Dunfermline 4 Brechin City 0Saturday, 14th Apr 2018
Ladbrokes Championship: James Vincent comes in for Tom Beadling. Lee Ashcroft (2) 1-0: Fraser Aird (25) 2-0: Andy Ryan (72) 3-0: Kallum Higginbotham (87 pen.) 4-0
Brechin City travelled to East End Park in search of their first league win of the season. The already relegated side were hoping to be the banana skin that play off place chasing Pars were wanting to avoid.
City manager Darren Dods was without Gary Fusco but Sean Crighton returned from suspension to take his place in an otherwise unchanged side. Their lack of numbers was reflected by naming two goalkeepers on their bench - Scott Costello and Patrick O’Neill. Dunfermline fans were optimistic that they might need more than one stopper as they set out to take the three points.
Tom Beadling dropped out of the Dunfermline Athletic starting eleven through injury making space for the return of James Vincent. Skipper Callum Morris was named on the team sheet but sustained an injury in the warm up meaning Jean-Yves M’Voto stepped up and Dean Shiels took his place on the bench.
The home side kicked off attacking the goal at the Cowdenbeath end and within two minutes the Pars were ahead. Ryan Williamson forced a corner on the right and when Fraser Aird crosses the ball im Lee ASHCROFT met it first time to bulge the net. 1-0
Dunfermline 4-0 Brechin
Sat, 14th Apr 2018
The early goal set up the Fifers nicely but for the next five minutes it was Brechin City that pushed forward. The defence kept them well away from Lee Robinson but then a Kallum Higginbotham foul on Kalvin Orsi handed the visitors a free kick on the left side midway inside the Pars half. That was hit to Euan Smith on the other flank and Robinson had to come and cut out the cross.
Nicky Clark headed a good chance over the Brechin bar in 12 minutes when he was on the end of a Higginbotham cross. Aird then won a corner on the left as his cut back was deflected behind. The corner was defended initially but Aird gathered and squared the ball into the box. Clark dummied and left it for Higginbotham to fire on target from the right side. He beat the keeper but Willie Dyer cleared off the line and M’Voto could not control the rebound.
In 18 minutes Declan McManus was played through in the right channel and heavily tracked by Smith, he shot over the bar from 15 yards out. The second Dunfermline goal was to come in 25 minutes. James Craigen ran to the left bye line just inside the Brechin half and kept the ball in play with a neat back healer that Aird latched on to. He advanced down the left and then from 20 yards out AIRD chipped the keeper to make it 2-0.
Five minutes later Higginbotham crossed from the right side of the Brechin box but Clark headed another good opportunity over the Brechin bar from just six yards out.
There was just seven minutes to the break when Jordan Sinclair made Lee Robinson tip over the only decent chance that Brechin created in the first half. The Pars continued to look dangerous. Lewis Martin made a strong run down the left to set up Craigen in the centre of the box but Graeme Smith made a good block. Aird has an attempt blocked before Clark was on the end of another Higginbotham cross but his header was directed wide left.
60% Dunfermline possession in the first half, 11 shots to the visitors one.
Half time: Dunfermline 2 Brechin City 0
The second 45 started fairly tamely but some of the home fans in the Norrie thought they witnessed a third Pars goal in 52 minutes. Higginbotham drove in from the right and he laid a chance on for Clark but he wanted a touch and that made the chance more difficult. In the end it was Craigen who launched a shot at goal but it nestled in the outside of the left sidenetting.
Andy Ryan replaced Declan McManus after just eight minutes of the half but in 56 minutes Brechin almost got a go back. A snapshot by Isaac Layne about 20 yards out deflected off M’Voto and came back off the far post.
On the hour Aird tried a bit of a speculative attempt from 20 yards out but his shot cleared the bar and found the front row of the stand. Williamson forced a corner one minute later but when taken short to Aird he was closed out.
The game trundled past the midpoint of the half with a distinct feeling that both sides had already assumed the result. Aird injected some life into proceedings with a shot from the top of the D but a defender took the sting out of it and Smith held.
The Pars were denied a 71st minute penalty when Graeme Smith went through Ryan. Referee John McKendrick was well positioned and just shook his head. The resultant corner was only partially defended and when Aird crosses, RYAN headed home. 3-0
Dan Armstrong came on for Nicky Clark and then Joe Cardle for James Vincent. Armstrong immediately had a good chance but failed to take it but the two subs freshened things up and the visitors’ defence felt their presence.
In 86 minutes Armstrong dummied a Williamson cross but the ball was cut out before it could reach Cardle. Next minute Armstrong was tumbled in the box and the home side had a penalty. HIGGINBOTHAM stepped up and made no mistake burying the ball in the bottom left for 4-0.
The three points were well and truly sown up and so it was onwards to the Caledonian Thistle Stadium.
SUBS NOT USED: Dean Shiels, Nat Wedderburn, Jason Talbot, Cammy Gill (GK)
SCORERS: Ashcroft (2), Aird (25), Ryan (72) 3-0:
BRECHIN CITY: Graeme Smith: Euan Spark, Sean Crichton, Euan Smith, Willie Dyer: James Dale, Callum Tapping, Finn Graham (Dylan Mackin 62), Kalvin Orsi (Aron Lynas 62) Jordan Sinclair (Callumn Morrison 79): Isaac Layne
SUBS NOT USED: Liam Watt, Scott Costello, Patrick O`Neill (GK).
YELLOW CARD: Mackin (75)
REFEREE: John McKendrick
WEATHER: Dry 14C
NEXT MATCH: Ladbrokes Championship (away) v Inverness Caley Thistle, Saturday 21 April 2018, kick off 3.00pm at the Caledonian Thistle Stadium
50/50 half time draw winner was no. 040042 won £817.
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