Petrofac Training Cup: ST MIRREN 4 DUNFERMLINE 0: 10/10/15
Quarter Final: two changes Byrne and Wallace in for McCabe and Moffat. Gallagher (10) 1-0; Mallan (23) 2-0; Agnew (37) 3-0; Mallan (88) 4-0
Dunfermline travelled to Greenhill Road hoping to take their league form into the Petrofac Training Cup. Manager Allan Johnston made two changes from the side he started with against Albion Rovers. That meant Shaun Byrne in for Rhys McCabe and Ryan Wallace started in preference to Michael Moffat.
St Mirren too made a couple of changes, Cameron Howieson and Scott Agnew replaced Stuart Carswell and on international duty, Lawrence Shankland.
Callum Fordyce and Ryan Williamson were applauded by the 800 travelling supporters as they took their places at the front of the North Stand. The Pars in their purple away strip changed ends and kicked off attacking the goal in front of their own fans.
It was the sixth minute before Jamie Langfield in the Saints goal fisted away a Shaun Rooney cross in the first real danger created by the Fifers. Just four minutes later the home team were to take an early lead. A strong run to the byeline allowed Howieson to cross a good ball in from the left, teeing up former Rangers youth player, Calum GALLAGHER for a simple conversion from close in that gave Sean Murdoch no hope. 1-0
Given the importance he always puts on scoring the first goal this was not the kind of position that Allan Johnston wanted his team to be in against Championship opposition. On the quarter hour a free kick 40 yards out handed Joe Cardle the opportunity to loft the ball in from the left but Langfield rose and held that with no difficulty.
St Mirren were spraying the ball around well and pinning the Pars back into their own half. After the lengthy build up Gallagher crossed for Howieson to loop a header over the crossbar. At the other end Wallace was flagged for offside and a 21st minute Rooney cross was again held by Langfield.
Midway through the half a slip by Ben Richards-Everton allowed Gallagher to get in on goal and although the big defender got back to close in on the Saints striker who had taken the ball wide left the cross went to Stephen MALLAN on the right side of the box who drilled the ball home. 2-0
Michael Paton's pass deflected off Andy Webster for a Pars corner in 27 minutes but St Mirren headed that and a Paton return clear.
Next minute Paton showed great composure when deep in on the right side of the St Mirren box, his attempt was blocked and Rooney belted a cross that only required a touch but Cardle was unlucky deflecting the ball from right in front of goal over the crossbar when the net seemed an easier task.
Scott Agnew hammered a free kick from the edge of the box into the Pars and there was pinball until the Pars eventually cleared. The Pars bad luck continued on the half hour when Langfield came out to clear but the ball went straight to Wallace. Amid houls of shoot, the striker tried to play in Faissal El Bakhtaoui who was in an offside position and left the ball even though the linesman's flag remained at his side.
Back at the other end a dangerous Agnew cross afforded Thomson a chance which fortunately he didn't take. McAusland conceded a corner with ten minutes to the break but Saints were penalised for holding as Murdoch fisted away Mallan's delivery.
Things were to get even worse for the League One visitors when St Mirren added a third in 37th minute. Mallan laid the ball off to his right for the overlapping Keith Watson to cross and AGNEW made it look easy as he found the right side of the Pars net from 18 yards out. 3-0
A Paton corner was met by Richards-Everton but the ball skied over the bar. It had not been a good 45 minutes for Dunfermline who had enjoyed just 40% possession this far.
Half Time: St Mirren 3 Dunfermline 0
David Hopkirk replaced Ryan Wallace for the restart and although Rooney had an early header on a Cardle free kick it was a massive task that the Fifers faced to try and retrieve their chances of being in the semi final draw.
Richards-Everton rose to head away a dangerous ball in from the left and when Goodwin was presented with a subsequent chance he sliced his shot well wide left and responded to the Pars jeers by taking a good humoured bow.
Murdoch was made to save a Howieson shot in 55 minutes getting down well to stop the net bound effort. Thomson was shown the first yellow card of the match when coming in awkwardly on Byrne but Cardle's free kick and then Rooney's cross from the right that transpired caused the Paisley men no danger.
Allan Johnston shuffled his team with Rhys McCabe's introduction in 64 minutes. Andy Geggan moved to right back and Shaun Rooney was withdrawn. Cardle got in a shot as Paton headed down a cross to him on the edge of the box while at the other end Howieson shot wildly off target.
The match limped into the final quarter of an hour, the crowd quiet in acceptance that the tie was over as a contest. The mid October sun had gone down behind the far side stand and a sole shout of "get it in the box" reflected the visiting supports frustrations as both Paton and Cardle struggled to do just that.
St Mirren came closest to adding to the scoreline. Sub Jordan Stewart hit the post and then Murdoch was called upon to palm away a dangerous cross from Watson. The Pars were kept well away from the Saints goal and in 85 minutes McCabe tried a shot from distance but this week it was a row z result.
Richards-Everton took the ball left and swung in a good ball that just evaded Paton. Jamie Langfield had a quiet second half and really Dunfermline failed to seriously test him at any stage.
It was typical that in a game where nothing went right for Dunfermline that an 88th minute pass from Geggan let sub Lewis McLear breakaway and release a perfect pass for MALLAN to his right to crash in his second and St Mirren's fourth.
ST MIRREN: Jamie Langfield; Keith Watson, Jack Baird, Andy Webster, Sean Kelly; Stephen Mallan, Jim Goodwin (Barry Cuddihy 83), Cameron Howieson, Calum Gallagher (Jordan Stewart 79), Steven Thomson (c) (Lewis McLear 71), Scott Agnew
SUBS NOT USED: Stuart Carswell, Lewis Morgan, Jaison McGrath, Dan Wilks (GK).
SCORERS: Gallagher (10), Mallan (23, 88), Agnew (37)
YELLOW CARD: Thomson (59), Kelly (78)
DUNFERMLINE: Sean Murdoch; Shaun Rooney (Rhys McCabe 64), Marc McAusland, Ben Richards-Everton, Jason Talbot; Michael Paton, Andy Geggan (c), Shaun Byrne, Joe Cardle; Ryan Wallace (David Hopkirk HT), Faissal El Bakhtaoui (Michael Moffat 39)
SUBS NOT USED: Lewis Spence, Paul Joseph Crossan, John Potter, David Hutton (GK).
REFEREE: George Salmond
WEATHER: Sunny 15C
NEXT MATCH: Ladbrokes League One: (away) v Stranraer, Saturday 17th October 2015, kick off 5.15pm
Ladbrokes Championship: v Dundee United, Saturday 30th September 2017, kick off 3.00pm