Challenge Cup: DUNFERMLINE 2 MORTON 2: 10/08/99
BELLS CHALLENGE CUP
In what be one of the latest finishes to any match at East End Park (10.32pm) Morton defeated Dunfermline 5-4 on penalties after extra time. While the south west of Britain concerned itself with whether or not the clouds will part in time to view Wednesday’s eclipse the Pars “lights” went out when David Graham blasted the third home penalty into the Norrie McCathie Stand.
A Fife Constabulary outrider was despatched to release the Morton team bus from traffic jams south of Kincardine and the kick off was delayed 15 minutes until 8.00pm with the agreement of match officials and opposition. Dunfermline fielded the same side that saw off Caley Thistle on Saturday the Pars kicked off full of optimism towards the Norrie McCathie Stand.
Another slow start to a game but at least the Pars had the best of the first quarter. Petrie and Smith combined well on the left for Stewarty to shoot, but wide right after 8 minutes. The next chance fell to Eddie May who floated the ball across the face of the goal. Morton were not in the match until a mistake by Andy Tod allowed Warren Hawke a shot that Westie to saved well. Four minutes later though it was a different story. Chris McGroarty dispossessed Kevin Thomas but the ball broke to Hawke who despatched the ball into the net with great proficiency.
A Greg Shields shot at goal hit the woodwork following a deflection. Two minutes from the interval a Murie cross was timeously met by Kevin Thomas and the bookies First Division favourites went in for half time two down.
Morton did little to impress thereafter but Dunfermline struggled to penetrate a defence that was 10 strong at times. The introduction of Graham brought necessary pace and drive especially down the right where the Greenock side had played former Par winger Paul McDonald at left back!
Hopes were raised when Owen COYLE got one back as he scored from a Scott Thomson cross with an assist from Andy Smith. Sixteen minutes left and Morton appeared to be tiring fast.
Chris McGroarty sent over another ball in the 85th and with the ball bouncing about inside the visitors penalty box an overhead kick from COYLE fooled Ally Maxwell and tied the match.
Extra time saw McPherson hit the Athletic crossbar and Thomson have a sizzler saved with three minutes left. The penalty decider followed. Coyle 1-0, Thomas 1-1, Smith 2-1, Harry Curran 2-2, Graham missed, Ferguson 2-3, Thomson 3-3, Millen 3-4, Dolan 4-4, Aitken 4-5.
Alan Curbishley the Charlton Manager watched the tie presumably interested in Greg Shields although there was some talk at the end of last season about him having an interest in David Graham. If Curbishley was looking for a steal then it would appropriately follow this display.
DUNFERMLINE: Westwater, Shields, Tod, Reid, McGroarty; Thomson, May (French 62), Dolan, Petrie (Graham 62); Smith, Coyle.
Sub not used: Ireland
Scorers: Coyle (74, 85)
Yellow Card: Tod (58), McGroarty (102)
Referee G Simpson (Westhill)
Next match v Airdrie (away) League Saturday 14th August 1999
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