Dunfermline 1 Clyde 1Tuesday, 13th Jul 2004
Pre Season Friendly: Bryson (32) 0-1: Gary Dempsey (92) 1-1
A 92nd minute goal from a Gary Dempsey free kick saved the blushes as the Pars opened the Hay era with a 1-1 draw at East End Park.
Captain Scott Thomson led the Pars out with a starting eleven that included only six of the players that lined up in the Cup Final less than two months ago.
In the absence of Craig Brewster (recovering from surgery) and the departed Stevie Crawford, Billy Mehmet and Noel Hunt led the attack but they found it hard to crack the First Division defence. The Pars first chance fell to Andrius Skerla in the eighth minute. He headed down a Barry Nicholson corner from the left but failed to connect with his right foot as he tried to thump in the opener. Five minutes later Mehmet shot into a pack of defenders at the edge of the penalty box and Noel Hunt accepted the break as it dropped into his path but the trialist goalkeeper Kevin Bell was quickly out to block.
Gary Dempsey had a long range effort on target that the keeper gathered at the second attempt before conceding a free kick 35 yards out from his own goal for his tackle on Gilraney. Kevin Fotheringham shot the ball into the Dunfermline wall and Graeme McCracken fired the rebound into Derek Stillie`s hands. Skerla tried another speedy break forward in the 24th minute picking out Mehmet whose lay off was well intercepted by full back David Concouski.
No goals but the SPL outfit looked the more positive and retained much of the possession. This might have lulled them into a false sense of security but they had a warning on the half hour when Skerla and Thomson tried short play on the edge of their box that was closed down and hurried Stillie into a frantic clearance. Two minutes later more slack play led to Clyde going into a one goal lead. Greg Shields was light with his back pass to his keeper and Craig BRYSON nipped in to get on the ball. He went left to evade Derek Stillie`s challenge before poking the ball in at the left goalpost.
This was not the kind of friendly that the Dunfermline fans were looking for but the team did try to get right back in it. Mehmet`s 35 yards shot four minutes later skimmed narrowly wide right and then A Nicholson corner was turned back to Skerla from Wilson`s head but the big Lithuanian`s right footed shot was deflected wide for another corner.
As the interval approached Shields, Dempsey and Mehmet combined to allow Thomson to feed the ball back to Mehmet. He beat off two defenders before trying a shot which was wide to the left. Thomson then supplied Nicholson with a chance from 30 yards out but he put the ball wide on the other side. The pressure was intense but when Noel Hunt broke into the box and cut the ball back from the byeline to Mehmet there were wails of disappointment from the crowd all housed in the Main Stand, as yet another shot went off target.
In the 44th minute Hunt`s cross from the right was played by the hand of Simon Mensing and after a long look at his Assistant Linesman, Referee Mike Tumilty awarded the penalty. Noel took ownership of the spot kick but his right footed shot broke back off the keeper`s knees as he dived to his right to leave the Pars one goal down at the break.
Dunfermline were back out only nine minutes after the half time whistle but their urgency came to little. It was eight minutes into the second half when Mehmet`s shot rebounded back to Skerla who unfortunately hammered wide. Hunt had the ball in the net three minutes later as he got on the end of a Nicholson - Mehmet movement but the Irishman was offside.
A Hunt cross from the left was head over the bar by Shields at the far post and a similar cross from Byrne was despatched over the top by Hunt before the management team made a triple substitution. Simon Donnelly, Aaron Labonte and keeper Jamie Langfield entered the fray but it was the latter who was first involved when Mark Ferry headed goalwards.
Labonte pushed up the left and played the ball off Dempsey to create a shooting opportunity that was beaten away by the Bully Wee defence. As the Pars pressed there was always the danger of the counterattack especially as the opposition brought on numerous fresh subs.
Scott Wilson swung a pass into the left side of the Clyde penalty box letting Donnelly in with a strong shot that the keeper parried for a corner with 75 minutes gone. Unfortunately he dealt easily with Nicholson`s corner. Derek Lyle`s cross from the right was nodded down by Donnelly for Dempsey but again the shot failed to get through the defence. Time was running out for Dunfermline. Eight minutes from time Wilson`s header was headed over by Mensing and then the delivery from the corner was driven over the bar by Lyle.
In the 90th minute Pars sub Andy Tod had his headed effort deflected for a corner and then from the keeper`s clutches Gilraney was thrown a long ball that he swiftly took to the other end. The lay off to Greenhill was blasted at goal but fortunately Langfield did well to charge down the attempt.
In the last play of the game Mason`s pass to Donnelly saw Fotheringham chop down the Pars soon-to-be-signed trialist and Gary DEMPSEY made no mistake as he curled the free kick around the six man defensive wall from 22 yards to put a long awaited bulge in the Clyde net.
The manager likes to win but clearly stated he was only looking for his players to gain match sharpness from this exercise. Some have still a bit to find but Andrius Skerla in particular appeared to be raring to go. A steady display from Mehmet and a quiet but confident first showing from his substitute Simon Donnelly.DUNFERMLINE: Derek Stillie (Jamie Langfield 59): Andrius Skerla, Scott Wilson, Scott Thomson (Andy Tod 73): Greg Shields, Bary Nicholson, Gary Mason, Gary Dempsey, Richie Byrne (Aaron Labonte 59): Noel Hunt (Derek Lyle - Trialist 73), Billy Mehmet (Simon Donnelly - Trialist 59)
SUBS NOT USED: Smith, Iain Campbell
SCORERS: Dempsey (92)
CLYDE: Bell - Trialist; Concouski - Trialist (Doyle 64), Fotheringham, Mensing; McCracken, Creaney- Trialist (McKeever - Trialist 74), Greenhills, Bryson (Ferry - Trialist HT), Welsh - Trialist; Boyle - Trialist (Bradley 61), Gilraney
SUBS NOT USED: Balmer, Bryn Halliwell (GK)
SCORERS: Bryson (32)
REFEREE: Mike Tumilty
WEATHER: Dry, Cool 14°C
NEXT MATCH: Queen of South are next opposition - Saturday 17th July 3.00pm kick off at Palmerston Park, Dumfries
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