Dunfermline Athletic

Dunfermline 0-0 Osasuna

Author: Jason Barber Date: Thursday, 20th Jul 2006

Not having had the best of histories against Spanish opposition (losing all three European ties back in the 1960s) Dunfermline hosted Osasuna this evening, the first visitors from Spain since Real Sociedad back in the summer of 1989.

A very sunny evening quickly descended upon East End Park after a cloudy day, and the Spanish visitors looked more accustomed to the climes as they took part in their pre match warm up.

Dunfermline lined up with an experienced team, mixed in with a couple of new acquisitions.

Roddy McKenzie made his first appearance in goal, whilst Dorus De Vries continues to mull over a contract offer from The Pars. The back four saw Aaron Labonte at right back, Calum Woods start at left back, with Phil McGuire and Greg Shields in the middle.

The midfield saw the return of Stephen Simmons alongside Gary Mason, Freddie Daquin was wide right and Scott Muirhead wide left. Mark Burchill and Owen Morrison started up front.

The match kicked off at the unusual time of 18:20, which had been arranged to allow the visitors a quick flight home after their quick "tour" of Scotland which entailed a match against Hearts at Murrayfield 24 hours earlier.

Dunfermline were shooting towards the Cowdenbeath end, and Freddie Daquin was providing most of the early action. Apparently quicker than last season, Daquin`s pace proved to be a constant thorn in Jimenez`s side as he made his way towards the bye line time after time.

Daquin himself provided the first opportunity for a goal scoring chance, finding his shot saved by Vallejo for a corner after 10 minutes.

Soon after, Vallejo appeared to spill a straightforward catch, but Dougie McDonald blew for a foul as Owen Morrison moved in for the then loose ball.

Mark Burchill v Juan Elia Vallejo.

Dunfermline had a free kick only 25 yards from goal after 15 minutes, but the position was wasted and play continued.

Already, the game was proving to be a match between two sides intent on apparently passing the ball around rather than playing long balls up to either set of strikers. Dunfermline were more than a match for their continental opposition and had plenty of flicks and tricks in store to try and break the deadlock.

Osasuna broke away after 18 minutes but Roddy McKenzie was not tested as the shot went tamely wide of his right hand post.

A Scott Muirhead volley sailed over the bar after 23 minutes but landed onto the roof of the net. Muirhead was already having a good game on the left hand side, often drifting into the centre to offer himself as an extra man in the middle of the park.

Phil McGuire did well to defend an Osasuna free kick after Arambide delivered an excellent ball into the danger area.

Without threatening either goalkeeper too much, the game was bouncing from end to end. Scott Muirhead (this time on the right wing) skinnged Hector Romero to set himself free on the edge of the box, he cut the ball back but a good clearance from Dominguez prevented a clear shot at goal.

McKenzie finally had a shot to make after 40 minutes when Romeo bore down towards the Dunfermline goal. A good block was made, but the offside flag had already gone up.

Stephen Simmons appeared to be limping as half time drew closer, with Gary Mason also receiving treatment on the pitch at the same time. Simmons recovered long enough to attempt a header from Muirhead`s corner, though it went just over the bar.

Scott Muirhead in action.

Half time saw numerous Osasuna changes, but only the one Dunfermline substitute made. Phil McGuire moved into central midfield (and coped with the change admirably) whilst trialist Bamba came on for Simmons.

Both sides continued to pass the ball around without testing either keeper, and Bamba was proving to be centre of attention with some excellent timing in the tackle. On numerous occasions, he won the ball cleanly and started a Pars attack. His English may be apparently non existent, but the guy can clearly read the game well as he began to dominated the defence alongside his new team mates.

Jamie McCunnie came on for Morrison on the hour mark and moved into a midfield role himself, in which he eased himself into for the rest of the game. Often a scapegoat when playing at the back, McCunnie went onto have a very good shift in the middle of the park.

Owen Morrison in action.

Both sides continued to pass the ball around without testing either keeper, and Bamba was proving to be centre of attention with some excellent timing in the tackle. On numerous occasions, he won the ball cleanly and started a Pars attack. His English may be apparently non existent, but the guy can clearly read the game well as he began to dominated the defence alongside his new team mates.

Jamie McCunnie came on for Morrison on the hour mark and moved into a midfield role himself, in which he eased himself into for the rest of the game. Often a scapegoat when playing at the back, McCunnie went onto have a very good shift in the middle of the park.

Daquin sprung back into life after 65 minutes when he broke on his own, holding play up for his colleagues to arrive. A square ball across the 18 yard line found nobody and the chance went begging.

Osasuna then had their best chance of the game, with Raul Escudero crashing a free header off McKenzie`s bar from a corner.



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