The Scottish Gas Men’s Scottish Cup, Third Round
Dunfermline welcomed Raith Rovers for this the fourth meeting between the sides this season.
It is over one hundred years since Raith Rovers won a Scottish Cup tie at KDM Group East End Park but then there has only been one cup tie played there since. James McPake’s men set out to repeat the success of December 1985 when the Pars went through 2-0 winners with goals from Ian Heddle and John Watson.
The Dunfermline starting eleven saw two changes from that which kicked off against Inverness Caledonian Thistle in the previous game; Aaron Comrie and Alex Jakubiak starting in place of Kane Ritchie-Hosler and Matty Todd. There were four changes in the visitors line up from the one that defeated Hamilton Academical’s in the SPFL Trust Trophy the previous Saturday. Lewis Vaughan, Josh Mullin, Dan O’Reilly and Callum Smith replacing Adam Masson, Liam Dick, Shaun Byrne and Jamie Gullan. Raith’s starting eleven contained only one player born this millennium – 23 year old Jack Hamilton. The Pars were a younger side with only Deniz Mehmet, Aaron Comrie, Joe Chalmers and Alex Jakubiak children of the nineties.
Owen Moffat kicked off for the home side attacking the goal in front of the away support and on two minutes Comrie forced the first corner of the tie. Chalmers into the six yard box was dangerous and it evaded everyone with Lewis McCann coming closest to converting.
In sixth minute Chris Hamilton cut out a threatening cross sent in from the left by Dylan Easton. Next Aidan Connelly delivered a cross from the right that supplied Hamilton with a chance but his shot was deflected behind off Vaughan. Then in 12 minutes a Ross Millen cross provided Hamilton with a headed opportunity that cleared the crossbar.
Dunfermline responded with a great driving run from Moffat that earned a corner that was unfortunately all too easily defended. Then a penetrating run from Easton created the opener. He worked his way from his own half deep into the left side of the Dunfermline box and his cut back found HAMILTON who slotted home from close in. 0-1
With the confidence from going ahead Raith kept up the pressure and in 27 minutes former Pars created another good chance. Millen crossed and Smith fortunately shot wide left when in with a good chance of notching Raith a second.
The Raith keeper, Kevin Dabrowski, was only tested with cross balls from Moffat and Comrie. Moffat’s 37th minute shot from an acute angle was then also held by the Polish stopper. A good forward pass from Comrie found McCann three minutes later and after controlling and picking his pass the Pars striker was unlucky to see his final ball aimed at Allan and Jakubiak in front of goal intercepted.
The half closed with Dabrowski parrying away a good Moffat from 25 yards out but had been a first half dominated by Raith Rovers and you could only hope that it would be a game of two halves!
Half time: Dunfermline 0 Raith Rovers 1
The home side did start the second half with renewed vigour but just seven minutes in search of an impact, James McPake made a double substitution with Kane Ritchie-Hosler and Matty Todd replacing Alex Jakubiak and Joe Chalmers.
It was Raith who came close to scoring in 56 minutes however when Mullin found himself in space in the D to fire on target but his shot deflected off Hamilton and over the bar. At the other end Smith saw yellow for upending Ritchie-Hosler but the free kick from the right was blown up for pushing in the box.
Roared on by the home crowd Dunfermline did all the pressing the Rovers appeared rattled but they would hit back with a goal from a setpiece in 65 minutes. Fisher was penalised for a challenge and when delivered from 40 yards out on the right, Sam STANTON nipped in to find the Dunfermline net. 0-2
The two goal deficit became three when Lewis VAUGHAN produced a fantastic strike from a free kick taken on the right side of the home penalty box. 0-3
McCann had an opportunity two minutes later but drove the ball across goal and out on the left. Then he headed an Edwards cross at the keeper and nothing was going the Pars way. It looked like things might have swung when O’Reilly was deemed to have fouled Fisher in the right side of the penalty box and Willie Collum awarded the Pars an 80th minute penalty. Unfortunately when McCann shot Dabrowski was able to get his left hand to the ball and directed it behind off his crossbar.
A Pars corner in 88th minute was greeted with a quite ripple and that was defended. There was no way back, it would be Raith Rovers in the hat for Sunday evening’s Fourth Round draw. Their 3-6-1 formation proved effective in yielding chances which they took to great effect. As for Dunfermline it truly was a Black Friday.
DUNFERMLINE: Deniz Mehmet: Sam Fisher, Chris Hamilton (c), Ewan Otoo (Craig Wighton 77): Aaron Comrie, Paul Allan, Joe Chalmers (Kane Ritchie-Hosler 52), Josh Edwards: Owen Moffat: Alex Jakubiak (Matty Todd 52), Lewis McCann.
SUBS NOT USED: Miller Fenton, Michael O’Halloran, Max Little (GK)
YELLOW CARD: Otoo (64)
RAITH ROVERS: Kevin Dabrowski: Ross Millen, Scott Brown (c), Daniel O’Reilly, Callum Smith (Scott McGill 86): Aidan Connelly, Josh Mullin, Sam Stanton, Dylan Easton: Lewis Vaughan: Jack Hamilton (Jamie Gullan 78).
SUBS NOT USED: Dylan Corr, Callum Hannah, Robbie Thomson (GK)
SCORERS: Hamilton (15), Stanton (65), Vaughan (70)
YELLOW CARD: Hamilton (54), Smith (57), Vaughan (71), O’Reilly (80), Connelly (80)
REFEREE: Willie Collum
WEATHER: Fine 2°C
NEXT MATCH: cinch Championship (home) v Arbroath, Tuesday 28th November 2023, kick off 7.45pm at KDM Group East End Park
The winner(s) for the 50/50 DAFC v Raith Rovers 24 11 2023 draw which ended on November 24, 2023 8:30 pm are as follows: Ticket Number WEB9469