CIS Insurance Cup v Cowdenbeath; Date: 24/09/03
DUNFERMLINE 2 COWDENBEATH 0
Fixture: CIS Insurance Cup
Attendance: 3582, Kick Off: 19:30
Referee: H Dallas, Weather: Dry 9C
Exactly a year to the day since a bitter struggle at Central Park saw them edge past Cowdenbeath in the same competition, the Pars played host to the Blue Brazil in a chilly League Cup encounter. Hopeful to avoid the ignominy of requiring extra time to dump their Fife neighbours, the Pars did not show much promise in the first half.
In fact it was the visitors who dominated the opening play, racking up five corner kicks inside the first fifteen minutes. The second of these saw Gilfillan get on the end of Gordon`s cross but headed wide under pressure. Cowden came closer with each attempt - Ritchie sent a header over the bar from kick number three, the fourth was headed behind by Tod, leading to corner number five, from which Shields`s impressive overhead kick was saved well by Stillie. Stillie had to stay alert as the ball was fired back in, but from point blank range the Pars` keeper held the ball firmly.
The Pars in contrast to their opponents managed one corner kick after quarter of an hour, which was duly squandered, and Crawford`s later headed attempt was ruled offside by the assistant.
Cowdenbeath made a good account of themselves but ironically for all their pressure the best chance they had came twenty-five minutes in courtesy of clumsy defending by the Pars. A dreadfully misjudged ball was miskicked by Tod into the path of Brown. With only Stillie to beat, the striker should have done better than curling the ball past the far post.
In a rare attack by the Pars Darren Young came close to getting on the score sheet. His first attempt, a long-range effort, was saved well by Carlin and when, a minute later, he was released by Gary Mason`s pass he could only direct the ball into the side netting.
Stillie had to make one more save before the half was out, diving bravely at the feet of Buchanan, but the final promising move of the half belonged to the Pars.
Kilgannon`s ball to Crawford was rolled back to Craig Brewster, and his cross met Barry Nicholson. A fine flowing move was brought to an end with Nicholson heading the ball just over the bar, ending an otherwise lacklustre Pars performance with a little promise.
The hosts did improve with the second half - more likely following some choice words from the management rather than the torrent of abuse that greeted them on their retreat after the first half - and Stevie Crawford was quick to test Carlin.
A darting run into the box left Crawford with little option but to attempt a shot from a tight angle and the Cowden keeper did well to parry the powerful shot away from goal. Crawford almost carved out another chance moments later following a perfectly weighted cross by Brewster but Gilfillan nipped in to snatch the ball away at the last minute.
After an excellent first half from Cowden the tide turned and ten minutes into the second half the Pars found the goal they needed. Stevie Crawford ducked under Darren Young`s chip, allowing Brewster to bring the ball under control and lay it into CRAWFORD`s path. From the edge of the box, the Scotland striker produced a marvellous finish, stroking it past Carlin into the top corner.
Another good run by Crawford found only Brewster in the box; Crawford did well to find his strike partner with the cross but Brewster`s header could only find Carlin in the Cowdenbeath goal.
When Sean Kilgannon`s run down the left wing won the Pars a corner, the second goal soon materialised. Despite claims of a foul being committed, Cowdenbeath will be disappointed that the totally unmarked BREWSTER strolled to the back post and did not even have to leave the ground in order to head home from Dempsey`s kick.
Recent signing Richie Byrne was given a run out with a little over twenty minutes remaining but certainly did not have it easy. Cowdenbeath continued to stretch the Pars defence and a furious stramash in front of goal following a Cowden corner was only brought to an end when referee Hugh Dallas spotted a foul on Derek Stillie.
The rest of the match belonged to the Pars however and Gilfillan did well to throw himself in front of another Crawford effort that looked to be goal number three. A mix-up between McEwan and Ritchie gifted the Pars one final bout of pressure on the visitors` goal, but while Brewster`s shot was well saved by Carlin, Tod could only direct his header from the ensuing corner into the advertising boards behind the goal.
The win was deserved and a cheerier reception greeted the Pars on the full time whistle than had sounded at half time, but they cannot afford to perform again as they did in the first half of this match if they are to progress any further in the competition.