Dunfermline Athletic

1961: Dunfermline 4 St Patricks Athletic 1

Memorable Match #48
Tuesday 12th September 1961
European Cup Winners Cup - First Round First Leg
Pars first match in European competition

Following the Scottish Cup win against Celtic, at the start of season 1961/62, the Athletic players and supporters were eagerly awaiting their first taste of European competition. Proudly taking their place in the European Cup Winners Cup the Pars were only the fourth Scottish club to venture into a European competition.

Their opponents would be the Irish cup holders, St Patrick’s Athletic from Dublin.

The Pars started the game well and after just 3 minutes an excellent chance to open the scoring was passed up, when the ball flashed across the St Patrick’s goal with no takers. Lowry then had to save well from Harry Melrose, whilst GeorgePeebles hit the post with a low shot, and John Duffy shot narrowly past.

With the Dubliners well out of the game, even at this early stage, it was only a matter of time before Dunfermline got the opener, and it duly arrived after 15 minutes. Ron Mailer lobbed the ball through for Alex Smith, who squared the ball to MELROSE to lash the ball into the net. 1-0

Seven minutes later, and the second goal arrived. Duffy passed the ball into PEEBLES path, and having got a break following McCarthy’s challenge, the Pars man picked his spot in the net. 2-0

Above: The Pars defence - Cammy Fraser, Eddie Connachan, Willie Cunningham

The Pars went three up in 28 minutes, and by this time they were dominating the game. A Cunningham free kick was launched into the box, and with three players contesting, the ball skimmed off Sean McCarthy’s head into the net. Although Charlie DICKSON’s presence had caused the goal, the big centre forward refused the congratulatory handshakes offered by his team-mates. 3-0

In 32 minutes Eddie Connachan finally had a save to make from Peyton. Four minutes later, a Smith drive was headed off the line by John White. Then, one minute on, and against the run of play, St Patrick’s scored. Peyton sent a long ball through to Paddy O’ROURKE who beat Connachan with a low drive. 3-1

Lowry did well to turn aside a Melrose shot, whilst at the Pars end, Connachan pulled off a wonder save from James Redmond. Finding himself out of goal and on the ground, Eddie had to turn in mid-air to prevent the Irishman’s shot from reaching the net.

Half time: Dunfermline 3 St Patricks 1

After the break, Lowry was again busy as Dunfermline looked to increase their lead. Following a great Pars move Smith’s netbound header was grabbed on the line by the keeper. Excellent chances then fell to both Mailer and Dickson, whilst St Patrick’s also saw a number of chances wasted.

Then with just three minutes remaining, Dickson flashed the ball across the face of the goal, for Tommy McDONALD to head home the Pars fourth. 4-1

Despite holding only a three goal lead ahead of the second leg, the Pars domination was worthy of a far greater lead, suggesting that the second leg would be little more than a formality.

Taking a healthy three goal lead to Dublin a fortnight later, it proved to be just that - the Pars winning 4-0 to go through to the next round where they met FK Vardar from Skopje in what is now North Macedonia.

DUNFERMLINE: Eddie Connachan, Cammy FRASER, Willie Cunningham, Ron Mailer, George Miller, John Duffy, Tommy McDonald, Alex Smith, Charlie Dickson, Harry Melrose, George Peebles.
SCORERS: Melrose (15), Peebles (23), Dickson (28), McDonald (87).

ST PATRICKS ATHLETIC: Dinny Lowry: Sean McCarthy, Joe Clark, John White, Brian Treacy, Vincent O’Reilly, Tommy Dunne, James Redmond, William Peyton, Paddy O’Rourke, Ronnie Whelan.
SCORER: O’Rourke (38)

REFEREE: A Holland (Barnsley)

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