Dunfermline 2 Dundee United 3Tuesday, 22nd Jul 2008
The visit of Dundee United was the last chance for Manager Jim McIntyre to assess his players in match conditions before the season kicks off on Saturday with the Challenge Cup match against Stirling Albion. The SPL outfit in contrast will face Barcelona on Saturday and still they have plenty time before their SPL season starts against Hamilton Accies on Monday 11th August.
Dunfermline made one change from the starting eleven that was successful last midweek against Hearts, Scott Wilson making way for Greg Shields. No Noel Hunt in the United side unfortunately but that might well be for good reasons with his rumoured move to the Premiership, however new signings German Andis Shala, ex Celtic keeper Michael McGovern and now fully fledged Arab Willo Flood faced the Pars.
Dunfermline kicked off playing west to east but were under early pressure from a second minute free kick from just 25 yards out. Fortunately Flood sent that over the wall and over the bar. Scott Thomson was forced into conceding a ninth minute corner and when that came over from the right Lee Wilkie at the far side of 6 yard box headed the ball down into a central area. Scott Muirhead cleared away only as far as Scott Robertson but his shot was off target.
Robertson got away from his marker to get in another shot soon after and this time Greg Shields turned the danger around the post. The Pars dealt better with this corner but Dundee United were putting the Fifers defence to the test.
On 14 minutes Graham Bayne and Kevin Harper combined well to give the home fans something to applaud but Calum Woods final ball was too strong. Five minutes later the visitors really should have been ahead. Morago Gomas got behind Woods and his cross from the byeline was met by the diving Feeney but his mistimed effort only turned the ball back across goal and the Pars were let off.
Alex Burke took the Pars first corner in 22nd minute, a short one to Harper and back but United were out fast and Woods was forced into a hurried punt that was easy meat for McGovern.
Next Harper cut in from the right to create more trouble and his pass was knocked into the path of Nick Phinn by an outstretched United foot. His on target shot from the edge of the area was blocked by Grainger and only a corner was won. Unluckily that one from the left was not high enough and the visitors came out on top.
The Tangerines had been tamed and even when Danny Grainger, David Robertson and Andis Shala switched the ball about to give Gomas a pop at Gallacher the ball was well held by the ex United keeper. Dunfermline continued to exert pressure on McGovern's goal and on the half hour a move from Woods through Harper and Glass flashed the ball across the box. Bayne flicked the ball to Muirhead on the edge of the six yard box but his driven shot was blocked and the ball went out for another corner on the right.
In 38th minute Flood floated a sweet ball in from a free kick on the left. Muirhead rose to it but didn't get enough on it to prevent the ball continuing towards the right byeline where Wilkie's run almost deflected the ball into the net. Flood next picked up and hammered a loose ball at Gallacher but his drive was too high to bother with.
Feeney passed up another good opportunity just two minutes from the break. Flood had made the break in the right channel and Wilkie was forward to run on to a pass that he turned across the face of goal. Unbelievably Feeney hit the left sidenetting when it must have been easier to hit the target.
This was a good first half performance from Athletic. They found the Tayside outfit much sharper than the SPL team from the Capital that we watched at East End last Wednesday.
Half Time: Dunfermline 0 Dundee United 0
United made four half time substitutions and the Pars one; Jim McIntyre replacing Scott Muirhead. It was United who threatened first with two United subs Francesco Sandaza and Prince Buaben almost carving their route through the left side of the home defence. Woods stopped the progress and Sandaza was unlucky not to do better with the defended ball.
In 51 minutes Macca accepted a nice ball from Phinn and released Burke on the left wing. His cross required all of Wilkie's height to concede a corner at the far post. Dunfermline failed to make that one count but when Paul Willis won another seven minutes later it was a different ending. By that time Jim McIntyre had been forced to leave the field with a tear to his calf, an injury that has troubled him three times previously.
Alex Burke sent in the corner from the right and Scott THOMSON headed downwards and with enough on it to prevent the United scramble on the line from denying him.
The lead was short lived, just two minutes, as the new United strikeforce hit all the right notes. Buaben turned in a cross from a tight spot on the right of the penalty box and SANDAZA was able to ward off the challenge of Woods to net from six yards.
Next minute Buaben hammered the ball against the left upright and in 63rd minute a long sweeping pass from Ryan McCord on the left cleared Thomson's leap and SANDAZA was left with a relatively easy job of finding the net. He struck the ball well to beat Gallacher.
McCord was forward again as the game entered its final quarter and his rocket from 25 yards skimmed narrowly outside the right post. The First Division club were far from finished and scored an equaliser after Glass' free kick came back off the defensive wall for Nick PHINN to whack back at goal finding a hole to the keeper's right.
Two minutes later in 69 minutes Glass sent Phinn through into the left side of the visitors penalty box but McGovern was out to beat away Phinn's shot. The match then got disjointed with just about everyone being subbed. The young Pars side that were left to finish struggled a little to compete with the more experienced United replacements and it was a shame that they were to leak another goal.
United snatched the winner four minutes from time when Scott ROBERTSON was not closed down quick enough on the top of the box. He fired home beating Gallacher at the left post.
DUNFERMLINE: Paul Gallacher; Calum Woods, Greg Shields, Scott Thomson (Scott Wilson 73), Austin McCann (Harry McGregor 84); Kevin Harper, Nick Phinn (Ryan Thomson 79), Stephen Glass (c), Alex Burke, Scott Muirhead (Jim McIntyre HT (Paul Willis 54)), Graham Bayne (Jordan White 73).
SUBS: Callum Reidford.
SCORER: Thomson (58), Phinn (67)
DUNDEE UNITED: Michael McGovern; Michael Kovacevik, Lee Wilkie (Sean Dillon 70), Darren Dods, Danny Grainger ; Morgaro Gomas (Ryan McCord HT), Scott Robertson, Willo Flood (Jon Daly HT), David Robertson (Danny Swanson 83) Warren Feeney (Francesco Sandaza HT (David Goodwillie 83)), Andis Shala (Prince Buaben HT)
SUBS: Lukasz Zaluska,
SCORER: Sandaza (60, 63), S Robertson (86)
REFEREE: Stephen Finnie
WEATHER: Dry, windy 22?C
NEXT MATCH: Challenge Cup (home) v Stirling Albion, Saturday 26th July kick off 3.00pm