Dunfermline Athletic

2018: Boreham Wood 0 Dunfermline 0

Memorable Match #61
Irn Bru Cup Second Round
Meadow Park, Hertfordshire
Saturday 8th September 2018

Following the likes of Berwick Rangers, Everton, West Bromwich Albion and Tottenham, Boreham Wood were added to list of English opponents Dunfermline Athletic have faced in cup matches. This Irn Bru Cup tie took the Fifers to Meadow Park in Hertfordshire but it has to be said that the occasion was more memorable than the football.

The location was buzzing in anticipation of the big kick off but most were thinking of the imminent start of this year’s Strictly at the nearby Elstree Studios. Further star spotting was possible with the latest Celebrity Big Brother evictee Hardeep Singh Kohli spending his first night back in sanity at the team’s hotel.

So how would a Scottish Championship side fair against a team in the fifth tier of English football? Would the Pars be in the dance off, would they face eviction or could they come, conquer and restore some pride in Scottish football?

Manager Allan Johnston was without Ryan Williamson who was on international duty with Scot Gemmill’s Scotland Under 21s. James Craigen, Robbie Muirhead and Kallum Higginbotham started in place of Williamson, Devine and Hippolyte.

The hosts kicked off attacking the goal in front of the sizeable and vociferous travelling support. First shot of any description came in fourth minute from Joe Thomson but his 30 yard out effort dropped outside the right upright.

Three minutes later Craigen accepted a short pass and snapped a low effort that went outside that same post. A few misplaced passes and then a dispossession led to The Wood getting an eleventh minute chance but fortunately Lee Robinson was well position to make an easy take on Halkett-Fairchild’s shot from the edge of the penalty box.

The midpoint of the first half arrived with both teams having seen periods of possession but nothing had caused the keepers any threat whatsoever.

On 25 minutes a fine El Bakhtaoui run up the right ended with a great cross into the box and Louis Longridge released a powerful attempt that was only kept out by Parry diving in to make a painful block. Definitely the best of the few chances of the first half of the match.

Everyone who had made the long journey south hoped that they would see goals in the second half and avoid the need for a penalty shoot out.

Half time: Boreham Wood 0 Dunfermline Athletic 0

El Bakhtaoui had an attempt, but sadly wide and Halkett-Fairchild’s header went well over the bar.

In just the eighth minute of the half Kallum Higginbotham was forced to retire and Myles Hippolyte came on in his place. The sub immediately got in a useful cross and then Muirhead crashed a shot on target that the captain, former Hibs player David Stephens headed away.

There was no little goalmouth action and Malaury Martin replaced Joe Thomson as the match entered its final quarter. The National League side withdrew Shaibu to bring on their number nine, Josh Umerah.

Aidan Connolly came on for Louis Longridge before a 76th minute corner. Martin’s cross-goal attempt was turned behind for another and this time Martin’s cross dropped for Mark Durnan at the far lost. His strike was blocked and Vincent smashed a return from 20 yards out that went wide.

There was increasing urgency shown by both sides as the time ran out. Vincent tried a shot and Connolly popped a cross in from the left but that was easy meat for the former Arsenal keeper.

With 88 minutes gone Hippolyte picked out Connolly on the right but clean through on goal, his shot was saved by the keeper and then Vincent came close to catching a cross in front of Ryan Huddart. There were three added minutes at the end and it was the Fifers who pushed the hardest but neither side could break the deadlock.

Full time: Boreham Wood 0 Dunfermline 0

No extra time, the match was decided on penalties taken at the end where most of the Pars fans were located.

1. Malaury Martin scores high left: 1-0
2, Kieran Murtagh scores keeper goes other way: 1-1
3. James Craigen nets to the right: 2-1
4. Josh Umeragh scores to keepers left: 2-2
5. Myles Hippolyte scores low left footed effort to right post: 3-2
6. Jamal Fyfield scores with left footed to right: 3-3
7. Faissal El Bakhtaoui nets sending keeper wrong way: 4-3
8. Femi Ilesanmi smashes home: 4-4
9. Aidan Connolly left footed nets: 5-4
10. Recto Hackett-Fairchild low to left: 5-5
11.Robbie Muirhead left footed drive low left: 6-5
12. Connor Smith hits crossbar and ball rebounds out: 6-5

As if pre arranged the sun came out and the journey back home suddenly looked much brighter. Many Pars fans stayed local overnight and they probably enjoyed the whole trip much more than the players and management.

BOREHAM WOOD: Ryan Huddart: Femi Ilesanmi, Ricky Shakes, David Stephens, Immanuel Parry, Kieran Murtagh, Jamal Fyfield, Connor Smith, Sorba Thomas, Reeco Hackett-Fairchild, Justin Shaibu (Josh Umerah 68).
SUBS NOT USED: Mark Ricketts, Jack Gibbs, Dan Creese, Alex Morgan, Fred Burbidge (GK).

DUNFERMLINE: Lee Robinson: James Craigen, Lee Ashcroft (c), Mark Durnan, Jackson Longridge: Kallum Higginbotham (Myles Hippolyte 54), James Vincent, Joe Thomson (Malaury Martin 68), Robbie Muirhead: Faissal El Bakhtaoui, Louis Longridge (Aidan Connolly 76).
SUBS NOT USED: Andy Ryan, Lewis McCann, Cammy Gill (GK).

REFEREE: Evan Boyce
WEATHER: Cloudy 18°C

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