For once, Gayfield was almost tropical, the usual North Sea chill replaced by the relative warmth of an Arbroath summer evening. A Pars team featuring mainly under 20s players defeated a full strength Arbroath side that included ex-Pars Jason Thomson, Ryan Wallace and trialist sub Finn Graham. Dunfermline, captained by keeper Cammy Gill, included first teamers Joe Thomson and Aidan Connolly (themselves hardly veterans, at 21 and 22 years old) plus Callum Smith, a regular in the senior squad at 18 but in the same age group as most of the team that lined up to start the game.
A sparse crowd was scattered around the classic old-school ground, one of my favourite away venues. Arbroath's management team are also former Pars - brothers Dick and Ian Campbell. Dick watched from the stand while his brother coached from the sidelines.
Arbroath had the majority of the game's goal attempts and found Cammy Gill in great form - one first half save in particular was outstanding, and although the offside flag had been raised, no one was aware of that when Gill saved a Jason Thomson header.
The game's only goal came in the 39th minute after a good run and cross from Callum Smith down the right side, with midfielder Matty Todd in place to place the ball past Darren Jamieson. Aidan Connolly was involved in most of the Pars' attacking play but was also the target of the industrial Arbroath defence. The wee man let his frustrations boil over at times, angry with the robust tackling from the home side.
The Dunfermline central defence contained 2 of the team's best performers on the night: 19 year old Stuart Morrison and 16 year old Gregor Jordan. They played with great maturity and Jordan, one of the Fife Elite group who signed contracts with Dunfermline this summer, can be very pleased with how he coped against experienced opponents such as Ryan Wallace, Bobby Linn and Gavin Swankie (the latter more than double Jordan's age).
The team held on at the end after several substitutions reduced the already low average age of the line up even further, with several teenage trialists getting game time in the final 15 minutes.
Pars line up below plus some photos from the game.
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