Pre Season Friendly: Dunfermline 0 Tranmere Rovers 4: 07/07/18

This match kicked off at the same time as England’s World Cup Quarter Final in Samara against Sweden. So while it was decided whether football was coming home or going home, the Pars faced possibly the only Englishmen not glued to proceedings over 2000 miles away in South West Russia.

Tranmere Rovers travelled north for their first pre season friendly to face Allan Johnston’s team. The newly promoted out of the Vanarama League into the Football League, Rovers arrived at East End Park after training at St Andrews.

The Pars starting eleven showed one change from that which started against Raith Rovers, Lee Robinson returned to replace Cammy Gill in goals. The Pars bench included Joe Thomson, James Vincent and Callum Smith.

The visitors were welcomed on the the park by over 200 travelling supporters who certainly were ahead from before the start on noise levels. The home side kicked off attacking the goal at the Cowdenbeath end.

The match started warily and it was the seventh minute before a swift break out of their own half from Oliver Norburn, through Larnell Cole and on to James Norwood wide right set up an opportunity to get the ball into the Pars goalmouth but the cross from the right went behind.

Louis Longridge tried a diagonal pass seeking Ryan Williamson three minutes later but he was too strong with the pass. The first corner of the game came Dunfermline’s was on the quarter hour but when Kallum Higginbotham delivered from the right that was defended out to Danny Devine. He spread the ball back out to Higginbotham who tried a shot but that was easily taken by Scott Davies.

Andy Ryan’s shot three minutes later forced another corner and this time L Longridge drove the ball low but to the keeper. Two more corners for Dunfermline in 20 minutes but the keeper clutched the second as Higginbotham sent it in from the left and the threat was over.

Ryan got to the byeline on the left but his cross was heavy and required collected by Higginbotham on the right. He slipped the ball to Williamson running inside him and his shot was turned behind for yet another Dunfermline corner at the midway point of the first half. That was returned out and Higginbotham drove the ball diagonally through the six yard box without anyone getting a touch.

On the half hour Lewis McCann was responsible for a neat ball outside him to Higginbotham on the left and the keeper had to cut out the cross or Ryan would have had a relatively easy finish. Devine got forward two minutes later and threaded a pass into the path of McCann and he played the ball into the six yard box but unluckily narrowly evaded Ryan.

L Longridge was next to lay a ball of into the box but McCann was thwarted by the defence and minutes later he was through again but put off by a defender’s challenge he could not finish.

Tranmere’s first attempt at goal came in 38 minutes when Connor Jennings tried a shot from 30 yards out but that cleared the bar. Two minutes later however Norburn found COLE on the edge of the box and he chipped the keeper to give Rovers the lead. 0-1

Robinson had to be alert to come out to collect a Connor Jennings through ball but other than that there was nothing else to note in the first half. It had been one that the Fifers had dominated, the goal was definitely against the run of play but for all their possession the Pars had certainly not tested the Tranmere keeper nearly enough.

Half time: Dunfermline 0 Tranmere Rovers 1

The four substitutions made by the visitors made an immediate difference. Robinson found himself holding a shot within 20 seconds of the restart and then Amadou Soukouna tried a shot. That was held by the Pars keeper but he could not stop SOUKOUNA’s effort two minutes later from 20 yards out. 0-2

Andy Ryan had a half chance between Soukouna’s two efforts but the next opportunity came when Jackson Longridge won a 56th minute free kick. Higginbotham’s delivery from the setpiece went through the Tranmere box and out for a goal kick.

Then in 63 minutes a free kick 15 yards out on the right allowed Higginbotham to place another ball in the visitors box but Richie Sutton forcefully got the ball away. There then followed seven substitutions for the visitors in 65th minute.

When play resumed the Pars forced a corner on the left but when L Longridge tried to pick out Ryan at the front post he was forced to head wide. Allan Johnston then introduced three subs, Andy Ryan, Kallum Higginbotham and Danny Devine going off to be replaced by Callum Smith, James Vincent and Joe Thomson.

Two minutes later on 70 minutes Tranmere increased their lead with a very good finish from outside the Pars box, sub WALKER-RICE curling an unstoppable shot in off the left upright. 0-3

There followed several attempts by the home side. Sub Matty Todd teed up Vincent but his well hit shot escaped wide right. In 82 minutes Williamson got deep on the right but his cross was headed wide by McCann and two minutes later McCann was in good position for a shot but that was held by keeper Luke Pilling.

Tranmere went forward again and when Tollitt tried to pick out Soukouna The ball was turned behind for a corner on the left. Before Tollit took the setpiece Paul Allan replaced Mark Durnan but when the deliver came in Nick LONG rose to head the ball past Robinson for an 87th minute fourth. 0-4
DUNFERMLINE: Lee Robinson: Danny Devine (Joe Thomson 68), Mark Durnan (Paul Allan 86), Lewis Martin: Ryan Williamson (c), Kallum Higginbotham (James Vincent 68), James Craigen (Matty Todd 77), Louis Longridge, Jackson Longridge: Lewis McCann, Andy Ryan (Callum Smith 68).
SUBS NOT USED: Cammy Gill: Josh Robertson, Gregor Jordan, Kieran Swanson: Lewis Crosbie, Brandon Luke.

TRANMERE ROVERS: Scott Davies (Luke Pilling 65): Jake Caprice (Jay Devine 65), Stephen McNulty (c)(Ritchie Sutton HT), Mark Ellis (Connor Spellman 65), Larnell Cole (Nick Long 65), Oliver Banks (Reece Flannigan HT), Connor Jennings (Ben Tolitt 65), Emmanuel Monthe (Danny Ealker-Rice 65), James Norwood (Bailey Thompson 65), Paul Mullin (Amadou Soukouna HT), Oliver Norburn (Jay Harris HT).
SCORERS: Cole (40), Soukouna (51), Walker-Rice (71), Long (87).

REFEREE: David Munro
WEATHER: Sunny 23C

NEXT MATCH: Pre Season Friendly away v Arbroath, Monday 9 July 2018. Kick off 7.45pm at Gayfield

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