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Dunfermline Athletic booked their place in the semi finals of the Scottish Youth Cup after coming out on top against Inverness Caledonian Thistle in an entertaining cup tie.
It was a clear but cold afternoon as the game got underway at East End Park with both teams playing in their familiar colours.
The game took a while to get going with both teams matching each other in the midfield battles and it took over half an hour for the game to see the first decent piece of play. Dunfermline’s Lewis Spence fed the ball down the right side which Ross Millen ran on to. He swung in a great ball towards Allan Smith at the back post but the Inverness defender was first to the ball and directed it behind for a corner.
The game was in need of a goal and it duly arrived on 36 minutes as the Pars took the lead. Millen delivered a free kick from outside the box and Grant Munro rose perfectly to meet the ball unchallenged, heading the ball into the top right corner.
The momentum was with the team in black and white and within three minutes they doubled their lead. Smith collected the ball inside the penalty box and was aware enough to lay the ball off to Declan O’Kane who fired the ball into the net.
On the stroke of halftime the Pars helped themselves to a third goal. Millen delivered a corner from the left and Kerr Young rose highest to head the ball into the net.
Half Time: Dunfermline Athletic 3-0 Inverness Caledonian Thistle
Inverness’ hopes of reaching the semi finals were looking slim but they were to up their game in the second half.
They had a real let off on 52 minutes when the Pars wasted two great chances to make it 4-0. First, they broke from their own half and after some good link up play between Blair Henderson and Smith, the latter found himself racing clear through on goal but Inverness goalkeeper Scott Mathieson did well to block the Pars man’s effort.
The visitors couldn’t clear the danger for long and Henderson picked up the ball in the box before sliding it across to Ross Drummond but he was hesitant and again Mathieson blocked well.
Ten minutes into the second half Inverness got a goal back. They broke down the right side and Ryan Christie raced to the byeline before cutting the ball back to Liam Polwarth who slotted the ball home.
All of a sudden, this cup tie was alive again as a contest as Caley Thistle made it 3-2 on 59 minutes. Pressure from the visitors resulted in Dunfermline goalkeeper pulling off a fine save from Matthew Cooper’s shot from the edge of the box. The corner came in and it fell once more to the feet of Cooper. It was second time lucky as he fired the ball past Goodfellow and it was game on.
Inverness were making the Pars sweat as they sensed the chance to level the match.
However with nine minutes to go, Dunfermline could have grabbed a fourth goal. Millen delivered a free kick from a central position that Henderson met but unfortunately for him the chance went begging as the ball went wide of the right post.
The visitors had one last half chance in injury time but rather than test the goalkeeper, Andrew Skinner fired his shot well wide of goal and the Pars could breathe a sigh of relief.
The victory was overall deserved for Dunfermline despite being put under pressure in the second half. They were looking comfortable but allowed Inverness back into the game. It was a commendable effort from the visitors given the deficit they faced at halftime. Crucially though they were unable to capitalise in the final half hour to level the game.
For Dunfermline, they now join Celtic, Kilmarnock and either Dundee United or St Mirren in the semi finals.
Full Time: Dunfermline Athletic 3-2 Inverness Caledonian Thistle