Dunfermline’s storming start to the season became even better last night with a deserved dismantling of Premiership side Dundee. Late goals from Joe Cardle and man-of-the-match Faissal El Bakhtaoui sealed their place in the third round after Dundee looked to have survived a potential scare.
Second best in the first half, Dundee managed to impose themselves more on the game in the second half before falling to two classic sucker-punches. No-one could say Dunfermline were not worth their win, however.
Manager Paul Hartley’s stated desire for Dundee to be more competitive in the cups has unstitched already, beaten by a side from two leagues below them.
El Bakhtaoui made their misery complete with a third goal at the end after toying with the Dundee defence. But Cardle’s strike with four minutes left was already looking like being enough to send Dunfermline through and make a mockery of Hartley’s plans.
Knowing Dunfermline had scored 12 goals in their first two home games, Dundee should have been more wary. El Bakhtaoui has been doing most of the damage and was to the fore once more last night. The harvest moon has not risen in the sky and the busy El Bakhtaoui already has 11 goals this season. He spun on his heels to send a stunning volley into the far corner from Lewis Martin’s cross after only ten minutes.
Kane Hemmings equalised for Dundee shortly after half-time before Cardle and El Bakhtaoui again decided the tie. Allan Johnston wasn’t even in his normal place in the dugout by then on a feisty night of cup football. The Dunfermline manager was sent to the stand midway through the second half by referee Stephen Finnie.
The hosts could have been ahead as early as the first couple of minutes but Cardle shot into the side-netting. It was a confidence-boosting start for the League 1 side, who survived two scares soon afterwards from two headers by Dundee defender Julen Etxabeguren, who was replaced shortly after his side levelled with a hamstring strain.
For the second game in a row, and prior to the Spaniard’s enforced departure, Dundee lined up with three centre-halves. But as against Aberdeen at the weekend, it seemed only to blunt their effectiveness. Lying too deep, their play seemed ponderous in contrast to Dunfermline’s quick breaking trio of Michael Moffat, Cardle and El Bakhtaoui.
It was the last named player who speared Dundee with a wonderful finish. The lively French Moroccan got in front of Thomas Konrad 12 yards from goal to steer Martin’s cross into the far corner of Scott Bain’s goal. They might well have gone two ahead after 21 minutes had Finnie or his nearside assistant Joseph Lawson considered Kevin Holt’s agricultural hauling down of Michael Paton to be a penalty. The left-back was almost rugby-tackling the player by the end.
They did, though, enjoy a let-off when James McPake almost added to his two goals for the season after an unexpected burst through on goal that ended with his dipping shot striking the top of the crossbar. Dundee drew level three minutes after half-time through Hemmings following a neat dummy from Nick Ross that left the Dunfermline defence stranded after Paul McGowan’s cross was headed on by Paul McGinn.
Hemmings drove the ball past Sean Murdoch from eight yards. But Cardle did well to engineer a chance in 86 minutes that Bain could not quite prevent going over the line. And then El Bakhtaoui struck a well-taken third that was further reward for his own endeavours.