED: Andy Dowie, Kyle Allison
SCORERS: Kirk (11), McDougall (40), Graham (48, 52), Gibson (pen 61)
YELLOW CARDS: Keddie, Thomson
RED CARD: Smith (88)
MONTROSE: Sandy Wood, Stephen McNally, Gordon Pope, Alan Campbell, Steven Tweed (Sean Crighton 16), Dougie Cameron, Ross McCord (69), Terry Masson, Paul Tosh, Nicky Smith (Martin Boyle 59), Aaron Sinclair
SUBS NOT USED:¬ Connor Thomson, Tim Capstick (GK)
SCORERS: Woods¬ (o.g. 47), Tosh (72, pen 88)
YELLOW CARD: McNally
REFEREE: Crawford Allan
ASSISTANTS: Gordon Middleton, Craig Sim
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Ladbrokes Championship: Saturday 22nd April, Dunfermline v Falkirk kick off 3.00pm