Dunfermline Athletic

Ash cuts it with Cal

Monday, 16th Oct 2017

I have played beside a lot of boys but he is definitely one of the best that I have played with.

Allan Johnston does not usually single out team members for special praise but he felt that Callum Morris and Lee Ashcroft deserved special mention after their performances against Queen of the South. Lee modestly praised both his team mate and the opposition:-

"Both sets of defenders defended well. It is a hard pitch to come and play on and they did test us. I thought big Cal was brilliant beside me, I`d definitely say that he was man of the match.

"When you have a boy playing beside you like that, it just makes it easier to go and do the right things. It was a real captain`s performance from him on Saturday. We did what we had to do in keeping a clean sheet, it was just unfortunate that we could not get the goal at the other end but they defended well as well."

Callum Morris had just returned from the international break when he was a member of the Northern Ireland squad that faced Germany and Norway.

"I think that would definitely give anybody a lot of confidence. Obviously he is training with some great players, players who are playing in the Premiership and it is a great squad that they have got so it is something that definitely helps him. Regardless of not getting any game time, just training with and being around these players is definitely a bonus. He was flying so hopefully he can keep that going for us.

"The more you play with somebody the easier it is to know what each other is about and the better the partnership gets. I have played beside a lot of boys but he is definitely one of the best that I have played with. He keeps me right and it is a good partnership that we have got going."

Back in May it was Nicky Clark who broke Queens hearts with a last minute winner that total spoiled the club`s end of season celebrations. On Saturday Lee Ashcroft came close to giving the Pars a late winner for the second time in two visits to Palmerston Park but saw his header on an added time corner cleared off the line.

Lee felt that setpieces were going to be the most likely way to break the deadlock he said:-

"There were a lot of setpieces in the game but I don`t think that there were many clear cut chances. They stopped us doing the corners in the way that we like to do with a boy on the front post."

Dunfermline`s fifth and final corner of the day Ashcroft decided to mix it up and stay at the back. It took a timely Callum Tapping header to deny Ash and the Pars three points.

"I got the header off and as soon as it left my head I thought it was in but the boy has done well to clear it off the line. I can only say well done to him but I thought that I had won it. Apart from that we did not have many more clear cut chances."

Maybe no clear cut chances but Lee`s forehead was clear cut again causing him to lose minutes off the park being patched up. Lee lamented:-

"That`s about five times that I have been cut now already this season but it is the same cut and not as bad as the last time. It is getting better and hopefully that will be the last one for the season."

Queen`s manager Gary Naysmith had singled out Ryan Williamson for special attention and Lee agreed that they did well to restrict him getting forward:-

"He only managed a couple of crosses in the first half. He got a couple in the second half but usually he is the one who goes in and makes the chances - him and Higgy - down the right hand side.

"They stuck to what they were told and made it hard for Ryan and Higgy to get any good deliveries into the box. He put a great one in for Declan (McManus) but to be fair Calum Tapping made a great clearance off the line."

First quarter of fixtures completed Lee gave his assessment on the Championship after nine games:-

"There were a couple of bad results. We hurt with the Dundee United one at home because we have been so good at home in the first quarter. To get beat off them was a bit gutting and to come to Dumfries and get a point means that we can get back up the road, we are at East End next week and hopefully we can start the next quarter. The way we started the last one. We would take the same points again from the next quarter."

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