ALBA Challenge Cup v QOS


Fixture: Alba Challenge Cup Second Round

Attendance: 1373, Kick off 19:45

Referee: Mike McCurry


These clubs met just ten days previously in the First Division but between them, only ten players turned up for the second time in this Challenge Cup Second Round tie. Jim McIntyre brought in keeper Callum Reidford to make his debut and there were starting debuts too for Ryan Thomson and 16 year old Paul Willis. The three Scotts - Muirhead, Thomson and McBride lined up along with the returning Olympian, Sol Bamba.

Dunfermline kicked off but almost immediately were pinned back deep in their own half. All the pressure paid off for the Doonhamers with Steven Tosh`s diagonal pass picking out Stewart KEAN on the far side of the Pars box. The former St Mirren man had a relatively easy job to drive the ball past Reidford for a third minute opener.

It was the eleventh minute before the home side got near goal. An inward run from Willis was prodded through into the path of McBride but his shot from 20 yards ended up in the East Stand. Encouraged by that however they managed to keep the ball closer to Cammy Bell in the Queens` goal.

The former Killie stopper watched Andy Kirk`s header on a McBride cross, sail just outside his right hand post. In 17 minutes Kirk flicked the ball wide for Willis to powerfully return and Nick Phinn`s header required a tip over the bar. McBride`s corner let Bamba have a shot but he was well wide with the belter.

Midway through the first half Paul Burns got the better of Scott Muirhead over at the right corner flag and Stephen Dobbie`s volley thankfully sailed off target. Dobbie next played a one two off Tosh and ran in to space on the left of the Pars box but Reidford couldn`t fail to gather the effort.

Williamson had a shot at Bell from 15 yards but it lacked power, then Phinn fed the ball wide for McBride and Muirhead`s overlapping run won a corner. Unfortunately that changed little with Phinn`s shot from outside the box being blocked by a defender.

Barr`s over -the-shoulder challenge on Kirk won a free kick on the right and Bamba was unlucky not to get on the end of Muirhead`s inswinger. Two more corners followed with Bamba heading the better chance wide right. The Pars then produced a little more promise in their play.

Iain Williamson did well to catch a Kirk knock on to turn his defender at the byeline and send the ball into the six yard box. No one connected and when Shields returned the ball a chance fell to Ryan Thomson. The 17 year old`s shot almost beat Bell when it deflected off Willis eight yards out.

Unfortunately the brightest thing in front of Bell remained the dayglo yellow outfit worn by referee Mike McCurry. As far as Dunfermline were concerned the match so far lacked incident and the reserve game atmosphere did little to lift it.

Half Time: Dunfermline 0 Queen of the South 1

Stuart Dearden came on for Greg Shields at half time and he and Bamba had to squeeze out a Dobbie shot in 49 minutes. Three minutes later Bamba`s challenge on Kean won a free kick in a dangerous position on the edge of the box that Bob Harris drove inches wide of the right post.

McBride did his best to try and kick start the Pars revival and having jinked past two defenders was really unlucky to have just a pound too much on his nicely placed ball through to Willis. Even Sol Bamba tried to drive the Pars up the park but what was really lacking was supply to hitman Andy Kirk.

Kean headed another cross into the six yard box over Gallacher`s bar but then in 75 minutes Paul Burns whipped over a cross from the right that Sean O`CONNER rose at the near post to direct the ball over Gallacher and into the far side of the net.

Shots on target were few at the McCathie Stand end but Muirhead fired a rare one at Bell with five minutes remaining. There will be no Challenge Cup Final for Dunfermline this season and its back to the serious stuff on Saturday with the visit of Airdrie United.

The match served a purpose in giving a full 90 minutes of first team football to Muirhead, Ryan Thomson, Willis and McBride. Scott Thomson seemed to come through the match unscathed and of course it was a return to┬ East End Park┬ for Sol Bamba. Save the mystery surrounding Callum Reidford`s retiral before half time the only positive to take from the game must be that no one got injured.

DUNFERMLINE: Callum Reidford (Paul Galllacher 43); Greg Shields (c)(Stuart Dearden HT), Sol Bamba, Scott Thomson, Scott Muirhead; Paul Willis, Ryan Thomson, Nick Phinn (Austin McCann 62), Scott McBride; Andy Kirk, Iain Williamson
SUBS: Jordan White, Harry McGregor,

QUEEN OF THE SOUTH: Cammy Bell; Craig Reid, Craig Barr, Jim Thomson, Robert Harris; Paul Burns, Steven Tosh (Neil MacFarlane 84), Jamie Adams, Gary Arbuckle (Jamie McQuilken 43); Stewart Kean, Stephen Dobbie (Sean O`Conner 60).
SUBS: Scott Robertson, Bryn Halliwell (GK)
SCORER: Kean (3), O`Conner (75)
YELLOW CARD: Thomson (38)

WEATHER: 15┬║C, damp

NEXT MATCH: First Division (home) v Airdrie United, Saturday 23rd August 2008, kick off 3.00pm

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