Return to 1961/1962 ECWC
Tuesday 13th February 1962
European Cup Winners Cup - Quarter Final First Leg
Ujpest Dozsa 4 (2) Dunfermline Athletic 3 (2)
The Build Up
The draw for the Quarter Final paired Dunfermline with one of Europe's top sides. In the early sixties, Hungarian players and coaches were regarded as some of the best in the world. Ujpest boasted 3 players in the Hungarian 1962 World Cup squad. They had reached the Quarter Final by beating Floriano Valetta (Malta), 15-4 in the preliminary round, and the Dutch cup holders Ajax, 4-3.
The Ujpest Dozsa team had qualified for the European Cup Winners Cup tournament by winning the Hungarian Cup the previous season. Sponsored by the Ministry of the Interior, Ujpest's home crowds were normally between 20 and 35,000. As well as winning the cup, they finished runners-up in the league championship, one point behind the winners Vassas.
There were already strong historical links between Dunfermline and Hungary. The Royal Saint, Queen Margaret, wife of Malcolm Canmore, was born in Hungary and the great Hungarian liberator, Lujos (Louis) Kossuu was given the freedom of Dunfermline when he visited the town in 1856.
The Athletic had a busy programme in February 1962 with seven games to be played, however Jock Stein wasn't too bothered. "The players are very fit, they are showing good form, and we are quite capable of meeting our commitments, and continuing the good work."
Even before the first leg had been played, the Dunfermline board had decided to make the second leg at East End Park all ticket. Ground tickets were 5/-, centre stand 15/- and wing stands 10/-.
Having beaten St Johnstone 5-2 at Muirton on the Saturday, the Athletic party of 43 players, officials and supporters left the following day by charter flight from London Airport. On arrival at Budapest Airport the party were met by officials from Ujpest who had arranged for the quick clearance of visas and passports. The Athletic party stayed at the luxurious Grand Hotel on St Margaret's Island, on the Danube.
The day before the match, the Athletic party were treated to a sight seeing tour of Budapest, which was followed by a shopping expedition.
The match was to played at the 100,000 capacity People’s Stadium, which was originally built in 1922, but had recently been modernised. It was now considered to be one of the most modern soccer arenas in the world.
A major blow for the Athletic before the game was the late withdrawal of full back Cammy Fraser due to illness. The club doctor diagnosed influenza, brought on by a vaccination that the players had been given in preparation for the trip.
The weather for the match was appalling with the heavy rain being whipped into a torrent by a strong wind, but that didn't stop Dunfermline from turning in a superb performance to give them a real chance of qualification for the semi-final.
With the strong wind blowing the rain into the Dozsa's team faces, the Athletic got off to a dream start. After just 40 seconds, Alex Smith broke through and shot the Pars into a surprise lead. The shot appeared to be deflected slightly, and it eluded the keeper and hit the back of the net.
Dozsa were rattled by the early set-back, and a Peebles thirty yarder shaved the post. Better was to follow in just eight minutes when the Pars went two goals up. From a low, hard Peebles corner, Tommy McDonald scored number two with a low shot. At this stage, goalkeeper Eddie Connachan had yet to see any action.
A further move down the left saw the Pars get the ball into the net again. But this time, Smith's effort was ruled offside by the narrowest of margins.
The game looked as if it was going to be a walkover, but the Hungarians, realising that they now had a game on their hands started to show some of the brilliance for which they were renowned. With the rain easing a little, Gorac side-stepped Jackie Williamson in 29 minutes, and slipped the ball to 17 year old Ferenc Bene, who lashed a shot past Connachan into the top right hand corner of the net.
Within 30 seconds of their first goal, Ujpest had drawn level. Rossi passed to Lenkei, who despite looking suspiciously offside, slammed the call into the net.
With the home crowd fully behind their favourites, Dozsa were now on top form, and the Athletic defence needed to be on their toes. However, the Pars' occasional raids on the Ujpest goal carried a threat, and Melrose was unlucky to see his 36th minute shot bounce clear off the keeper's legs, and a Dickson header grazed the bar after a right wing move.
Dunfermline started the second half by putting the Hungarians under considerable pressure, but it was the home side that took the lead in 74 minutes. Bene, who had just received treatment off the pitch, was bundled off the ball in the penalty box by Jackie Williamson, and the Yugoslavian referee pointed to the spot. Solymosi made no mistake.
With nine minutes remaining, a Rossi through ball was picked up by Gorocs, whose deflected shot found its way past Connachan to put the home team 4-2 up on the night. Ujpest were so overjoyed at the change in fortunes, that even goalkeeper Lung sprinted up the field to embrace Gorocs.
Dunfermline were not to be pushed aside so easily, and five minutes from the end they grabbed a lifeline which would give them a real chance in the second leg. A free-kick from Mailer was punched away by Lung, but only as far as Peebles who hooked the ball back over his head to Tommy McDonald, who was in the right place to score.
Just before the final whistle a strong penalty claim by Dunfermline was turned down.
The result was a real boost to the Pars, and would ensure that when the teams met for the eagerly awaited return in Fife a week later, the match would be a guaranteed sell out.
Ujpest Dozsa:Lung, Kaposzta, Sovari, Solymosi, Rajna Borsanyi, Bene, Gorocs, Lankei, Kuharszky, Rossi.
Dunfermline Athletic:Connachan, Thomson, Cunningham, Mailer, Williamson, Miller, McDonald, Smith, Dickson, Melrose, Peebles.
Referee:T Ivanoski (Yugoslavia)
After the game the official Dunfermline party were entertained by Ujpest Dozsa at a banquet. The Hungarian club's president paid tribute to both sides on a superb sporting contest, the result of which, he said "seemed to please everyone." Dunfermline vice chairman Bob Torrie replied by promising Ujpest a keen contest at East End Park on the return leg. After the presentation of banners and badges, an album of photographs of the visit was handed over by the Hungarian chairman.
The Athletic party in Budapest, and fans at home viewed the result as a victory, and manager Stein summed up the feeling of elation with the comment, "frankly I am delighted."
In the book 'Black and White Magic', full back Jim Thomson reflected on his first European tie:
"This was without doubt Dunfermline's finest performance in Europe. We arrived in the luxurious surroundings of Hungary's national stadium, the NEP stadium, which you can imagine overwhelmed the poor relations from East End Park, and took on the strength of the then mighty Hungarian football. We knew nothing of defensive tactics for away ties, and we completely surprised Ujpest with our attacking style."
The Athletic party arrived back in Dunfermline on the Wednesday night, and the following day were busy preparing for their Scottish Cup third round tie against Stenhousemuir on the Saturday.