Dunfermline Reserves faced a tough challenge when they took on Kilmarnock Reserves in the cinch Reserve League at the KDM Group East End Park on Tuesday afternoon. The home team ended up on the wrong side of a 4-1 scoreline against their Premiership opponents. In the dugout for Dunfermline were coaches Gary Montignani and Joe Chalmers, who were joined by Greg Shields.
Gary gave his views on the game, saying, “Luckily we were able to get Greg’s support to bridge the gap to the younger ones. The manager and Dave asked if we would take it again, and we were happy to do so.”
He highlighted that the Dunfermline Reserves adopted the same tactical approach as the first team, emphasising the importance of providing game time to the club’s recent signing, Alex Jakubiak. Gary said:-
“It is dependent on personnel. I think the important thing in the first half was to get Alex Jakubiak at least 45 (minutes). You could see the quality that he has got, he caused them real problems and he is looking really sharp. It gives the opportunity for the other ones to learn, like I said last week, the way the team wants to try and play. So yes, we will mirror the first team as much as possible, but you have to work with the guys that we have got.
“You could see the numbers that we had at the weekend in terms of injuries, so we knew coming into this game it was going to be a younger group. When people miss out, it gives other people opportunities.”
Paul Allan and Alex Jakubiak were withdrawn at half-time meaning, without these experienced players, the second half presented its challenges for the team. Gary explained:-
“We lost two goals and maybe got caught in the headlights a bit. I think there was a spell in the first half where Kilmarnock had five or ten minutes that we managed. There was a spell in the second half that we didn’t manage so well. It was probably the two flip sides to that. It wasn’t them cutting us open, it was just wee mistakes and being switched off to start the half that caught us, and at that point the game went away from us.
“We changed it just after the hour, Owen Moffat worked his socks off for an hour until we changed the shape just to try and suit the ones who were on the park a wee bit more. I felt we got more of a grip of the game in the second half.
Gary praised the team’s resilience in the latter stages of the game:-
“The way we rallied after the hour and got a grip of the ball and played, I thought we were stronger and more on the front foot. We created a fair amount of chances after that, so there were plenty of positives there.”
A major positive from the game was the performance of Alex Jakubiak, whose debut demonstrated the promise he brings to Dunfermline. Gary said that this will be the third week that Alex has been in training but he has not played any football matches for over four months:-
“Now we have got him to a point where he is playing minutes, and I think you can see what he will bring to the team – not only his pace but the way he uses his body to bring others in. He gives us a different threat. So it is fantastic to get him out, and it is now just building him up to feature for the first team.”
He expressed the excitement the management team see in Jakubiak and praised the 27 year old’s partnership with 17 year old Taylor Sutherland:-
“Ideally we wanted him there to get a goal to build his confidence, but he will score goals and be a real handful against any team in the Championship, so we were excited to see him.
“It was great to put a young one like Taylor up next to him. You could see the way they worked as a real partnership, one dropping in, the other one going high and they caused Kilmarnock a lot of problems. He has got a bit of everything Alex, and we are excited to have him. He is a great signing for us and we look forward to him featuring hopefully more in the first team and beyond.”