Betfred Cup: St Mirren 2 Dunfermline 3: 14/07/19

The first competitive match of the 2019-2020 season took Dunfermline Athletic to the Simple Digital Arena to face St Mirren in the Betfred Cup.

Stevie Crawford brought in ten new signings in close season, five of them started and four were on the bench. Making their competitive starting debuts were Aaron Comrie at right back, Paul Paton in midfield, Ryan Dow wide right, Josh Coley wide left and Kevin Nisbet up front.

St Mirren were under new management due to Oran Kearney’s departure to take over at Coleraine. Buddies legend, Jim Goodwin left Alloa Athletic to be the Saints new manager and so for him this was a very significant opener. The St Mirren eleven contained eight of the players who started the final play off match of last season against Dundee United. Indeed the only new face in their line up was 31 year old Tony Andreu, signed from Coventry City after spending the latter half of last season on loan at Hamilton.

The cup tie was shown live on BT Sport and it was the home team that kicked off attacking the goal in front of the 380 travelling supporters in the north stand. It was the visiting fans who watched their side produce the first shot of the afternoon when in third minute Tom Beadling fed Ryan Dow the ball on the right. He injected early speed before making Vaclav Hladky save.

Ryan Scully had to palm away a Ryan Flynn cross from under his crossbar on six minutes and Paton quickly swooped in to clear the ball as Kyle Magennis closed in for the follow up. Four minutes later Cody Cooke was on the end of a cross from the left but fired his effort well over from 15 yards out.

A Dunfermline corner sent over from the right by Andy Ryan then forced Hladky to hold before Lee Ashcroft at the other end headed clear a dangerous ball in from the right by Paul McGinn. The 16th minute corner earned by the Pars was overhit from the left by Dow and Paton’s return went behind.

The next Fifers attack saw them go into the lead. Having won possession in the St Mirren half, Josh Coley was able to thread a pass right for DOW to run into the box and find the bottom left with a fine shot from an acute angle. 0-1

St Mirren showed a couple of shaky defensive moments passing the ball to Coley and an unmarked Ryan almost got in for another crack at goal but for a timely recovery tackle. The Pars striker, whose son ironically was the opposition mascot for the game, did not have to wait long to get on the scoresheet however.

Midway through the first half Kevin Nisbet put through RYAN and again from the right side of the St Mirren box, the ball was despatched low into the bottom left. 0-2

On 32 minutes a Comrie cut back was glanced at by Ryan but he just could not get enough on his header. Next a free kick for the Pars for a foul on captain Paton was delivered into the six yard box by Ryan and Jack Baird did well to head away. Dunfermline kept up the pressure and they were the side showing the most control and imagination.

Ryan sent Coley down the left in 39 minutes and he returned for the Pars number ten to blast at goal but the ball was rising all the way and cleared the crossbar to end up in the back row of the stand. Better luck next time as the Pars went three up in 40th minute. Tom BEADLING picked out Ryan whose shot looked in but hit the right upright only for the former Sunderland player to follow up and crash home. 0-3

Having taken five matches in April to score their last three goals, this was a sensational start to the Pars season. We could only hope for more of the same in the second half.

Half time: St Mirren 0 Dunfermline 3

After only 30 seconds of the second half Stuart Morrison incurred a head knock and the match was halted for over two minutes while physio Kevin Bain worked his magic. When the match restarted Morrison thankfully was able to resume.

There was a fright for Saints in 55 minutes as Dow drove forward. Ryan in an offside position allowed Dow to carry on past him and Hladky came out to thwart the attacker just inside the box. Dow made the opposition defence look sluggish in dispossessing Gary MacKenzie but when he slipped the ball to Ryan the return lacked the right direction and the Premier League side could breath again.

Paul McGinn whistled a shot outside the right post before Cody COOKE curled in a St Mirren goal in 63 minutes. The Pars were then shaken by a second Saints goal within two minutes. This time a cross from the left was not cleared and Danny MULLEN was able to stab the ball home. 2-3

Dunfermline made two substitutions Kevin Nisbet going off and Gabby McGill coming on, quickly followed by Kyle Turner for Andy Ryan.

Baird steamed forward and released a rocket of a shot in 71 minutes that was well off target. The Pars appeared to have survived a free kick some 30 yards out on the right side but as Coley tried to take the ball upfield Andreu dispossessed him and the Frenchman’s shot screamed over the Pars crossbar.

A great move in 78 minutes created a big opportunity for Coley. Teed up by Turner McGill made ground up to right, Turner made a run but McGill had spotted Coley free on the far side of the box. The on loan Canary struck a good attempt but the Czech keeper tipped the ball, away for a corner that was duly defended.

Saints brought on Oan Djorkaeff for his debut and the home side turned up the pressure for an equaliser. Two Beadling headers kept out the play from a corner on the left but the sub earned an 89th minute corner that the Pars kept out.

Five added minutes were seen out and the Pars completed just their second ever League Cup victory in Paisley.

ST MIRREN: Vaclav Hladky: Paul McGinn, Gary McKenzie, Jack Baird, Ethan Erhahon: Stephen McGinn (Oan Djorkaeff 79), Ryan Flynn, Tony Andreu, Kyle Magennis: Cody Cooke, Danny Mullen.
SUBS NOT USED: Cammy McPherson, Jamie Walker, Cameron Breadner, Jim Kellermann, Scott Glover, Dean Lyness (GK).
SCORERS: Cooke (63), Mullen (65)

DUNFERMLINE: Ryan Scully: Aaron Comrie, Stuart Morrison, Lee Ashcroft, Lewis Martin: Paul Paton(c): Ryan Dow (Lewis McCann 90), Tom Beadling, Josh Coley: Kevin Nisbet (Gabby McGill 62), Andy Ryan (Kyle Turner 68).
SUBS NOT USED: Matty Todd, Tom Lang, Matthew Bowman, Cammy Gill (GK).
SCORERS: Dow (19), Ryan (24), Beadling (40)

REFEREE: Steven MacLean
WEATHER: Cloudy 22C

NEXT MATCH: Betfred Cup (home) v Albion Rovers (home), Wednesday 17th July 2019, kick off 7.45pm at East End Park.

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