SPL v Dundee United
DUNFERMLINE 3 DUNDEE UNITED 1 Date: 10/01/04
Fixture: Tennent`s Scottish Cup
Attendance: 6164, Kick Off: 15:00
Referee: Hugh Dallas, Weather: Wet and Cold 6C
Dunfermline progressed to the fourth round of the Tennents Scottish Cup comfortably sending off the challenge of Ian McCall’s Dundee United. Jimmy Calderwood made three changes from the side that drew with Livingston the previous Saturday. Scott’s Thomson and Wilson returned to the defence while Craig Brewster returned up front.
Two goals from Stevie Crawford and one from his partner Craig Brewster won the cup tie in some style for the Pars with United manager Ian McCall stating that "Craig Brewster could play for Real Madrid on that pitch!"
Dunfermline kick off defending as has become their custom the goals at the town end in the first half. Immediately both teams looked lively and their supporters were in early voice. A penetrating Derek Young pass into the penalty box for Stevie Crawford was taken out at the last possible point by Derek McInnes and from the corner United uncomfortably allowed the ball to bobble around the box.
Colin Samuel’s burst up the right warmed the 1770 travelling supporters while both sides were down to ten men as both Craig Brewster and David McCracken were off for stitching after an early clash. In the fifth minute a weak clearance from McInnes went straight to Derek Young and Archibald was forced into conceding another corner.
Restored to eleven a side it was United who pushed up with Andrius Skerla coming to the rescue twice in quick succession. First a Miller ball wide for Wilson was swung in to Easton but the Pars defender was on hand to head away as he did the following minute from another Wilson cross.
Scott Wilson was yellow carded on 15 minutes for his challenge on Samuel. United through men forward into the Pars box looking for a breakthrough. Instead they found themselves behind. McCracken failed to do any damage when the ball fell to him and Barry Nicholson made a quick break.
Derek Young was sent up the right wing and he sent in a good ball to Dempsey on the far side of the box. The Irishman chose not to shoot instead turning the ball along the six yard line for Stevie CRAWFORD to turn the ball passed Paul Gallacher.
From then on Dunfermline never looked back. Their passing was slick and the team combined well as they continued to pose United problems. Gallacher had to be out fast to deal with a Darren Young chip that had Crawford streaking towards it. In the 28th minute Nicholson put Dempsey in on the right side of the opposition box and there were appeals from both sets of fans as Paterson spilled the Pars no.12. Hugh Dallas waved away the appeals for a penalty and a yellow card from the respective players and supporters.
In the 35th minute Mark Wilson stepped in to clear off the boot of Darren Young after Brewster and Derek Young had created the opening. The next opening however saw the Pars go two up. A pass from Craig Brewster 10 yards inside his own half was missed by Alan Archibald letting CRAWFORD away all of 45 yards from goal. The Pars topscorer showed great skill to beat off the challenge of the chasing Duff and slip the ball into the far left of the United goal from 8 yards.
The two goal lead unfortunately last only 90 seconds. United got right back in with a chance after Andy McLaren, back to goal, played a Mark Wilson cross back to the edge of the box for Derek McINNES. A deflection off Skerla helped the flight of the ball to take out Stillie for 2-1 just seven minutes before the interval.
Crawford and Brewster nearly got the Pars in for another but Stevie`s ball to Craig was played against a defender. 2-1 at the break and just the slightest of worries that DA would need to put in a good second half performance as well as United would try to stay in the Cup.
Lee Bullen was a half time sub for Derek Young and the interval optimists were quickly rewarded with a cracking Craig BREWSTER goal in the 49th minute. Effectively beating off two men in the centre circle, Brew sent the ball wide up the left from where Stevie Crawford sent a measured pass for the stylish striker to clip passed Gallacher from eight yards. Another hugely impressive goal started and finished by the man still at the centre of contract negotiations.
A fourth goal might have come three minutes later from another Crawford pass from the left. The ball evaded Brewster and Dempsey before taking Nicholson by surprise at the far side and he sent it into the Norrie Stand.
Playing with their backs to a blustery wet wind United didn`t give up. Andy McLaren lofted a ball in from the left and Dodds sprang up at the right goalpost to head into the arms of a fortunately placed Stillie.
The 64th minute brought another Pars chance when Dempsey and Bullen sent Crawford into the opposition box. Brewster assumed the possession and cut back to the penalty spot where there was only tangerine shirts.
In the 67th minute Noel Hunt came on for Stevie Crawford who had been struggling all week with a groin strain and he quickly was invloved with Bullen to give Darren Young a crack at goal which was blocked. Nicholson returned the ball into the danger area but Hunt was under Gallacher as they both tried to latch on to Craig Easton`s attempt to clear.
There was a let off for the Pars as another McLaren ball in to the right post was headed against the woodwork by Billy Dodds. In the 79th minute a rash Stillie clearance dropped for McInnes and he might have scored had he put elevation on his shot but instead the ball went straight to Scott Wilson.
Brewster was the provider for Dempsey`s high and wide effort ten minutes from time. This was Gary`s last kick as he was then subbed by Andy Tod as Calderwood concentrated on making sure the Pars made the draw for the fourth round. The final ten plus two added minutes passed without concern and Craig Brewster was deservedly annnounced the Tennents Man of the Match award.
A very accomplished display from the East End Park outfit. Plastic pitch or no plastic pitch they would have been stiff opposition for anyone on this form. Clyde await and will be a formidable obstacle but thoughts around Dunfermline are likely to stray a little further especially the more this victory is celebrated.