Irn Bru Cup: DUNFERMLINE 2 QUEENS PARK 1: 08/10/16
Rhys McCabe in for John Herron. Farid El Alagui (48) 1-0: Farid El Alagui (62) 2-0: El Alagui (og 69) 2-1
Visiting teams at East End Park over the last few seasons have habitually raised their game as they enjoyed the bigger stadium and superior playing surface but at least this wouldn`t be a factor with Queens Park`s arrival in the last 16 of the Irn Bru Challenge Cup.
Allan Johnston was forced into making one change from his starting eleven at Ayr the previous Saturday, Rhys McCabe coming in for the croppoed John Herron. Nicky Clark who was forced into retiring before half time at Ayr recovered from his groin strain to lead the attack alongside Gavin Reilly.
Queens Park`s visit for the first time since August 1999 also saw the return of two former Pars full backs - Gus MacPherson their manager and 22 year old defender Ross Millen. On the back of four defeats Queens made two changes, Dario Zanatta dropped out and Scott Gibson found himself on the bench as in came Sean Burns and Darren Miller.
The League One side kicked off attacking the goal at the McCathie Stand end. The opening exchanges were tentative until the fifth minute when Joe Cardle played a one two off Michael Paton but Joe`s final pass to the overlapping Ryan Williamson was too strong.
First shot at goal came two minutes later but Clark`s blast ended up half way up the East Stand. Lee Ashcroft came to the rescue on ten minutes as the ball broke into the left side of the Pars box but Queens Park continued to frustrate Dunfermline`s efforts to get forward.
The Spiders threatened with Miller sending the ball across the face of the Dunfermline goal and then Jason Talbot having to pull off a good tackle to halt Paul Woods progress on the right side of the penalty box.
Reilly`s break in 16 minutes saw him exchange passes with Cardle as he advanced into the Quuens box but Millen did well to rob him of possession. Just three minutes on, a promising move with Reilly heading the ball down for Clark in a shooting position was halted by Adam Cummins intervention.
Sean Murdoch held a deep ball into the box from a Miller free kick and at the other end Talbot`s cross was all too easily cleared. The Pars support were applauding in 25th minute but only in recognition of smart close skills from Ashcroft.
Andy Geggan`s ball towards Cardle on the edge of the box in 32 minutes was just too high before two minutes later the Pars forced the first corner of the game. Geggan was unlucky not to get the necessary touch and from the defended ball Paton was allowed a shot on target but that was turned behind for another corner. Paton`s delivery again from the right did not create the same problems however.
McCabe`s pass to Williamson led to a 38th minute corner but the Fifers failed to capitalise on that. Then a good move allowed Williamson in on goal after Paton`s clever flick back and had Reilly slid in he would probably have stopped the ball sneaking narrowly outside the left post.
Pars were enjoying plenty of possession and McCabe` s cross found Talbot on the edge of the box but his shot was deflected for a corner on the right. Geggan just failed to get high enough to divert in Paton`s delivery and then the Pars were awarded a free kick midway inside QP half after McCabe was taken out. Paton chipped into box towards Geggan but keeper Willie Muir fisted away.
Half time: Dunfermline 0 Queens Park 0
Farid El Alagui, replaced Gavin Reilly for the second half and within a minute his cut back set up Clark but he fired narrowly wide left. Within a minute McCabe set up Cardle for a crack at goal from the edge of the box and the deadlock was to be broken as a result of Muir turning the ball around his left hand post for a corner.
Paton swung the ball over from the right, Martin headed down and El ALAGUI stuck the ball away from six yards out. 1-0
Queens Park believed they had struck back straight away when their first corner of the game curled in and Murdoch kicked the ball off his line. Having had no corners in the first half, Queens Park managed three by the hour mark. The third corner was fisted away by Murdoch but Woods managed to return a header that the Pars all blue keeper plucked out the air.
Then in 62 minutes Cardle and Talbot out wide left managed to create the opening for a cross that EL ALAGUI raced in to meet at the near post. 2-0
Another Queens Park corner, their first from the right was sent in by Darren Miller and the unfortunate EL ALAGUI headed into his own net to revive the Spiders hopes. 2-1
Their sub Liam Brown had an immediate opportunity but with the defence desperately trying to cover his shot was blocked by Ashcroft. Next in 78 minutes sub Kallum Higginbotham made a surging run, picking out Clark on the left side and his cross narrowly evaded El Alagui. Cardle gathered and it was Paton who crashed a stinging shot at Muir.
Two minutes later Cardle`s ball in from the left was headed over by El Alagui. Clark then made way for David Hopkirk to come on and within a minute he was desperately unlucky when a good execution was deflected behind for a corner.
Five minutes from the end Cardle brought a fine save out of Muir and from the short taken corner El Alagui headed off target. Cardle next minute got through but the keepers finger tips prevent the chip travelling over him.
Ewan MacPherson, son of Gus replaced Gregor Fotheringham for the final three minutes and there was concern as they temporarily went down to ten men. McLeish was injured in a challenge that earned El Alagui a yellow card and returned with a huge bandage around his head.
The scoreline was not to be altered despite a Queens free kick chased by a posse of players into the Pars box but Murdoch held. Last action saw Higginbotham drive forward in the fifth minute of added time but the defence kept him out.
The Pars made heavy weather of it at times, especially in the first half when they had 62% possession with nothing to show for it, but it is them who progress into the last eight. Draw for the Quarter finals which are due to be played on weekend of 12/13 November, will take place on Monday.
DUNFERMLINE: Sean Murdoch: Ryan Williamson, Lewis Martin, Lee Ashcroft, Jason Talbot, Michael Paton, Andy Geggan (c), Rhys McCabe (Kallum Higginbotham 64), Joe Cardle: Gavin Reilly (Farid El Alagui HT), Nicky Clark (David Hopkirk 81)
SUBS NOT USED: Michael Moffat, Ben Richards-Everton, Paul McMullan, David Hutton (GK)
SCORERS: El Alagui (48, 62)
YELLOW CARD: Cardle (29), Ashcroft (87), El Alagui (89)
QUEENS PARK: Willie Muir: Ross Millen, Ryan McGeever (c), Adam Cummins, Craig McLeish: Darren Miller, Gregor Fotheringham (Ewan MacPherson 86), Paul Woods, Anton Brady (Liam Brown 70) Sean Burns: John Carter (Aiden Malone 58)
SUBS NOT USED: Scott Gibson, Bryan Wharton, Conor McVey, Andrew Murphy (GK)
SCORERS: El Alagui (og 69)
YELLOW CARD: Miller (87)
REFEREE: Nick Walsh
WEATHER: Sunny 14C
NEXT MATCH: Ladbrokes Championship: (away) v Falkirk, Saturday 15th October 2016, 3.00pm kick off at the Falkirk Stadium
Betfred Cup v Peterhead: Saturday 22nd July 2017, kick off 3.00pm