SPL v Kilmarnock
KILMARNOCK 2 DUNFERMLINE 1 Date: 19/02/05
Fixture: BOS SPL Premier League, Attendance: 4701
Kick Off: 15:00, Referee: Kenny Clark
Weather: Cold, light snow and sunshine at times 4C
Dunfermline lost out yet again at Rugby Park where they have failed to record a victory since Boxing Day 1992. After going behind to a gifted goal in the 13th minute Jesper Christiansen headed in an equaliser. Then in the last minute of the first half the Pars lost what proved to be the winner from that curse of the Pars, Kris Boyd, at an indirect free kick 16 yards out.
Manager Davie Hay changed his winning team from the success over Jimmy Calderwood`s Aberdeen last Saturday. Andrius Skerla was fit so Ian Campbell found himself relegated to the bench beside Darren Young. Darren`s brother Derek was fit to join them for the first time since November.
Dunfermline kicked off defending the goal in front of a fairly meagre travelling support and had the early possession. That said it was Kilmarnock who created the first real chance Kris Boyd breaking through in the 7th minute to force the yellow shirted Derek Stillie to race out and block.
A long throw from Peter Leven dropped in the Pars six yard box and bounce right on without contact from either side. Then Johnson collected a clearance only to drive in at the feet of a Pars defender. It was all Killie and really no surprise when they converted the early pressure into goals.
NAISMITH opened the scoring for Kilmarnock in the 13th minute when Allan Johnson fought off Ross to get into position wide left sending in a cross to the heart of the Pars box and Andrius Skerla`s half hearted clearance fell straight to the Killie man who drove the ball from the edge of the box into the bottom left corner of the Pars net.
Dunfermline got straight back into the game however with an equalised within seven minutes. Jesper Christiansen drove the ball against a Killie defender to earn the Pars their first corner of the match in the 20th minute. Lee Makel swung the ball in from the bottom right corner for Tod to outjump Lilley and meet deep in the box. His header was then directed on by CHRISTIANSEN to head into the left side of the home net to make it 1-1.
The sun was blinding the Pars defence as Toddy conceded a free kick 30 yards out six minutes later but thankfully Gary MacDonald bent the wall over the wall and just over the bar. Next chance came when Christiansen was played wide right to send in a cross that was just too high for Barry Nicholson and not high enough to reach Noel Hunt at the far side of the Killie box.
Danny Invincilble and Allan Johnson continued to provide the threats but the Pars defence and Derek Stillie were equal to it. All looked good until two minutes from the break when a pass back from Scott Thomson was saved by Derek Stillie and Kilmarnock were awarded an indirect free kick 16 yards from goal in a central position. The visitors formed an eight man wall along the six yard box meaning that Derek Stillie found it impossible to get a position where which he could see the ball. In the end he joined the wall and broke to try and charge down the shot. Killie touched the ball to Kris BOYD whose sclaffed effort passed through all the defences to end up in the bottom left corner of the Pars net. 2-1 and that was the way it was when the teams changed ends.
Darren Young replaced Noel Hunt and Simon Ford came on for Liam Fontaine at the restart. Kilmarnock created the first danger when Invincible`s pass to Gary MacDonald was backheeled into the box for him to run on to. MacDonald went down too easily in the challenge from Barry Nicholson and the Killie midfielder was shown a yellow card by referee Kenny Clark for diving.
Dunfermline`s first impression in the second half was a Billy Mehmet shot from a Christiansen pass that Alan Combe dropped to his right to save. Clark was brandishing yellow again in the 57th minute when Andrius Skerla tumbled Boyd on the edge of the box. Boyd drove the free kick into the Pars wall. Simon Donnelly was introduced for Billy Mehmet as the Pars management team tried another combination up front.
On the hour Gary Mason headed a Christiansen cross wide left and two minutes later Donnelly laid off the ball for Darren Young to try a shot from distance that Combe held. MacDonald was well off target at the other end when Stillie`s palm out from a Johnson corner was fed back to him by Naismith. Killie came at the Pars with Toddy saving Scott Thomson when Invincible got the better of him to get across a useful ball.
Derek Stillie decided not to pick up a Kilmarnock cross that came off Tod in the 70th minute and then as he tried to show his footwork lost possession to Naismith in his box and Johnson was given a crack at goal from 15 yards that Big Andy on the line got it away. Hristov came on for Christiansen and rounded the Kilmarnock defence but shot wide left in the 76th minute.
MacDonald`s break led to a one two off Naismith that eventually forced Stillie into a two handed tip over the bar. Dunfermline tried hard to get the equaliser and play was constantly towards the Killie goal. In the 83rd minute Garry Hay was yellow carded for dumping Donnelly and Lee Makel drove the free kick into the KFC wall for it to drop to Skerla. His hook dropped to Hristov who had somehow managed to stay on side but the Macedonian failed to take the chance.
Nicholson drove a Ross cross wide left two minutes later but with Andy Tod thrown into attack the Pars continued to press. The Fifers were given a lifeline in the 91st minute. Jamie Fowler was yellow carded for a crude tackle on Gjorgi Hristov but after a lengthy period while the Killie was built and then disrupted by Andy Tod, Nicholson prodded the ball right for Thomson to shoot but even that lacked control. Nipper appeared to have to check before getting in the last hope but the ball ended up in the stand.
The management described the performance as inept. The game certainly went Kilmarnock`s way despite a severe shortage of players and a testing Cup tie against Hearts on Wednesday night. With Motherwell defeating Hearts and Kilmarnock winning the gap between DA and the teams in sixth and seventh place looks too great to close. Top six this season is extremely doubtful and focus has still got to be below where thankfully Livingston lost out at Pittodrie.
Dunfermline Subs not used: Langfield, Derek Young, McKeown, Campbell
Dunfermline Strip: Away Red and Black
Dunfermline Goal Scorers: Christiansen (20)
Dunfermline Yellow Cards: Stillie (43), Skerla (57)
Kilmarnock Squad: Combe; Fowler, Lilley, Fontaine (Ford HT), Hay; Invincible, McDonald, Johnson (Murray 77), Leven; Boyd, Naismith
Kilmarnock Subs not used: Smith, Dargo, Dodds, McGregor, Johnstone
Kilmarnock Goal Scorers: Naismith (13), Boyd (44)
Kilmarnock Yellow Cards: MacDonald (51), Hay (83), Fowler (91)
Ladbrokes Championship: Saturday 18th March, Dunfermline v Ayr United kick off 3.00pm