SPL v Dundee
DUNFERMLINE 3 DUNDEE 1 Date: 01/01/05
Fixture: BOS SPL Premier League Attendance: 4426
Kick Off: 15:00 Referee: Kevin Toner
Weather: Wet, windy 8C
Water is possibly something that would have been more appreciated a few hours beforehand as an antidote for the New Year celebrations but lashing rain did nothing to raise the spirits of the fans turning up for the first SPL game of 2005. For both teams a win would make a huge difference to their SPL standing.
Dunfermline Captain Scott Thomson returned in an otherwise unchanged team from the side that played out a disappointing goalless draw on Monday against Livingston. For Dundee Lee Wilkie returns to their defence after sitting on the bench for their two most recent games against Aberdeen and Kilmarnock.
A fantastic double from the head of this season`s top goalscorer, Andy Tod, and a third forced by him causing Stephen McNally to head into his own net, won this vital clash for the Pars. In a match when it was heads you win Neil Barrett`s headed goal five minutes from half time was enough to alter the inevitable outcome..
Sammy collectes for the Asia Disaster Fund
Gary Mason and Billy Mehmet took the kick off knocking it back for Greg Ross whose punt upfield gave Dundee possession. Gary Mason and Darren Young both had attempts that swished narrowly over the bar; Mason on 70 seconds from 30 yards and then Young two minutes later, taking advantage of a Neil Barrett slip on the top of his won penalty area.
The Pars created more problems for the Dee defence with Ross in a wide right midfield role sending over dangerous balls that the attack just failed to convert. A driving run up the left by Thomson put in position to play a one two of Toddy on the left of the Dundee box and Nipper`s final ball was cut out for the first corner of the game. The headers of Skerla and Tod came to nothing and then a Mehmet pass to his co-striker looked promising but Andy`s strike was not enough to beat the red shirted Soutar in the Dundee goal.
In the next minute however, the 12th, a good Barry Nicholson ball from the right dropped into the far side of the opposition six yard box where Mehmet turned it in for TOD to head home.
Dundee`s second corner in the 16th minute of the match gave Derek Stillie all sorts of problems as he failed to clear the delivery in after two attempts that Fabian Caballereo did his best to intervene. Play was back in front of the visiting support in the East Stand with Darren Young working his way in from the left and releasing a shot from 22 yards that spun out of Soutar`s hands before he could kill it.
Dundee had a great chance from a 25th minute free kick that Mark Fotheringham floated over to the far right of the Pars six yard box and the in rushing Lee Wilkie`s header landed on the top of the net. The second goal was not far away and it was the Pars who registered it just three minutes later. A stylist run down the right by Labonte got him deep into the right side of the Dee box. His cross was blocked and there were appeals for hand ball from the Dundee support as he got possession back teeded it back to Greg Ross who centred inviting Andy Tod to head home but it was defender Stephen McNALLY who was credited with heading the ball into his own net. Post match Big Andy proved that he was not a striker by unselfish denial that he got a touch to the cross. He said that he headed McNally`s head and the Dundee player netted.
Toddy came extremely close to notching a first half hat-trick when Barry Nicholson`s 36th minute corner from the left was headed for Toddy to direct another header narrowly wide of the right goalpost. Things were looking much better than Monday`s helping for the Ease End faithful but five minutes from the interval the visitors reminded us that they were not here for nothing.
Caballero held the ball up well to set up a McNally cross in from the right that Neil BARRETT headed in at the far post from six yards. This was a set back for the Fifers but since their first half performance had been such an improvement on their recent showings the second half was eagerly awaited.
More rain pounded down at the start of the second half and Dunfermline continued attacking from the restart. Useful balls in from Tod and Hunt served warning and there was only 55 minutes on the clock when Andy TOD rose to head home Noel`s cross from the right. Amazingly given the threat that Tod had been in the opening 45 neither Bobby Mann nor Lee Wilkie were there to prevent the Kelty man`s trio from six yards.
At 3-1 up the Pars fans were singing different songs than they chanted at 4.45 on Monday!. Tails up DA continued to go forward; fans and players wanting four. In the 61st minute Andrius Skerla hooked over the bar at a corner but Hunt was soon showing off his tricks on both flanks of the attack.
Toddy was denied his hat-trick when he met a Ross delivery from the right that followed good play by Hunt. The Pars goalscorer headed down but the ball bounced wildly up and over the bar. Dundee fought back but failed to penetrate the Pars defence with more headers bobbling about in front of Stillie.
The visitors came as close as you get in the 77th minute when Mark Fotheringham hit Stillie`s left hand post from twelve yards. Steven Robb rattled the rebound into the sidenetting as he followed up. Dunfermline looked slightly nervous at the prospect of just their third home win of this SPL season and Dundee got their chances. Fotheringham hand a shot that cleared the crossbar and but Dundee could do nothing to prevent the result that coupled with Dundee United`s 1-1 draw with Rangers puts the Dark Blues foot of the SPL table on goal difference.
Far fewer long balls from the Pars today; much better build up play and of course the ability to net the ball made all the difference. No complaints at the start of 2005 and the three points are very welcome. With Le Makel and Jesper Christiansen waiting for a chance of their debuts next Saturday all of a sudden the competition for starting places looks fierce.
Man of the Match Award for the second game running went to near hat-trick hero Andy Tod.
Dunfermline Squad: Stillie; Ross (Butler 81), Skerla, Wilson, Labonte; Nicholson, Darren Young (Dempsey 74), Mason, Thomson; Mehmet (Hunt 28), Tod
Dunfermline Subs: Langfield, Bradley, Campbell, C Wilson.
Dunfermline Strip: Home White and Black
Dunfermline Goal Scorers: Tod (12, 55), McNally (og 28)
Dunfermline : Skerla (11)
Dundee Squad: Soutar; McNally, Mann, Wilkie, Robb, Fotheringham, Smith, Barrett, MacDonald; Sutton, Caballero (Larsen 86).
Dundee Subs: Robertson, Murray, Hegarty, Cerdeira, Hernandez.
Dundee Goal Scorers: Barrett (40)
Dundee Yellow Card: McNally (31)
Ladbrokes Championship: Saturday 18th March, Dunfermline v Ayr United kick off 3.00pm