William Hill Scottish Cup: Stranraer 1 Dunfermline 0: 23/11/19
What everyone hoped to be The Road to Hampden started off with a journey down the A77 to Stair Park to face League One opponents Stranraer in the Third Round of the William Hill Scottish Cup. Unfortunately this turned out to be the end of the Pars Scottish Cup road for another season.
The Dunfermline starting eleven saw two changes from the one fielded at the Indodrill Stadium against Alloa Athletic last time out. Lee Ashcroft was suspended and Greg Kiltie out, Danny Devine and Lewis McCann came into the team.
Stranraer made one change from that which faced Airdrieonians the previous Saturday with former Motherwell youth Adam Cummins coming in for 31 year old former Raith striker, Mark Stewart.
The home team kicked off but within 45 seconds Andy Ryan was able to execute the first shot at goal. His effort from 20 yards going wide right. Stranraer replied with Carlo Pignatiello firing a third minute low shot that Ryan Scully held at his left hand post.
There was much more for the Pars keeper to do four minutes when Lee Hamilton sent Cameron Elliott down the right and his cross set up James Hilton just eight yards out for a netbound header that Scully turned behind.
Two corners followed and although Paul Paton headed away the second, the ball was returned and Stranraer hit the left post and the ball was then returned on target, blocked and then defended off the goalline.
The home side were certainly giving it a go until play was stopped For the physio to come on in 14th minutes after Scully hurt himself as he bravely took an Elliott cross that he beat Allan to. Concussed and unable to continue Ryan Scully was subbed by Cammy Gill after a lengthy ten minute delay.
McCann forced the Fifers first corner in 28 minutes but when Kyle Turner delivered that from the left keeper Max Currie held off the back of his defender Cummins. Six minutes past before from an Edwards cross, Ryan Dow could not connect but Paton drove an effort over the crossbar.
Stranraer’s throw in specialist Jordan Allan created danger from a throw near the left corner flag and Devine decisively sent that behind for a corner that Devine again cleared.
A touch of magic at the other end by McCann with a soaring run into the right side of the home box created danger but his cross was blocked and he was offside when he had a chance to return the ball. Allan sent a 42nd minute free kick through the Pars box and Kevin Nisbet cleared.
In the first minute of time added on Stirling picked out Pignatiello and with the home fans anticipating an opener his shot was more of a cross that Hilton failed to convert.
A free kick aimed at Hammill could not be directed on target and then Martin had to head away another throw in launched into the Pars box by Allan. In 45+5 Stirling drove a low cross in from the right that Devine cut out on the ground.
Two minutes later after Paton was penalised for his challenge on Allan, Stirling took it short for Allan to swing over a dangerous ball to the far post where Gill held.
Referee Newlands allowed seven added minutes before he brought the first half to a close. It had been a half where the League One side had created the majority of the chances and made it hard to believe their lowly league position. Jamie Hammill has been their star man, commanding play and encouraging his team forward.
Half time: Stranraer 0 Dunfermline 0
Dunfermline got the second half underway this time attacking the goal in front of the travelling support. The home team continued to enjoy possession and territorial advantage and the Pars were getting no luck in attack. Something need to change and on the eleventh minute of the half it was Lewis McCann who was withdrawn to make way for the return to first team football for Joe Thomson.
On the hour the Pars got forward with Dow meeting a Paton free kick. His pass found Nisbet on the left side of the box but he could not get The shot away. Then when attempting to clear a cross on the edge of the penalty box Lewis Martin handled the ball and the referee pointed to the spot. In the absence of Mark Stewart, HILTON stepped up and buried the ball in the bottom left leaving Gill no chance. 1-0
There was a quick chance to level from a free kick 25 yards out after a foul on Thomson. Ryan and Nisbet stood over the ball but it was the latter who hammered the ball over the seven man ball but off the crossbar and over.
Devine picked up a 68th yellow card when he halted Hilton’s progress. Three minutes later a rare Pars shot on target when Comrie’s throw in was controlled by Dow and driven low but Currie saved at his near post.
With fifteen minutes remaining, Tom Beadling came on for Ryan Dow. A 77th minute free kick earned by Edwards when challenged by Hilton did nothing to alter the Fifers fortunes, Turner’s low ball from the left going behind off Ryan.
Devine was penalised for his challenge on Elliott as Ryan sent over an 82nd minute corner from the right. Allan turned a cross behind to give Ryan the opportunity to lob in another corner from the right three minutes later but a Stranraer defender headed clear.
A Comrie break and cross injected some urgency but Currie collect the cross. Cummins was yellow carded when his hand stopped a Ryan shot. Nisbet crashed the 19 yard shot from the free kick into the Stranraer wall much to the pleasure of the home support.
One final chance dropped for Paton but his belter of a shot soared over the bar and out the ground. Dunfermline followed out of the cup. This was a cup tie where Stranraer fully entered into the spirit of cup football. They battled away and got their reward.
STRANRAER: Max Currie: Carlo Pignatiello (Leon Murphy 88), Lee Hamilton, Scott Robertson, Jordan Allan: Andy Stirling, Adam Cummins, Jamie Hamill, Connor McManus: James Hilton (David Dangana 82) Cameron Elliott (Robert Jones 90+3).
SUBS NOT USED: Ian Smith, Dale Burgess (GK).
SCORERS: Hilton (61 pen.)
YELLOW CARD: Robertson (57), Stirling (70), Cummins (89)
DUNFERMLINE: Ryan Scully (Cammy Gill 23): Aaron Comrie, Danny Devine, Lewis Martin, Josh Edwards: Ryan Dow (Tom Beadling 75), Paul Paton (c), Kyle Turner, Lewis McCann (Joe Thomson 56): Kevin Nisbet, Andy Ryan.
SUBS NOT USED: Gabby McGill, Stuart Morrison, Matty Todd, Miller Fenton.
YELLOW CARD: Devine (68)
REFEREE: Alan Newlands
WEATHER: 9C Cloudy
NEXT MATCH: SPFL Championship (home) v Partick Thistle, Saturday 30 November 2019, kick off 3.00pm at East End Park