William Hill Scottish Cup Fourth Round: three changes for the Pars. Nicky Clark (12) 0-1: Paul McMullan (43) 0-2: Joe Cardle (61) 0-3: Stefan McCluskey (68) 1-3: Greig Spence (90+2) 2-3
Dunfermline Athletic breezed past Alloa Athletic and into the fifth round of the Scottish Cup much more comfortably than the 3-2 scorelone suggests.
The last time the Pars played the Wasps in the Scottish Cup Jock Stein was the manager and the team went on to win their first ever Scottish Cup. 56 years on could that be an omen?
Manager Allan Johnston made three changes for the cup tie at the Indodrill Stadium, in came Callum Morris, Lewis Martin and Gavin Reilly meaning Callum Fordyce, Jason Talbot and Michael Moffat dropped out. For Alloa Athletic player/manager Jim Goodwin was on the bench and he made two changes bringing in former Stranraer centre back Frank McKeown and former Par Graeme Holmes.
Prior to kick off travelling fans heard reports describing the weather in Alloa as `pea soup` but on arrival it seemed that this was a rather weak soup. Yes there was some fog but if anything the visibility was improving all the time and there was no real concern about the weather.
The visitors kicked off through Nicky Clark attacking the goal at the main road end and when Andy Geggan`s early cross was deflected the Pars had earned a corner all within 32 seconds. Kallum Higginbotham delivered from the right but referee Alan Newlands blew up play after Nat Wedderburn made a blatant block on the top of the box.
Morris in his second Pars debut upset the home fans with a cutting challenge on Greig Spence but when the sixth minute free kick was pumped into the Pars box the defence cleared easily. Sean Murdoch was warmed up with a low shot from 20 yards from Jordan Kirkpatrick but it was an easy hold.
Alloa then created a good chance from an Iain Flannigan cross, the Pars defence allowing Kirkpatrick to meet it but fire wide left. Two minutes later in just the tenth minute yellow cards were shown to both Hetherington and Higginbotham. The Alloa man had felled Higgy but the Pars man reacted angrily to earn a card as well. The free kick was sent from Higginbotham to Morris on the far left of the Alloa box and his header was then flicked on by Clark but Parry held.
The Fifers then took the lead after Reilly`s attempt was kept out by Parry but the rebound dropped sweetly for CLARK to net from just inside the box. 0-1
Another Higginbotham free kick was taken short to John Herron and then returned for a high ball into the box but Parry easily held Clark`s header. Dunfermline kept up the pressure. Martin tried to run through the defence deep down the left but it was Higginbotham who ended up with the opportunity in 21 minutes to cross and Andy Graham did just enough to force Clark to head outside the near post.
Reilly then found himself one on one with the keeper but the purple kitted stopper came out on top. In 25 minutes a firm pass back by Geggan directed at Murdoch looked as though it would get intercepted by Spence but fortunately for the Pars skipper Morris stepped in to clear. Back at the other end Martin met a cross from the right but his attempt cleared both the bar and the stand.
Next Clark gathered the ball deep and laced a fine pass out to the left but Higginbotham`s cut back for Herron was taken away by the defence. Murdoch was forced to dive at full stretch to hold a Kevin Cawley drive after a nest lay off to him by Spence. The Championship side looked comfortably in control of the cup tie but with just a one goal advantage there was always the possibility of the home side retrieving the tie.
Lee Ashcroft was up for a 32nd minute corner from the left but sent his header narrowly over the bar. When Geggan fouled Cawley on the left, Flannigan was able to float in a dangerous ball that the defence headed out only as far as Hetherington and Wedderburn had to block the on target shot.
The Wasps then earned another free kick on the left 30 yards out after Herron fouled Kirkpatrick and this time Flannigan`s delivery was headed behind for the home side`s first corner of the game. McMullan flicked the cross high to the back post where McKeown powered his shot wildly high.
As half time approached the Pars forced three corners all on the left. At the second Morris ended up sending the ball back across goal and Alloa were happy to concede another corner. This time Higginbotham took it short to McMULLAN who had to round a defender before he drilled the ball low into the net from the corner of the penalty box. 0-2
It was the perfect time to add to the lead and before the half ended Clark tested Parry one more time with another headed effort. All in all a satisfactory half for Allan Johnston`s men.
