SPL v Hibernian
HIBERNIAN 1 DUNFERMLINE 1
Fixture: BOS SPL Premier League
Kick Off: 15:00
Referee: Charlie Richmond
Weather: Overcast 16C
Lee Makel played after doubts over his broken wrist. Leish stuck with his back three of Tod, Wilson and Thomson meaning Andrius Skerla sat on the bench, Scott Morrison made his competitive debut for the Pars and Bryn Halliwell made his SPL debut.
Hibs had a familiar look with Gary O`Connor and Derek Riordan up front in a team full of players capable of getting on the scoresheet. With all the festivals that are about to start in Edinburgh one hopes that Hibs don`t kick off with their own goalfest.
Dunfermline defended the goal in front of their 893 strong travelling supporters and immediately play was in their direction with Beuzelin pushing a ball through to Gary O`Connor that was sent cross the Pars six yard box. Greg Shields left it but Riordan miscued his cross back towards the penalty spot and Gary Mason got the ball away all within the first 30 seconds.
Hibs looked very comfortable in the opening minutes and they might have got the opener in the 8th when O`Connor flashed a shot just wide of the left post. Bryn Halliwell`s low clearance was robbed off Mason by Michael Stewart who set up the Hibs striker beautifully but fortunately for the Pars without effect.
Dunfermline forced two corners. Morrison`s from the right was headed away and Makel`s from the left tipped away by Zbigniew Malkowski in the Hibs goal. A nice move on the left side split the home defence Makel feeding Donnelly who then cut the ball back for Morrison. There was a great chance for a debut goal but his low right footed shot from 15 yards was held by the keeper.
In the 13th minute Greg SHIELDS finished a move that saw a good passing movement from Makel to Shields,, right to Derek Young, square to Simon Donnelly who then teed it up for the right wingback to sink into the bottom left from 8 yards.
Two minutes later the Pars no.2 was almost through for his second as he got a break that allowed him to exchange a pass with Mason on the right edge of the box but this time he just couldn`t achieve the same result. Hibs came back at the Fifers and on 22 minutes O`Connor as the villain when Riordan broke through on the left side of the box. He lined up Fletcher whose shot was blocked before the ball landed at O`Connor`s feet and he completely miskicked from six yards and Halliwell just had to pick the ball up.
The home support were outraged when Shields as last man brushed Riordan off at the edge of the box. Charlie Richmond was not to give the free kick or the yellow card (at least) that would have come with it. The Pars came under the cosh as Hibs pressed forward but the best they could offer was a long shot from Scott Brown that was blocked by Andy Tod.
The competition was fired up with yellow cards for Darren Young and Scott Brown. The home support were getting noisier as Brown sent in a dangerous cross that was defended out to Beuzelin on the left. His cross was extremely dangerous and Scott Thompson`s challenge was just enough to force Riordan`s header over the bar.
Riordan was very close from a 30 yard free kick in the 34th minute, the ball skimmed the bar and the top of the net as it fell behind Halliwell. O`Connor won a corner right as Scott Wilson tried to see it out and all the play seemed t be on the edge of the Pars box. Corners came and went as the defence resisted.
The Pars ventured forward but when Stewart dispossessed Andy Tod O`Connor was sent sprinting away towards goal. Luckily for the Pars the low shot came back off the post at 45 degrees and the defence got to the rebound first. In a game that had already been fairly heated the temperature rocketed when in the 40th minute when Hibs Scott Brown was given a second yellow card for a high challenge that flattened Darren Young just inside the Hibs half.
This was the Hill o Beath boy`s first red card in the SPL and remarkably the some of the Hibs support, in a show of sympathy against Refere Richmond`s decision, gave Brown a standing ovation as their side, a goal down, were further handicapped. Steven Fletcher collected another yellow as the men in black were awarded a free kick on the right edge of the box. Morrison`s delivery was sent behind by Murphy and when Morrison`s corner was despatched towards the six yard box Andy Tod rose to head wide right of the goal.
