SPL v Kilmarnock
DUNFERMLINE 1 KILMARNOCK 0 Date: 24/12/00
Twelve matches without a goal and Stevie Crawford was enlisting everyone`s help to get himself back on the scoresheet.
His 20 goals last season have been followed by a mere four up until this match. After scoring a cracker of a goal in the 22nd minute Crawford ran over to the Main Stand lifting his shirt to reveal a tee shirt saying "Thank you Santa".
The tee shirt, specially delivered to him this morning by his mum, Frances, was only part of the team work that brought an end to the striker`s goal drought. Sammy the Tammy`s pre match entertainment was to cartoon character Bob the Builder`s Christmas hit. "We can fix it" was the task of Youth team players Brian Vaughan and Ross Harrower. The two built a modification to Stevie`s Adidas Predators removing the moulds and replacing them with studs more suited to the soft ground conditions.
"I promised Brian and Rosco on the team night out that if I scored with them I`d give them ?50 each. John Ritchie had a bit of a joke with them. When he found out that they were on ?50 each if I scored today, he just about had to lock them in on Tuesday night while they perfected them. I think that it is well deserved".
For the first time this season Dunfermline fielded the same team for two successive SPL matches. The old adage of not changing a winning team proved right as the Pars won a hard fought victory not without a little good fortune. Referee for the match was Bobby Orr, the SPL`s most reserved user of the card with only 3 yellows and one red being shown in his previous three SPL matches this season.
Dunfermline kicked off towards the Kilmarnock support and moved forward right away. Ian Ferguson tried a shot at goal and David Moss got injured all within 30 seconds. Moss was led to the touchline by referee Bobby Orr with a cut above his left eye. Reduced to ten men for 6 minutes while club doctor Gerry Gillespie stitched up the damage Dunfermline continued to press.
Steve Hampshire was on fire with some fine skills and good use of speed. Youssef Rossi swept two long balls from left back to right wing but on each occasion Crawford was beaten to the ball by the visiting defence. With Mossy returned Ian Ferguson and Scott Thomson produced a break from a Kilmarmock corner which Chris McGroarty was unlucky to do better with.
Twelve minutes into the match a header back from midfield landed for Andy McLaren and his shot was well saved by Marco Ruitenbeek just inside the penalty box. He failed to hold it and as he scramble to retrieve it the strong claims from McLaren of a pass back from Andrius Skerla were dismissed by Referee Orr.
Fergie was quick to react three minutes later when Skerla`s clearance went straight to McLaren. Then in the 22nd minute a Barry Nicholson cross from deep on the right found CRAWFORD who stopped with his left foot and put in what he himself described as a "toe bash". The ball flew across the goal beyond Marshall and high into the net. Stevie must love Kilmarnock because it was there he scored his last goal on 14th October.
Next a Scott Thomson cross from the left evaded Steve Hampshire and David Moss. After 29 minutes David Moss had a head on for Crawford but the danger was cleared. Three minutes Nicholson and Ferguson fell in a heap as they collided and Kilmarnock`s break was strongly knocked back to Marco Ruitenbeek by Rossi. Unable to use his hands big Marco did really well to skilfully play the ball out for a corner.
A 42nd minute cross from Chris McGroarty was cut out by Marshall before Hampshire could get to the ball. Dunfermline ended the half stronger with a net bound shot from Skerla saved by Marshall and cleared by a defender on the post. A ball from Ferguson to Thomson produced another corner but Skerla`s strike was straight at the keeper.
Bobby Williamson was right into the changing room at half time to sort it out. It was a different Killie in the second half with a performance that the boss felt should have won them something out of the game.
On 47 minutes Andy McLaren went down the left and got around Justin Skinner. The cross was cleared from under the bar by Rossi with a header that conceded a corner. A minute later a pass back put McGroarty under pressure and as McLaren dispossessed him the Killie man shot wide right.
Next minute Peter Canero took the ball on a diagonal run from the right to wide left and despite the attentions of barry Nocholson Canero`s cross found the head of Christophe Cocard and thankfully Ruitenbeek`s hands. Kilmarnock were determined and were everywhere. The Pars just couldn`t get into it until a long clearance down the left wing was controlled by Thomson. Having done well to keep it in Scott then rode a tackle before pulling a shot to the outside of the left post.
Kevin McGowne came close at the 57th minute corner the ball seming to hit both his head and foot as it went wide. Steve Crawford pinched the ball off the same Killie man in the 63rd minute but unfortunately he pushed the ball too far ahead of him and Killie closed him out.
Dunfermline went through a spell where the North Stand linesman gave numerous offside decisions much to the rage of the fans in the stand behind him. Seven times in the second half the offside flag was raised which will probably see Crawford overtake Sara as the SPL`s most caught offside striker.
The double Dutch substitution in the 64th minute gave the Pars fans their first view of new signing, Marinus Dijkhuizen as he came on for Moss and Doesburg replaced Hampshire. Big Marinus was fouled on the 69th minute and Scott Thomson hammered the free kick straight at Marshall.
Five minutes later Thomson shot at the keeper when Dijkhuizen, McGroarty and Crawford were queuing up to convert the chance. Dijhuizen was making his presence felt as he featured in both defending and attacking. He had a 78th minute lay off to Crawford which was predictably flagged for offside and didn`t hold back much as he conceded a free kick on the left hand side of his own box.
Dijkhuizen had to have blood wiped off his head as his involvement increased. He didn`t need to lift himself off the ground to head down for Crawford to get in a strong cross from the left. Unfortunately with four minutes remaining there was no one there to score.
Paul Wright had come on for Mark Reilly in the 82nd minute and after the fourth official raised the board to display four minutes of added time the game blew up dramatically. The ball seemed to be going out for a bye kick as Ruitenbeek attempted to clear the ball away from Paul Wright. The keeper in an effort to get to the ball bundled through the Killie man.
The home support found it incredible when Bobby Orr pointed to the spot. Michel Doesburg was yellow carded for his demonstration before Paul Wright stepped up for the penalty in the 92nd minute. Marco went to his left, Wright hit the ball to the other side but too far and it grazed the outside of the post.
The Dunfermline players raced around their keeper as if he had saved it. When the final whistle did come there was jubilation; Ian Ferguson was named as the match sponsor, Assure `s Man of the Match and Michel Doesburg piggybacked a delighted Marco off the park.
For once the luck was with Dunfermline and Christmas will be all the better with six points from the last two home matches. As Stevie Crawford`s mum wrote "Thank you Santa"!
Ladbrokes Championship: Saturday 18th March, Dunfermline v Ayr United kick off 3.00pm