William Hill Scottish Cup: STRANRAER 2 DUNFERMLINE 2: 29/11/14
Fourth Round William Hill Scottish Cup: Andy Geggan and Ross Millen in for Gozie Ugwu and Ryan Williamson. Geggan (14) 0-1; Buchanan (61) 0-2; Gibson (80) 1-2; Geggan (og 95) 2-2
Ryan Williamson was out with a dislocated knee cap and Gozie Ugwu failed to recover from a calf knock so he found himself spectating alongside fellow injured Stuart Urquhart and out of favour Lewis Spence. Jim Jefferies brought back Andy Geggan and Ross Millen for this Fourth Round William Hill Scottish Cup tie into an otherwise unchanged team.
Stranraer manager Steven Aitken went with the same starting eleven as defeated Airdrieonians the previous Saturday and that included former Pars Willie Gibson and Steven Bell. The Pars were in their all red away strip as Stranraer in blue kicked off attacking the goal at the town end and it was the home side that created the first chance on 60 seconds when Frank McKeown headed over a Willie Gibson free kick in from the right touchline.
Ryan Thomson got the first opportunity for the visitors when in four minutes Josh Falkingham picked out the striker but could not get enough on his shot to trouble David Mitchell in the home goal. Two minutes later when a Chris Aitken corner came over from the right and Ryan Scully had to parry away Steven Bell's effort. Gibson then hit a seventh minute free kick over the Pars crossbar.
Bell collected the first card of the afternoon for his eighth minute tackle on Falkingham and from the free kick Millen tried to pick out the inrushing Geggan but could only force a corner. Four minutes later another free kick 30 yards out saw the right back launch another ball at goal and this attempt slipped narrowly over the crossbar.
Dunfermline took the lead in 14 minutes from a free kick that the home support felt harshly given. Lewis Martin pumped the ball from his own half into the area at the top of the Stranraer box, Mitchell came out but GEGGAN outjumped him and the ball bounced into the net. 0-1
In 18 minutes Millen's cross cannoned off a defender in the six yard box as Gregor Buchanan raced in and the keeper managed to grab the loose ball. The Fifers kept up the pressure with Thomson getting in behind the home defence on the left. He cut the ball back from the byeline for Falkingham but his shot was kept out by the outstretched right foot of keeper Mitchell.
Alex Whittle won a 24th minute corner but Bell rose to head away Millen's delivery. At the other end Scully dived but couldn't get a touch on a fine strike from Grant Gallacher and fortunately the ball slipped past his right hand post. On the half hour Whittle made a steal on the left byeline and cut the ball back for Thomson who managed to somehow miss the target to the left.
Next Andy Stirling played a neat pass into the right side of the box where Allan Smith collected and got in a shot on the turn but a Stranraer boot kept him out. Stranraer pushed for an equaliser before the break and McKeown had another header from a 42nd minute corner from the right but the defence kept him out.
It was a first half that the Fifers dominated; the stats recorded them 61% possession but there was only one goal in it as the teams turned around.
Half time: Stranraer 0 Dunfermline 1
There were no changes for either side as the Pars kicked off in the second half. As expected Stranraer came at their opponents and Whittle did well to dispossess Sean Winter when he was played into the right side of the box. Smith had a chance on the counterattack but McKeown shielded the ball behind.
When Andy Stirling lost possession in an over ambitious run, Gallagher took the route to goal meaning Martin had to concede a free kick just 22 yards out. Gibson saw a space and shot the free kick at the nearpost but hit the sidenetting. In 52 minutes Byrne was allowed a shot at goal when no one closed him down but the ball escaped narrowly wide left.
Dunfermline could certainly have done with that second goal but it was the Blues who threatened. A long kick out from Mitchell was moved on by Malcolm and Stoney into the path of Winter but the Pars defence swept away the danger. Then Gibson fired in a low free kick that again the defence dealt with.
In 58 minutes a fine move from Geggan through Thomson set up Stirling with a gilt edged chance but he hit that high over the bar from the edge of the box. The Pars were to find the net three minutes later however. Millen set over a free kick from the left and BUCHANAN headed in at the far post. 0-2
Two goals up and entering the final quarter of the game, Jim Jefferies made a double substitution, Michael Moffat and Faissal El Bakhtaoui replacing Allan Smith and Andy Stirling.
Moffat almost immediately had the ball in the net but the offside flag was already up. Despite introducing all three subs Stranraer began to tire and Jamie Longworth delayed too long when in a good position on the edge of the box and failed to get his shot away.
The Blues were to mount an all out attack on the Pars goal after Willie GIBSON got them back into the tie with ten minutes to go. It was a cracking goal, the goalscorer admitted it wasn't intended but surprised Scully just as much. The ball was floated over from the right touchline and sailed over the Pars keeper to enter the goal in the top left corner. 1-2
There were some nervous moments as central defender Frank McKeown was pushed forward. Buchanan's firm pass back handed Stranraer a 91st minute corner and there was some desperate defending in the Pars box. Amongst the bedlam Jim Jefferies was sent to the stand much to the delight of the home support.
Buchanan was then yellow carded in 94 minutes and from the free kick that followed Stranraer won a corner as the ball broke off a defender. Willie Gibson went over, accepted the abuse from the travelling support and sent the corner over from the left and a crowd of players rose to meet the cross and the ball ended up in the net, probably an own goal since no Stranraer players were claiming the goal. Post match Andy GEGGAN admitted that the ball went in off him. 2-2 and no time left to prevent the tie going to a replay a week on Tuesday.
STRANRAER: David Mitchell; Grant Gallagher, Scott Rumsby, Frank McKeown; Jackson Longridge, Sean Winter, Steven Bell (Barry Russell 73), Chris Aitken (Stephen Stirling 67), Willie Gibson; Craig Malcolm, Daniel Stoney (Jamie Longworth 59)
SUBS NOT USED: Craig Pettigrew, Anthony Marenghi, Daniel Tobin (GK).
SCORERS: Gibson (80), Geggan (95 og)
YELLOW CARD: Bell (8), Longridge (86), Gallagher (88)
DUNFERMLINE: Ryan Scully; Ross Millen, Gregor Buchanan, Lewis Martin, Alex Whittle, Shaun Byrne, Andy Geggan, Josh Falkingham, Andy Stirling (Faissal El Bakhtaoui 67), Ryan Thomson, Allan Smith (Michael Moffat 67)
SUBS NOT USED: Ross Forbes, Finn Graham, Sorel Chemin, John Potter
SCORERS: Geggan (14), Buchanan (61)
YELLOW CARD: Geggan (76), Buchanan (94)
REFEREE: Des Roache
WEATHER: Overcast 11C
NEXT MATCH: SPFL League One: (home) v Ayr United
Saturday 7th December 2014, kick off 3.00pm
Ladbrokes Championship: Saturday 22nd April, Dunfermline v Falkirk kick off 3.00pm