SPL v Kilmarnock
KILMARNOCK 2 DUNFERMLINE 1 Date: 14/10/00
Yet again Dunfermline concede a controversial penalty that turned the match against them.
In addition to six yellow cards, Jimmy Calderwood was despatched to the stand by Referee Garry Mitchell and subsequent comments from the Pars manager to the fourth official at half time puts him in really hot water.
There was much conjecture about how the announced team would line up. When the teams took to the field there was the surprise of the midfield made up with Graham wide right and Dair on the left playing in front of Chris McGroarty. Stevie Crawford was the sole attacker despite Calderwood describing his formation with three up front in the post match news conference.
Dunfermline produced the first danger with both Nicholson and Crawford going for a third minute Graham cross. If just one of them had gone for it then the result might have been better.
Ruitenbeek had a fine save from Andy McLaren and Holt failed to get on the end of a Garry Hay cross from the left. Then probably against the run of play Dunfermline scored. Chris McGroarty struck over a fine cross from the left which David Graham met at the far side of the six yard box. Graham`s header dropped for Matthaei to bring a great save out of Marshall but Stevie CRAWFORD was there to net the opener. 30 minutes gone and 1-0 to the visitors.
Matthaei and Nicholson were combining well as suddenly Dunfermline looked capable of an upset. But these thoughts were quickly extinguished with a 36th minute penalty decision to Kilmarnock. McGroarty and Garry Holt fought for the ball as Holt made down the right. McGroarty took the ball from the tackle well inside the penalty box but the wee man was penalised for pulling Holt`s shorts.
The referee was right up with the play and had a good view but gave nothing; the Assistant Linesman raised his flag and gestured that shorts had been tugged. Garry Holt said after the match that he didn`t know why the penalty was given. " I don`t know if it was in the box or not but it was in the box we ended up. It was a bit 50/50, it could have gone either way to be honest, I was pulling him he was pulling me but the final pull was him on me. The ref never saw it but the linesman ... it was nice that he came in and made the right decision for us."
After much protesting including no fewer than four yellow cards the penalty was taken by Paul Wright who sent the spot kick low and firmly into the right hand side of Ruitenbeek`s net. Seven penalties against Dunfermline this season so far and seven goals!
The protests didn`t end there as Jimmy Calderwood said one or two words too many to the fourth official and found himself following the same procedure as Craig Brown did on Wednesday night. The portable tunnel was specially pushed out and the Dunfermline manager was sent up it to join the "jacket and tie brigade in the Directors Box".
The only other notable on field action of the first half remaining was for Ruitenbeek to save a 18 yard Mahood shot.
Ten minutes into the second half Stevie Crawford was brought down in the penalty box right in front of the 300 or so travelling fans in the Chadwick stand. He didn`t make a meal of going down and no penalty was given. Television will undoubtedly prove that the referee was again wrong. David Moss came on for Rob Matthaei but it was Kilmarnock from then on in for almost the whole half.
Holt had a run that brought another good save from Marco before David Graham, from an offside position, ran on to a fine ball from Moss to bring a double save out of Gordon Marshall - the second with his raised boot. Wearing his cap to keep the sun out Marshall had no problem in keeping out Crawford`s back header as well.
Super Ally McCoist was a second half substitute and almost provided the winner when in the 74th minute from 18 yards he cannoned the ball off Michel Doesburg for Ruitenbeek to clutch just below his crossbar. Kilmarnock had lots of possession at this stage and converted it into a goal with just 7 minutes remaining.
Sub Christophe Cocard took the ball to the bye line on the left of the Pars box and despite the challenge of Scott Thomson crossed fort Holt to head in from close range. The 6000 Kilmarnock supporters in Rugby Park went wild and the silly Killy song was started up.
Disaster for the Pars but really it was in the script. We had defended deeply and there was always the threat of a Killie winner.
Dunfermline threw themselves forward with Skinner finding Crawford on the left wing. Stevie slipped the ball to David Graham but his low shot was held by Marshall. The last chance dropped to Crawford on the right off the head of a Kilmarnock defender but the penalty giving linesman this time deemed Crawford to be offside!
Another away defeat, but closer than in the past. These two teams are not as far apart as their league position would suggest. One of these days we`ll rediscover what it feels like to drive home in the contentment of a win.
Pre Season Friendly v Hibernian, Thursday 6th July 2017, kick off 7.45pm