Irn Bru Cup: DUNFERMLINE 0 DUNDEE UNITED 1: 12/11/16

Dunfermline faced Dundee United for the second time in five days, this time in the Irn Bru Cup. From the starting eleven on Tuesday night when the sides met in the Championship, Dundee United made eight changes while Allan Johnston`s side witnessed a much more modest two changes.

Rhys McCabe replaced Nat Wedderburn who was suspended following his red card at Tannadice and Michaerl Moffat came into the side, Farid El Alagui dropping out to fill the space on the subs bench.

A minute`s silence was observed before the kick off to mark Remembrance Day. Dundee United kicked off attacking the goal at the McCathie Stand end and immediately Lewis Martin`s attempt to clear was skied destined to land in the centre of the Pars box but fortunately cleared.

Moffat laced a fine ball through the middle and Nicky Clark was unlucky to be caught out by the United offside trap. There was much amusement in seventh minute when John Herron ran into referee Willie Collum and bundled him over only for a United player to crash into the official from the other side!

Not so funny next minute when a United corner from the left was not convincingly dealt with and defender Mark DURNAN was able to squeeze the ball into the Pars net at the near post from eight yards out. 0-1

Running back out of the United box, Clark then created an opportunity for Herron and he thrashed a shot on target that was blocked, McCabe followed up with the same result and then Cardle`s effort was turned away for a corner.

Dunfermline continued to attack with both McCabe and Cardle trying drives from outside the box. Then at the other end, in 17 minutes Blair Spittal got a crack at goal but that was blocked before visitors forced a corner on the right from which Coll Donaldson headed over.

Geggan`s cross then won the Pars a corner on the right but Higginbotham`s pass for Clark running in to the edge of the box was read by Robson. United at times were able to display neat short and slick passing play but the Pars continued to get opportunities to fire the ball into the United box. One such ball in 24th minute supplied by Higginbotham was turned over by Clark.

On the half hour Geggan played the ball off Herron to Higginbotham but his shot from 20 yards out was well off target. Next minute Higginbotham crossed for Cardle to try a shot but he failed to make a good connection. Geggan pushed up but his low cross was blotted out as the Pars pursued an equaliser before the break.

It was the visitors who maybe should have scored the next. Bradley Smith lifted a neat ball into the right side of the Pars box where Simon Murray was denied a 35th minute shot by the close attention of Lee Ashcroft and Sean Murdoch.

Dunfermline were penalised for pushing as a Higginbotham free kick was pumped into the box and there was more positive play before a good chance came to Moffat on the left but he crashed his shot from 18 yards narrowly wide left off the post.

The Pars had shaded the half in terms of possession and shots but United led from the only shot in eight that had been on target.

Half time: Dunfermline 0 Dundee United 1

Durnan`s foul on Clark handed the Pars a free kick 35 yards out but McCabe hit his attempt from the 50th minute setpiece over the bar. Five minutes past before a surging run from Spittal got him inside the Fifers box but his shot from the left was well stopped by Murdoch albeit with his feet.

Dunfermline were finding it hard to win and then retain possession and in 57 minutes they paid a severe penalty for it. Martin was dispossessed by Spittal on half way and as the United no.7 raced away from him there was a clear tug by the Pars defender. Willie Collum blew for the foul and brandished his red card to Martin.

So for the second time in succession the Pars were in a situation of playing Dundee United with only ten men. The setpiece was headed clear before Cardle was sacrificed to substitute Callum Fordyce on the hour.

Farid El Alagui was the next to be introduced in 67 minutes, the withdrawal of Michael Moffat audibly not to everyone`s approval. Paul McMullan followed replacing Nicky Clark three minutes later.

Herron, Talbot then McMullan built up play on the left. McMullan had to battle to get away from Bradley Smith but then when he did the referee blew play up to show the United teenager a 74th minute yellow card. Ashcroft followed into the ref`s book for a challenge that dumped Robson on the edge of the D and then Spittal hit the free kick that was deflected off the wall for a corner.

A second corner followed and Durnan got away a powerful shot that Murdoch saved. Van der Velden was next to find himself with a shooting opportunity but he dithered and was closed out. With nine minutes remaining Geggan was sent up the right and he released the ball for McMullan to centre but Spittal headed clear.

van der Velden was next to see yellow when he tripped McMullan on the left, allowing Higginbotham to hoist another ball into the United box from the free kick but that was defended.

Dunfermline had one late claim for a penalty deep into the five minutes of time added on. Donaldson appeared to drag Farid El Alagui down right on the 18-yard line, but referee Willie Collum waved play on.

DUNFERMLINE: Sean Murdoch: Andy Geggan (c), Lewis Martin, Lee Ashcroft, Jason Talbot: Kallum Higginbotham, John Herron, Rhys McCabe, Joe Cardle (Callum Fordyce 60): Nicky Clark (Paul McMullan 70), Michael Moffat (Farid El Alagui 67).
SUBS NOT USED: Conner Duthie, Michael Paton, Callum Smith, David Hutton (GK)
YELLOW CARD: Ashcroft (77), Talbot
RED CARD: Martin (57)

DUNDEE UNITED: Luis Maria Zwick: Sean Dillon, Mark Durnan, Coll Donaldson, Jamie Robson: Lewis Toshney (Stewart Murdoch 87), Blair Spittal, Bradley Smith: Nick van der Velden, Cammy Smith (Graham Taylor 81), Simon Murray (Ali Coote 63)
SUBS NOT USED: Matthew Smith, Scott Allardice, Louis Appere, Brett Long (GK)
SCORERS: Durnan (8)
YELLOW CARD: Donaldson (59), B Smith (74), van der Velden (83)

REFEREE: Willie Collum.
WEATHER: Sunny 10C

NEXT MATCH: Ladbrokes Championship: (away) v St Mirren, Saturday 19th November 2016, kick off 5.15pm at Paisley 2021 Stadium

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