Scottish Cup v Falkirk

FALKIRK 2 DUNFERMLINE 0 Date: 26/04/09

Fixture: Homecoming Scottish Cup Semi Final

Attendance: 17142, Kick Off: 3.00pm.

Referee: Dougie MacDonald


For the Semi Final Jim McIntyre brought back in Jamie Mole. Scott Wilson and Stephen Glass returned after suspension ruled them out of last Saturday`s match at Dingwall. That meant Greg Ross and Andy Kirk were relegated to the bench and David Graham missed out since he was cup tied at Hamilton. John Hughes was without the suspended Steven Pressley and Patrick Cregg was on the bench. That made way for Jerard Aafjes in central defence and Carl Finnigan in to the front three.

This was only the fourth time that these clubs have faced each other in the Scottish Cup but never before at such an advanced stage. Following Rangers win over St Mirren in Saturday`s other semi final it meant that as well as bragging rights there was a place in next season`s Europa Cup at stake.

The stadium filled up in anticipation of the 90th meeting between the sides. Both sets of supporters were roused by "Into the Valley" and "Show me the way to Amarillo". One Step Beyond by Madness was played before the arrival of the teams on the Hampden pitch. There may only be 17,000 in the stadium but the atmosphere was fantastic.

Graham Bayne and Nick Phinn kicked off for the Fifers attacking the goal at the Rangers end and the early play was cautious from both teams. Jackie McNamara pumped a couple of crosses into the box but created nothing to bother Paul Gallacher.

The first real┬ chance for the Pars came in ninth minute when Wilson, ten yards into the Falkirk half launched a ball for Mole to knock down on the left side of the box but Darren Barr reacted to quickly sweep the ball away from Bayne.

Two minutes later┬ there was a let off for the Fifers when Michael Higdon`s shot from 25 yards hit the outside of Gallacher`s right hand post. In 18th minute Gallacher had to parry a good effort from Scott Arfield.┬ Falkirk won the first corner of the game but Phinn got that away without the Bairns troubling the defence.

Falkirk did press and enjoyed a period of good possession with some fine completed passes. Higdon got to the byeline to cut back for an Arfield header but Gallacher dealt with that. In 23rd minute Woods was yellow carded for committing an unnecessary foul, meaning that if Dunfermline were to win he would be out of the Final.

Some pressure was taken off Dunfermline when Scott Thomson lofted a 25th minute free kick into the Falkirk penalty box but Mallo was out to grab the ball off the head of Bayne. Ninety seconds later Nipper had another free kick but this time the ball was cut out before it reached Bell.

Dunfermline`s first corner of the afternoon came in 29 minutes but although Glass` cross caused the opposition defence some trouble there was no shot on target, even after Phinn laced the ball out for Bell to return the cross.

A Riera foul on Burke┬ led┬ to┬ another Thomson free kick and this time Mallo`s fisted clearance dropped for Burke to hit at goal from 25 yards. Bayne was unlucky that his deflection was not enough to prevent the ball running out on the wrong side of the left post with ten minutes to half time.

In 41 minutes Arnau Riera shot wide and then next minute Gallacher did amazingly well to scoop the ball away from Finnigan after McCann had forced┬ long ball helped on by Higdon on the edge of the box, through into the Pars six yard area.┬ It had been a well contested first half with Falkirk possibly having the better chances.┬ Paul Gallacher had certainly kept Dunfermline`s dreams alive.

Half Time: Falkirk 0 Dunfermline 0

Falkirk started the second 45 strongly with McCann winning a free kick on the left after a Woods late clip. The ball pinged about the Pars box and Riera tried a break through but earned a yellow card for his dive over Burke`s outstretched leg.

After an appauling Scobbie tackle on Phinn in 51 minutes Thomson delivered another free kick into the box. Bayne headed on but neither Wilson nor Phinn could┬ latch on to┬ the ball.

An Austin┬ McCann tackle on┬ Finnegan on the left┬ level with the 18 yard line handed Falkirk a free kick.┬ Neil McCann whipped the ball into the six yard box where Tom SCOBBIE who directed the ball off his shoulder┬ into the right┬ corner of the Pars goal. 1-0 Falkirk after 54 minutes.

Jim McIntyre was then forced to re-arrange his defence as Scott Thomson had to go off.┬ Greg Ross came on at right back and Woods, like at Dingwall moved into central defence. Mole fired a speculative effort in 61 minutes before the Pars management pushed an extra man up as they brought on Andy Kirk for Steven Bell.

Falkirk`s McCann shot high over the crossbar in 66 after Higdon knocked the ball into his path. Dani Mallo dropped a Phinn free kick but no one could capitalise on that.┬ Bayne won a good ball in the middle of the park that sent Mole in on goal but he took his shot too soon and Malin held the shot from 25 yards.

A collision between Austin McCann and Jackie McNamara halted play midway through the half.┬ Both were fit to continue after treatment from the physios.┬ Rory Loy replaced Jamie Mole for the final 18 minutes.

Burke made a break through the middle but Andy Kirk`s cross was deflected off Scobbie into the keeper`s hands. Ross turned McCann on the right but his cross was intercepted by the SPL teams defence.

Falkirk had a great chance to increase their lead when Riera disposessed Burke in the middle of the park.┬ Arfield fed a nice pass to Neil McCann and he whizzed┬ a fierce shot over the bar. Dunfermline forced another corner though in┬ 80th minute.┬ Glass sent the ball into the six yard box and Wilson headed the ball back for┬ Loy to challenge but his header went over the bar.

A push on Bayne gave Dunfermline a 82nd minute free kick 35 yards out. Stephen Glass` ball was headed out by Barr but the Pars soon had the ball back on the Bairns 18 yard line.┬ Although Kirk turned his defender his shot could not beat Mallo. The Pars were mounting a spirited final offensive but there seemeed no way through.

A Phinn cross from the left was headed out and it was the Falkirk fans who were waving their flags as the ninety minutes ran out.

Perseverance for Bairns sub Mark Stewart forced the ball across the front of the Pars penalty box. Burton┬ O`Brien mishit a shot and as the ball broke Ross, attempting to clear kicked the back of McCann`s leg causing referee Dougie McDonald to point to the penalty spot. 20 year old Scott ARFIELD stepped up and sent the ball┬ to Gallacher`s right and into the net. 2-0 in 89th minute.

Higdon was denied by another brilliant save from Gallacher in added time but there was no way back for the Fifers who for the third time in five Scottish Cup ties against their Auld Enemy came out on the wrong side. All credit to the Pars for getting to the last four but there was to be no Scottish Cup Final or Europe in 2009 for them.

DUNFERMLINE (4-2-3-1): Paul Gallacher; Calum Woods, Scott Wilson (c), Scott Thomson (Greg Ross 56), Austin McCann; Steven Bell (Andy Kirk 63), Nick Phinn, Stephen Glass, Alex Burke; Graham Bayne, Jamie Mole (Rory Loy 71).
SUBS: Greg Paterson (GK), Scott Muirhead.
YELLOW CARD: Woods (23)

FALKIRK (4-3-3): Dani Mallo; Jackie McNamara, Darren Barr, Jerard Aafjes, Thomas Scobbie; Scott Arfield, Arnau Riera (Kevin McBride 87), Burton O`Brien; Neil McCann (Patrick Cregg 90+1), Michael Higdon, Carl Finnigan (Mark Stewart 71).
SUBS: Robert Olenik (GK), Lee Bullen,
YELLOW CARD: Riera (48), Scobbie (51)
SCORER: Scobbie (54), Arfield (89)

WEATHER: Overcast 12┬║C


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