NZ Tour: NEW ZEALAND 4 DUNFERMLINE 2: Date: 30/06/02
This was the second match of a three game tour of New Zealand, following on from a 1-0 Pars win in Wellington three days previously.
Played in front of a 3842-strong crowd at the North Harbour Stadium, the international was a much better spectacle than that which the teams fought out thirty-six hours previously in Wellington, with attack the name of the game right from the first whistle.
The Pars looked to be heading for another win over the All Whites until a disastrous the final 15 minutes that saw them gift the game to the hosts.
A surprise selection saw Lee Bullen line up in central defence while Derek Stillie took his place in goal for the first time.
Keeper Jason Batty was solid in dealing with a Stewart Petrie cross to the near post as Gary Dempsey came charging in in the third minute of play, a raid which stirred the All Whites into the first of numerous good passages of play.
The early stages saw some nice football from Dunfermline but the first real danger came from New Zealand’s Glenn Collins who volleyed a yard wide from the edge of the box. Stillie then got down to stop a Jackson shot and at the other end, Dempsey fired an angled drive wide and Davie Nicholls went close to opening the scoring for Athletic soon after, but that honour was New Zealand’s.
The hosts went ahead in 18th minute following the award of an extremely dubious penalty against Nicholls. Even the home the fans thought it was a joke but Scott SMITH stepped up to confidently bury it. 1-0
After half an hour of the match swung in the Scots favour with Craig Brewster heavily involved. After curling a 25 yard effort over the bar, he then headed down a Crawford cross which beat the keeper but bounced just wide of the post. The Pars duly equalised in 36 minutes when Scott THOMSON headed firmly home. Barry Nicholson sent a corner to the far post, where the captain came racing in to edge out Killen and Nicholls and power home a header into Batty’s top right-hand corner. 1-1
After Chris Jackson had nearly given the All Whites the ideal start to the second half - his thirty-five yard drive sizzled inches over the bar of a startled Stillie, Dunfermline responded by taking the lead.
Colin NISH, a half-time substitute for Brewster, was released by Crawford, and after evading the recovering challenge of Gerard Davis, drilled the ball high inside Batty’s near post from twelve yards out on the angle - 2-1 to the Pars.
The All Whites were stung into action. In the 55th minute, Kris Bouckenooghe headed a Davis cross narrowly past the post, while eleven minutes later, another patient build-up culminated in a thirty yard free-kick from Zoricich which Stillie smothered.
New Zealand’s captain came closer still three minutes later, crashing a twenty-five yard drive against the crossbar, moments before a clearance by Stillie was pounced on by Ivan Vicelich, who, with the goalkeeper scrambling back towards the unguarded goal, was unable to direct his long-range effort on target.
The All Whites didn’t have much longer to wait to get on level terms, however. That they were aided by a double substitution by Dunfermline’s boss, Jimmy Calderwood, cannot be denied.
In keeping with the overall objective of these matches - establishing combinations prior to, in the visitors’ case, the start of the 2002-3 Scottish Premier League season, Athletic’s manager introduced two trialists to the fray, former Football Kingz players Marcus Stergiopoulos and Michael Cartwright, both entering the action in the 74th minute.
The two full backs were replaced by Australian trialists Michael Cartwright and Marcus Stergiopolous, with them being on the park for no more than a minute when Cartwright was dispossessed on the edge of the box . From Lines’ cross, KILLEN was free to head home the equaliser. 1-1
Little was being seen of Dunfermline as an attacking force by this stage and after a couple of half chances the All Whites went 3-2 up in 87th minute. Cartwright again lost the ball, this time in midfield, and the Kiwis broke in numbers through the middle, releasing CAMPBELL to drill a low shot past Stillie.
Two minutes later to the delight of the home supporters, SMELTZ found room in the penalty box to shoot home from 14 yards. 4-2
The All Whites certainly produced a much improved performance and statistically dominated the game by the Pars fans were left shaking their heads in amused disbelief at how the match had slipped away from them.
NEW ZEALAND: Jason Batty; Gerard Davis, Zoricich (Taylor 86), Scott Smith, Ivan Vicelich; Aaron Lines, Chris Jackson, Raf de Gregorio (Mark Burton 60), Glenn Collins (Mulligan 70); Chris Killen (Jeff Campbell 77), Kris Bouckenooghe (Shane Smeltz 76)
SCORERS: Smith(18 pen.), Killen (76), Campbell (87), Smeltz (89).
DUNFERMLINE: Derek Stillie; Gus MacPherson (Marcus Stergiopoulos 74), Scott Thomson, Stewart Petrie (Michael Cartwright 74); Lee Bullen, Gary Dempsey, David Nicholls, Barry Nicholson (Brian Blair 79), Gary Mason; Stevie Crawford (Steven Hampshire 68), Craig Brewster (Colin Nish HT).
SCORERS: Thomson (36), Nish (53).