Aberdeen away previewAuthor: J Barber Date: Wednesday, 25th Sep 2002
After four wins in a row, Dunfermline Athletic this week travel up to Pittodrie for a SPL clash with Aberdeen. The Dons picked up only their second win of the season last week away to Livi and are still near the bottom of the table. Here we look at Dunfermline`s chances as well as taking a look back to a previous visit to Aberdeen........
By their own admission, Dunfermline have not played to the best of their capabilities in the last 3 games. Not since the win at Easter Road have Dunfermline truly played that convincingly. However, those 3 games have brought about maximum points in the league and a derby win in the League Cup, so it is hardly doom and gloom down East End way!
Once Dunfermline do get back to turning on the style, I believe that another convincing victory will come their way. Aberdeen are not too hot defensively and the potential is there to get all three points IF Dunfermline can get back to playing the football they are capable of doing.
Dunfermline have lost on their last three visits to Aberdeen and will be looking to stop that rot this time round. The basis of the team that has won the last 4 will obviously be in place this week, with Craig Brewster returning after resting his rather sore head for the Cowdenbeath game. Marco Ruitenbeek will be expected to return in goals, although that is no slight on Derek Stillie who, apart from being beaten by a superb shot, had no reason for critics midweek.
Brewster`s return will mean Bullen returning to his productive right midfield role, used to great effect in recent league matches. Chris McGroarty will perhaps drop out of the starting line up to accomodate the change. If that is the case, then Jimmy Calderwood will revert to his most successful line up of the season so far.
Dunfermline last won at Pittodrie back in 1997 with Davie Bingham and Gerry Britton getting the goals in a 2-1 win. However, this week we are turning the spotlight on a match when a first division Dunfermline were clear underdogs for a cup tie in which all the Gods seemed to be against them........
Back in season 1988/89 Dunfermline was buzzing. After an unsuccessfuly debut season in the Premier, all expections were on Jim Leishman`s side to bounce straight back up. Unlike today, the first division was at its most competitive. Strong sides from Airdrie, Clydebank, Falkirk, Morton and St Johnstone were all candidates for promotion as well as Dunfermline of course. Going into the draw for the third round of the cup, Dunfermline fancied their chances of a decent cup run.
They were drawn against a very strong Aberdeen side. After a classic tie at East End Park, in front of a fantastic crowd of 16,656 the teams were tied at 0-0. Ross Jack played a blinder but time and time again found an inspired Theo Snelders thwarting his every effort. Jack had scored 15 goals in only 22 games going into the cup ties and could not believe some of the saves being made against him.
The following Wednesday night, a huge Dunfermline following went up to Pittodrie at short notice. Another amazing crowd of 21,398 saw the replay take place.
Dunfermline lined up with the following side:
Ian Westwater, Graeme Robertson, Bobby Smith, Gary Riddell, Grant Tierney, Stuart Beedie, Hugh Burns, Paul Smith, Ross Jack, John Watson and Davie Irons. Subs used were Mark Smith and Trevor Smith.
Four Smiths in the line up, a commentator`s nightmare!
Jim Leishman was awarded with his second Tartan Special Manager of the Month before the game for that season, it would not be the last...
After his heroics in the first game, Theo Snelders was again the difference between the sides. The Premier league outfit were able to take their chances in the replay and a solitary strike from substitute Trevor Smith, knocking in a rebound after Jack was AGAIN foiled by Snelders, was all Dunfermline could come up with on the night.
The amazing atmosphere on the night was acknowledge by Leishman who came across and applauded the Pars support after the final whistle, which saw Aberdeen run out 3-1 winners on the night.
Dunfermline had shown enough over the two ties to prove they could match the best teams though. Until the end of the season, they only lost another two league games (unfortunately against Falkirk and Raith!) as John Watson re-discovered his scoring touch with some vital strikes to win points. Either side of the Aberdeen games, Ross Jack scored in an incredible eight league games in a row, a feat unlikely to be beaten for some time.
A nervy end to the season saw Dunfermline win the league from Falkirk on the last day of the season, not the first time the team from the wrong side of the river lost out on a prize to the Pars.
This time round, Dunfermline will really fancy their chances of getting something from the game up North. Aberdeen are capable of producing anything on the day, from a sublime performance to looking like they have never met before. Hopefully it will be the latter this weekend.
Brewster and Crawford will again have a lot of expections on their collective shoulders, especially up against the young Aberdeen defence. Here`s hoping they continue to take that burden in their stride........
`MON THE PARS!