Betfred Cup: Dunfermline 5 Peterhead 1: 22/07/17

Jim McInally brought his Peterhead side to a wet and cool East End Park for this Betfred Cup tie. Both Peterhead and Dunfermline had played East Fife in their last matches and it was the Buchan side who had taken full points with a 1-0 win. The Pars were held to a goalless draw in midweek at Methil but had picked up a welcome bonus point after winning the penalty shoot out 9-8.

Both sides made one change to their starting elevens. Dean Shiels made his starting debut for the home side meaning Nat Wedderburn dropped to the bench and Samson Gabriel was preferred to Paul Cairney in the Peterhead team.

The Pars kicked off attacking the goal at the east end and Declan McManus got off to a flying start twisting and turning his way in to the visitors box from the right. There was only 14 seconds on the clock when Jamie Stevenson`s tackle halted him eight yards from goal.

Joe Cardle ran at the Blue Toon defence and released a fourth minute shot from 20 yards that travelled wide left of goal with Shiels complaining that a ball to him would have paid off better.

It took the Pars just three more minutes to establish a lead. Nicky Clark set it up with a strong run down the left and his cut back was met 15 yards out by McMANUS for his debut goal for the Pars. 1-0

A fine sweeping move involving McManus to Higginbotham to CARDLE created a 12th minute goal. The Pars favourite slotted in from right 2-0.

Dunfermline kept up the pressure on the Peterhead defence with Clark touching the ball into the path of Michael Paton who released a shot from 20 yards that went wide left.

A 19th minute free kick gave Rory McAllister the opportunity to fire a 30 yard free kick over the four man Fifers wall but Sean Murdoch easily plucked the net bound shot out to his left.

Former Par Willie Gibson was next to hit a shot on target but Murdoch dropped to his left to save. Then Joe CARDLE struck again. It was 22nd minute when Williamson slipped the ball to Higginbotham and then ran on to connect again on the right byeline. Ryan`s cutback was perfect for Joe was smashed the ball home from ten yards. 3-0

Higginbotham tormented his marker out left and when he got on the cut back Shiels crashed a shot on target but that was blocked.

On the half hour Peterhead forced a corner on the right but when taken by Gibson that was met at the near post and headed wide right off a visitors head.

Four minutes later another sweet move from Paton to Clark back to Paton and wide to Higginbotham put the latter in for a shot but unluckily the ball was always destined to go outside the far post.

Next a good solo run from McManus in 36 minutes, racing away after Gibson lost possession in the centre of the park, was punctuated by a block on a shot from the left that earned a corner.

Five minutes from the interval Callum Morris collected a yellow card for impeding McAllister on the edge of the box. Gibson hit the resultant free kick on to the roof of the net. In 44th minute Morris fouled Gibson on the left side and his quickly taken free kick teed up Stevenson but that was despatched well wide left from 25 yards out.

Half time: Dunfermline 3 Peterhead 0

Peterhead made a double substitution before the second half got underway, Paul Cairney and Russell McLean replacing Samson Gabriel and Jordon Brown.

Higginbotham thumped a shot narrowly over the bar and there were only two minutes of the half gone when a lofted ball from Paton just inside his own half picked out who McMANUS chipped the keeper from the left corner of the penalty box. 4-0

A 50th minute crack from Shiels was deflected behind for a corner but that did cause the visitors any danger. Five minutes later Williamson worked a route in from the right and from the edge of the six yard box cut back for Clark but although he beat Fleming the ball was headed off the line by a defender. Next Ferry scooped the ball away from Clark for a corner on the right but Peterhead defended that well.

Comfortably ahead the Pars introduced Aaron Splaine and Callum Smith, withdrawing Michael Paton and Nicky Clark. McManus and Cardle remained to see which might seal their hat trick. But it was Peterhead who scored next in 64 minutes, Rory McALLISTER scored from the penalty spot after the ball had come off the hand of Ashworth as he slid in to tackle the Peterhead no.9. 4-1

A fifth Dunfermline goal was only ten minutes away however, a spectacular own goal on a McManus cross. Smith put pressure on sub central defender Scott ROSS to diverted the ball into his own net at the near post. 5-1

McManus had a great chance to clinch his hat trick on 80 minutes. Higginbotham dispossessed Gibson midway inside the Dunfermline half and forced his way up the park with both Gibson and Jason Brown in pursuit. A fine exchange off Smith set up the pass for the unmarked new boy but Fleming came out to pull off a fine save.

An 88th minute corner won by Williamson`s pace was sent over by Higginbotham and after M`Voto`s header was turned behind another followed. No more goals but a comfortable victory.

Six goals at East End Park for the second week running only the opposition were allowed to score one. Much to be admired from an impressive Athletic performance.
DUNFERMLINE: Sean Murdoch: Ryan Williamson, Callum Morris (c), Lee Ashcroft, Lewis Martin: Kallum Higginbotham, Michael Paton (Aaron Splaine 59), Dean Shiels, Joe Cardle (Jean-Yves M`Voto 71): Declan McManus, Nicky Clark (Callum Smith 59)
SUBS NOT USED: Nat Wedderburn, Scott Lochhead, Conner Duthie, Cammy Gill (GK)
SCORERS: McManus (7, 47), Cardle (12, 22), Ross (74 og)
YELLOW CARD: Morris (39)

PETERHEAD: Greg Fleming: Jason Brown, Mason Robertson, David McCracken (Scott Ross 59), Jamie Stevenson: Scott Brown, Simon Ferry: Jordon Brown (Russell McLean HT), Samson Gabriel (Paul Cairney HT), Willie Gibson: Rory McAllister
SUBS NOT USED: Allan Smith, Scott Adams, Marc Lawrence, Fraser Hobday (GK).
SCORERS: McAllister (64 pen)
YELLOW CARD: McAllister (41)

REFEREE: Bobby Madden

NEXT MATCH: Betfred Cup: (away) v Hearts, Saturday 29th July 2017 kick off 3.00pm

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