Pre Season Friendly v Brechin City
DUNFERMLINE 0 BRECHIN CITY 0
Fixture: Pre Season Friendly
Kick Off: 19:30
Referee: Andy Hunter
Weather: Sunny 25C
Four changes from the side that demolished the Rovers on Saturday. First showing of Mark Burchill who started up front with Noel Hunt. Greg Ross and Andrius Skerla are the others in from the start. Brechin field ex Pars Steven Hampshire and Scott Walker.
The visitors kicked off into the sun attacking the goals in front of an empty McCathie Stand but Dunfermline gradually took hold of this match. Brechin had early success with their offside trap and the Pars took some time to test the yellow shirted Craig Nelson who wore no hat but instead constantly held his hand up in front of the sun. He saw little of a tenth minute Morrison free kick from the left that Andrus Skerla narrowly headed over the crossbar from six yards.
Greg Ross made an opening beating off Paul Deas but Walker`s header out to Morrison was struck wide from 22 yards. Brechin were awarded a free kick in a central area 28 yards out when Andy Tod flattened Stuart Callachan. The Brechin no.10 took the set piece himself firing it straight into the four man Dunfermline wall. Back to the other end and Burchill headed a Ross cross wide of the right post.
The first corner kick of the game took 25 minutes to come when David White headed behind a Hunt cross after a nice move up the Pars right with Ross sending the Irishman through. The corner was a great disappointment however. Nelson was called into meaningful action when a Scott Thomson free kick picked out Andy Tod on the edge of the box. Last season`s top scorer managed to divert the ball towards the goal but despite the close attentions of Darren Young, Nelson held. One minute later in the 32nd of the game, Hunt burst deep into the opposition box and sent the ball invitingly through the six yard box for Gary Mason to head towards the target. Again Nelson beat away the chance and despite calls for a penalty against Steven Hamilton Brechin survived.
90 seconds from the interval Gary Mason had a chance to shoot from the edge of the box but he was wide right then with Brechin pushing up a Scott Morrison ball up the left allowed Hunt to spring the offside trap, advance on goal and try to find the net from an acute angle. He beat the keeper but Deas was but to clear off the line.
Not so easy for the Pars against the First Division newcomers. Half time 0-0
Simon Donnelly was the first Pars substitution of the night, replacing Noel Hunt at half time. Dunfermline continued to have the territorial advantage and after five minutes Nelson twice had to cut out dangerous crosses. First arren Young broke from halfway to send the ball out to Morrison on the left. His cross was parried and then his second failed to find any takers. Quickly Lee Makel threaded a nice ball deep into the right side of the Brechin box. Young got to it and cut back a useful ball that again the keeper got to.
Morrison took three corners from the right, the second almost creating the opening. Andy Tod headed back square for Skerla and his shot from ten yards was deflected wide right. Young again sent Morrison up the left and Mason was lining up his shot when the Referee interjected with a free kick for a foul on the keeper.
As the game entered the final quarter young Ross sent in nice ball from the right that Simon Donnelly rose to head low to the keeper`s right but not far enough from his gloves to count. Still Dunfermline were in command but they were finding it hard to penetrate the well marshalled defence.
Chances were few and Derek Young failed to take advantage of Scott Walker`s inconclusive headed clearance. Mason was next to get half a chance but Nelson was quick to react and blocked the threat. Brechin were not out of it though and they crept into this game towards the end.
Five minutes from time a flowing move from Derek Young in to Donnelly might have brought a goal for Makel but again Nelson kept it out. Makel took the resulting corner and when Walker headed that away Morrison picked out Toddy on the far side of the box but although he tested the keeper the keeper won. With 30 seconds remaining Mason just about slotted in the winner but again a Brechin defender swept it off the line. That was as close as the Pars came all night.
But for the fantastic DA win at Tannadice in May the Pars might well have been in the same league as the Brechin. The teams looked leagues apart tonight yet scorelines rarely lie.
Campbell and Paton came to test out their defensive qualities as a rehearsal for their away tactics. They passed the test.
Footnote: Andy Tod skippered the Pars side against Brechin City as the match was sponsored by his father-in-law John Meiklem and John`s other son-in-law is Paul Deas (No.3) who plays for Brechin. Toddy led out three nieces and a nephew, one in a Brechin strip and three in Pars strips. Confused?Dunfermline Squad: Bryn Halliwell; Andy Tod, Andrius Skerla, Scott Thomson (Iain Campbell 76); Greg Ross (Craig Wilson 76), Lee Makel, Darren Young, Gary Mason, Scott Morrison; Noel Hunt (Simon Donnelly HT), Mark Burchill (Derek Young 61)
Dunfermline Subs not used: Sean Murdoch (GK), Billy Mehmet, John Dunn, Nick Phinn, Ian Williamson
Dunfermline Strip: Red shirts, Red shorts, Red Socks
Brechin City Squad: Nelson; Hamilton (Winters 66), Deas, White (Craig 66), Walker, Byers, King (Gibson 57), Johnston (Mitchell 71), Hampshire, Callachan, Ferguson (Ritchie 71)
Brechin City Subs: McEwan
Ladbrokes Championship: v St Mirren, Friday 26th January 2018, kick off 7.45pm