Raith Rovers 1 Dunfermline 2Wednesday, 10th May 2000
Reserve League Cup Final
RAITH ROVERS (1) 1 DUNFERMLINE ATHLETIC (2) 2
Despite home advantage Raith Rovers lost this Cup Final to Dunfermline at Starks Park. After achieving a two goal lead, the Pars immediately let Rovers back into the game and hung on well in a second half in which the Raith should have at least equalised.
Both teams fielded players who could be described as regulars in the first team. Dunfermline had six who played at Morton on Saturday and Raith started with well kent players like Black, S Tosh and Stein.
With the match kicking off at one minute past seven late comers missed Dunfermline’s opening goal. Dunfermline were playing towards the home end. Colin NISH having returned from his loan spell with the Wasps, appropriately provided the first “sting” when he rose to head a cross from the right past Coyle after only three minutes.
Nish almost scored again on ten minutes when Graham’s early cross ball from the right was controlled and fired goalwards only to bring an outstanding save from the Rovers keeper.
Kirkwood had a 14th minute free kick that flashed just outside David Hay’s left hand post.
Mark McGarty was injured after 26 minutes and was stretchered off. His replacement was Keir Nicol and Stein lost Nicol to combine with Tosh as Raith threatened deep into the Dunfermline penalty box. The youngster soon adapted to the match and played very well to control the speed and skill of Jay Stein.
When play switched back to the other end Hamish French sent a good ball out to Jason Dair on the left wing. Dair got behind the home defence and his cross was cleared only as far as Chris TEMPLEMAN whose fierce 20 yard shot took a deflection as it headed into the net.
35 minutes gone and two up this looked easy, but within a minute Raith were back in it. Dean Shields found himself clear of the Pars back four and he latched on to the through ball as David Hay was undecided whether to run out and challenge or wait. Despite Chris McGroarty closing in on the striker his shot went through Hay into the goal.
Steven Hampshire assisted Nish to create a dangerous cut back but after it was missed by everyone, Chris Templeman was presented with yet another chance to shoot for goal. The tall midfielder’s effort went just wide to the left of the Raith goal.
Three minutes before half time Nish sent the ball into Dair’s path on the right but the defence managed to deny the former Raith man and a fruitless corner was all that transpired.
Raith, as seems to be their habit against Dunfermline teams of late, came much more into things after the interval. Following a clumsy Potter challenge, a 47th minute free kick from Kenny Black pinpointed Steven Tosh on the left and Shields should have converted his cross.
After several attempts Stein got the better of Nicol in the 50th minute and the flighted ball from the left was headed over the crossbar by Fotheringham.
Dunfermline’s best of the second half was a French cross/shot that went for a corner.
Rovers applied the pressure and the game entered a period when you felt Raith just had to score. McGroarty stuck well to his post as he cleared a Shields header from a Stein corner.
Another Stein corner in the 75th minute was blocked by Hay and the rebound cannoned off the crossbar and over. A Craig screamer whistled wide of the goalpost and the Pars seemed to have well and truly lost the plot.
Ten minutes from the end Raith’s best chance came yet again from Stein who clipped the ball over Nicol twisted and turned into the box to fire a gem of a shot that just cleared hay’s left hand post.
That miss seemed to knock the stuffing out of the home team and Nish almost put the match beyond them when his 82nd minute shot from a David Graham lob was brilliantly palmed wide by Coyle for a corner.
The final whistle was followed by the presentation of the trophy to Pars captain Hamish French.
A good and enjoyable match watched by around 500 diehards. Steven Hampshire ended up playing against his brother Paul. No real stars, no real failures but Brian Reid slow as he was at times deserves the Man of the Match award for holding the defence together in the frantic second half.
SUBS NOT USED: Nicol
YELLOW CARD: Kirkwood (24), S Tosh (50), Stein (63).
DUNFERMLINE: David Hay; Mark McGarty (Keir Nicol 25), John Potter, Brian Reid, Chris McGroarty (Kevin McLeish 84); David Graham, Chris Templeman, Hamish French, Jason Dair; Colin Nish, Steven Hampshire
SUBS NOT USED: Dean Fleming
YELLOW CARD: Graham (71)
REFEREE: Ed Mack
WEATHER: Bright but cool
NEXT MATCH: RESERVE LEAGUE EAST v BRECHIN CITY Monday 8th May 2000
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