Dunfermline Athletic

Pars Keep Warm With Five-Star Showing

Date: Wednesday, 14th Dec 2022

A five-star showing from Dunfermline Athletic, saw them progress to the Quarter-Finals of the SPFL Trust Trophy, seeing off Championship opposition on a bitterly cold Friday December evening.

It wasn`t the biggest of attendances at Gayfield, as Arbroath hosted the Pars in the 4th Round of the Challenge Cup.

Many supporters – understandably – stayed at home or in the pub to watch the dramatic 2022 Qatar World Cup Quarter-Finals between Croatia and Brazil, as well as Netherlands vs Argentina, with both matches ending in penalty shoot-outs: a draw would see the same outcome between the Red Lichties and the Black & White in Angus, but James McPake`s men made sure that scenario wasn`t required as they caught Dick Campbell`s men cold.

The few hundred fans who`d made the journey from West Fife were quickly heated up by the free-flowing football on show; after only 6 minutes, a glorious move was finished off by Kyle Macdonald for his first goal of the campaign, set up by Matty Todd. And before long, it was Todd himself who found the score-sheet, after a breakaway down the left following a corner from the hosts. A Craig Wighton pass set the midfielder free and he outpaced the Arbroath back-line to make it 2-0 with less than 20 minutes played.

And before we could even get to the half-way point of the first-half, Captain Kyle Benedictus made it 3! A corner-kick to the visitors this time led to the ball being fired past ex-Pars `keeper Cammy Gill, as the ball ricocheted in to the path of `Bene` who smashed the ball home.

Daniel Fosu was on the goal-line for the men in all black on Friday evening, but he could only help steer the ball into the back of the net, as he attempted to clear the venomous effort away to safety.

And before the break, if the game wasn`t over as a contest already, then it certainly was now! Todd was once again the scorer, this time set up by Macdonald. The defender – playing in a more advanced role – cut inside onto his `weaker` left-foot and floated the ball into the box for Todd to flick home as he diverted the ball across goal and out of the reach of Gill in the Arbroath net.

The 6 changes Campbell made to his starting eleven for the game had completely under-performed, with McPake`s side putting in their classiest performance of the term so far.

It was a slightly different game after the break: the Red Lichties had brought on some substitutions at half-time to try ease the flow of attacks by Athletic, which they managed to do to a certain extent.

Craig Wighton did manage to find the net and make it 0-5 on 68 minutes, after being set up by Todd – with the first-time finish by the striker showing the class he possesses up front for Dunfermline.

While none of the players could really be faulted for their efforts or quality within the match, it was clear that Todd was head and shoulders above the rest of the players on the park; the youngster was involved in 4 goal involvements in the match – with only the Benedictus goal from an attacking corner being the only goal scored by the visitors on the night to not be directly influenced by the #26.

Despite Arbroath grabbing a late consolation goal through Thomas O`Brien, the hosts` Captain couldn`t dampen the spirits of McPake, who was delighted to have reached the next round of the Cup.

Since his interview with ParsTV, DAFC have since been drawn away to Dundee in the next round, with the winners of that tie hosting the winners of Queen`s Park against Raith Rovers in the Semi-Finals.

But all focus will now return to league business, as the half-way point in the season approaches this weekend, with a trip to Airdrieonians finishing off the second-quarter of the campaign.

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