Pre Season Friendly v De Graafschap
DE GRAAFSCHAP 1 DUNFERMLINE 0: Date: 25/07/03
Fixture: Pre Season Friendly
Attendance: 2500, Kick Off: 19:00
Weather: Dull, wet in second half 22C
Dunfermline fielded the squad players who had not featured over much in the pre-season tour in Holland alongside likely first choices such as Craig Brewster and Derek Young. As a consequence the spirit that defeated FC Twente on the same park just 48 hours previously failed to re-appear on a darker July evening in Aalten.
The opposition were extremely tall and having conceded an early free kick the big centre backs, Van der Kruis and Bakens joined the equally large Houwing in the penalty box. Craig Brewster sprinted back to cover but the defence almost fell for the unexpected. A low ball was not cleanly hit by Abdellaoui and the defence cleaned up.
A long through ball from Kastoredjo sent Abdellaoui down the left but Andy Tod despatched the square ball behind for a corner. When Abdellaoui crossed in the corner Scott Walker headed away.
In the fifth minute long through ball from Kastoredjo sent Abdellaoui down the left but Andy Tod despatched the square ball behind for a corner. When Abdellaoui crossed in the corner Scott Walker headed away. Five minutes later Kastoredjo fired in an effort that whizzed passed the left post.
The Pars had sustained the early Dutch pressure and the next 20 minutes in was all Dunfermline. There were nervous ooohs from the crowd as Derek Young and Brewster combined to split the defence before Derek slipped the ball right for Jason Dair to blast in a shot that went narrowly wide on the right.
De Graafschap were conceding free kicks as they found it increasingly difficult to stop their visitors. They compounded their problems by losing possession with a fair number of loose balls.
On 20 minutes Dair swung the ball in from a free kick on the right. Although half cleared George Fotheringham was able to find Brewster and his touch gave Andy Tod a chance but again the ball went right to Fotheringham and next time another opportunity ended up headed over the bar.
Another free kick from Jason produced more danger but the presence of both Walker and Tod failed to convert it into a goal. Then on the half hour Dair blasted wide right when a corner from the right fell to him. The Dutch nearly got the opener however when Van der Kruis was given a free header at a corner kick from the left and the ball went just outside Marco’s right hand post.
In the 36th minute Dick Kooijman launched the ball up the left for Houwing to take to the byeline, cut back beating of the challenge of Dair and Tod and strike a firm shot which fortunately fell left of target. Two minutes later, Dair and Brewster created a shooting chance for captain for the night, Barry Nicholson, and Klak in the De Graafschap goal held well from 25 yards.
Two minutes from the interval Abdellaoui’s free kick was headed down from Van der Kruis to Hertog and the De Graafschap captain popped a shot which was high over the crossbar. The half concluded with McGroarty and McLeish supplying another chance but both Andy Tod and Craig Brewster could not head in Chris’s cross so it remained goalless at half time.
At half time, Jimmy Calderwood brought on Stevie Crawford and Lee Bullen in place of Brester and Derek Young and young Scott MacNicol replaced George Fotheringham. Three minutes into the second half, Crawford’s sharpness dispossessed Bakens to send MacNicol up the right before Craw accepted the cross but his shot was off target.
In the 51st minute, a Barry Nicholson free kick from 30 yards went wide to the right. Crawford and Bullen were creating more fear in the opposition defence and yet again the Dutch conceded free kicks and corners aplenty. Kevin McLeish picked out Andy Tod from a 57th minute corner but the tall Bakens headed away. Then it was Crawford’s turn to threaten the scoreline when he stabbed his right foot at a McLeish cross that the Westie look-a-like keeper in black fisted away.
At this stage, Dunfermline were guilty of losing balls too easily and they lived dangerously when Hertog’s corner from the right was met by no-one and Jason Dair scrambled the ball away. Koojiman and Houwing threatened again in the 64th minute but Scott Wilson booted clear.
Andy Tod was forward in the 67th minute but the keeper fisted away the ball as he challenged and Crawford lobbed back in a shot which ended up just on the wrong side of the crossbar. Gary Dempsey saw his shot blocked from a McLeish corner, and when David Grondin came on, his tenacity surprised the opposition and although he created chances, Bullen, Crawford and Nicholson couldn’t convert them.
The umberallas went up around the Aalten ground as the light rain got heavier. The referee’s enthusiasm certainly didn’t dampen when with 73 minutes on the clock, he decided that the home team should be awarded a penalty. Former Ajax player Dennis Schulp had barely been on the park ten minutes when he dived over Scott Wilson’s outstretched leg on the edge of the box. The referee pointed to the penalty spot despite the ex Ranger protesting that he was still outside the penalty box.
Home captain Damien HERTOG stepped up and sent the ball left into the net as Marco Ruitenbeek dived in the opposite direction. This sparked more fire into the Dunfermline attack. Lee Bullen headed a Dair free kick wide, then Lee almost got on the end of a Nicholson free kick. With Tod still up from the free kick, the referee gave another decision in Dunfermline’s favour in the D in front of the De Graafschap goal.
Grondin blasted the ball into the wall and Crawford was unlucky not to be able to capatilise as the ball broke in his direction. The match had entered the 81st minute when Dair sent McNicol down the right and his fine square ball picked out Bullen on the edge of the penalty box. The big man took a touch before unleashing a shot which unfortunately, yet again, went past the post.
Dunfermline did put De Graafschap under late pressure and looked like they may have paid the penalty for not clearing up properly when substitute’s Darren Young shot broke to Crawford. Still there was no joy and Bullen was supplied another good opening from McGroarty but Klak dived to his right to save. Schulp almost caught Dunfermline out when he broke away on the counter-attack, but fortunately his shot was high.
After 41 seconds of added time, the referee blew for full time to be met by much cheer from the sizeable home support. This was a match that Jimmy Calderwood, as ever, was annoyed to lose. He was looking for a bit more from his squad players but they had the handicap of trying to be moulded together in a way that obviously didn’t suit everybody. The Pars had plenty of chances to score but on this Friday night, their luck was absent.