Scotish League Cup: DUNDEE UNITED 3 DUNFERMLINE 1: 22/09/15

Round Three: Josh Falkingham in for Shaun Rooney. Michael Paton (10) 0-1; Callum Morris (34) 1-1; Scott Fraser (96) 2-1; Blair Spittal (99) 3-1;

A brave Pars performance counted for nothing as Dundee United’s premiership class eventually told after the Pars spurned chances to win this League Cup tie in normal time.

Dunfermline travelled to Tannadice hoping to complete a League Cup double over the Tayside teams and heap further pressure on former Pars’ favourite Jackie McNamara’s position as United manager. Jason Talbot had recovered from the injury sustained at Ochilview but Shaun Rooney was out so Manager Allan Johnston was forced into making one change to his starting line-up with Geggan switching to right back and Falkingham coming into the heart of midfield. His opposite number made two changes bringing in Jamie Robson and Charlie Telfer for Sean Dillon and Ryan Dow but Callum Morris retained his place to face many of his former team mates.

The Pars kicked off attacking the Eddie Thompson Stand, with their fans housed to their right and showed their intent early on when El Bakhtaoui stung Zwick’s hands with a second minute shot. Their first corner duly arrived in the fifth minute but Wallace’s delivery from the right didn’t beat the first man. Paton did better soon after, troubling the young left back Robson, but Wallace and El Bakhtaoui between them they couldn’t engineer a shooting chance.

However, the Pars had better luck taking the lead in 10 minutes when Cardle poked the ball to PATON 25 yards out and his shot seemed to go straight through Zwick’s hands – a howler from the German keeper.

The Pars continued to look the likelier side, but had an anxious moment when Byrne conceded a free-kick in a dangerous position. Rankin’s effort flew harmlessly over Murdoch’s bar. The home crowd were understandably subdued, but couldn’t help but applaud El Bakhtaoui’s first time control midway through the half that allowed Cardle to break, but Joe’s shot was weak. There was more to be optimistic when the home team won a couple of corners, but the Pars defence held sound.

Temperatures began to rise on the pitch – El Bakhtaoui and Durnan both saw yellow after a flare up in the 28th minute and a minute later Callum Morris suffered a similar fate when lashing out at his Moroccan former flat-mate. However, MORRIS redeemed himself when he headed home the equaliser from a Fraser corner after Telfer’s shot deflected wide off Richards-Everton.

The Pars seemed knocked out of their stride and United began to get on top, so it was a little out of the blue when Wallace’s 43rd minute shot hit the post. Worse was to follow in stoppage time when the same player found himself through on goal from a Paton pass, rounded the keeper, only for his shot from the angle to miss out at the far stick.

Half time: Dundee United 1 Dunfermline Athletic 1

There were no changes to either side at the break, with the first chance falling to Cardle after Paton got two chances to cross from the right, but his shot hit the first defender. At the other end a neat interchange saw Billy McKay with a half chance but he found the side-netting. McKay had a better chance not long after but Murdoch saved easily, and with the Arabs turning the screw Richards-Everton had to be strong to deny Bodul in the box. Next it was Martin’s turn to save the Pars with a desperate block on McKay as he turned Richards-Everton to create room for a shot.

United were continuing to make the Pars work hard as they passed the ball around with Kuhl pulling the strings, but good work from Geggan sent Wallace clear in the inside right channel in the 66th minute but he seemed in two minds whether to shoot or pass and the delay allowed Morris to tackle. That was Wallace’s last involvement as he gave way to Moffat.

A tremendous tackle by Rankin on Falkingham allowed the Arabs to spring forward but Fraser’s shot grazed the outside of the far post. However McKay looked odd-on to score when he beat Richards-Everton but Murdoch dived at his feet to grab the ball, and substitute Murray had a better chance after steadying himself to hit a loose ball, but blazed over in 77 minutes.

With McCabe on for Talbot, who had been struggling for some time, the Pars created and spurned a tremendous chance when El Bakhtaoui ran on to Cardle’s pass to set up Moffat, but he delayed his shot, and El Bakhtaoui slipped the loose ball wide.

The game was deep into stoppage time when McKay beat the offside trap and sent in a glorious ball along the six-yard line, but Murdoch dived to punch away. A foul allowed one last chance for United to launch the ball into the box, but the Pars defence held firm and the tie went into extra-time.

Score after 90 minutes: Dundee United 1 Dunfermline Athletic 1

David Hopkirk replaced the exhausted Shaun Byrne with Paton moving into the middle of the park. United were now on top, and Murdoch did well to beat a Rankine snap-shot wide of the incoming forwards, but this only delayed the inevitable when FRASER was able to run through and his shot found the far corner. Two minutes later the tie was over as SPITTAL this time ran through unchallenged and put the ball beyond Murdoch.

An El Bakhtaoui snapshot flashed past the post but the Pars offered little at the other end in the first 15 minutes as their hopes ebbed.

The Pars started a lightly more brightly after the resumption, with Hopkirk turning back onto his left to draw a fine safe from Zwick, before Murdoch similarly beat away another Spittal effort.

A Cardle pass finished the wrong side of El Bakhtaoui denying him the chance of pulling one back before Murdoch made a fine double save after laxness from Richards-Everton presented Spittal with the ball in the box. Zwick was out sharply to beat El Bakhtaoui to a Hopkirk through ball which might have allowed the Pars to make the score a little more representative and Dunfermline’s night was summed up when the last action saw El Bakhtaoui flagged off-side.

DUNDEE UNITED: Luis Zwick; Jamie Robson, Callum Morris, Mark Durnan, Ryan McGowan, Aaron Kuhl (Adam Taggart, 72), John Rankin, Scott Fraser, Charlie Telfer (Blair Spittal, 61) Billy McKay, Darko Bodul (Simon Murray, 72)
SUBS NOT USED: Ryan Dow, John Souttar, Aidan Connolly, Marc McCallum (GK).
SCORERS: Morris (34), Telfer (60), Fraser (96), Spittal (99)
YELLOW CARD: Durnan (28), Morris (30), Telfer (60)

DUNFERMLINE: Sean Murdoch; Andy Geggan (c), Lewis Martin, Ben Richards-Everton, Jason Talbot (Rhys McCabe 81); Michael Paton, Shaun Byrne (David Hopkirk ET), Joe Cardle; Ryan Wallace (Michael Moffat 67), Faissal El Bakhtaoui.
SUBS NOT USED: Mickael Antoine-Curier, James Thomas, John Potter, David Hutton (GK).
SCORERS: Paton (10)
YELLOW CARD: El Bakhtaoui (28), Cardle (77), Geggan (93)

REFEREE: John Beaton
WEATHER: Cloudy 12C

NEXT MATCH: Ladbrokes League One: (home) v Airdrieonians
Saturday 26th September 2015, kick off 3.00pm at East End Park.