Betfred Cup: Dundee 0 Dunfermline 1 : 22/07/18

Dunfermline arrived at a warm and sunny Kilmac Stadium Dens Park undefeated in the last six meetings between the sides but they were seeking their first win there since October 2004.

With recent on loan signings Faissal El Bakhtaoui and James Vincent unavailable to play against their parent club, Allan Johnston named an unchanged starting eleven from that who defeated Peterhead 3-0 on Tuesday. For Dundee Neil McCann made one change from the side that won 5-0 at Stirling the previous weekend, Kharl Madianga coming in for the absent Glen Kamara.

Both Dundee and Dunfermline sat on three points in the Betfred Cup having won their opening games and Brechin City’s reign as group leaders would come to an end with this match. The teams lined up either side of the Betfred arch before the visitors led by Lee Ashcroft peeled off to shake hands with the match officials and then the opposition.

There followed a minutes applause in memory of Dundee legend Alan Gilzean before the home side kicked off attacking the goal in front of the Dunfermline support. It was the Fifers were to get off to the best possible start scoring the opener within two minutes. The goal came from a typical Ryan Williamson run, getting to the byeline to execute a cross that Jackson LONGRIDGE met with a powerful header that gave keeper Jack Hamilton little chance. 0-1

Dundee pushed up in eighth minute with Mendy sending the ball wide left for Craig Wighton and there were appeals from the home fans when he and Williamson slipped on the left edge of the Pars box. Kallum Higginbotham stole away with the ball and when he was brought down a Dunfermline free kick relieved the pressure.

There followed a four minute stoppage after Dundee’s Tunisian striker Sofien Moussa went down injured in the centre of the park. The captain had to be stretchered off with what was thought to be a rib problem and Matthew Henley came on in his place.

The next chance to score dropped to Myles Hippolyte on the quarter hour. From a Dundee free kick the Pars broke with speed and it might well be that the Pars striker was expecting to be blown up for offside but there was no whistle and no flag raised. The shot was not convincing and the keeper blocked it.

A James Craigen free kick in 17 minutes was lobbed in from the right and Hippolyte got two chances, the first strike was blocked by Hamilton and the second also failed to get past the Dundee stopper.

Four more minutes past and still it was the visitors who threatened most. Craigen went down on the right edge of the Dundee box but Hippolyte bent the free kick over over the crossbar. Next Craigen fed Louis Longridge and he got in a cross that was just too much for Hippolyte to convert.

Persistent Pars possession forced a corner on the left on the half hour but the defence scrambled away the ball as Mark Durnan and Danny Devine tried to gather on the edge of the box. Dundee were finding it hard to make any headway, the Dunfermline game plan was working well and they continued to push up. A long throw from Hippolyte created panic in the Dee defence and a J Longridge cross was headed behind for a 38th minute corner on the right but when Craigen’s inswinger came in Hamilton held.

Neil McCann made a tactical substitution bringing on Jesse Curran for Nathanael Ralph and it was the sub who was set up for a shot from the top of the box but Joe Thomson stole the ball away. There was a spirited push by the home side as half time approached, Lee Robinson was more involved but only racing to clear balls outside his box.

A Dundee free kick 35 yards out in the sixth minute of added time was successfully headed clear by J Longridge before Bobby Madden blew the whistle for half time.

Half time: Dundee 0 Dunfermline 1

Dunfermline were out early ready to kick off against Dundee who emerged to the music of Bob Marley suggesting everything was going to be alright. Elton Ngwatala took a snapshot in 48 minutes and Robinson was forced to touch a dangerous dropping ball for a corner on the right. Ngwatala was played the ball ack out to him and his return failed to ge5 a touch as it travellled across and out on the left.

L Longridge had possession in front of goal but didn’t manage to get his shot away but Dundee pushed up and a McGowan free kick taken quickly to Curran almost let Mendy in for an equaliser but he turned his 53rd minute effort over the bar.

Four minutes later the same player turned another great chance over the bar from only six yards out. It was a Ngwatala who created their best chance this far and Mendy just stuck out his foot in his attempt to find the net. Dundee kept up the pressure with Curran sending a low ball in from the right that the defence cleared.

Lee Ashcroft was penalised as he tried to usher the ball behind and Dundee were awarded a 61 minute free kick. Robinson punched away and the defence dealt with a Curran return. Next Williamson and Higginbotham combined to force a corner but from that Hippolyte shot was blocked and Ashcroft headed over the bar.

Slack clearances led to more Dunfermline chances, a Hippolyte shot soared over the bar and Thomson and Kusunga were left going for a loose ball on the left side of the penalty box. The big centre half came off worst and was replaced by Steven Caulker.

In 69 minutes a Dundee free kick 28 yards out was smashed into the Pars wall by Kharl Madianga but it was Dunfermline who had a better chance on the break after the new sub was played a poor cross field pass. J Longridge raced away playing a one two off Hippolyte on half way and then again on the edge of the box before the left wing back’s final ball flashed through the six yard box just too far in front of the attacking Hippolyte.

There was a let off on 73 minutes when Ngwatala rattled the crossbar from 20 yards out and then there were a couple more occasions when the Fifers had possession deep into the Dundee box but shots on target remained a difficulty.

An 80th minute free kick was lobbed in by Madianga, Caulker got his head on it and Mendy then helped the ball on net bound but Robinson got up to keep the ball out. That was a close one!

Andy Ryan replaced Myles Hippolyte with seven minutes to go and when Joe Thomson pulled up with cramp Aidan Connolly subbed for him. In 89th minute Madianga sent a rocket towards goal from 35 yards out and he was not far away as the ball skimmed over the roof of the net.

In the second minute of the five added at the end Williamson and Higginbotham did well to earn a corner on the right but when that came to nothing it caused a problem as Dundee raced away with the ball but impressively Ashcroft tracked back to stop the run. A home corner was then successfully defended before the heat was taken off with Dunfermline taking the play into the Dundee half. Craigen played Connolly in deep but his cutback to Ryan was dispatched over the bar.

In the end it didn’t matter Jackson Longridge’s early goal enough to take Allan Johnston’s team to the top of the group on six points. It was a good performance from the Pars and really good to see the team come together as a force. Upwards and onwards to Brechin on Wednesday.

DUNDEE: Jack Hamilton: Cameron Kerr, Nathan Ralph (Jesse Curran 36), Genseric Kusunga (Steven Caulker 68), Josh Meekings, Craig Wighton, Elton Ngwatala, Paul McGowan, Kharl Madianga, Sofien Moussa (c) (Matthew Henvey 13), Jean Alassane Mendy
SUBS NOT USED: Lewis Spence, Daniel Jefferies, Jack Lambert, Elliot Parish (GK).

DUNFERMLINE: Lee Robinson: Lee Ashcroft (c), Mark Durnan, Danny Devine: Ryan Williamson, Kallum Higginbotham, Joe Thomson (Aidan Connolly 86), James Craigen, Jackson Longridge: Louis Longridge, Myles Hippolyte (Andy Ryan 83).
SUBS NOT USED: Lewis McCann, Lewis Martin, Matthew Todd, Brandon Luke, Cammy Gill (GK)
SCORERS: Jackson Longridge (2)

REFEREE: Bobby Madden
WEATHER: 26C Sunny

NEXT MATCH: Betfred Cup: (away) v Brechin City, Wednesday 25th July, 7.45pm. Kick off at Glebe Park.

Half time draw by Jim Spence: 1st prize 10365, 2nd 10826

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