Web reporter Martin McConnell gives us his take on Saturday’s Scottish Cup draw at East End Park
William Hill Scottish Cup 5th Round
East End Park, Dunfermline
Saturday 11th February 2017 at 3pm.
Dunfermline Athletic 1 Hamilton Academical 1
The sides will have to go again on Tuesday night at The SuperSeal after a game played under rain, sleet, snow and wind ended with the honours even. For the victor, a possible glamour tie and a place in the quarter finals awaits. The Championship side weathered some early Accies pressure, before taking a surprise lead with a goal from McMullan on the half hour.
And by the end of the first half, it looked like Hamilton were in for a shift if they were to take anything at all from the game. And that’s exactly what they did, they dug in and got their reward as the home side began to tire. With Danny Redmond scoring an absolute peach of a goal sixteen minutes from the final whistle.
Accies boss Martin Canning said afterwards, “To be honest the whole match was exactly how I thought it was going to be, a tight, competitive cup tie and it was exactly that. We go down 1-0 and then when you come back in those circumstances, you’re happy. I thought we controlled pretty much the whole of the second half.
“We got caught on the break a couple of times which was disappointing as it shouldn’t happen, and we sorted that pretty quickly, and from then on I thought we controlled the second half. But we’ve got to do it all again on Tuesday and it should be just as competitive and we need to make sure that we win the battle.”
Dunfermline’s squad included ex Accies Sean Murdoch, David Hutton and David Hopkirk, while defender Lee Ashcroft is the son of ex Accie Iain Ashcroft who was with us in 1988-89.
Accies made three changes to the starting XI that drew 1-1 with Killie last Saturday. With Remi Matthews starting in place of Gary Woods, Eamonn Brophy replacing Alex D’Acol and new boy Ioannis Skondras coming in for Dougie Imrie. The Pars made only the one change to their starting line-up, with Lewis Martin coming into replace Jason Talbot.
Accies started positively and went close early on when the ball broke kindly for Darian MacKinnon on the edge of the penalty area, after some nice work by Bingham and Gillespie. His shot flew just wide of the target, then Eamonn Brophy followed that up moments later with a shot from wide that Murdoch managed to palm wide for an Accies corner kick.
Both sides played some decent football in an attempt to find that opening goal. The Pars doing well to get the ball into the Accies penalty area, but with only a couple of shots well wide of target to show for it. Whilst Accies attempted some decent slide rule balls through the Dunfermline back line, with about as much success.
Then just before the half hour, the Pars had the ball in the back of the net when Calum Morris headed home, following a goal line clearance from a Higginbotham header. The goal was disallowed but the luck didn’t last when seconds later Moffatt and McMullan broke forward at pace, Moffat fed McMullan to slide the ball past Matthews in the well sanded goal from 12 yards.
Grant Gillespie made way for Dougie Imrie at half time, and it didn’t take long for the midfielder to make an impression when he drove the ball low past the Pars goal from 25 yards. Then from a Massimo Donati ball through to the six-yard box, Brophy scuffed a shot on the spin, and MacKinnon struck an effort wide form 15 yards.
Dunfermline answered with a ball through to goal scorer McMullan, who struck inches wide of the post. Within seconds Matthews saved a goal bound Moffat strike, and the pressure continued when Higginbotham shot low and wide of the back post. But the storm was weathered and the game began to turn in Accies favour.
Out of nowhere, Accies almost pulled level when Eamonn Brophy’s 19 yard strike took a wicked deflection and curled toward the top corner, Murdoch had to be at his athletic best to make the save. But the goal line action wasn’t finished as Murdoch was again in the thick of things when he tipped over from a Bingham header.
Accies finally showed signs of life as the sleet continued to pour down on East End Park, and the Pars defence showed signs of the strain. And with Accies showing a bit more up front, the equaliser came when McMann fed Redmond out close to the corner, he drifted inside and sent a curling left foot shot sailing past the keeper and in at the back post.
The chances kept coming when from 12 yards, Massimo Donati sent a shot coasting over the cross bar after being fed the ball by Gramoz Kurtaj. The German midfielder then fed Bingham with three minutes left and the ball was slammed wide, before MacKinnon forced a last gasp save from Murdoch with a great strike from 20 yards!
Dunfermline: Murdoch, Martin, Morris, Ashcroft, Geggan (Talbot 39), Herron, Wedderburn, McMullan, Higginbotham, Clark, Moffat (Hopkirk 87). Subs Unused: Hutton, McCabe, Paton, Cardle, Reilly.
Goals: McMullan 30.
Accies: Matthews, Seaborne, Skondras (McMann 53), Devlin (c), Gillespie (Imrie 45), Redmond, Bingham, MacKinnon, Brophy (Kurtaj 77), Donati, Adams. Subs Unused: Woods, Watson, Cunningham, Hughes.
Goals: Redmond 74.
Referee: Craig Thomson. Assistants: Alan Mulvanny & Graeme Leslie. 4th Official: Nick Walsh.