William Hill Scottish Cup: DUNFERMLINE 1 HAMILTON 1: 11/02/17

Dunfermline and Hamilton have been a league and even leagues apart over the last decade but the cup draw allows a re-union which will test the Championship Fifers against their Premiership opponents.

Manager Allan Johnston made one change from the side defeated 2-0 at Falkirk the previous Saturday. Lewis Martin replaced Jason Talbot in an otherwise unchanged eleven. For Hamilton Accies, their manager Martin Canning made three changes to his starting eleven bringing in keeper Remi Matthews, Ioannis Skondras and Eamonn Brophy for Gary Woods, Dougie Imrie and Alejandro D`Acol.

The teams lined up in front of the main stand and the Hamilton passed along the front of their opponents exchanging hand shakes. The home side kicked off attacking the goal at the east end. Kallum Higginbotham embarked on a run up the right and the Pars took the game to Hamilton with Paul McMullan extremely unlucky not to pick out Michael Moffat with the final pass.

Hamilton made headway down their left thtough Grant Gillespie and Rakish Bingham to produce a fourth minute chance that Darian MacKinnon fired over the bar. Two minutes later Sean Murdoch turned behind a powerful shot from Brophy but the visitors made a poor job of their corner.

After a Higginbotham cross was headed away to the left McMullan returned and threatened to find an opportunity to shoot for himself but laid the ball back for Nat Wedderburn to blast wide tight from 30 yards out. At the other end Bingham`s perseverance put in Blair Adams for a shot but he was well wide left of target.

Moffat`s 13th minute solo run ended up with a shot that was turned behind off the heels of Massimo Donati but the corner was well defended. Next Higginbotham was cut down by Adams and when he recovered sent over a delivery from the free kick that Lee Ashcroft headed back across goal but there were no takers.

Hamilton worryingly had a good spell of possession but fortunately were kept well away from Murdoch`s goal. It was 28th minute when Geggan and Higginbotham exchanged passes before Dunfermline altered the script. Skondras headed Geggan`s cross behind for a corner on the left and when that came on Ashcroft`s header was skied away by Bingham only for Morris to leap high and head home. Referee Craig Thomson deemed that Moffat had impeded Matthews attempt to challenge and disallowed the `goal`.

There was nothing to dispute next minute when McMULLAN latched on to a Moffat pass to find a route through the middle to net yet another cup goal. Paul`s fifth in cups and his first for Dunfermline at East End Park. 1-0

Geggan was forward in 38 minutes to try a shot but he injured himself as Donati challenged and had to be helped off. Talbot was then the first substitute of the afternoon, Martin moving to right back and Nat Wedderburn taking the captain`s armband.

The Pars finished the half strongly and the stats showed them having had 54% possession up until the break.

Half time: Dunfermline 1 Hamilton 0

Hamilton introduced Dougie Imrie for Grant Gillespie before the second half resumed and in 50th minute Murdoch was injured as he overstretched to reach the loose ball out to his right. After treatment from physio Kenny Murray he was fit to continue. Hamilton kept up the pressure with Donati and Bingham making Murdoch dive and smother the ball.

Scott McMann replaced Ioannis Skonrdas as Hamilton maintained the pressure and Adams fired an effort wide left.

The pressure was greatly eased when the home side forced three good chances in 57 and 58th minutes. Hamilton had keeper Remi Matthews to thanks as he made three crucial blocks. Firstly it had been McMullan played through by Moffat getting the break off the heels of retreating Devlin but the keeper got enough on the Pars players shot and the ball trundled wide left.

Then Moffat was through on the keeper and having got two good on-target connections Matthews blocked both. Then in 62 minutes Moffat elected to play the ball to Higginbotham to his right and this time the shot was driven wide left.

After exchanges between Martin and Higginbotham the Pars forced a 65th minute corner but they never really threatened with this one. Play switched to the other end and when Brophy shot from just outside the box Murdoch made a tremendous save high to his right after the shot had spun up off the back of Lee Ashcroft.

In 69 minutes an Imrie cross from the left was left by everyone and Talbot under pressure from Bingham, was forced to head on to his own crossbar. Two Hamilton corners followed as the snow came down but the visitors were duly penalised for impeding Murdoch.

Another corner from the right then led to a Hamilton equaliser. Daniel Redmond delivered the corner and the defence got the ball out only to be returned through Imrie and McMann to the diminutive REDMOND who although tracked by Moffat managed to curl the ball in at the far post. 1-1

In 80th minute Higginbotham`s free kick was turned behind for a corner on the right and when that came in there were appeals for a free kick on the edge of the box as McMullan was tumbled. Not given but two minutes later one was to the left of the Hamilton box as again McMullan was taken down. Higginbotham drove that into the two man wall.

Gramoz Kurtaj the Hamilton sub played a super pass in for Donati but he hit his 85th minute shot high and wide. David Hopkirk replaced Michael Moffat in 87 minutes and he was one of a few dying minute chances that might have avoided a replay. The closest was MacKinnon`s last shot which was spectacularly touched around his right hand post by Murdoch.

The stalemate meant a replay on Tuesday night at New Douglas Park. At Valentine`s night date for the romance of the cup to continue!

DUNFERMLINE: Sean Murdoch: Andy Geggan (c) (Jason Talbot 39), Lee Ashcroft, Callum Morris, Lewis Martin: Paul McMullan, John Herron, Nat Wedderburn, Kallum Higginbotham: Nicky Clark, Michael Moffat (David Hopkirk 87)
SUBS NOT USED: Gavin Reilly, Joe Cardle, Rhys McCabe, Michael Paton, David Hutton (GK)
SCORERS: McMullan (30)

HAMILTON ACCIES: Remi Matthews: Ioannis Skondras (Scott McMann 54), Danny Seaborne, Michael Devlin (c), Massimo Donati, Grant Gillespie (Dougie Imrie HT): Darian MacKinnon, Blair Adams, Eamonn Brophy, Daniel Redmond (Gramoz Kurtaj 78), Rakish Bingham
SUBS NOT USED: Ronan Hughes, Craig Watson, Ross Cunningham, Gary Woods (GK).
SCORERS: Redmond (75)

REFEREE: Craig Thomson
WEATHER: Showery, cold 3C

NEXT MATCH: William Hill Scottish Cup replay: (away) v Hamilton Accies Tuesday 14th February 2017, kick off 7.45pm. Pay at the gate

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