Dunfermline Athletic

U20s v Ross County

Tuesday, 24th Jan 2017

SPFL Development League: Michael Paton (26) 1-0: David Hopkirk (42) 2-0: David Hopkirk (49) 3-0: David Hopkirk (62) 4-0

- - Listen to coach John Potters post match thoughts

Dunfermline 4 Ross County 0

Dunfermline Athletic`s first Development League match of 2017 was played at Kelty`s New Central Park on Tuesday afternoon. The home side was again bolstered with the addition of several first team squad players.

Ryan Williamson, Lewis Spence, Michael Paton and David Hopkirk who all played in the successful last game against Celtic, were again included. Cammy Gill, now on loan at Arbroath was between the sticks since he is eligible to turn out for his mother club at this level even though on loan to the League Two side.

Opponents Ross County, sitting second in the league, fielded 22 year old Tony Dingwall in what was otherwise a team from their Development squad.

The Pars kicked off and started with a bit of a whirlwind. After Hopkirk won an early free kick, Paton fired a second minute effort narrowly over the County bar. Then Williamson saw his cross cut out before Conner Duthie hit the horizontal with a fourth minute free kick again won by Hopkirk.

Scott Lochhead and then Williamson again had attempts to cross into the danger zone before County called upon Duthie to head clear at a 16th minute corner. Defenders at both ends stifled opportunities Spark for the Pars and Brownlee for the visitors. At the midway point of the half Cammy Smith was very unlucky not to finish from a Duthie cross but his header went wide but the opening goal was about to come.

A great curling shot from PATON on the edge of the box, opened the scoring in 26th minute. 1-0

There was a set back however for the Pars when Williamson went down injured on the half hour. It seemed a straight forward slip but despite receiving treatment on the park the full back was unable to continue and Reece Duncan came on in his place.

County`s Sam Morrison blocked a Hopkirk shot before they pressed the home defence with Morrison attempting to convert a Russell Dingwall cross, Paton clearing for a corner from a neatly worked free kick and then Duncan clearing Dykes delivery. Another Dingwall shot was diverted behind by the Pars sub and this time the corner was headed over by the visitors.

David HOPKIRK then scored what was to be the first of his three goals. His 42nd minute shot from just the inside the box nestling in the corner of the Ross County net. 2-0

Half time: Dunfermline 2 Ross County 0

Just four months minutes into the second half a mistake in the County defence allowed HOPKIRK to pick up a loose ball, work along the edge of the box and fire into the net. 3-0

Dunfermline had a chance from a Paton corner but his delivery was just too high for either Duthie or Hopkirk to meet. The Staggies served warning that they were not down and out yet when a thunderous Greg Morrison strike crashing off Gill`s crossbar in 58 minutes.

Four minutes later however it was all over as a contest as HOPKIRK sealed his hattrick by accepting a great pass from Spence and curling a shot into the far corner of the net. 4-0

The scoreline might have been increased had Smith not been so unlucky. In 70 minutes he was presented with a great pass from Duthie but was adjudged to be offside. Two minutes later another mistake in the opposition defence almost let him in again but he could not net.

There were chances at both ends towards the end but the match concluded with another satisfactory home win.

John Potter`s side looked particularly sharp and the defence coped well with the County attack. Clearly the Fifers came through the Festive break the better and thoroughly deserved their second win over the Dingwall club this season, a win that extends their unbeaten home run to seven matches.

DUNFERMLINE: Cammy Gill: Ryan Williamson (Reece Duncan 33), Stuart Morrison, Euan Spark, Conner Duthie: Michael Paton, Lewis Spence, Johnny Galloway, Scott Lochhead (Evan Horne 66), Cammy Smith, David Hopkirk (Ciaran Lafferty 72)
SUBS NOT USED: Brandon Luke, Robbie Crawford, Paul Allan, Josh Dunn (GK)
SCORERS: Paton (26), Hopkirk (42,49, 62)
YELLOW CARD: Galloway (57)

ROSS COUNTY: Mark Foden: Reghan Tummilty, Chris McLaughlin, Sam Morrison (Matthew Hall 68), David Brownlie, Tom MacLennan (Ross McIver, HT), Dylan Dykes, Russell Dingwall, Greg Morrison, Tony Dingwall, Oscar Gobern
SUBS NOT USED: Blair Malcolm, Davis Keillor-Dunn, James Wallace, Ross Munro (GK)

REFEREE: Evan Cairns
WEATHER: Cloudy 9C

NEXT MATCH: SPFL Development League (away) v Partick Thistle Monday 30th January 2017, 6.00pm kick off at the Excelsior Stadium

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