Scottish Cup v Partick Thistle
PARTICK THISTLE 0 DUNFERMLINE 3 Date: 06/03/04
Fixture: Tennent`s Scottish Cup
Attendance: 5335, Kick Off: 15:00
Referee: Alan Freeland, Weather: Sunny 9C
An early goal from Richie Byrne set the Pars up for a comfortable journey through to the Semi Finals of the Scottish Cup for the first time since a Bert Paton goal against Partick sent them on their way to pick up the cup in 1968.
Further goals from, captain for the day, Barry Nicholson and a gem from Craig Brewster sealed the Fifers place in Monday night`s last four draw. Barry missed a penalty three minutes from time and could have had a hat trick had he taken all the chances that came his way.
Thistle had treated themselves to an Algarve break to prepare for this tie but were without their topscorer James Grady. The Pars made four changes from the side that faced Hearts last week. Crawford, Brewster, Mason and Bullen came in replacing Scott Thomson, injured in training on Thursday, Derek Young, Noel Hunt and the cup tied Greg Shields.
Pars support accounted for half of the 5335 crowd at Firhill
The home side kicked off playing towards the large and vocal travelling support in the north stand. Early play showed that Thistle were keen to repeat their SPL success in December. The ball bounced about the bumpy dry pitch making it difficult for both teams and Thistle appeared to come out on top in challenges.
Scott Wilson was forced into two desperate tackles on Mitchell and Bonnes, earning himself a yellow card for the second which came only 45 seconds after the first. Ian Ross swung over Thistle`s first corner and Milne`s effort as he squashed out Brewster was deflected for another corner this time on the left. There was nine minutes on the clock when Brewster again defended the set piece sending Crawford off on the break. His ball to Nicholson was perfect but Grant Murray unceremoniously axed the captain and Dunfermline were given a chance to build up from the free kick.
Next minute Richie BYRNE popped up to put the Pars ahead. Thistle fans would have called it against the run of play but Nicholson`s high ball to the right of the penalty box was crossed by Dareen Young for the young Irishman to make his scoring debut.
Dunfermline looked more comfortable once ahead and Craig Brewster`s corner from the right was sent nervously in the air by David Rowson before Arthur could get to it. Thistle fought on though and a Billy Gibson free kick was nodded on from Gerry Britton to Stephane Bonnes who turned the ball back through the six yard box. Madaschi headed firmly but thankfully into the well placed Derek Stillie`s hands.
A couple of Thistle corners in the 25th minute were adequately defended and two minutes later Daniele Chiarini`s challenge on Brewster earned a free kick 35 yards out on the left side. Darren Young`s effort bounced narrowly wide of the right goalpost.
Pars confidence was growing and the home support were beginning to get at their players especially Bonnes. Crawford sent over a big ball from the left and Arthur had to be alert to take before Lee Bullen`s head could knock in number two. That came however just a couple of minutes later.
Pars possession built up the second goal. Stevie Crawford eventually picked out Darren Young to send Barry NICHOLSON clear of the Thistle defence, bursting through into the right side of the penalty box to smash the ball passed Kenny Arthur in the 36th minute. A captain`s goal and a great finish.
Brewster had a stingy shot that the keeper stopped in 39th minute following more good constructive play from Nicholson through Byrne and Crawford who squared it into the path of his partner. More pressure came from a Byrne cross set up firstly by Young and Brewster but Bully couldn`t quite convert under pressure from the Thistle defence.
Stevie Crawford was unlucky to see his shot two minutes from the interval blocked by Arthur`s legs after the striker latched on to a poor back pass from Grant Murray. In the final move of the half the Jags almost got themselves back into the match. Jamie Mitchell swung the ball out left for Ross and his return was geaded goalwards from the head of Rowson. The ball bobbled out of Stillie`s hands but he held at the second attempt.
Basking in the sunshine the visiting fans in the North Stand enjoyed the half time shoot in from Gary Dempsey, Noel Hunt and Marco Ruitenbeek. The mood was good and the second half was not to let them down. Brewster lined up on the touchline as Barry Nicholson got the game back underway.
As could be expected Thistle were not going to lie down. Young had to turn a good cross behind for a corner and in the 51st minute when a Tod pass went to Ian Ross the Jags man teed up Bonnes with a shot he sent just over the crossbar. Crawford replied with a run up the right followed by two turns on the defender and a cross that Arthur had to deal with at the near post.
Stillie at the other end turned another Bonnnes shot behind as the ex Celt released a good shot at an angle from 8 yards. Jorge Cadette was thrown on as defender Chiarini was replaced and the 35 year old had an early attempt that went over the bar.
On the hour Andrius Skerla put Crawford through but his shot from 20 yards was held by Arthur diving to his right. Thistle committed their remaining subs but the Pars defence was resolute and Wilson took the pressure off launching a long ball to Brewster that tested the keeper. Cadette showed something of the skills that made him a Celtic Park favourite beating Bullen and sending in a fine ball that Britton sent over the top.
The third goal was a classy concoction from the front two. Their quality seems to be never ending and this time Stevie picked up the ball on the left and flighted over a phenominal pass making it impossible for Billy Gibson to cut it out. Craig BREWSTER timed his run to perfection and headed the ball passed Arthur from the edge of the box.
There was twenty minutes left but Thistle were out. Noel Hunt came on for Craig Brewster and the nippy Irishman won a penalty in the 86th minute as Murray prevented him crashing home just ten yards out. Noel celebrated to the Pars fans behind the goals but Derek Fleming showed his disgust and his reaction caused Alan Freeland to brandish a red card that will cost Thistle £2000 in deductions from the sponsors.
Nicholson took the spot kick but sent it to the right where Arthur easily held. The captain should have scored a second anyway when just two minutes later Derek Young set him up on the edge of the box but his ineefective shot went straight to the keeper.
A great performance and a great win for the large travelling support to enjoy. Nicholson was awarded the sponsors Man of the Match but there were sterling performances from Byrne and Brewster. Lee Bullen did a fine job in quietening the threat from Kenny Milne and given that Thistle are the Pars next opponents on 20th March Jimmy Calderwood has the nice problem of wondering where Greg Shields and Scott Thomson can be fitted in to the starting eleven.
Manager Post Match
Irish eyes cup success
Barry Nicholson Match Reaction
Craig Brewster Match Reaction
Tennents Scottish Cup Semi Final Draw
Shots On Target
Shots Off Target