Match Report - By Steven Mew
City's slim hopes of reaching the knockout stage of the Betfred Cup were dashed in emphatic fashion last night by Championship side Dunfermline Athletic who inflicted City's heaviest defeat for over 5 years.
The home side simply had no answer to a slick and well drilled Pars side who netted three quickfire goals within the first quarter of an hour to effectively end the game as a contest. It was a night where anything that could go wrong, did go wrong for Darren Dods' men.
With the exception of the unavailable Euan Smith who was replaced by Jordan Tapping, Manager Darren Dods unsurprisingly kept the same starting 11 which helped the club record a first competitive win since November against Stirling Albion at Forthbank last Tuesday.
There was some good news for City fans with striker Andy Jackson being named amongst the substitutes after a long spell on the sidelines. There was also a spot on the bench for new signing Harvey Dailly.
The visitors, clearly buoyed by their impressive win against Dundee at Dens Park just a few days ago, flew out the traps and had the City rearguard under immense pressure right from the start.
They were ahead as early as the 7th minute. A free kick whipped in by James Craigen was met by DANNY DEVINE who got the deftest of touches who flick the ball beyond Brennan.
The visiting supporters barely had a chance to take their seats again when the Pars netted a quickfire second goal. The returning Faissal El Bakhtaoui released fellow summer recruit LOUIS LONGRIDGE on the left hand side of the box who curled a shot into the far corner to double the advantage.
Things went from bad to worse for City on the quarter hour mark when the visitors made it three. Myles Hippolyte did well to keep possession before laying the ball off for FAISSAL EL BAKHTAOUI on the edge of the box and despite the best efforts of Brennan in the City goal, he was unable to keep out the powerful shot from the French-Moroccan striker.
At the other end, City had a couple of opportunities through Dene Shields. The experienced striker smashed a shot into the side netting and shortly after had a header saved comfortably by Robinson.
The Pars continued to ramp up the pressure. Kallum Higginbotham's shot was parried out by Brennan only as far as Williamson who was denied by a goal-line clearance. Higginbotham then attempted an overhead kick however the referee deemed it as dangerous play and awarded a free kick to City.
Shortly before half time Dunfermline added a fourth goal. Jordan Tapping's backpass was short and although Brennan got to it first, he could only strike the ball against FAISSAL EL BAKHTAOUI who had plenty of time to walk the ball into the empty net.
Evidently full of confidence, Kallum Higginbotham tried his luck from 30 yards out however his well struck effort whistled just past the upright.
City's difficult task was made even harder six minutes into the second period when they were reduced to ten men. Giuiliano Morena went down under a challenge in the box and referee Alan Newlands had no hesitation in showing a second yellow to the Italian midfielder for simulation.
The Pars took full advantage of the extra man and went 5-0 up after 57 minutes. It was a goal made by two ex-City loanees as Aidan Connolly slipped the ball through for ANDY RYAN who dispatched a low shot into the bottom corner.
The suffering home supporters did have something to cheer on the hour mark as City pulled a goal back. A moment of miscommunication between Lee Robinson and the Pars defence allowed DENE SHIELDS the opportunity to nip in and slot into the empty net to open his account in his third spell with the club.
It wasn't long until the five goal advantage was restored. ANDY RYAN collected a pass on the right hand side of the box and he lashed a powerful left foot shot high into the net. Ryan came close to grabbing his hat-trick moments later when his strike from the edge of the box was tipped round the post by Brennan at full stretch.
City attacks were few and far between but they did come close on 83 minutes. Substitute Jordan Sinclair created some space for himself on the edge of the box before curling an effort towards goal which Robinson did well to parry away.
City's luck was summed up on 85 minutes when Sinclair had to come off with an injury and having already made all 3 subs, City had to play the remainder of the match with nine men.
The Pars rounded off the scoring four minutes from time. A shot from outside the area deflected kindly into the path of MYLES HIPPOLYTE who had the easy task of slotting into the corner from close range.
Overall, a night to forget for City however credit must go to a Pars side who were thoroughly impressive throughout and, on this showing, will be a force to be reckoned with in the Championship this season. City will now need to pick themselves up for a trip to Dens Park on Saturday to face Premiership side Dundee in the last group game of the Betfred Cup.