1970: Dunfermline 3 Anderlecht 2
Memorable Match #35
Inter Cities Fairs Cup Third Round
Wednesday 14th January 1970
After reaching the semi final of the previous season’s European Cup Winners Cup Dunfermline fancied their chances in the European Fairs Cup. They had reached the third round of the 1969-70 competition after impressively knocking out Bordeaux and the Polish army side., Gwardia. Their next opponents would be the Royal Sporting Club of Anderlecht, a club that had won the Belgian League a Championship no fewer than 14 times since the Second World War.
Anderlecht had reached this stage of the competition after convincingly seeing off both Iceland’s Valur and Northern Ireland’s Coleraine. In the first leg in Brussels on 17th December, the Pars did well to limit their hosts to a one goal advantage to take into the second leg in Fife.
The return leg turned out to be full of excitement and drama. The Belgians brought in Paul van Himst, then only 26 but captain of both his club and country. Belgium’s international keeper Jean Trappieners also returned after missing most of the season with a broken hand.
The Fifers had removed the Belgians one goal advantage within nine minutes. Picking up a loose ball, George McLEAN raced in, weaving round two defenders before calmly slipping the ball right footed past the advancing keeper. 1-0
A cracking 15th minute shot from Gardner brought out an international class save by Trappenniers. Then next minute Georges Heylens floored Jim Gillespie as the winger attempted to cross from Mitchell. The Spanish referee had no hesitation in awarding a penalty that Alex Edwards would take. His effort hit off the inside of the post, the ball then rebounding off Trappenniers face before the keeper cleared. A lucky save but an important one.
The Belgians then forced the pace a bit and were gaining more and more possession that boosted their confidence.
Half time: Dunfermline 1 Anderlecht 0
The second half started well with Barrie MITCHELL scoring within 30 seconds. The supplier was Edwards crossing from the right for the striker to head home between the keeper and his post. 2-0
The Pars had their tails up. First Edwards then Mitchell fired shots wide of the same post. Although Anderlecht were playing good football in midfield and of course only needed one goal to qualify on away goals.
A force shot from Thomas Nordahl bounced off Willie Duff’s chest before the goalie held it. Then Duff had to save a low effort from Jon Mulder. When Mitchell crashed a shot into the Anderlecht box there were appeals for a penalty after a defender appeared to hand ball but the referee was not keen to give a second penalty.
McLean had another near thing before with 17 minutes remaining Anderlecht broke away to score. Alfonse Peeters did the work, before slipping a great pass into the path of Van HIMST. From 15 yards out the Belgian shot low past Duff into the far corner of the net. 2-1
Unless the Pars could score a goal they were out and unfortunately that came at the wrong end. With seven minutes remaining MULDER shot an equaliser through Duff. 2-2
Two minutes later from an Edwards pass, McLEAN scored a third Dunfermline goal.
That heralded one final push and Mitchell was unlucky when he hit the final chance against the keeper from close range.
Dunfermline had fought so hard and were so much in command for long stages that it was a tragedy that they lost this tie. The Belgians went on to defeat Newcastle United, Inter Milan and Arsenal on their way to lifting the trophy.
After 41 matches in European competitions this was to be Dunfermline’s final match at this level for almost 35 years.
DUNFERMLINE: Willie Duff: Willie Callaghan, John Lunn, Dave McNicoll, Doug Baillie (c), George McLean, Barrie Mitchell, Billy McLaren, Alex Edwards, Pat Gardner, Jim Gillespie.
SCORERS: McLean (9, 88), Mitchell (46)
ANDERLECHT: Jean Trappeniers: Johnny Velkeneers, Julien Kialunda, Jean Cornelius, Georges Heylens, Alfonse Peeters, Thomas Nordahl, Werner Deraeve, Jon Mulder, Wilfried Puis, Paul van Himst (c).
SCORERS: Van Himst (73), Mulder (83)
REFEREE: Mariano Medina Iglesias (Spain).
Watch the highlights Dunfermline v Anderlecht on YouTube
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- Index of all Memorable Matches