Scottish Cup: FALKIRK 2 DUNFERMLINE 1: Date 16/02/97
The Pars were sensationally bundled out of the Scottish Cup at Brockville going down to a David Hagen strike in an action packed tie.
Manager Bert Paton appeared to succumb to terracing pressure by handing places in the starting line up to both the popular Gerry Britton and crowd pleasing Derek Fleming. Ivo Den Bieman and Craig Ireland were completely axed from the squad. Hamish French and ponderous Harry Curran had to make do with seats on the bench beside Allan Moore.
Paton reverted to a 4-4-2 formation with skipper Craig Robertson moving forward to centre midfield beside in-form Marc Millar with Colin Miller returning at right back.
The match started at a furious pace with Steve Welsh yellow carded for clattering Scott Crabbe in the first 30 seconds and then Andy Smith booked three minutes later for shoving Andy Gray to the ground. But the Pars soon settled and took the lead in 12 minutes with Stewart PETRIE sliding the ball under goalkeeper Nelson after an excellent through ball from Gerry Britton.
Petrie was involved in a bizarre incident in 22 minutes when he was penalised by Referee Dougal (who did handle the match excellently) for playing the ball with his boot in his hand, and not on his foot!
Falkirk equalised 5 minutes later when Steve Welsh has to take the blame for failing to complete a tackle on Scott McKENZIE, who then brushed past Derek Fleming before placing the ball past Ian Westwater.
Level pegging was probably a fair reflection at half time, but the Pars came out with all guns blazing in the second half and proceeded to dominate the next quarter of the match, but couldn`t score.
Andy Tod, clearly Dunfermline`s best player, hit the bar and the post. Craig Robertson blasted over from 12 yards and Andy Smith had a close range effort excellently saved by Nelson.
the Pars paid for these missed opportunities in 72 minutes when Falkirk took the lead. A corner broke to the unmarked David HAGEN who poked the ball home from 6 yards. Allan Moore then came on for Welsh everything was thrown forward. All shape to the Pars play was lost and they never looked like equalising.
This is a tragic result for the Pars, as a good cup run could have been the difference between a satisfactory and a great season. The manager`s team selection could not be criticised as it had a balanced look about it at the start, but he was badly let down by skipper Craig Robertson whose performance in midfield fell short of anonymous. For a team that poses such an aerial threat it was scandalous to lose the winning goal from a corner kick.
DUNFERMLINE: Ian Westwater, Colin Miller, Andy Tod, Steve Welsh (Allan Moore 79), Derek Fleming: Marc Millar, David Bingham, Andy Smith (Hamish French 67), Gerry Britton, Stewart Petrie.
SCORER: Petrie (12)
Next match v Aberdeen (League) Home Saturday 22nd February 1997.
Bert Paton was quoted after the game:-
"We were a shambles from start to finish. there are no excuses - the team that deserved to win went through."
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