Half Time 0-1
Gary Mason was first to get the goalkeepers involved in the 4th minute of the second half with a long drive, but the biggest blow was a knee injury to Scott Thomson that saw him stretchered off in the 52nd minute. It looked liked a recurrence of the injury that had floored him off the ball in the 42nd minute. Andrius Skerla came on and it looked like there was going to plenty of defending to do even against the ten men.
Danger soon emerged when Riordan was stopped on the 18 yard line to earn his side a free kick right in the centre. Bryn Halliwell pranced along his goal line and for a moment there were thoughts that Darren Young would take the right post. In the end he joined the other seven black shirts in the wall. Caldwell fooled everyone by going for a pass right for O`Connor who unmarked was allowed to shoot but amazingly he pulled wide left.
In the 61st minute Mark Burchill came on for his debut replacing Derek Young but again it was Shields who created the danger. He worked his way around Murphy down on the right and the Hibs man pulled him down to give the visitors a free kick in a useful position. Makel and Morrison took their now obligatory positions either side of the ball and this time it was Makel`s right boot that opted for a square ball instead of the expected cross. Darren Young received and despatched a left footed hot that was held by the bright yellow kitted keeper diving to his right.
Tony Mowbray made a double substitution midway through the second half with Stephen Glass and Ivan Sproule coming on. They injected a bit more pace into the Hibs attack and a rash Shields challenge gave Hibs a free kick on the byeline on the right side. When Riordan sent over the ball Caldwell`s header at the far post was stopped by Halliwell and the Fifers could breath again. Not for long however.
In the 74th minute Hibs got the equaliser that had been threatening. A good ball over from the left picked out Riordan at the far post, his shot was blocked and as the entire defence tied desperately to keep the ball out Gary O`CONNOR turned the ball into the net. Three minutes later he evaded Tod`s shadowing to get in a shot that Halliwell took at the second attempt.
Noel Hunt came on for Donnelly with 12 minutes remaining and it was his ball in from the left that set up another shooting opportunity for Mason but he only tested the keeper. Back at the other end O`Connor fired another good effort that rebounded to Gary Smith and Halliwell was forced to save well to keep the scores level. On 90 minutes O`Connor`s cross from the right was well held by Halliwell diving in front of Ivan Sproule.
Two corners in the final minute of added time saw Caldwell`s shot blocked by Shields and then he headed the second over the crossbar.
Hibs tried really hard for the whole second half, coming forawrd in wave after wave but Dunfermline showed great resolve in defending for most of the final 45 plus three added minutes. The Pars commitment and attitude was irst class and bodes well for the future. Having survived to draw 1-1 it was the Fifers support that left happiest.
Dunfermline Squad: Bryn Haliwell; Andy Tod, Scott Wilson, Scott Thomson (Andrius Skerla 52); Greg Shields, Lee Makel, Darren Young, Gary Mason, Scott Morrison; Simon Donnelly (Noel Hunt 78), Derek Young (Mark Burchill 61
Dunfermline Subs not used: Sean Murdoch, Greg Ross, Iain Campbell, Craig Wilson
Dunfermline Strip: New Away strip all Black
Dunfermline Goal Scorers: Shields (13)
Dunfermline Yellow Cards: Darren Young (23), Mason (72), Hunt (87)
Hibernian Squad: Zbigniew Malkowski; Gary Smith, Gary Caldwell, David Murphy; Michael Stewart, Guillaume Beuzelin (Ivan Sproule 67), Steven Fletcher (Stephen Glass 67), Steven Whittaker, Scott Brown, Gary O`Connor, Derek Riordan (Kevin Thomson 88)
Hibernian Subs not used: Simon Brown, Chris Hogg, Sam Morrow, Dean Shiels
Hibernian Red Card: Scott Brown (40)
Hibernian Yellow Card: Scott Brown (29)
Ladbrokes Championship: Saturday 18th March, Dunfermline v Ayr United kick off 3.00pm