Scottish Cup 2nd Round: Dunfermline 2 Aberdeen 1: 19/02/68

The Build-up

Just as he did before the Celtic game, manager George Farm took his team to Dunblane Hydro for three days to prepare for the Aberdeen match. Farm preferred to take his players away prior to a big game, saying "At Dunblane the players will be away from their usual surroundings and we can prepare for the game without interference from other sources." However, Farm`s preparation had been affected by a crop of injuries, the most serious being Jim Fraser`s knee injury sustained against Celtic.

Since the Cup victory over Celtic, the Pars had failed to win any of the three games they had played. A 1-0 defeat at home Hibernian was followed by two 1-1 draws, against Kilmarnock and Falkirk.

The teams had met three times before in the Scottish Cup, with the Athletic winning two of the encounters. Aberdeen were one of the sides that Dunfermline beat on the way to their 1961 Cup triumph. Since then the teams had also met in the 1963 Cup, when Dunfermline lost 4-0 in an incident packed game. Goalkeeper Jim Herriot had to be taken off with a broken thumb, which resulted in George Millar deputising in goals. To add to the Pars woes, Dan McLindon was sent off reducing the Athletic to just nine men, and to round off a miserable afternoon, Harry Melrose and Willie Cunningham were booked as well.

New signing Ian Lister was not available for the Aberdeen game as he had not been signed before the second round registration deadline. Alex Totten came into the team to replace the injured Jim Fraser.

Due to ground conditions on the Saturday, the match was delayed a couple of days until the Monday evening.

The Match

The game got off to a very hectic start and there were heavy tackles from Aberdeen`s Smith and Dunfermline`s Willie Callaghan, which earned each of them a talking to from referee Wharton. Robertson and Edwards both sent in crosses that just needed a slight touch from a Dunfermline player to convert. Smith then found himself in the referee`s gaze again for toppling goalkeeper Bent Martin.

Aberdeen`s Buchan had a shot which was taken well by Martin, a move which signalled a period of dominance for the Aberdeen side. Craig, Smith and Robb all tested the Dunfermline keeper, with Robb`s close in effort bringing out a brilliant save from the Dane.

In 26 minutes, Smith finally went in the referee`s book for a foul on Willie Calllaghan. Aberdeen then had a very close shave when Aberdeen keeper Bobby Clark fumbled a Gardner drive. The ball fell again to Gardner, but his effort hit against the post, with Paton knocking the subsequent rebound onto the other post, before the Aberdeen defence finally managed to scramble the ball away.

In 39 minutes, Aberdeen took the lead. Bent Martin failed to hold a Shewin drive, and the ball fell to the inrushing Smith who had an easy task to net.

Almost immediately after going one down, the visitors were almost gifted a second, after the ball bounced off Martin before being cleared by Roy Barry. Then right on the interval Paton came close to grabbing the equaliser.

Dunfermline started the second half in determined fashion and Gardner came close to scoring from an Edwards cross. Clark then brilliantly saved a Robertson drive.

After 55 minutes play, whilst bearing in on goal, Alex Edwards was blatantly chopped down by the last defender, and referee Wharton awarded a penalty. Hugh Robertson converted to put the Pars back on level terms.

Fortified by the goal, the Athletic came right back at Aberdeen with Lunn and Willie Callaghan attacking down the flanks. Clark dropped an Edwards cross, but there were no Dunfermline players on hand to take advantage of the slip. Both goalkeepers were being kept busy, with Martin saving from Buchan and Clark foiling Paton. Paton then came close to scoring when he skewed an Edwards cross wide.

With ten minutes remaining, Clark could only push an Edwards shot back to him, but the winger shot wide from eight yards. Five minutes later, Dunfermline took the lead. Lunn crossed and Paton touched the ball to Alex Edwards who slammed it past Clark and into the net for the winner.

John Lunn was injured and replaced by Ian Gordon in the last few minutes, and although Aberdeen had one final effort to grab an equaliser, Robb`s shot was well held by Bent Martin.

Dunfermline: Martin, W Callaghan, Lunn (Gordon), Thomson, Barry, T Callaghan, Edwards, Paton, Gardner, Totten, Robertson.
Aberdeen: Clark, Whyte, Shewan, Murray, McMillan, Pederson, Johnstone, Smith, Robb, Buchan, Craig. Sub: Watt
Referee: T Wharton
Attendance: 14,688

Postscript

After the match manager Farm paid tribute to his side saying, "We had a very poor first half, but after the interval the whole side pulled tremendously well together and the effort in the closing stages was praiseworthy indeed. We also had the backing of the crowd, and I`m sure that this game clearly revealed to the players just how much advantage there is in a home draw."

Gate receipts for the Aberdeen game amounted to £3,059.

The draw for the third round saw Dunfermline drawn at home to either Clyde or Partick Thistle, whose game had been postponed due to poor ground conditions.

A week after the Aberdeen game, captain Roy Barry had a date with the SFA`s referees committee to discuss his sending off against Celtic the previous December. With Jim Fraser already an absentee, there was concern that the Pars would also be without Barry for the next round of the Cup.



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