Dunfermline Athletic

2007: Dunfermline 1 Hibernian 0

Memorable Match #36
Scottish Cup Semi Final Replay
Hampden Park, Tuesday 24th April 2007

Scottish Cup Final here we come. Jim McIntyre`s cheeky 88th minute penalty secured Uefa Cup football for Dunfermline after victory in a scintillating Scottish Cup semi-final.

On the evening of the Scottish Cup semi final replay the road to Hampden was a fairly quiet one but for the loyal supporters who travelled through from Fife, the rarefied atmosphere of the National Stadium with just 8536 spectators was of no importance. They were hoping it would materialise into just another step for the Pars as they tried to leap into Europe in a welcome aside from stern attempts to avoid visits next season to Hamilton, Cumbernauld and Dumfries.

Darren Young returned for the Pars in a reshuffled line up, replacing Scott Wilson in the only change from the side that played nine days before. Hibs went with Damon Gray in preference to Steven Fletcher, their only change from the goalless first meeting.

Hibs kicked off playing towards the Celtic end with Bejelloun shooting as early as the 18th second to bring Pars keeper Dorus de Vries into the game very early. The Edinburgh side piled on the pressure until Jim O`Brien stole the ball off Benjelloun and Jamie McCunnie broke out of defence sending Adam Hammill up the right and although the Hibs defence fended him off, Young was able to win the first corner of the game in 4th minute. Scott Muirhead sent the ball in from the right only for McNeil to gather somewhat unconvincingly.

More Hibs pressure was not good for the faint hearted and thankfully David Murphy was too strong with his tenth minute corner. Greg Shields then made a tremendous tackle on Beuzelin on the edge of the box when it looked like Benjelloun`s break had set up the Frenchman for a strike at target.

Dunfermline then came back at Hibs when Jim McIntyre`s 14th minute pass fed Hammill and he shot low towards the bottom right but McNeill touched the ball around his post.

Four minutes later Muirhead won a corner on the left and the Pars were denied the opener when O`Brien sent the ball across. First McNeil parried McIntyre`s header and then Stevenson headed McGuire`s kneed follow up off the line. A let off for the Easter Road side and it was becoming all Dunfermline with another Pars corner.

The chances were not all in front of McNeil though and in 27th minute Scott Brown danced around the left side of the defence to direct the ball over de Vries towards goal. Miraculously just when it looked goal, Greg Shields made a fantastic clearance off the line for de Vries to collect with the coolness to suggest nothing had happened.

The 26 year old Dutch keeper touched over his crossbar a 34th minute Stevenson shot from distance. Hibs pushed even more towards half time with Brown causing further problems, setting up Whittaker for a shot that was deflected wide of the left post. The Hibs corner found Jones at the far post but de Vries held after a quick adjustment.

It was quite a first half, real cup tie stuff with the Dunfermline fans making lots of encouraging noise.

Half Time: Dunfermline 0 Hibernian 0

Fletcher replaced Gray for the restart and within 30 seconds he evaded all challenges to make ground up the left and send in a cross cum shot that de Vries had to hold. The Pars were allowed to take the game to Hibs but despite the advantage of possession they failed to endanger McNeil`s goal.

Nine players on the park were one caution away from missing the final and Dunfermline`s Gary Mason fell foul of the two-booking rule after a late challenge on Steven Whittaker. That would of course mean that he would miss the cup final should his team win but all that was dependent on somehow finding the Hibs net, something that had not happened in the previous 142 minutes of this semi final.

It was Hibs who came closest to breaking the deadlock with Jones heading a corner from the right narrowly outside the far post. Further good play from Hibs created another chance in front of the Fifers goal with Fletcher heading over the bar from six yards.

There were further let offs in front of the Pars goal as Hibs turned up the pressure with 15 minutes remaining. When Brown hit a shot low towards the left side of goal, de Vries reached out to take the sting out of the shot and McCunnie cleared off the line.

The Hibs substitute Dean Shiels, on for Sproule, spilled over in a challenge from Bamba but the appeals for a penalty. It transpired that Craig Thomson was to point to the spot but it was at the other end!

Hammill`s shot from 25 yards out won a corner on the left. Morrison swung the ball in but Hibs cleared, Hammill gathered and faced with defenders between him and goal, the Liverpool lad chose to take the ball right. He then shuffled and stepped inside a defender to advance on goal. He was taken down by Chris Hogg and there was little surprise that the penalty decision went Dunfermline`s way.

Jim McINTYRE, scorer in two previous semi finals stepped up and calmly did the business with just two minutes remaining. There was little doubt after that Stephen Kenny`s troops were not for relinquishing that lead. 90 minutes came and the added three before the final whistle heralded the most fantastic players and fans celebration.

There was little time to commiserate with John Collins` side who had put up an extremely strong attempt to thwart the Pars progress.

Well done Dunfermline. That’s Rangers, Hearts, Hibs and Partick Thistle disposed of, should Celtic be scared?

DUNFERMLINE: de Vries; Greg Shields (c), Souleymane Bamba, Phil McGuire, Scott Muirhead; Jim O`Brien (Owen Morrison 69), Darren Young (Mark Burchill 77), Jamie McCunnie, Gary Mason, Adam Hammill (Greg Ross 89); Jim McIntyre.
SUBS NOT USED: Freddie Daquin, Roddy McKenzie (GK)
SCORERS: McIntyre (87 pen)
YELLOW CARD: Mason (52), Hammill (83)

HIBERNIAN: Andrew McNeil; Steven Whittaker Chris Hogg, Rob Jones (c), David Murphy; Scott Brown, Abdessalam Benjelloun, Guillaume Beuzelin (Ross Chisholm 74), Lewis Stevenson, Damon Gray (Steven Fletcher HT), Ivan Sproule (Dean Shiels 67)
SUBS NOT USED: Simon Brown, Kevin McCann.
YELLOW CARD: Stevenson (36)

REFEREE: Craig Thomson
WEATHER: Overcast 16?C

NEXT MATCH: SPL (away) v St Mirren, Monday 30th April 2007, kick off 7.45pm

Watch Semi Final story on YouTube

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