Following on from the Friday night match against St Pauli, Dunfermline travelled to the Balmoral Stadium on the south side of Aberdeen to face Cove Rangers. It was a case of a team relegated to League One taking a team promoted from League One.
Dunfermline were missing Kyle Benedictus and Kane Ritchie-Hosler, Matty Todd was not risked as he was recovering from surgery but Rhys Breen returned to the bench having been out since mid March. There was a start for seventeen year old Andrew Tod and Max Little was in goal. Due to the number of trialists they were fielding Cove Rangers did not provide team sheets.
Prior to kick off there was a one minute of applause in tribute to former Scotland manager Craig Brown who passed this week. The home side kicked off attacking the goal at the east end but it was the visitors in their all red new away strip who created the first chance in seventh minute. Sam Fisher sent Aaron Comrie up the right and his cross was met by Lewis McCann but his header cleared the bar.
Cove came close in 17th minute when no.19 sent a header wide right and next minute McCann had the ball in the net after accepting a Chalmers pass but the offside flag was up. McCann forced a 25th minute corner on the left and Paul Allan’s cross was defended only as far as Tod 22 yards out. His first shot was blocked and the second bite he sent high over the bar.
The home side took the lead in 26 minutes when Little to the right of his goal, was deceived by the bounce of a pass back and ended up driving his clearance into no.19. The ball rebounded into the net. 1-0
Chalmers made a break getting the ball returned to him by Craig Wighton but was hauled down by Fyvie. The free kick from 40 yards out targeted Tod and McCann at the far post but neither connected. Next a powerful shot from McCann was blocked by Reynolds and the home defence was holding up well for the team in all white. When McCann, running on to an Edwards pass, went down in the box the referee saw nothing untoward and there was no penalty decision.
Chalmers and Tod combined to take the Pars into the Cove box but the defence ushered the ball into Scott Fox’s hands. Three minutes from the break 22 fed 11 on the right and his cross from the touchline was net bound until Little tipped it over the bar.
In time added on McCann ran on to a Comrie pass up the right wing. His delivery was fierce and Tod’s connection was deflected behind for a corner but that short taken setpiece did not change anything. The Fifers would go in one bizarre goal behind.
Half time: Cove Rangers 1 Dunfermline 0
Cove made six substitutions for the second half – 3, 5, 10, 16, 18, 21 coming on. Off went 1, 4, 6, 11, 24 and 26. Rhys Breen and Trialist came on for Dunfermline taking the places of Chris Hamilton and Andrew Tod.
A 56th minute corner from the right provided Dunfermline with the first opportunity to threaten. Chalmers took it short to Trialist and received it back to fire the ball towards the far post but it was just too high for Ewan Otoo to head down.
On the hour Cove withdrew 2, 22 and 7 to introduce 14, 15 and 17. A surging run by Otoo teed up Wighton with a chance from 15 yards but the substitute keeper came out on top. A 63rd minute Dunfermline free kick was sent into the keeper’s hands by Chalmers while at the other end sub no.17’s header was scooped over his bar by Little. The corner from the left was over hit.
Edwards was next to crash an attempt wide left and then in 70 minutes his cross was headed wide of target by Wighton. Cove lost their goalscorer no.19 to injury and having used all their subs had to finish the match with only ten men. Dunfermline brought on seventeen year old Taylor Sutherland and Miller Fenton for Lewis McCann and Josh Edwards.
In 76 minutes Allan was taken down on the top of the Cove box and a penalty was awarded. Wighton struck the spot kick to the right side and the substitute keeper no.21 went the right way to beat away the effort. Four minutes later a Chalmers ball from the left side was destined for Trialist but the keeper slid in to crudely deny him.
The Pars were to score however in 81 minutes when Sutherland’s cut back from the right byeline was left by Wighton and TRIALIST smashed the ball home. 1-1
Dunfermline then saw Chalmers try two shots, the first just outside the base of the right upright and the next launched narrowly over the crossbar. No more goals and it finished all square.
COVE RANGERS: Did not provide team lines due to the number of trialists. They started like this. 1: 2, 6, 26, 22, 4, 12, 7, 24, 11, 19.
SUBS NOT USED:
SCORERS: 19 (26)
DUNFERMLINE: Max Little: Sam Fisher, Chris Hamilton (Rhys Breen HT), Ewan Otoo: Aaron Comrie, Paul Allan, Joe Chalmers, Andrew Tod (Trialist HT), Josh Edwards (Miller Fenton 70): Craig Wighton, Lewis McCann (Taylor Sutherland 70)
SUBS NOT USED: Sam Young, Liam Hoggan, Deniz Mehmet (GK)
SCORERS: Trialist (81)
WEATHER: Sunny Intervals 16°C
NEXT MATCH: Pre Season Friendly Tuesday 4th July 2023 (home) v St Johnstone, 7.45pm kick off at The KDM Group East End Park