Half time: Alloa Athletic 0 Dunfermline 2
Joe Cardle replaced Kallum Higginbotham for the restart and he might have had a dramatic beginning but his shot from a Clark cut back was blocked by Graham with the half just 35 seconds old. McMullan too had an early shot but Parry held as the diminutive winger latched on to a chance in front of goal.
When Flannigan centred a ball to the Pars D Geggan was adjudged to have climbed over Cawley as he went for the high ball. Flannigan then had the chance from the 20 yard free kick but piled that into the six man Pars wall. Cawley made Murdoch turn the ball behind for a 56th minute corner as the cross became a shot but the Pars keeper easily held from the resultant corner.
The next chance came the Pars way when Reilly slid in to connect with a Cardle cut back but all that came of it was a corner. Cardle sent the ball over from the right and Alloa were fortunate to keep out Ashcroft`s header. Then Herron won a free kick 25 yards out but drove that into the defensive wall before Reilly held up play shielding a clearance from his own half until CARDLE could latch on to a Clark lay off and burst through the middle. The Pars fans chants of Super Joe followed after he bulged the net from 18 yards out. 0-3
McMullan then blasted a shot narrowly over the bar from an acute angle on the right. Alloa boss Jim Goodwin made a double substitution mid way through the half Jamie Longworth replacing Iain Flannigan and Stefan McCluskey taking over in midfield from Steven Hetherington. Within two minutes this looked like a masterstroke as McCLUSKEY dived in at the back post to head in Cawley`s cross from the right. A goal with his first touch! 1-3
McCluskey had another very good chance soon after but sent that wide right. Michael Moffat then subbed for Clark and he too had a good opportunity to make an immediate impact when Cardle slipped him the rebound off the wall at a 20 yard free kick and the Pars faithful behind the goal made loud shouts for handball as McKeown kept out the shot.
Rhys McCabe was the final sub of the game as John Herron was withdrawn eleven minutes from full time. Alloa put up a fight to stay in the tie but clearances from Ashcroft saw that stifled. Physio Kenny Murray was called on after McMullan was barged into by Waters. From the free kick the ball was defended to McCabe who took on three men to then play Moffat in for a shot but Parry made the save.
Parry was then alert again in 89 minutes to palm a Geggan cross away from Reilly and in the next attack Cardle drove a well struck effort at the keeper. Moffat had the ball in the net on 90 minutes from a Cardle chip but the offside flag had already been raised.
Then things got tense as Alloa snatched a goal back in the second minute of the four added. A mix up between Murdoch and Ashcroft let SPENCE in for a late second. A looping header from McKeown bounced up and Longworth`s leap towards it put off the Pars defender and let the Alloa top goalscorer in for what was to be a consolation. There was one good further chance to take it to a replay but Wedderburn blocked a good effort from Holmes.
ALLOA ATHLETIC: Neil Parry: Scott Taggart, Frank McKeown, Calum Waters, Andy Graham, Graeme Holmes, Steven Hetherington (Stefan McCluskey 66), Jordan Kirkpatrick, Iain Flannigan (Jamie Longworth 66), Kevin Cawley, Greig Spence
SUBS NOT USED: Jason Marr, Ryan Hoggan, Adam Martin, Jim Goodwin, Craig McDowall (GK).
SCORERS: McCluskey (68), Spence (90+2)
YELLOW CARD: Hetherington (10), Holmes (74)
DUNFERMLINE: Sean Murdoch: Andy Geggan (c), Lee Ashcroft, Callum Morris Lewis Martin: Paul McMullan, John Herron (Rhys McCabe 79), Nat Wedderburn, Kallum Higginbotham (Joe Cardle HT): Nicky Clark (Michael Moffat 73), Gavin Reilly.
SUBS NOT USED: Jason Talbot, Farid El Alagui, Michael Paton, David Hutton (GK)
SCORERS: Clark (12), McMullan (43), Cardle (61)
YELLOW CARD: Higginbotham (10), Clark (53)
REFEREE: Alan Newlands
WEATHER: Misty 2C
NEXT MATCH: Ladbrokes Championship: (home ) v Dundee United, Saturday 28th January 2012, kick off 3.00 pm