Scottish League Cup: DUNFERMLINE 5 COWDENBEATH 1: 01/08/15
Dunfermline 5 Cowdenbeath 1
Saturday, 1st Aug 2015
Scottish League Cup First Round: Faissal El Bakhtaoui (49) 1-0; Shaun Byrne (56) 2-0; Declan Hughes (59) 2-1; Ryan Wallace (74 pen), 3-1; Shaun Byrne (78) 4-1; Faissal El Bakhtaoui (90) 5-1
Another fine win proved a major confidence boost for Allan Johnston's side and sent the home support home pinching themselves and hoping that this was a taste of the season ahead.
For this Scottish League Cup First Round tie, Dunfermline were unchanged from the side that comfortably saw off Arbroath the previous Saturday with Michael Moffat and Faissal El Bakhtaoui out to continue their net finding habit. New signing Jason Talbot served the second of his two match suspension following his sending off in the pre season friendly against Hibs.
Colin Nish's Cowdenbeath side made one change from that knocked out of the Petrofac Training Cup at the hands of local rivals Raith Rovers. They dropped former Par Chris Kane to the bench in order to bring in Lewis Milne.
So the home season got underway with Dunfermline attacking for once the accurately described "Cowdenbeath end". Early pressure was applied by the Pars with El Bakhtaoui's fourth minute ball across the Blue Brazil six yard box bringing the first excitement of the match. Unfortunately Joe Cardle got closed out at the far side.
Then just on five minutes into the match there was a roar as El Bakhtaoui found the net but the Main Stand side linesman's flag had already been raised for offside.
When Michael Moffat slipped the ball to Cardle on the left, Dean Brett tumbled the Pars winger to give the home side a free kick on the left corner of the penalty box but when Cardle delivered the ball was headed clear.
In eighth minute Moffat cut his own passage through the middle of the Cowden defence and sent his left footed shot agonisingly just outside the right upright.
Moffat showed great skills to tee up a shot from 15 yards but Bradley Donaldson blocked that. Next Andy Geggan powered a shot from 30 yards but that too was blocked on the edge of the box. A Cardle free kick then attempted to pick out Ben Richards-Everton at the far post but again the offside flag went up.
The rain which had never been far away all summer returned in 12th minute and there was hope that this would re-create a playing surface like that the Pars had so enjoyed at Arbroath the previous week. El Bakhtaoui broke through on the right but disappointingly failed to pick out Moffat on the top of the D.
As the first quarter of the cup tie was completed not even the most ardent of Blue Brazil fan could have denied that the Toon side were on top. Martin blasted off target and Cardle's free kick in from the right fell at the feet of the inrushing Richards-Everton but he got caught up with the ball and failed to notch his first senior goal.
The one way traffic continued with Cardle's shot being blocked and Ryan Williamson's cross being held by the bright orange kitted Michael Andrews. In 27 minutes Sean Murdoch came out to hold a free kick pumped over from the right touchline and that was really the Pars keeper's first call to action.
Two minutes later a wicked ball over from a Cardle free kick on the right narrowly evaded Geggan and Richards-Everton's touch saw the ball ping over the bar. Referee George Salmond produced a yellow card for Craig Johnston's challenge on Williamson and from the Paton free kick Richards-Everton head at Andrews.
In 33 minutes Murdoch fisted the ball away after some slackness in the home defence although the offside flag also went up. Then next minute El Bakhtaoui broke down the right, cut into the box shrugging off tackles before releasing a low shot that went narrowly outside the far post.
Yet another Pars free kick in 38 minutes picked out Richards-Everton whose header was then met by Callum Fordyce but his effort was easy meat for Andrews.
The keeper then held a long range attempt from El Bakhtaoui and then in 43 minutes Cardle picked out Moffat in front of goal but his shot was deflected over the crossbar. It had been a first half that the Eastenders had dominated, the onmly thing missing - goals!
Half time: Dunfermline 0 Cowdenbeath 0
The visitors got the second half underway in bright sunshine and within 15 seconds Byrne made great tackle to rob Luke Armstrong as his break took him toi the edge of the Pars box.
Pressure was immediately turned back on the Blue Brazil with Pars possession in the opposition box. Paton earned a corner that was defended but the breakthrough was to come in just the fourth minute of the half. A Cardle cut back from the left picked out EL BAKHTAOUI who made room for himself to drive the ball past Andrews from 12 yards. 1-0.
Moffat was presented with a great opportunity to double the advantage on 55 minutes. Cardle scampered through the left channel from the halfway line releasing the ball on the edge of the box left to Moff but he blasted wide left.
Next minute however in a fine individual contribution Shaun BYRNE found the net from 20 yards out to make it 2-0.
The lead was to be pegged back to one however within three minutes when the unmarked Declan HUGHES smashed the ball into the Pars net. 2-1
Ryan Wallace replaced Michael Moffat in 66 minutes and play returned to in front of the home support. El Bakhtaoui blasted over from the right but just Cowden tried to find an equaliser they were caught out on the counter. Wallace raced on to a long ball, controlled it well and then was taken out by the keeper as he tried to pass him. Penalty kick and a red card shown to Michael Andrews.
Jamie Sneddon came on as Craig Johnston was withdrawn before WALLACE placed the ball into the bottom left. 3-1 That became 4-1 just four minutes later when BYRNE was presented with an easy chance heading home in front of goal.
That was the 22 year old's last involvement, denied the chance to go for a hattrick with the introduction of Josh Falkingham.
Wallace's 86th minute shot from the edge of the box was parried by Sneddon and the ball cleared off the line by his defender. El Bakhtaoui then tried an unconventional jumping effort that just failed to come off.
The ten men got pinned back into their own half but the tie was effectively all over when EL BAKHTAOUI's solo run in 90th minute produced a fifth!. Many of the away fans had left the stadium when George Salmond blew up for full time; a resounding victory for the second week running.
Quite a second half and impressive stuff from the Pars. 19 shots at goal, 8 on target, 8 corners to Cowdenbeath's none. 59% possession, on this display Dunfermline Athletic can be a real threat this season and it will take a good team to stop them!
DUNFERMLINE: Sean Murdoch; Ryan Williamson, Callum Fordyce (c), B Richards-Everton, Lewis Martin; Michael Paton, Shaun Byrne (Josh Falkingham 79), Andy Geggan, Joe Cardle (David Hopkirk 77); Michael Moffat (Ryan Wallace 66), Faissal El Bakhtaoui
SUBS NOT USED: David Hutton (GK), Lewis Spence, James Thomas, John Potter.
SCORERS: El Bakhtaoui (49, 90), Byrne (56, 78), Wallace (74 pen).
COWDENBEATH: Michael Andrews; Dean Brett, John Armstrong (c), Bradley Donaldson, Mo Yaqub; Sam Orritt (Chris Kane 24), Lewis Milne, Declan Hughes, Craig Johnston (Jamie Sneddon 73), Greig Spence, Luke Armstrong (Colin Nish 61).
SUBS NOT USED: Liam Callaghan, Pat Scullion, Kyle Miller, Jack Wright
SCORERS: Hughes (59)
YELLOW CARD: Johnston (30), Kane (68)
RED CARD: Andrews (72)
REFEREE: George Salmond
WEATHER: Overcast 15ºC
NEXT MATCH: Ladbrokes League One (away) v Brechin City
Saturday 8th August 2015, kick off 3.00pm
Ladbrokes Championship: Saturday 18th March, Dunfermline v Ayr United kick off 3.00pm