Dunedin Athletic upset the odds to beat Premier Division outfit Fernieside 2-1 and reach the quarter-finals of the Centenary Cup.
Despite being three divisions below their opponents Athletic came from behind as Paul Munro cancelled out Alasdair Anderson’s opener, and Colin Chalmers fired his side into the next round late on.
It was a perfect start for interim manager Jay Rodger who was delighted to see his team record a valuable win in his first game in charge.
“It was a very close hard-fought game but the attitude of the boys was first class. Ultimately our hard work has paid off to get the result. We wish Fernieside the best of luck for the rest of the season and for their East Of Scotland final.
“Our concentration now is the league. We’ve got seven games to get ourselves off the bottom. But it was nice to make it through and it can be an outlet for us to play freely. We’ll be looking to take this performance into the league,” he said.
The relegation candidates from both the Premier Division and Lothian East were able to take their focus away from their leagues and compete at Forrester in what was a high tempo affair from the start.
Fernieside got the game underway on the 3G and they almost had the lead with barely a minute gone. Quickly they burst upfield with the ball and David Garrie tried his luck from just inside the box, but Jamie Lyall in the Athletic goal saved well.
Fernieside were all over their opponents in the opening stages and really should have had their noses in front minutes later. Christopher Gordon delayed his shot in the box and tried to round Lyall, allowing Arthur Martin the chance to clear the ball off the line from his eventual effort on goal.
Gordon’s side continued to look the more dangerous and, after coming close to breaking the deadlock, they made it 1-0 just before the half hour. Anderson saw the Athletic keeper off his line and he audaciously lifted the ball over him from the edge of the box to make it 1-0.
As the half progressed Fernieside continued to have the momentum and they might well have run away with the game but Athletic’s defensive efforts and those of Lyall allowed the home side to grab a foothold in the cup tie. After Garrie smashed the ball against the bar and Lyall saved the follow-up shot from Gordon Wilson, Athletic began to settle and they pulled level in first-half injury time. Keiran Boyle ventured down the left and he drilled the ball to Munro just outside the box to half volley in for 1-1.
Athletic ended the half on a high and into the second 45 they competed with Fernieside in what became an end-to-end contest. Anderson could have grabbed himself and his team another goal with time and space to shoot from the edge of the Athletic penalty box but he screwed his shot wide of the mark.
Athletic came within a whisker of finding a winner ten minutes later when, on the counter-attack, the ball was worked to Lyall 12 yards from goal but, with time to pick his spot, he sent the ball flying over the crossbar.
It wasn’t to matter for his side though as Athletic found a winner with five minutes left on the clock. Chalmers brought the ball from halfway down the right hand side, ghosting past one then two opponents before smashing the ball into the bottom left corner for what would prove to be the winning goal.
Dunedin Athletic: Jamie Lyall, Martin Bews, Colin Chalmers, Scott Downie, Martin Finn, Scott Jappy, Arthur Martin, Ryan McGuire, Lyall Menzies, Paul Munro, Terry Philbin, Chris Taylor, Callum Weir, Scott Ross, Keiran Boyle, Andrew Watson.
Fernieside FC: Jeremy Bornet, Darren Deery, David Garrie, Craig Perry, Christopher Gordon, John Hall, Ryan Morrison, Jamie Pont, Alasdair Anderson, Scott Walker, Martyn Wallace, Gordon Wilson, Andrew Enwood, Robbie Gillespie, James Clarkson.