Betfred Cup: DUNFERMLINE 3 ARBROATH 0: 19/07/16
The heat was certainly up for the Pars opening match of their competitive season against Dick Campbell`s Arbroath. 26 degrees centigrade inside East End Park so one way or another this cup tie was going to be a cauldron.
The visitors held Dundee United to a 1-1 draw on Friday night only losing the bonus point on penalties. It was no surprise then that the visitors were unchanged.
Pars manager Allan Johnston made no changes from the side that was so successful against Heart of Midlothian in a pre season friendly a week past Saturday. New signing Kallum Higginbotham was on the bench as Gavin Reilly kicked off with the Pars playing towards the strong evening sun.
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Rhys McCabe`s fourth minute corner was blown up before it reached Ben Richards-Everton at the far post presumably for going behind but then two minutes later Martin Scott was penalised for a dangerous tackle on McCabe and the Pars no.7 drove the 28 yard free kick into the four man Arbroath wall.
A Wedderburn chip three minutes later sent Joe Cardle up the left and it looked like he might choose to try and finish it himself but opted for a pass to his right across the top of the Arbroath box to McCabe but his left footed blast went high and wide.
Arbroath ventured into the Pars half but were kept well away from the bright yellow kitted David Hutton. In 12th minute Andy Geggan took the play deep right and crossed but the ball was put behind for another corner. This time McCabe`s delivery was headed away by Steven Doris.
The Red Lichties threatened on a counterattack, Bobby Linn playing the ball into Doris on the left side of the Pars box and a neat back heeler set up Linn for the breakthrough but Lee Ashcroft read it well and swept away the danger.
A Cardle cross forced an 18th minute corner again on the right and this time McCabe found Ashcroft but he couldn`t get enough on his header. Very quickly Geggan fed the next chance to Moffat but his shot was touched behind by Robbie Mutch. Cardle was next to create a chance beating his man to get to the byeline but Colin Hamilton cleared as Reilly lined himself up.
As the midway point of the half arrived Cardle`s promising run was halted by Hamilton and then at the other end Ryan McCord set up Doris for a shot from 14 yards that Hutton had to drop to his left to hold.
Arbroath fans were appealing for a penalty in 28th minute when Doris broke forward, picked out Bryan Prunty who switched the ball on to Linn on the left. The winger hit Williamson with the cross but from where the fans were there was no way they could tell where it had hit.
Dick Campbell`s side began to look a little more confident. They pressed with Omar Kader eventually producing a powerful cross that evaded everyone until Williamson on the far side who booted the danger away. The Pars were frustrated by the Lichties offside trap but Moffat forced a free kick near the right corner flag but Mutch plucked out the McCabe cross.
Gary Phillips conceded a 36th minute corner when Williamson got deep, then another followed from the other side. This one escaped right through the box without a touch. Arbroath`s first corner was sent over from the left by Scott but Richards-Everton headed clear.
As the interval beckoned Dunfermline got the breakthrough. Robbie Mutch tried to redeem himself for a poor kick and raced out of his box on the right, Reilly beat him to it and his cross into an empty six yard box saw MOFFAT arrive to convert. 1-0
Half time: Dunfermline 1 Arbroath 0
The second half started with chances for Moffat in 47 and 50 minutes. His first Mutch did well to save the second from a Reilly cut back zoomed over the top from close in. Arbroath too had early chances Kader trying a shot and Doris sending a header wide.
Ashcroft`s block on a Linn shot earned Arbroath a 56th minute corner on the left and the visitors then appealed for another as Richards-Everton was the one left on the deck after the challenge went up. Back to the other end and Cardle shot one over the bar and then on the hour, the almost super Joe hit the left upright from 25 yards out.
Then in 61 minutes Reilly sped in from the right, picked out Moffat who slid the ball forward for GEGGAN to stick the ball away for 2-0.
Following the second goal, Paul McManus and Kallum Higginbotham were introduced, McCabe and Reilly going off. Higginbotham had barely been on the park three minutes when he picked out Williamson to take the ball to the byeline and cross for MOFFAT to sweep the ball into the Angus side`s net. 3-0
Higginbotham drove a 30 yard free kick into Doris who knew all about its force as he beat it away. The sub next whipped over a great ball from the right but Moffat just couldn`t get the right touch to make it four. Moffat had a further chance and Cardle netted only to be flagged for offside.
Cardle was straight through in 86 minutes but Mutch saved the shot and as McMullan went to control the rebound Ricky Little went straight through him to cause referee David Munro to brandish his red card. Higginbotham drove the free kick over the crossbar from 25 yards.
It was a workmanlike performance for the Pars who never looked back after Moffat`s opener. Higginbotham made a mark on his debut but the Betfred Man of the Match went to Ryan Williamson who tormented all game on that right flank.
DUNFERMLINE: David Hutton: Ryan Williamson, Lee Ashcroft, Ben Richards-Everton, Lewis Martin: Rhys McCabe (Paul McMullan 62), Andy Geggan (c), Nat Wedderburn (Lewis Spence 71), Joe Cardle: Michael Moffat, Gavin Reilly (Kallum Higginbotham 62)
SUBS NOT USED: Jason Talbot, Callum Smith, Cammy Gill (GK)
SCORERS: Moffat (44, 66), Geggan (62)
YELLOW CARD: Geggan (74)
ARBROATH: Robbie Mutch. Gary Philips (Gavin Malin 75), Ricky Little, Colin Hamilton, Mark Whatley (c), Ryan McCord (Liam Callaghan 75), Martin Scott, Omar Kader, Bryan Prunty, Steven Doris, Bobby Linn (Josh Thomson 75)
SUBS NOT USED: David Gold, Michael Dunlop, Kane Hester, Ricky Gomes (GK),
YELLOW CARD: Doris (90)
RED CARD: Little (86)
REFEREE: David Munro
WEATHER: Sunny 26C
NEXT MATCH: Betfred Cup. (away) v Cowdenbeath
Saturday 23rd July 2016, kick 3.00pm at Central Park
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