Pre Season Friendly v FC Utrecht
FC UTRECHT 1 DUNFERMLINE 1 Date: 29/07/03
Fixture: Pre Season Friendly
Attendance: 1500, Kick Off: 19:00
Weather: Sunny 25C
Dunfermline moved west for their fifth and final match of their 2003 pre-season tour to Holland. The opposition on a warm July evening in Waardenburg was FC Utrecht and at the end although the teams could not be separated the Pars finished pushing for a victory.
Injuries to Derek Young and Craig Brewster restricted Jimmy Calderwood’s selection meaning Lee Bullen being deployed up front beside Stevie Crawford and Jason Dair on this occasion starting at right midfield.
The match was delayed for ten minutes to allow fans through the one turnstile which had to deal with a crowd of approximately 1500. When the game got underway, it did look as though this might have been one fixture too many for the 2003 trip to Holland. Utrecht looked very sharp whereas the Pars looked to be wilting in the heat before they even got started.
Van der Haar drove a fifth minute free kick into the defensive wall and threatened again immediately from the corner kick. Things got worse when SHEW-ATJON fired in a shot from the left around about 25 yards out which took a deflection to totally deceive Marco Ruitenbeek and put the Dutch opposition into a 1-0 lead.
The Pars did give some hope when in the tenth minute a Dair free kick from the left produced a chance for Young which he sent narrowly beyond the right goal post. This was only brief respite for the Pars. The ball flashed across the goalmouth and slipped wide of Ruitenbeek’s righthand post to be followed by a further period of sustained Utrecht pressure. The home team forced several corners, looked much sharper, gave Dunfermline very little time on the ball which meant that the Fifers enjoyed very little possession for a long period in the middle of the first half.
Zuidam, wearing No.3, made a burst up the right before crossing a dangerous ball towards the six yard box which was headed behind for a corner by Scott Wilson, despite Marco Ruitenbeek’s dive which may have been a safety measure as the ball seemed to be rather close to the right post.
Crawford headed a Grondin cross from the left just wide of the right goal post and in the 29th minute a Dair run through the middle allowed him to shoot from 25 yards but the keeper saved relatively easily.
A free kick from Zuidam cleared the three man Pars wall but Scott Wilson sent the ball over the hedge as he made sure there would be no further danger. Marco fisted clear the ensuing corner. Just two minutes transpired until Zuidam sent Lamey rushing down the right and again Wilson conceded a corner which fortunately Marco was up for.
In the 37th minute a Wilson clearance fell nicely for No.18, de Groot, but his low shot bounced wide to the right of target. Having ridden out the storm, the Pars eventually won their first corner of the match when in the 41st minute Scott Walker persevered down the left. When Jason swung in from the corner flag, Scotty was there again, but his header was well wide to the left of the mark.
The half finished with Walker heading away danger from a 35 yard Utrecht free kick awarded after Wilson had put in a extremely hard tackle on Chzirtz. Even before the referee had blown for half time, messrs Calderwood and Nicholl were planning their half time substitutions. Fotheringham replaced Grondin, meaning Dair moving to left midfield, Tod replaced Wilson and McGroarty replaced Walker as the manager decided to have an early experiment with his risky two at the back strategy.
The second half was only two minutes old when McGroarty was flattened and Jason Dair floated in from the free kick to pick out Andy Tod. Utrecht got the ball away but when Nicholson returned the ball into the box, Tod was still there to challenge but it was Dair who put in a bouncing shot that failed to trouble the scoreline.
Utrecht’s substitute Broerse sent a shot at Ruitenbeek and then he created a chance through De Groot that Calabro also fired at the keeper. Things began to look better for the Pars, the half time substitutions appearing to have blunted the Dutch attack. Nicholson passed to Dair whose cross in from the left was just nicked off the boot of Crawford.
On 64 minutes Dair sent McGroarty into an attacking position on the left for him to float over a fine ball which Fotheringham headed across the goalmouth and narrowly out, somehow managing to evade Lee Bullen who had taken up good position in the 6 yard box. Next minute Schut’s picked out De Groot and with Skerla’s passback putting the defence under pressure, it was Tod who cleared off the line to be quickly followed by a De Jong rocket which was beaten away by Marco.
McGroarty and Bullen played a good ball through which Fotheringham latched on to on the right and his shot – cum – cross almost set up Chris McGroarty with the chance that might have got the equaliser. Dunfermline were definitely pushing the hardest and in the 73rd minute were desperately unlucky when a Jason Dair shot from 25 yards out was touched by keeper Terrol onto his right hand post.
Bullen picked out Crawford on the left and the Scotland man fired over a good ball which unfortunately Nicholson found just a few inches too high but one that Bullen lashed at, only to be blocked out. The goal that the visitors had threatened to grab did eventually come 14 minutes from time.
McGroarty made the pass to Bullen who sped down the left and was fouled deep inside the penalty box by Schut as he was about to cross. The referee had no hesitation in pointing to the penalty spot and it was Jason DAIR who fired home to earn Dunfermline an equaliser.
De Groot had looked like putting Utrecht back into the lead in the 80th minute, but good closing down work from Tod meant that his effort trundled into the hands of Marco Ruitenbeek. With Dempsey coming on for Crawford, it seemed like it was one way traffic towards the Utrecht goal and despite the fact that Jimmy Calderwood had only two men at the back, Andy Tod seemed to spend the last five minutes in the opposition penalty box as his Dunfermline teamates looked hungry for victory.
The touring Fifers had to make do with a draw, but their SPL opponents will need to be extremely wary if this is the kind of away performance that Calderwood will be looking for in the forthcoming campaign. It is always difficult to single out players who might change a match around, but the three substitutes who came on for the second 45 made a considerable contribution to the match.