Buckie Thistle 0 Dunfermline 3Saturday, 2nd Sep 2017
Irn Bru Cup: Eight changes in Pars starting eleven. Clark (7) 0-1: Clark (35) 0-2: Ryan (39) 0-3:
The Moray Firth Riviera was at its most pleasant self when Dunfermline returned to Buckie for the Second round Irn Bru Cup tie. As promised Allan Johnston rang the changes in an attempt to give game time to players who had not played that much of late.
Only Sean Murdoch, Joe Cardle and Lee Ashcroft survived from those who started at Dumbarton the previous Saturday. In came Fraser Aird, Jean Yves M`Voto, Lewis Martin, Michael Paton, Aaron Splaine, Andy Ryan, Scott Lochhead and Nicky Clark.
The bench was only six strong following David Hopkirk pulling out unwell and both Dean Shiels and Jason Talbot not travelling.
Buckie Thistle manager Graeme Stewart made a couple of changes to the side that defeated Rothes in midweek, he brought back top goalscorer Chris Angus and Jay Cheyne meaning on his 29th birthday, John McLeod dropped to the bench and Cieran McLean was absent.
There were eight goals the last time these sides met and so far this season Buckie have scored 26 to the Pars 28. The hosts kicked off but in 21 seconds, Craig Dorrat headed over his own crossbar to concede an early corner. The defender was put on that position after a pass down the left from Cardle was centred by Clark.
The setpiece was defended but the pressure was maintained with Splaine running at the Thistle defence and setting up Ryan for a shot that hit a defender and came back to him for a second bite and this time his 20 yard shot was tipped over the bar by the airborne keeper, Daniel Bell.
The opening goal was not far away however. In seven minutes a long raking ball sent by Splaine from inside his own half found Cardle on the far left and he curled in a ball that CLARK headed home at the far post. 0-1
Next the Pars had an opportunity to pump the ball into the Thistle box. Splaine sent a tenth minute free kick into the danger zone but the home defence forced the ball away. Ryan showed great skills three minutes later, waltzing past Andrew Skinner and then Ross Anderson before Bell came out to block.
The home side`s first threat came from a corner from the left on the quarter hour but Sean Murdoch comfortably fisted that away. At the other end the overlapping Martin was denied by Bell, and then in another move up the left Martin, Cardle and Ryan combined before Joe ran out of room and Buckie had a goal kick.
Ryan picked up a knock in 26 minutes after a challenge on him from behind but was able to continue and was in the mix as Cardle fired another chance wide right a minute later. Then Ryan was taken down by Lewis MacKinnon and the Pars had a chance from a 25 yard free kick. There was a bit of a discussion as referee Mike Roncone marked the Thistle line and then Ryan touched the ball back for Clark to fire at goal but the shot went narrowly wide right.
Cardle was on the right in 31 minutes and his cross took a deflection as it landed for Ryan but he could not get a shot away. Two minutes later Martin looked as though he was going to round the entire defence before being cut down by Anderson. Cardle gathered the ball but the referee did not play advantage and pulled play back for a 35th minute free kick. Splaine floated a good delivery to the far side of the six yard box where Lee Ashcroft headed the ball back across goal for CLARK to head home. Clearly feeling that Cardle would not have done as well, a local shouted "that`s your fault ref!" 0-2
Four minutes later another header brought about the Fifers third goal of the cup tie. A long ball in from Aird on the right was flicked on by Andy RYAN to make it 0-3.
A spectacular save from Bell prevented Lochhead in the final minute of the half but it had been a very comprehensive performance from the far travelled Championship leaders.
Half time: Buckie Thistle 0 Dunfermline 3
Kallum Higginbotham replaced Joe Cardle before the restart and Scott Lochhead moved to the left side. Andrew Skinner was shown the first yellow card of the game as he chopped down Clark 27 yard out. Splaine sent the free kick into the four man wall but collected the rebound to force a corner on the left. When that came over Jean Yves M`Voto headed his attempt over the crossbar.
Sam Urquhart`s 55th minute corner from the right was headed away by Ashcroft but another followed from the left that Murdoch held. When the Pars broke it was from a surging run by Martin and he picked out Higginbotham on the right who turned the ball back for Clark to shoot but a defender blocked the effort.
Next Splaine got a great right footed connection on a 59th minute shot that Bell did well to stop and then the Pars midfielder crashed the follow up on to the crossbar from his left foot, the ball bouncing down and out. Martin was again forward to run on to a Ryan pass and move it on for Clark to forced another corner but that changed nothing.
Cammy Gill replaced Sean Murdoch with 26 minutes remaining, the 19 year old keeper coming on for his senior debut. Buckie also introduced a sub, McLeod for Ross.
There were strong appeals for a penalty in 73rd minute when Angus`s chip into the Pars box appeared to hit off Ashcroft`s hand. No penalty. McLeod then tried a long range effort but nearly found the hospitality suite behind Gill`s goal.
The game was needing a goal and it looked like Ryan might get it as he latched on to a fine pass from Higginbotham but the keeper raced out and blocked the shot. That was Ryan`s last involvement as he was replaced by Declan McManus for the final ten minutes.
In 83 minutes the home support`s hopes were raised when McLeod got the better of Ashcroft on the left side but the subs cut back was well intercepted by M`Voto. Instead it was the visitors who had an even better chance but Higginbotham one on one was beaten by the keeper and then the keeper pulled off a good save to deny McManus follow up.
Diving to his right, Cammy Gill made a good save to keep out a well hit effort from Fraser. In the first minute of added time Drew Copeland scooped a Buckie free kick over the bar from 36 yards out. Sam Urquhart dispatched another free kick over the top two minutes later.
From the point that Dunfermline went three ahead there was little doubt that Allan Johnston`s team would be in Tuesday`s draw for the last sixteen of the Irn Bru Cup. For the team and their 200 strong support it was a very satisfactory day out to Victoria Park and very pleasing to see Cammy Gill get the taste of senior football.
SUBS NOT USED: John Maitland, Hamish Munro, Darren Strong (GK)
YELLOW CARD: Skinner (48), Fraser (58)
DUNFERMLINE: Sean Murdoch (c)(Cammy Gill 64): Fraser Aird, Jean Yves M`Voto, Lee Ashcroft, Lewis Martin: Scott Lochhead, Michael Paton, Aaron Splaine, Joe Cardle (Kallum Higginbotham HT): Andy Ryan (Declan McManus 80), Nicky Clark
SUBS NOT USED: Callum Morris, Nat Wedderburn, Ryan Williamson.
SCORERS: Clark (7, 35), Ryan (39)
REFEREE: Mike Roncone
WEATHER: Sunny 18C
NEXT MATCH: Ladbrokes Championship (away) v Greenock Morton, Saturday 9th September 2017, kick off 3.00pm
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