Betfred Cup: Dunfermline 3 Stirling Albion 1: 28/07/18

The final match on the group stage of the Betfred Cup brought Stirling Albion back to East End Park for the first time in over three years. The Binos were unchanged for this Cup tie.

Allan Johnston made three changes from the side that hit seven past Brechin in midweek. Joe Thomson and James Vincent came in for Ryan Williamson and Kallum Higginbotham both and whom are suspended for the first Ladbrokes Championship match against Dundee United. Keeper Lee Robinson dropped to the bench to allow Cammy Gill to make his competitive starting debut.

Dunfermlne forced three corners in the opening four minutes but it was a defender ball to the corner kick taker, James Craigen that caused Stirling keeper Cameron Binnie to make the first save of the afternoon.

Thomson earned a sixth minute corner but when Craigen sent that in from the right it was cleared. Next minute Faissal El Bakhtaoui sent a shot into the sidenetting, then in ninth minute a free kick 40 yards out was directed towards Lee Ashcroft on the right side of the visitors box but his first time shot went wide left.

An 11th minute corner from the left was met by the head of Mark Durnan and his powerful header was well saved by Binnie. On the quarter hour Stirling’s Dominic Docherty forced a corner but the Pars defence dealt with Jordan Allan’s inswinger from the right.

Louis Longridge gathered the ball from a mishit Binnie clearance and popped a shot from 25 yards out but this one also escaped outside the left upright.

A sandwich on Dan Jarvie handed Stirling a free kick midway inside the Pars half and when that landed in the home box there was a scramble before Gill got his hands on it. Ashcroft was wide right to supply Craigen with the chance to get across an inviting ball into the Stirling box but skipper Ross McGeachie headed away.

Binnie dived to his right in 32 minutes to turn a low Jackson Longridge shot from 20 yards out for a corner. From the setpiece Ashcroft headed the ball back across the face of goal and Dyrnan got a header in only to see it land in the keeper’s hands.

The Binos took the lead in 36 minutes from a good string of passes. Neil McLauchlin fed the ball to Allan who swung it way to the right side of the Pars box. Kevin Fell returned it for Peter MACDONALD to shoot home. 0-1

From a Craigen cross, Durnan came close to get his glancing header on target but the visitors forced another corner and Allan got in a low shot from distance that went wide left.

It had been a first half where 56% possession confirmed Dunfermline’s dominance forcing seven corners to Stirling’s three. They had managed nine shots but it was the Forthbank club who had the goal.

Half time: Dunfermline 0 Stirling Albion 1

Thomson showed intent at the beginning of the second 45 sending a rocket of a shot over the crossbar within a minute of the restart. Then in 47th minute a long ball from L Longridge sent HIPPOLYTE through on the keeper and he netted to bring the Fifers right back into the game. 1-1

Jackson slipped the ball to his brother Louis but his 52nd minute effort from 25 yards out was blocked. Three minute later Thomson raced away from the half way but when he tried to find Hippolyte on the left he was offside.

The second Dunfermline goal was as a result of a short taken free kick from Devine to Durnan and then a long ball to El Bakhtaoui. The goal was certainly made in Dundee with Faiss surprising the keeper and defender by chipping across goal for VINCENT to head home. 2-1

Craigen had a great opportunity from a Hippolyte cut back in 58 minutes but hit his shot wide left. Then another super chance came when L Longridge picked out Hippolyte, on to El Bakhtaoui to his right and then square to Thomson but the former Celtic youth crashed his shot into the left sidenetting.

A 67th minute effort from El Bakhtaoui landed on the roof of the net before the Pars fans were on their feet next minute to celebrate Faiss but the shot which to many looked net bound, from a J Longridge cross went disappointingly behind.

His substitution in 71 minutes along with James Vincent made way for Andy Ryan and Aidan Connolly to come on. Ryan immediately produced a surging run that set Connolly up for a shot but his attempt from 20 yards out was deflected behind for a corner. Next close thing came when Ryan clipped a long ball from Devine across goal.

Dunfermline kept up the pressure with Devine’s pass to L Longridge switched on for Connolly to shoot but the ball went behind off a defender. In 83 minutes Ryan drove an inviting ball through the six yard box before Stirling were awarded a free kick 25 yards out after Durnan was shown yellow for his challenge on Mark Stewart. Fortunately Allan launched his effort over the four man wall and over the bar.

A third Dunfermline goal was added in the first minute of added time after Ryan’s chip had come back off the crossbar and HIPPOLYTE followed in to head the ball over the line. 3-1

The Pars qualified for the last sixteen of the Betfred Cup and by virtue of maximum points will be seeded in Sunday afternoon’s draw for the last sixteen.
DUNFERMLINE: Cammy Gill: Lee Ashcroft (c), Mark Durnan, Danny Devine: James Craigen, Joe Thomson, James Vincent (Aidan Connolly 71), Louis Longridge, Jackson Longridge: Faissal El Bakhtaoui (Andy Ryan 71), Myles Hippolyte.
SUBS NOT USED: Ryan Williamson, Kallum Higginbotham, Lewis McCann, Lee Robinson (GK)
SCORERS: Hippolyte (47, 90+1), Vincent (56)
YELLOW CARD: Durnan (85)

STIRLING ALBION: Cameron Binnie: Ross McGeachie (c), Jordan Allan, Jason Marr, Kyle Banner, Dominic Docherty, Daniel Jardine, Mark Stewart, Peter MacDonald (Reg McLaren 77), Kevin Fell (Justin Watson 72), Neil McLaughlin
SUBS NOT USED: Dillon Young, Cameron, Thompson, Callum MacDonald, Mitchell McDonald, Callum Law (GK)
SCORERS: MacDonald (36)
YELLOW CARD: McGeachie (53)

REFEREE: Mike Roncone
WEATHER: 18C Sunny Intervals

NEXT MATCH: Ladbrokes Championship: (away) v Dundee United, Saturday 4th August 2018, 3.00pm kick off at Tannadice Park

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