CIS Insurance Cup v Hearts
DUNFERMLINE 1 HEARTS 3 Date: 10/11/04
Fixture: CIS Insurance Cup
Attendance: 4405 Kick Off: 19:45
Referee: Hugh Dallas Weather: Cold Dry 5C
No Greg Shields, no Andrius Skerla, no Darren Young and no Billy Mehmet as injuries made way for the Irish pair of Thomas Butler and Richie Byrne. Derek Young was back and Aaron Labonte was handed his first start of the season for the visit on Cup business of John Robertson`s Hearts.
After going behind to a Andy Webster header the Pars fought back with an equaliser from substitute Billy Mehmet but when Hugh Dallas handed Hearts a penalty six minutes later Hartley converted and there was no way back in this Quarter Final. Hammill added a third seven minutes from time to pile the misery on the home side who had fought well to get back into it.
Dunfermline kicked off defending the goal in front of a sparsely filled McCathie stand. Andy Tod sprinted from the left touchline to chest down an early ball into the Hearts box that meant Gordon was the first keeper on duty with only 11 seconds gone. McKenna`s header to Wyness at the top of the Dunfermline penalty box caused a mix up between Scott Wilson and Derek Stillie and there was a let off as McKenna drove his shot at the defender.
At the other end Wilson picked out Butler on the left and although the Irishman put over a good low cross Brewster`s swish did not trouble the Hearts defence. Brew did get a shot in on the 13th minute but after Andy Tod nodded down from Scott Thomson`s free kick but the Pars hitman sent the ball over the crossbar.
Three minutes later Hearts tested Stillie. A Robbie Neilson ball over from the right for McKenna was cleared only as far as Alan Maybury and his drive was well held by the blue shirted Pars keeper. Barry Nicholson then had a right footed effort from 35 yards that landed on the roof of the net following nice play from Derek Young and Craig Brewster.
Play continued to create chances at both ends. A 27th minute cross from Butler was headed back square for Derek Young but Pressley pounched to head away before the Pars man could challenge. Within a minute McKenna missed an equally good chance at the other end.
Hearts got the opening in the 34th minute from a long Robbie Neilson throw in from the right. His throw into the front of the Pars goal was looking like reaching McKenna when Scott Wilson tried to help Scott Thomson out with the chalenge. The ball slipped on to Andy WEBSTER who headed in at the far post. Denis Wyness saw the ball in but it had crossed the line to give the central defender the glory.
Gary Mason was the first in the book as he stopped Wyness`s run towards goal some 35 yards out. Hartley drove in the free kick that Stillie reacted well to hold. Dunfermline best effort to recover was a Butler drive from a Tod lay off that Gordon held at the top right corner.
When the Jambos got the second half under way it was a differently shaped Pars they faced. Andy Tod was pulled back into a back three; Richie Byrne was pushed into left midfield and Aaron Labonte assumed a more attacking role. The Pars also seemed to have consumed a large pot of urgency at the interval. There was more DA possession and the passsing moves started to come.
Having said that it was the capital team who should have scored. Hartley and Wyness combined to leave Nicholson and Wilson watching as Hartley burst through between them for Stillie to save a shot from short range with his leg. Labonte then delivered a good ball for Derek Young on the right side of the penalty box that was fired in for Gordon to save.
Craig Brewster was withdrawn with a niggly calf injury meaning Billy Mehmet was a 59th minute substitute. It was an inspired substitution for the Republic of Ireland U21 internationalist was on the top of the penalty box to pick up Derek Young`s lay off within a minute of coming on. Billy struck a low right footed shot that sneaked in at the left post. MEHMET`S first goal for over a year trickled in off the woodwork.
There was a real cup-tie atmosphere by this stage and Hearts came storming back. Frantic goalmouth defending after McKenna caused havoc and Derek Stillie being impeded ended up with referee Dallas awarding a penalty when the ball broke towards Byrne and Neilson fell over the defenders leg. Paul HARTLEY stepped up to take the penalty and drove a right footed shot to Stillie`s left. The keeper guessed the right direction but failed to stop the goal.
The Pars fans and players were incensed with the penalty award and Hugh Dallas had words with Billy Kirkwood and then Steven Pressley as his decisions caused even more furore. McKenna placed his header over the bar in the 72nd minute and Gary Mason whipped the ball away from substitute Joe Hammill when he looked through on goal.
At the other end Simon Donnelly, who had replaced Derek Young, sent Scott Wilson into attack and his ball to Nicholson created a shooting chance that Gordon saved. The tie was put beyond doubt with a HAMMILL strike seven minutes from time. Hartley took a corner from the left deep to the midfielder who had an easy task in placing the ball in the top left corner of the Pars net.
So Dunfermline are out of the CIS Cup but not without giving Hearts a scare in the third quarter of the game. The home side struggled at times with the physical presence of the Jambos but the introduction of the tenacious Byrne in midfield restored the fighting Fifers spirit. The penalty finished the contest and now its back to the SPL where points victories are incresingly needed.