DUNFERMLINE 0 WEST BROM 1Tuesday, 25th Jul 2006
Trialist Soulemayne Bamba Up against John Hartson
Scott Wilson returned for the Pars but there was no Aaron Labonte, no Scott Muirhead or no Mark Burchill available. Trialist Soulemayne Bamba got another outing against West Brom who made five changes from the side that defeated Motherwell 2-1 on Sunday with John Hartson in the Baggies colours instead of the hoops.
Glorious sunshine in West Fife to welcome West Brom but the heat was going to be a severe test for both teams as it was still 27C as the visitors kicked off towards the Norrie McCathie stand. Play was tentative until West Brom forced the first corner of the game on the left side in 5th minute. With the penalty box crammed full with ten men back, Richard Chaplow chose Ronnie Wallwork 25 yards out and he got in a strong low drive that went well wide of the right post.
Dunfermline`s first shot at goal was really a cross from Iain Campbell three minutes later after good build up play that started with Whelan controlling a Woods clearance and feeding the ball left through Mason, Campbell, Daquin and back to Campbell.
The game took sometime to produce any further goalmouth action but in 20th minute there were chances at both ends. Darren Carter sent in a great ball from the left that John Hartson really should have headed into the net but he sent his effort wide right much to the glee of the home support. Immediately play switched to the east end and Freddie Daquin tested the Swiss goalkeeper from an acute angle but Pascal Zuberbuhler held the 15 yard shot.
Next Daquin provided a ball into the six yard box that Simmons came close to meeting but the chance escaped him and it was just a bye kick. Roddy McKenzie was called upon to pull off a fine save in 25 minutes when Chaplow`s centre from the right wing was headed on target by former Ferencvaros striker Zoltan Gera. The former captain of Hungary with 34 caps to his credit continued to be a threat but the three central defenders were sticking diligently to their task.
Ten minutes from the break Hartson flattened Shields as he flicked wide a good cross from Jared Hodgkiss. Three minutes later however HARTSON fought off the close attention of Bamba to head passed McKenzie from six yards. The Pars were caught out a bit as Gera took a quick free kick out to Paul Robinson and from the left the former Watford man delivered the killer delivery to give the Welshman one of his trademark goals.
It was a first half that West Brom controlled for period but one in which Dunfermline competed well but they suffered as their opponents closed them down really fast. The goal was well taken and possibly the Midlands were just worthy of their half time lead.
Half Time: Dunfermline 0 West Bromwich Albion 1
For the start of the second half West Brom introduced five substitutes including Scottish internationalist Nigel Quashie and Danish internationalist Martin Albrechtsen while Dunfermline switched keepers to give Dutchman Dorus de Vries some match experience and Nick Phinn came on for Stephen Simmons. The half was only two and a half minutes old when trialist Keith Shevlin came on for Noel Whelan and he had a good header from a Campbell free kick that exercised the Albion keeper.
Hartson continued to worry the Pars defence glancing headers high then wide and then being blocked out by Bamba as he lined up to pick his spot. In 62 minutes Inamoto`s challenge on McGuire won the Pars a free kick in a useful position 25 yards out on the right side. Iain Campbell launched a fine shot that beat the keeper but rattled down and out off the underside of the crossbar.
De Vries was called into action with a one handed save from Steve Watson and Curtis Davies could not take any advantage when the ball landed at his feet. More substitutions broke up the flow of the game but eventually Owen Morrison got to grips and bothered the opposition with his positive play. Trialist Shevlin, a 24 year-old U19 Irish internationalist, was constantly seeking the ball but the service to him was rather dry.
John Hartson left the field of play in 75 minutes to make way for Rob Davies and the ex Celt got more boos than the pantomime villain. With six minutes remaining Campbell was given another chance from a free kick in a similar position to his first that went close but this time the ball had to be retrieved from the McCathie Stand.
A one nil defeat to a well organised West Brom side was no bad result for the Pars and now its the serious stuff come Saturday with Hearts coming to East End Park.
SUBS NOT USED: Calum Smith, Alan McDonough, David Muir, Iain Williamson.
WEST BROMWICH: Pascal Zuberbuhler; Jared Hodgkiss (Watson HT), C Davies, Chris Perry, Paul Robinson (Albrechtsen HT); Richard Chaplow (Ellington HT), Ronnie Wallwork (Quashie HT), Junichi Inamoto, Darren Carter (J Greening HT); John Hartson (R Davies 75), Zoltan Gera
SUBS NOT USED: Rob Elvins. Jeff Forsyth, Sissoko, Tomasz Kuszczak (GK), Luke Daniels (GK).
SCORERS: Hartson (38)
REFEREE: John Underhill
WEATHER: Sunny 27C
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