Betfred Cup: Brechin City 1 Dunfermline 7 : 25/07/18
After seventeen consecutive defeats at the end of last season and no wins for the entire league season, a draw and a win in the Betfred Cup must come as a welcome change of fortune for Brechin City.
At kick off City sat second in the group on four points while a win at Glebe Park for Dunfermline Athletic would take them to nine points and in good stead to qualify for the next round.
Big news for Dunfermline fans was the return of Faissal El Bakhtaoui on loan from Dundee. In the 2015-2016 season he scored 30 goals in 41 appearances and everyone hoped he could resume where he left off. Faiss came into the starting eleven at the expense of Joe Thomson who dropped to the bench beside James Vincent.
Brechin boss Darren Dods made one change in his starting eleven, Euan Smith was not available so Jordan Tapping filled that vacancy. Former Par Euan Spark was on the Brechin bench.
It was a glorious evening in Angus with the sun hitting the Brechin hedge and the pitch on that side when the home side got the Cup tie underway. First danger came from a long diagonal ball from Mark Durnan out towards Ryan Williamson. His first touch wrong footed his marker and his inviting cross through the six yard box was not touched.
Brechin forced a fourth minute corner but Lee Robinson easily held Sean Burns delivery from the right. El Bakhtaoui showed some tricky football to set up Jackson Longridge but his shot from 25 yards out sailed over the stand.
The Pars then went spectacularly ahead scoring two goals in two minutes. The first came in seventh minute from a James Craigen free kick out on the left touchline. His cross was flicked on into the net by Danny DEVINE. 0-1
From the restart the Pars were able to go straight back down the park to score a second. El Bakhtaoui latched on to a weak pass back and fed the ball to Louis LONGRIDGE on the left side of the Brechin box. He sunk his right footed shot into the bottom left. 0-2
El Bakhtaoui was denied by keeper Conor Brennan in 13 minutes when he got in close to shoot but two minutes later the Irish keeper could do little to keep out a crisp EL BAKHTAOUI strike after his pass to Myles Hippolyte in the penalty box came back off his teammate as Brechin desperately tried to clear. 0-3
El Bakhtaoui got in another shot in 21 minutes after Durnan had picked out Williamson and the overlapping wing back provide a fine cut back for his striker. A deflection off Paul Watson took the sting out of the effort and Brennan held.
Robinson was kept alert holding a Dene Shields header at the left goalpost before Williamson surged forward in 29 minutes releasing an early ball to Kallum Higginbotham on the top of the box. Higgyâ€™s shot was saved by the keeper but Williamson pelted the loose ball on target from an acute angle only for a defender to clear off the line. Higginbotham tried an overhead finish but referee Alan Newlands blew that up for being dangerous.
Next promise came from a Hippolyte - Craigen exchange on the edge of the box but the Pars no.11 was dispossessed before he could get a shot in. Five minutes from the break Brennan crashed his clearance off Hippolyte but then the keeper saved the shot.
The keeper did not come off so well the next time because there was further disaster for the home side when Jordan Tappingâ€™s pass back was light, Brennan came out but EL BAKHTAOUI charged down the ball and was left to walk the ball into an empty net. 0-4
Higginbotham clearly felt he should be on the scoresheet by now and in the final minute of the half he launched a great effort from 35 yards out that only just missed the target.
Half time: Brechin City 0 Dunfermline 4
Before the restart Dunfermline brought on two subs, Andy Ryan and James Vincent in place of Faissal El Bakhtaoui and James Craigen.
First point to note was more bad news for Brechin as Guiliano Moreno was shown a yellow card for simulation in a challenge with Higginbotham on the left side of the Pars penalty box. Having already picked up a yellow card in 39 minutes that meant that City were reduced to ten men.
In 56 minutes the Fifers constructed a fine move, Hippolyte from the right corner feeding Williamson who found Higginbotham deeper behind him. Higginbotham then chipped the ball over the defenders for Williamson to run on to and loop across. J Longridge met the ball but his header escaped over the bar.
Aidan Connolly replaced Louis Longridge next minute and within another the sub with a powerful run through the middle, had created the opportunity for RYAN to send a right footed shot past Brennan for 5-0.
The script went wrong in 61 minutes as the ten men got a goal back. There was indecision in the visitors defence allowing SHIELDS to drill the ball into an empty net. 1-5
The five goal advantage was restored three minutes later however when RYAN crashed a shot home at a 45 degree angle from 15 yards. 1-6
Ryan was denied what would have been a ten minute hat trick when Brennan dived at full stretch to turn away the well connected shot from the edge of the box. The result was in no doubt but in 83 minutes Robinson pulled off a great save low down at his right hand post when Jordan Sinclair released a great effort from the edge of the box.
When Ryan broke on a counterattack next minute it looked like number seven was on its way but when he laid the ball off left for Hippolyte on the edge of the box the striker hit his shot narrowly outside the far post.
Not to miss out however HIPPOLYTE got in on the act, cashing in on a defended shot in 86 minutes and netting from close in. 1-7
BRECHIN CITY: Conor Brennan: Paul McLean (c), Dougie Hill, Sean Burns, Callum Tapping, Aron Lynas, Jordan Tapping, Guilliano Morena, Jamie Henry (Euan Spark 59), Dene Shields (Kalvin Orsi 76), Boris Melingui (Jordan Sinclair 54).
SUBS NOT USED: Andy Jackson, Harvey Dailly, Paddy Oâ€™Neil (GK)
SCORERS: Shields (61)
YELLOW CARD: Morena (39)
RED CARD: Morena (52)
DUNFERMLINE: Lee Robinson: Lee Ashcroft (c), Mark Durnan, Danny Devine: Ryan Williamson, Kallum Higginbotham, James Craigen (James Vincent HT), Jackson Longridge: Louis Longridge (Aidan Connolly 57), Faissal El Bakhtaoui (Andy Ryan HT), Myles Hippolyte.
SUBS NOT USED: Lewis McCann, Lewis Martin, Joe Thomson, Cammy Gill (GK)
SCORERS: Devine (7), L Longridge (8), El Bakhtaoui (15, 43), Ryan (58, 63), Hippolyte (86)
REFEREE: Alan Newlands
WEATHER: Sunny 19C
NEXT MATCH: Betfred Cup: (home) v Stirling Albion, Saturday 28th July 2018, kick off 3.00pm at East End Park
Half time draw: Â£150 won by ticket no. 31855
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