Dunfermline welcomed back Lee
Makel after suspension but with Mark Burchill, Scott Wilson and Greg
Ross all not fit to start, Derek Young and Aaron Labonte also found
themselves in the team for this third round Tennent`s Scottish Cup tie
against First Division Airdrie United. Airdrie brought in 29 year old
former Partick Thistle midfielder Martin Hardie for Stevie McDougall,
their only change from the side that lost 1-0 on Monday to Hamilton.
Jim Leishman was keen that the 30 seconds of
applause prior to kick off in appreciation of late Pars legend Norrie
McCathie who died in tragic circumstances ten years ago this weekend
would be just the first celebration of the afternoon. Most appropriately
it was the Pars number 4 shirt that Norrie had worn for so long that got
the cup tie underway. Darren Young and Lee Makel sent the Pars on their
way attacking the goal at the east end in front of a very vocal
Darren Young won the Pars first corner of the
match in the third minute and although Makel`s cross had nothing to
bother the men in all red with their characteristic white diamond there
cause for optimism as the SPL side pinned Airdrie back inside their own
half for the opening five minutes. Former Livi striker Brian McPhee woke
up the Pars defence, working a route from the centre circle to fire from
20 yards a low drive that just went wide of the left goalpost in the 6th
This brought life into Airdrie`s game for a
spell forcing free kicks on either side of the Dunfermline box but the
Fifers were soon back deep inside the Airdrie half. Scott Thomson found
himself in possession 30 yards out on the left and as he travelled
across field searching for a way through the defensive formation he
picked out Noel Hunt. The Pars striker turned and weaved his way into a
shooting position 12 yards out to the right of goal. His 16th minute
shot was parried by the grey shirted Robertson and Gary MASON followed
up to scoop the ball into the net from 5 yards.
Almost straight away Derek Young had a good
shot at Robertson but this time he was luckier with his stop and Airdrie
remained just one behind. That wasn`t to be for long because the second
Pars goal duly arrived in the 23rd minute. Hunt was pulled down for a
free kick to the Pars 35 yards out to the left. Makel`s delivery should
have been cleared but the defence made a hash of it the header canoning
back off Docherty to set up Noel HUNT with what was virtually a tap in.
No somersault celebration from Huntie this week in fact it was more in
embarrassment that the Waterford lad turned to dance his way back to the
half way line.
Airdrie forced a corner and although the home
support were chanting that this was so easy they were grateful to Allan
McGregor for a great close in save from Brian Prunty as his defence
failed to clear properly a corner from the right. The warnings were not
taken however and when Stephen McKeown flighted in a free kick from the
left Stevie DOCHERTY rushed in to glance the ball into the bottom right.
2-1 and just 31 minutes gone.
The away support was drowning out the
Dunfermline shouts as their side flooded forward. A free kick that
earned Lee Makel a yellow card set up the visitors with another shot at
goal. McKeown this time sent the ball square to bypass the Dunfermline
wall and McKenna sent in a pile driver from 25 yards that slipped wide
left. There were anxious moments inside the Dunfermline penalty box as
first Andy Tod, Greg Shields and then Aaron Labonte were forced into
some very necessary defending.
After getting their goal Airdrie certainly
pressurised the Pars and the half time whistle was welcome interruption.
Half Time: Dunfermline 2 Airdrie 1
The interval did take the sting out of the
Diamonds and the second half started better for Dunfermline. Derek Young
just failed to turn in a Hunt cross but after a Makel free kick was
easily brushed clear of the Airdrie box a drive up the left saw McPhee
evade challenges from Tod and Labonte to reach the edge of the Pars
penalty box. Martin HARDIE rushed in dispossessing his team mate to
dribble the ball through and send it passed the outrushing McGregor.
Thankfully the match was only level for three
minutes. From the kick off Dunfermline made urgent efforts to restore
their lead. Derek Young had space and time in the left side of the
Airdrie box but there was no shot to worry Robertson. Scott Thomson got
o the byeline and sent an inviting ball through the six yard box that
took Mason by surprise and only a corner was won. But in 54 minutes a
Makel free kick from the left was not taken out by keeper Robertson and
DEREK YOUNG netted from inside the six yard area.
Ahead again surely Dunfermline could settle
this Cup tie but only eight minutes later they made it much more
difficult for themselves as Makel collected a second yellow card and the
SPL outfit were reduced to ten men. From the resulting free kick some of
the visiting fans were rejoicing as they saw the ball hit the roof of
the net but Docherty`s drive landed on the top of the net.
McGregor was called on to show his class as
the Lanarkshire team tried hard to snatch a third. In an attempt to take
the advantage out of the extra man they introduced McDougall and
withdrew defender Neil McGowan. It was the substitute that turned over
the ball that Docherty headed wide in 74 minutes. McLaren was next to
fire a decent ball into the Pars box but the defence survived that and a
78th minute free kick. The visitors camped themselves around the last
third in front of McGregor.
Bryan Prunty rounded McGregor but his cut back
from the left was stolen away from McLaren by Tod. Five minutes from
full time McPhee had the ball in the net from a corner on the left but
Referee Ian Fyfe ruled it out for Lovering impeding McGregor. Three
minutes later a corner from the right created a goalmouth stramash and a
netbound shot from Prunty appeared to come back off an arm and the
referee pointed to the spot. Judging by the reaction of the Pars players
the decision was clearly seen as an injustice. Jamie McCunnie was yellow
carded before Stephen McKeown stepped forward to send the ball low to
McGregor`s right. The keeper went the right way but could do nothing to
stop the well struck shot.
With it going to three each in the 89th
minute, Dunfermline looked shell shocked and the Diamonds went for a
winner. News of three added minutes was greeted much more
enthusiastically by the fans in the away end and they were soon to be
celebrating a worthy winner. Another corner kick whipped into the
goalmouth from the right. Labonte went for it but DOCHERTY headed home
from eight yards out. The match was already in the 92nd minute and there
was no time for Dunfermline to keep their Cup dream alive instead it was
a nightmare and there is little doubt that the more determined team won