Dunfermline Athletic

2017: Hearts 2 Dunfermline 2

Memorable Match #51
Betfred Cup, Group B
Saturday 29th July 2017, Tynecastle Park

In the 2017-18 season’s Betfred Cup the Pars had defeated Elgin City 6-0 and Peterhead 5-1 in their home games and drawn 0-0 away to East Fife. Their final fixture was away to Hearts. The SPL side had been favourites to win Group B but a surprise defeat away to Peterhead in midweek meant a draw would be enough to see the Fifers top the section. Their hosts would have other ideas.

Allan Johnston’s Dunfermline were without Nicky Clark and Dean Shiels so into the side came Nat Wedderburn and 17 year-old Callum Smith.

The Hearts manager, Ian Cathro, said in his programme notes that four matches in two weeks can have its problems but he claimed that his side had prepared well for this encounter and they believed that they could win and top the group.

It was a winner takes all scenario since should Peterhead win at Elgin then they would take second place and Hearts needed a win and Dunfermline a draw to top the group.

The Fifers started well with Hearts keeper Jack Hamilton coming to pluck a tenth minute cross from Kallum Higginbotham out of the air. Another Higginbotham cross four minutes later after an exchange with Smith on the right side of the box, was again cleared amidst appeals for a push on Declan McManus on the edge of the six yards box.

When McManus fed Joe Cardle, a slick pass out right for Smith was met by Cardle from the cut back and Hamilton had to dive to his right to hold.

But just as it looked like the Fifers would stand a great chance, an equally swift forward move saw the Jambos take the lead. Don COWIE receive the ball on the edge of the Pars box and he crashed his low shot past Sean Murdoch for the 20th minute opener. 1-0

Eight minutes later the Pars support erupted to celebrate an equaliser. Higginbotham`s pass was gathered by CARDLE just inside the box and he showed great control to beat off John Souttar with first a right footed touch, a turn and then a low left footed shot that nestled in the bottom left of the opposition net. 1-1

Murdoch pulled off a great save four minutes before the interval, palming a Morris defensive header on to the crossbar and then a couple of great defensive plays from Cardle kept Hearts out.

The half time stats would show 62% home possession but the visitors had managed five shots on target to Hearts four. So at the break the scoreline suited Dunfermline in their quest to be in the hat for the draw on Sunday evening.

Half time: Hearts 1 Dunfermline 1

Just seven minutes into the second half the 1132 Pars fans at Tynecastle got another goal to celebrate. Latching on to a long pass up the right from Higginbotham, Smith brushed aside the challenge of Souttar and sprinted. He could have shot but showing maturity beyond his years, squared for McMANUS who took the luxury of two taps to get the ball on to his right foot to release a shot that hit the net to the sheer delight of the Pars fraternity. 2-1 to Dunfermline.

There was plenty Pars possession predominantly in the opposition half and even loud appeals from their fans as McManus was spilled in the box as he challenged for the ball with Berra.

Hearts were well out of sorts and the travelling support were ready to celebrate a famous win, but there was to be a fight to the end.

A 85th minute corner on the right was sent over by sub Malauray Martin, Murdoch fisted out only as far as Lafferty but Wedderburn headed behind for a corner on the left. When the ball came over there was a scramble and GONÇALVES managed to net from the melee. 2-2

In the second minute of time added on there was one almighty Hearts miss. Ashcroft and Berra crunched in front of the Pars goal and from the resultant corner Stockton had a glorious chance but he blasted the ball over the bar.

Betfred Cup games required a winner and that would be decided on penalties despite Dunfermline already topping the group and Hearts failing to qualify.

1 Michael Paton scored low right
2 Jordan McGhee over the bar 0-1
3 Scott Lochhead scored left 0-2
4 Kyle Lafferty in off right post 1-2
5 Declan McManus centre saved by Hamilton
6 Malauray Martin high and wide right 1-2
7 Nat Wedderburn with left foot smashed in right 1-3
8 Don Cowie sent ball over the top

Pars took the two points for winning on penalties. Cue a huge and very vocal celebration by the Fife fans and the players. Nobody appeared to want to leave, it was just a shame that the late equaliser denied Dunfermline their first win at Tynecastle for 27 years.

HEARTS: Jack Hamilton: Jordan McGhee, John Souttar (Krystian Nowak 53), Christophe Berra, Michael Smith: Don Cowie, Prince Buaben (Cole Stockton 60), Arnaud Djoum (Malaury Martin 74), Jamie Brandon, Isma Gonçalves, Kyle Lafferty
SUBS NOT USED: Ashley Smith-Brown, Rory Currie, Connor Randall, Viktor Noring (GK)
SCORERS: Cowie (20), Gonçalves (86)

DUNFERMLINE: Sean Murdoch: Ryan Williamson, Callum Morris (c), Lee Ashcroft, Lewis Martin: Kallum Higginbotham, Michael Paton, Nat Wedderburn, Joe Cardle (Jean-Yves M`Voto 89): Declan McManus, Callum Smith (Scott Lochhead 66)
SUBS NOT USED: Aaron Splaine, Jason Talbot, Conner Duthie, Cammy Gill (GK)
SCORERS: Cardle (28), McManus (52)
YELLOW CARD: Wedderburn (55), Lochhead (86)

REFEREE: Craig Thomson
WEATHER: Sunny 20C

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