SPL v Motherwell
DUNFERMLINE 1 MOTHERWELL 0 Date: 24/01/04
Fixture: BOS SPL Premier League
Attendance: 5270, Kick Off: 15:00
Referee: Dougie McDonald, Weather: Light rain at times 6C
Only one goal but three more points that open up an eight point gap between the Pars in fourth and Livingston in fifth. Terry Butcher conceded DA were worthy winners despite the fact that their stand in keeper John Paul Corr had few saves to make.
Corr was beaten by messy defending and two clever touches when overhead flicks from Stevie Crawford and Derek Young found the Motherwell net in the 73rd minute.
Jimmy Calderwood brought back Gary Dempsey and Derek Young choosing them ahead of last week’s first choices Aaron Labonte and Andy Tod. These two found themselves on the bench beside new signing Greg Shields as the Pars kicked off towards the town end.
Both teams showed Racism the red card before the kick off
There was an early scare in the fourth minute when Alex Burns took advantage of Scott Wilson’s indecision and nipped in to shoot from the left side of the box. Derek Stillie leapt up to deflect the shot but Clarkson followed up and Andrius Skerla skied the clearance from inside his own six yard box. The ball broke out to the right and Dempsey eventually eased the pressure taking the ball away up the left.
Dunfermline’s first showing came two minutes later when Crawford stole the ball off Martyn Corrigan and set up Craig Brewster for a right footed effort that cleared the crossbar. Gary Mason was next to try a strike but his shot from outside the box was blocked by the visitor’s defence.
Scott Thomson was next to drum up a chance when after pushing up the left he was unlucky not to get on to the return when Brewster tried an overhead flick into the penalty box that went just too much and Corr was able to collect. On the quarter hour Skerla’s ball into the box fell to Brewster in good position just 8 yards out from goal but the experienced striker bought just too much time and his shot got blocked as well.
Derek Young’s strike from a Thomson cross met the defence the same way before in the 20th minute Dempsey and Mason sent Crawford speeding up the left wing. Stevie got away from the close attentions of Stephen Craigan but his final ball searching our his partner Brew was cut out.
There were appeals for a penalty from the McCathie Stand when Nicholson’s ball to Brewster might have connected with Keith Lasley’s hand but referee Dougie McDonald let play continue. At the other end Burns again kept Stillie involved with the Pars keeper forced to tip over his bar from immediately underneath it.
From the corner, Motherwell’s one and only of the half, Crawford took the ball away from his mate in the opposition, ex Par, Jason Dair and scurried up the left. He beat Corrigan but on cutting back got surrounded by defenders but managed to feed the ball square for Darren Young to play the ball into the path of Barry Nicholson but his shot was wild. This was Barry’s last real involvement with a back injury forcing him to leave the field in the 35th minute to be replaced by Greg Shields.
Greg got a rousing reception from the home fans who were clearly delighted to see him back at Dunfermline in a black and white shirt. Brewster had another good pop at the target when Dempsey’s ball back to Crawford was fed to him. The substitute found himself covering for Andrius Skerla in the 39th minute as the central defender went marauding up the park. Having played a one two off Brewster Andrius burst into the ‘Well box and chipped a good shot along the goalline. The McCathie Stand roared in expectation of it finding the net but having beaten the keeper the ball just ran out at the far post.
Left: New boy Greg Shields gets stuck in and Right: Scott wilson shows true grit
Next Mason had a go at goal and then Thomson swung in a ball from the left corner flag that Brewster despatched wide left. Motherwell finished the half with a rude reminder that they were well capable of upsetting the Pars day and O’Donnell got to the left byeline to send over a ball that cross that Burns managed to send over the crossbar from just 8 yards out. Certainly a let off but it would hasve been an injustice given all the possession and pressure the Fifers enjoyed during the first 45.
Dunfermline threatened the scoresheet immediately on the resumption Crawford and Brewster working well in the centre of the park to let Dempsey through on the left of the box. Unfortunately his shot sneaked by the outside of the far post. The 53rd minute brought another fright for the home fans when Derek Young, tracking a cross ball from Quinn, slipped on the edge of his own box and gave Phil O’Donnell free scope. Apparently taken by surprise the former Celt shot into the sidenetting as Stillie quickly came out to cover his options.
There was more than a suggestion that Motherwell were determined to get something out of the match when four minutes later Burns raced on to a long ball up the left, his cross forcing another great save out of Stillie at the feet of David Clarkson. The Pars replied with Scott Thomson sprinting out of defence to collect a through ball on the left wing. The captain crossed from the left edge of the box but Corrigan running back headed behind for another corner to Dunfermline.
There was an hour on the clock when Derek Young sent in the corner finding Scott Wilson’s head. The header unfortunately was kicked off the line denying Scott a goal to celebrate his new three and a half year contract deal.
Darren Young struck a loose defended ball from a Scott Thomson free kick over the top and then was yellow carded within the same minute for downing Alex Burns in the centre circle when the Motherwell man looked like breaking away.
The breakthrough that the Pars were patiently working towards duly arrived in the 73rd minute. Gary Mason`s cross was sent behind for a corner from the left. Gary Dempsey sent the ball over and the `Well defence failed to clear as the ball came in best for them. A header sent the ball to wilson and his square ball was met with an overhead kick from Crawford and then a similar finish from DEREK YOUNG in the six yard box. Corr had no chance and East End Park was on its feet.
Derek Young puts the ball away for the goal
Jimmy Calderwood then substituted Craig Brewster who seemed to have been limping for ages. Aaron Labonte went to left back and Scott Thomson moved into midfield with Derek Young joining Stevie up front.
The Pars dropped deep and in the 83rd minute all 11 were behind the ball in their own half. Those who had witnessed the Steelmen`s comeback in the first fixture this season between the teams feared the worst but really nothing threatened Stillie`s eighth SPL shut out of the season.
Two minutes from time Shields picked out Crawford on the far side of the box but his finish was high and wide. Then again in the second minute of added time Crawford was in good position up the left flank and when his cross came over Derek Adams arrived from nowhere to deny Darren Young to notch the second.
Derek Young was awarded the RAC AutoWindscreens Man of the Match award which he modestly said he felt he didn`t deserve. He did the damage and although his team mates performed well really the goal was the most important part of the day.
Motherwell: Corr; Quinn, Craigan, Corrigan, Hammell; Lasley (MacDonald 79), Adams, O’Donnell, Dair; Clarkson, Burns
Motherwell Subs: Bollan, Fagan, Kinniburgh
Motherwell Yellow Card: Craigan (77)
Ladbrokes Championship: Saturday 18th March, Dunfermline v Ayr United kick off 3.00pm