Alba Challenge Cup v Stirling Albion


Fixture: Alba Challenge Cup First Round

Attendance: 1340, Kick off 15.00

Referee: Eddie Smith

There was only one change in the Dunfermline side from that which faced Dundee United in midweek. Scott Wilson returned to lead out the team┬ but Scott Muirhead was out with a niggly hip injury.

The match started in true cup tie tradition with play and chances ebbing from end to end. The home team took their very first chance and got the tie off to the best of possible starts with a goal in the fourth minute..

Calum Woods, playing in a right midfield role, made the break from 10 yards inside his opponents half to cross the ball in for Alex BURKE to turn past keeper Christie from 8 yards out.

Before that Stirling had threatened from a second minute corner with Andy Graham causing the danger at the far post before the Pars defence scrambled the ball away. The visitors had another good chance in six minutes when Stuart Devine`s free kick from 25 yards out rebounded for Steven Waddle to test Paul Gallacher but the keeper was the equal to it.

Play was back in front of Christie`s goal, however within the minute and Greg Shields forced another save from the green shirted stopper. Christie did very well again when Harper moved the ball to Woods in the Stirling D. The Scouser fed the ball wide to Burke who then fired an inviting ball into the six yard box but the keeper held.

In 14 minutes Glass and Shields combined crisply to deliver a cross that Nick Phinn headed back across goal but just too far in front of Graham Bayne. Dunfermline continued to press and you felt they were likely to score at any time.

Woods next found Phinn for a cross that Harper shot on target but David Lowing deflected that for a corner. The keeper chose to double fist Glass` cross with a result that the ball fell nicely for Kevin Harper and this time his shot, bound for the inside of the left post, was deflected past by Christie.

Calum Woods had an opportunity that was deflected wide left and Bayne had bad luck from the corner heading narrowly wide.

Stirling kept the game lively and Gallacher was still seeing plenty of the ball but the nearest Stirling came was a Lowing header from a John O`Neill free kick that dropped over the crossbar.

In 35 minutes another Glass corner from the right was defended only as far as Burke on the left angle of the box. Bayne forced a good save out of Christie from the follow up delivery. Then Phinn tested the keeper and just on the half time whistle Woods should have released the ball earlier but tried to walk the ball into the net when there were plenty of better options just waiting for the strike.

Dunfermline should have taken more of their chances but nevertheless they were ahead at the break.

Half Time: Dunfermline 1 Stirling Albion 0

The second half should have got off to the same great start as the first. In just 30 seconds Shields had picked out Glass to shoot from 30 yards and the parried save instigated hundreds of thoughts of `Harper must score` but somehow he managed to rocket the ball into the McCathie Stand instead.

Bayne had another good chance to head the Pars further ahead when a diagonal ball in 52nd minute dropped nicely for him at the far post but somehow Christie beat away the downward header.

The second Pars goal was not far away however.┬ In 61st minute Harper popped up on the right flank to centre perfectly for Nick PHINN to rise and head home from six yards out.┬

Dunfermline forced corner after corner to no avail while in front of Gallacher Stirling subs David McKenna and Martin Grehan were a little unlucky not to find a route to goal.

Bayne was being supplied some decent crosses but his 69th minute attempt did more damage to Graham than the scoreline. Iain WILLIAMSON had come on for Woods and it was he who notched the Pars third.┬ A simple long ball from Harper┬ was just right for┬ the Pars sub to direct on target.┬ In all honesty Scott Christie should had done better.┬ The goal came in slow motion as he struggled to prevent the shot going over his diving frame and drop over the line into the goal at the left post.

Thomson had a header cleared off the line and Williamson drove a long distance attempt that nearly did the job. With six minutes remaining Phinn might have had more success after Paul Willis made room on the right to deliver a useful cross.┬ Christie eventually got the Pars midfielder`s effort away although somewhat unconvincingly┬ but Glass` follow up was blotted out.

Williamson hurt himself when he latched on to another top of the box delivery that might have given him a brace. At the other end Gallacher ensured his shut out clutching the ball as it came off McKenna┬ as he┬ sought to convert a defenders deflection from an O`Neill shot.

Nice to see hear the Fratellis played at the final whistle.┬ With Dundee and St Johnstone both going out then maybe Jim McIntyre`s team can be favourites for the Challenge Cup?

DUNFERMLINE: Paul Gallacher; Greg Shields, Scott Wilson (c), Scott Thomson,┬ Austin McCann; Calum Woods (Iain Williamson 60), Nick Phinn, Stephen Glass, Alex Burke; Kevin Harper (Paul Willis 80), Graham Bayne.
SUBS: Scott McBride, Stuart Dearden, Callum Reidford
SCORER: Burke (4), Phinn (61), Williamson (74)

STIRLING ALBION: Scott Christie; Andrew Graham, David Lowing, Andrew Lawrie, Ross Forsyth, John O`Neil, Liam Corr, Paul Murphy (Nathan Taggart 73), Ian Harty (Martin Grehan 57), Steven Waddle (David McKenna 64), Stuart Devine
SUBS: Sean Roycroft, Myles Hogarth
YELLOW CARD: Lowing (43)

WEATHER: Overcast 18┬║C
NEXT MATCH: (SFL (away) v Partick Thistle, Saturday 2nd August 2008, kick off 3.00pm

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