Late drama settled a third round tie which once again highlighting that thin line between cup glory and defeat. The home side had spurned a late penalty opportunity which might have forced extra time, before Dunfermline made sure their name was in the hat for the next round with the final kick of the game.
On balance the Fife side were good value for their win. Yet this was a much closer run affair than the sides’ last outing together, a thumping 5-1 for the Pars at Kelty. A new look St Mirren side were set on revenge and provided a much sterner test on this occasion.
Changes are afoot in Paisley, as new manager Jack Ross promotes the likes of Kyle Magennis up to his senior squad, with a number of new faces stepping up from the Academy. Allan McManus also rested midfielder Ethan Erhahon, just returned from Scotland duty at the Victory Shield.
Dunfermline, meanwhile, sported five new faces from the league encounter 3 weeks ago, but already look a compact outfit. After taking the lead on 40 minutes, they visibly grew in confidence, with the movement of Callum Smith and Robbie Crawford up front proving a handful for the home defence.
Good pressing in midfield and width were the platform for long spells of Dunfermline dominance, with Reece Duncan encouraged to get up the flanks and provide crosses from the either bye line. And yet St Mirren still managed to craft the best of the early chances before falling behind, even cracking the woodwork twice in the second half.
Much of the early Saints danger came from the set piece, with a numerous dangerous deliveries causing problems in the Pars box. Three clear cut opportunities fell to Kalvin Orsi, the first a point blank header on four minutes where he couldn’t work Cammy Gill. The striker’s movement was good but he should have given his side the lead midway through the first half but shot straight at Gill. Another great chance fell his way 5 minutes later as he rose unchallenged but headed off target.
On 37 minutes it was Nathan Flanagan’s turn to miss from 5 yards after a surging run and cross from Greig McNaughton. And the Pars duly made them pay as they finally broke the deadlock 5 minutes before the break. It arrived from a free kick to Smith at the far post who nodded back for Stuart Morrison to head past Reece Willison from close range.