Pars Teach The Loons A LessonDate: Wednesday, 30th Nov 2022
If the Pars breezed past Peterhead seven days prior on Match-Day 16 of the SPFL cinch League One campaign, then they definitely never got out of first gear in the Scottish Cup Third Round against Forfar Athletic, as Dunfermline Athletic ran out 4-0 winners.
It was a match in which Athletic were major favourites and all the pressure was on them – Ray McKinnon`s men would travel to KDM Group East End Park with no fear, as the Loons looked to impress their new manager in a pressure-free match against higher league opposition. And for the first 26 minutes, it was a tight match with neither goalkeeper overly troubled.
However, Aaron Comrie was fed down the right-hand side by Kane Ritchie-Hosler and once the Pars right-back bustled his way into the box,, he showed composure to lift his head, pick out Craig Wighton in the middle and the striker did the rest, as he swept the ball home past Marc McCallum. It wouldn`t take long for the Black & White to double their lead, with a Josh Edwards long throw-in causing issues, landing eventually at the feet of Ritchie-Hosler, who drilled the ball home on 33 minutes.
Just as half-time approached, ParsTV commentator – and DAFC.net user – Raymie The Legend exclaimed “it`d be perfect if we can finish off the tie with a third goal before the break!” and that is duly what Dunfermline did.
A really nice move, starting with goalkeeper Deniz Mehmet, ended with Edwards striding forward from left-back, picking up the ball from Ritchie-Hosler and sliding it across goal and into the far corner. Despite the PA announcing the goal to be Comrie`s, to the bewilderment of Edwards, it was definitely the #3`s strike which made it 3-0 for the third-tier side.
Ritchie-Hosler, who caused problems throughout the first-half, took a sore challenge from behind from Andy Munro shortly afterwards, with the Forfar centre-back quite rightly receiving a booking.
The Englishman, on-loan from Rangers B, may not have appeared for the second-half with the game pretty much completed and with tough league matches on the horizon, but to his credit, the youngster wanted to give it a go and almost set up a Dunfermline fourth as he played through Wighton, but McCallum was up to the task on this occasion.
Seconds later, Ritchie-Hosler went down in some discomfort again before swiftly being replaced by Nikolay Todorov.
And it was the big Bulgarian striker who helped set-up the fourth goal of the game: a long, raking, pass from Captain, Kyle Benedictus, to the left-hand side was flicked on into the path of Todorov,, who cut inside but his right-footed effort was blocked, with the ball falling at the feet of Wighton and without any hesitation, the #9 showed his class by calmly lofting the ball over everyone`s heads and into the back of the net from 15-yards out to put the cherry on top of the cake.
The game was to finish this way, but players such as Chris Hamilton and Kyle Macdonald got valuable game-time on the park in the final period of the contest, while 16-year old Taylor Sutherland received his second first-team appearance of his career from the substitutes bench with just under 10 minutes to go.
A successful afternoon`s work saw Athletic rewarded with a trip to Maryhill in the next round, as they play Partick Thistle in Round 4 of the 2022-2023 Scottish Cup. The Championship side will be a good test for the Football Club to see how far it is have grown and how quickly it has developed under the management of James McPake and Dave Mackay, with the ambition of stepping up into that division next term.
But, that focus will only happen in mid-January, there are plenty crunch League 1 matches on the horizon before then, none more so than this weekend`s penultimate match in the second quarter, against Queen of the South.
Willie Gibson`s men have picked up form in recent weeks and will be hoping to make a charge towards the top of the table during the second-half of the season.
A win in West Fife would show their progression and that is the next task for Athletic, to stop the Doonhamers from downing the Dunfermline.