Betfred Cup: Edinburgh City 1 Dunfermline 0: 20/07/19

Dunfermline made the short trip across the Queensferry Crossing for this their third Betfred Cup match. The opposition awaiting them at Ainslie Park were League Two side, Edinburgh City and this was just the second to be played on official business between the clubs since 8th April 1939 when Dunfermline won 2-1 in a Second Division match.

Stevie Crawford resorted to the starting eleven that he fielded against St Mirren the previous Sunday. That meant the return of Andy Ryan and Josh Coley with Lewis McCann and Kyle Turner finding themselves on the bench.

City Manager James McDonaugh made three changes from the team he chose to face St Mirren in midweek, Danny Handling, Jordan Sinclair and Josh Walker dropped to the bench meaning starts for Jonathan Court, Adam Watson and former Pars youth player Allan Smith. League Two top goal scorer last season, another former Pars youth Blair Henderson was out injured.

The home side kicked off attacking the goal at the pavilion end and it was the hosts who enjoyed most of the possession in the opening ten minutes. In sixth minute they forced the first corner of the game but when Robbie McIntyre sent that over from the right Ryan intercepted.

The capital side’s keeper had seen little of the ball but was alert to hold Ryan’s 11th minute effort from 25 yards out. The chance came after a defender headed down an up and under from Paul Paton.

Two minutes later Alex Harris tried a shot after being set up by Calum Crane but the striker’s shot was well side left. Antell had to hold a well struck opportunist effort from Kevin Nisbet after Dow’s corner from the left travelled all, the way over to Lewis Martin on the right.

There was a chance at the midway point of the first half for the Fifers from a free kick on the left side 25 yards out after Martin was upended. Dow delivered but Ashcroft was penalised for climbing in his efforts to get his head on the ball.

In 26 minutes City forced a corner off Tom Beadling on the right but Ryan Scully easily clutched McIntyre’s cross in from the right. In attempts to clear in the Pars defence City got the break of the ball and Watson ended up free on the left side of the box to cut back but fortunately Morrison cleared what was possibly the best chance of the tie so far just after the half hour.

Back at the other end another Dow corner from the left was met by Beadling but his header went wide left. Dow did well to win possession on the right, slip Comrie into the box but in the midst of a crowd of players Beadling just couldn`t get the shot away. Another chance quickly followed again from the right but Coley sent the ball out of the ground.

Two hefty tackles, first by Harris on Ryan, the second by Watson on Paton handed the Fifers opportunities from free kicks but neither were taken. In the final play of the first half Comrie worked Dow up the right but the keeper was out to hold the cross and so it remained all square at the interval.

It had been a first half in which the League Two side had impressed and managed to restrict Dunfermline to very few chances. The stats said the home side had edged it on 51% possession.

Half time: Edinburgh City 0 Dunfermline 0

The visitors started the second half the stronger and were unlucky when Ryan’s cut back for Coley on the top of box was intercepted. Then a corner from the left from Dow was met by Ashcroft at the near post but he just not get enough purchase on his header to score.

Two further corners for Dunfermline made sure that the pressure was kept up but play had to be halted in 53 minutes when Mark Laird and Andy Ryan ran into each other.

The Pars sub made an impressive start firstly fighting off Thomson to get away and feed Coley and then rob Balatoni to put on a shot from an acute angle that Antell touched away for a corner. Turner took the set piece and sent a great ball into box but City cleared.

Craig Thomson saw the first yellow card of the afternoon after taking down Coley out on the left but Paton’s free kick then got too close to the keeper and Antell held. In 71 minutes Nisbet made good ground down the right and his cross tantalised Turner who was just not tall enough and the keeper cleared as Coley close in to shoot.

The next Pars sub was Lewis McCann in 73 minutes on for Josh Coley. Within just three minutes the young sub created an opening on the left and his fiercely struck shot was turned over off his bar by Antell.

Again a robust tackle by Crane halted Dow and then Walker took one for the team collecting yellow in 81 minutes. Six minutes later disaster struck as City sub Danny HANDLING latched on to a shot blocked by Ashcroft and from the left found the far side of the Pars net. 1-0

There was very little time for the Fifers to recover. Gabby McGill was thrown on for Tom Beadling but Antell and his defence saw the result through.

A disappointing result but a home win over East Kilbride next Saturday should still mean Dunfermline can top Group H.

EDINBURGH CITY: Calum Antell: Craig Thomson (c), Conrad Balatoni, Liam Henderson, Robbie McIntyre: Allan Smith (Daniel Handling 62), Calum Crane, Mark Laird, Adam Watson (Josh Walker 75), Jonathan Court (Scott Shepherd 68), Alex Harris
SUBS NOT USED: Jordan Sinclair, Chris Kane, Regan Lumsden, Ryan Adamson (GK).
SCORERS: Handling (87)
YELLOW CARD: Thomson (62), Walker (82)

DUNFERMLINE: Ryan Scully: Aaron Comrie, Stuart Morrison, Lee Ashcroft, Lewis Martin: Paul Paton (c): Ryan Dow, Tom Beadling (Gabby McGill 88), Josh Coley (Lewis McCann 73): Kevin Nisbet, Andy Ryan (Kyle Turner 56).
SUBS NOT USED: Paul Allan, Josh Edwards, Tom Lang, Cammy Gill (GK)
YELLOW CARD: Ashcroft (72)

REFEREE: Grant Irvine
WEATHER: Sunny 22C

NEXT MATCH: Betfred Cup (home) v East Kilbride, Saturday 27th July 2019, 3.00pm at East End Park