Irn Bru lacks fizz despite Ryan's debut double
New signing Andy Ryan marked his Dunfermline debut with 2 first half goals that were the highlight of an Irn Bru Cup tie that felt more like a pre-season friendly than a game in a national cup competition. As always with Dick Campbell's teams when they visit East End Park, Arbroath had a player red carded. Conner Duthie was also sent off, in the final minute, for a second yellow card.
As he stated at the weekend, Pars boss Allan Johnston made 6 changes to the team that defeated Inverness at the weekend. In came Conner Duthie, Fraser Aird, Scott Lochhead, Aaron Splaine, Michael Paton and Andy Ryan. Jason Talbot moved from his usual left back slot to central defence, alongside Callum Morris.
Dunfermline began the game shooting towards the away end. The much-changed team were understandably taking time to link up with the fluidity of the recognised first choice 11. Fraser Aird was a busy figure on the right, eager to make an impression after a disappointing start to his Pars career, subbed at Livingston on his debut after 37 minutes and not having played since. The midfield duo of Paton and Splaine, together with Scott Lochhead on the left, were industrious but did not do enough to threaten players such as Joe Cardle, Kallum Higginbotham and Big Nat when it comes to team selection for Saturday's League game with Falkirk.
Ryan was a prolific scorer with previous club Airdrie and he took just 25 minutes to open his Pars account, shooting past ex-Par David Hutton in the visitors' goal. Arbroath were then reduced to 10 men after half an hour when Ricky Little pulled down David Hopkirk just outside the penalty box. A fairly uneventful first half briefly lit up again after 40 minutes when Ryan headed his and Dunfermline's second goal.
The second half saw Arbroath press the Pars goal despite being a man down. Dunfermline's attacks were sporadic and ineffectual, with Aird coming closest with a 20 yard shot. Subs Declan McManus, Callum Smith and Big Nat were brought on, but the Pars were unable to test Hutton. Late in the game, Arbroath hit the bar from a free kick, then with seconds remaining Duthie was sent off for 2 bookable offences.
The game suggested that players such as Lochhead and Splaine are better utilised as substitutes rather than starters. Andy Ryan can be very satisfied with his debut, fitting in well and enhancing his reputation as a natural finisher.
Pars starting 11 & subs:
Tomorrow: match photo gallery & matchday vlog will be uploaded.
Photos & edits in this article by Pars Review.