1969: West Bromwich Albion 0 Dunfermline 1
Memorable Match #26
European Cup Winners Cup
Quarter Final Second Leg
Wednesday 19th February 1969
As Scottish Cup holders Dunfermline Athletic had qualified for the 1968-69 European Cup Winners Cup and after seeing off Apoel FC of Nicosia and Greek side Olympiakos they met the English Cup holders West Bromwich Albion in the last eight of the competition.
West Brom had reached the quarter finals by defeating FC Brugge and Dynamo Bucharest. There were four Scots in their squad - Doug Fraser a full internationalist, Ray Wilson, Bobby Hope a schoolboy internationalist and 18 year old Asa Hartford. Their centre forward Jeff Astle had everyone’s respect after scoring the extra time winner against Everton to win them the FA Cup.
The first leg at East End Park in front of a crowd of 25000 had been a frustrating goalless affair and Pars boss George Farm knew that they would have to open out in the second leg at the Hawthorns five weeks later. The second leg would be screened on two large screens thirty feet by forty feet at East End Park. Seven thousand turned up on the night to watch the game from 300 miles away. Two thousand fans travelled south to witness the outcome first hand.
Willie Callaghan returned from suspension and so he replaced Alex Totten at right back. The only other change from the first leg was Jim Thomson coming in for Ian Lister in what was regarded a tactical move.
Above: Dunfermline players at The Hawthorns
Alex Cameron wrote in the Daily Record:-
Dunfermline played the match of their lives at The Hawthorns to go on into the semi finals of the European Cup Winners Cup - the first time they have been in the last four of a major European tournament in the club’s history.
The doughty dauntless determined Fifers scored a second minute goal through Pat Gardner and then slogged out the rest of the match in unattractive but superbly effective defence.
At the finish George Farm, trainer Andy Stevenson and the five substitutes dashed on to the bone-hard and heavily sanded pitch to congratulate the eleven tired but triumphant heroes.
The match had ran as Farm predicted it would. But they were helped by a courageous referee Bill O’Neill from Ireland who didn’t hesitate to give decisions which brought bitter moans from the 30000 partisan crowd - including a disallowed goal.
A delighted George Farm said at the end:-
“This was better even than our Scottish Cup final win. Our boys played exactly the right way.”
Above: Pars players celebrate Pat Gardner`s goal
The conditions were terrible. The pitch was hard as cement and sand swirled about like a whirlpool in the half gale. But Dunfermline, once they were a goal ahead, defended with such excellence that they made Custer’s Last Stand look like child’s play.
The moment of greatest joy of course was the goal. Dunfermline had been given a free kick for obstruction just outside the penalty area. Alex Edwards took the kick and the ball bounced back to him off a defender. This time Edwards lifted it higher and brought it over close to Gardner.
Under the garish floodlights there was a flash and a flurry and the ball soared from the fair head of GARDNER into the goal close to Osborne’s right hand post. The keeper, in fact, made a poor job of trying to stop the ball. 0-1
Then the Fifers put ‘Operation Defence’ into effect and West Brom just couldn’t break down Roy Barry and the rest of the ‘barrier’. Barry was truly magnificent and must have made many of the watching English managers aggrieved that none had made a move for him when he was on the transfer list.
Still Dunfermline did have anxious moments. Just look at what happened on three especially tense moments:-
ONE: Two minutes from half time Tony Brown took a free kick just outside the penalty area. He struck the ball fiercely into the net despite the fact that Duff got a hand to it. But the excitement of the West Brom fans was stilled by the pointing finger of referee O’Neill. He had seen Astle move offside before the ball was kicked by Brown.
TWO: The 73rd minute and Dunfermline were heading and kicking the ball away with nervous desperation. Suddenly top scoring wing half Brown loomed up eight yards out from goal with the ball at his feet. Duff had only a second to poise himself but Brown struck out hastily and the ball spun over the bar.
THREE: Four minutes later 20 year old Dennis Martin found himself running in on the Fife goal. He shot from two yards out but Duff instinctively stuck out a foot to turn the ball round a post.
And so all was finally well for the Fifers. They had gone forward in Europe by going backwards. Awaiting them in the semi final were the Czech cup holders, Slovan Bratislava.
WEST BROMWICH ALBION: John Osborne: Doug Fraser, Ray Wilson, Tony Brown, John Talbut, John Kaye, Dennis Martin, Graham Lovett, Jeff Astle, Ian Collard, Asa Hartford.
SUBS: Graham Williams, Lyndon Hughes, Dick Krzywicki, Hugh Reed, Geoff Hickman (GK).
DUNFERMLINE: Willie Duff: Willie Callaghan, John Lunn, Jim Fraser, Roy Barry, Jim Thomson, Hugh Robertson, Bert Paton, Alex Edwards, Willie Renton, Pat Gardner.
SUBS NOT USED: Eddie Ferguson, Alex Totten, Ian Lister, John McGarty, Bent Martin (GK).
REFEREE: WA O`Neill, Dublin
Above: The large screen at East End Park battled with the weather
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- 1969: Dunfermline 1 Slovan Bratislava 1
- 1962: Dunfermline 2 Everton 0
- 1968: Dunfermline 2 St Johnstone 1
- 2007: Dunfermline 3 Rangers 2