SFL v Dundee
DUNDEE 1 DUNFERMLINE 0 Date: 12/09/09
Fixture: Irn Bru SFL Division One
Attendance: 5326, Kick Off: 3.00pm.
Referee: Craig Thomson
Dens Park was bathed in warm sunshine for this eagerly anticipated clash after the break for Scotland`s World Cup qualifiers.Manager Jim McIntyre made two enforced changes - one in the starting line up and one on the bench - in his side to face Dundee.Â Steven McDougall got his first league start of the season, coming in to replace the suspended Willie Gibson, while Greg Ross took the place of the injured Stephen Glass on the bench.
For Dundee, experienced defender Jim Lauchlan replaced Kyle Benedictus and Paul McHale took over Richie Hart`s midfield berth from the team that scraped an Alba Cup win against Stirling Albion last weekend.
Dunfermline attacked towards their fans in the Bob Shankly Stand and were quicker into their stride than the home side.Joe Cardle won a free kick wide left in the first minute which came to nothing but in the second minute the Pars were awarded a free kick just outside the box but directly in front of goal after a foul on Bayne.Alex Burke`s attempt unfortunately sailed over the bar.
Dunfermline continued to press and in the 5th minute, some controversy, particularly in view of later events.A good move involving Bell and Bayne saw Cardle on the ball inside the Dundee penalty area.There seemed to be a tug on the Pars winger as he went down but referee Craig Thomson waved play on much to the disgust of the visiting support.Then another free kick opportunity came as this time Bell was halted at the edge of the box.The free kick was laid off to Calum Woods this time but his left foot drive went straight to Bullock.
The Pars pressure continued and in 11th minute Greg Fleming launched a free kick from his own half that Bayne did well to head on.Cardle returned the ball and Bayne`s snapshot went wide of Bullock`s left-hand post.The first corner of the game came in 12 minutes but Burke`s cross was easily dealt with by Bullock.
Dundee`s first real attack came in 15 minutes when an innocuous-looking long free kick from halfway was kept in on the byeline with a header back across goal.Fleming only just managed to claw it away and with Griffiths ready to pounce McGregor and Burke put in blocking tackles.Three minutes later Dundee got a free kick just outside the box as McGregor brought down Paton, but they had no more success from that distance than Dunfermline, Griffiths firing it into the wall.Dundee were beginning to see more of the ball and Kerr was unlucky to see his shot go wide of Fleming`s left hand post after a good Dundee exchange.
Dunfermline were back up the other end in 25 minutes and Woods` cross from the right reached Cardle who floated his cross towards the six yard box.Stephen Bell got a good downward header in but Bullock saved to his left.Bell was quickly in action again but this time his shot was straight at the Dundee keeper.
Neither side was managing to create the space that would provide a clear-cut chance, although Dunfermline had a narrow escape after a foul by Bell on the Dundee left.Paton went past the Pars defence to fire a ball across the face of goal but there were no takers.
Then, in 36th minute, the best chance of the game so far.Â Burke made progress down the centre of midfield before his clever pass picked out Kirk in the clear.The Pars striker was unchallenged as he took the ball just inside the Dundee box, but his shot was blasted high and not very handsome.Dunfermline were to soon pay for their error, and again in somewhat controversial circumstances.
In the 37th minute, goalkeeper Greg Fleming and Colin McMenamin chased a loose ball in the Pars penalty area. The Dundee player appeared to go over the back of Fleming but the referee pointed to the spot. Fleming chose correctly but Gary Harkins` penalty was too good, fired low into the keeper`s right hand corner.
It was a blow to the Pars who had been the better side. Joe Cardle`s shot from the edge of the box in 41 minutes went just over the bar to show they intended to take the fight to Dundee, a factor that helped them go off to a round of applause at half-time.
Half Time: Dundee 1 Dunfermline 0
Jim McIntyre brought on Nick Phinn to replace Steven McDougall for the second half, and Dunfermline got an early chance to get back into it.Calum Woods drove down the right but his miskicked shot lands at Graham Bayne`s feet.The striker sends one across goal but it goes past Bullock for a goal kick.
In 48 minutes Dundee won a corner after a ricochet off Phinn.Colin McMenamin rose well but his header went over the bar.It was clear as the game progressed that Dundee were looking to contain and hit on the break where Griffiths and Harkins could do a lot of damage.Harkins was booked for a 60th minute foul on McGregor.Dunfermline did well to contain Dundee on the break but a great solo run by Griffiths brought him one-on-one with Fleming who did well to block the striker`s shot.
Dundee replaced Jim Lauchlan with David Cowan in 69 minutes but the Pars were still trying to play football and a move provided by Burke, Phinn and McCann saw a 70th minute corner for Dunfermline but it came to nothing.
Another mazy run by Griffiths was ended illegally by Dowie at the edge of the box.Dowie became the second Pars player in the book, but fortunately the Dundee free kick was fired over. In 75 minutes, Harkins could consider himself fortunate to remain on the park after he went down easily at the edge of the box.The ref waved play on but took no further action.
Two minutes later and it was Nick Phinn`s chance to have a shot.Although he hit it well, it went straight to Bullock - like most of the Pars efforts before it.
Dunfermline make two further substitutions - Greg Ross replacing Joe Cardle in the 86th minute, and Scott Muirhead coming on for the limping Steven Bell in injury time.It made no difference - Dundee were happy to play out the final minutes around the corner flag and in the end took the three points.
After a promising start, this game fell away with Dunfermline creating few second half chances and never really looking as if they could pierce the Dundee rearguard.Dunfermline`s build up play was good at times but the final ball, and in particular the final cross, was never good enough.
Dunfermline looked as if they missed Willie Gibson today - his delivery just might have made a difference.As it was, the Pars succumbed to their third league defeat of the campaign which seems a little harsh given the quality of some of the football played to date.The good news though is that they remain just four points off top spot.
DUNDEE: Tony Bullock; Eric Paton, Gary MacKenzie, Jim Lauchlan (David Cowan, 72), Eddie Malone; Paul McHale, Brian Kerr, Maros Klimpl (Colin Cameron, 87), Gary Harkins; Colin McMenamin, Leigh Griffiths (Sean Higgins, 85).
SUBS NOT USED: Rab Douglas (GK), Pat Clarke
YELLOW CARD: Gary Harkins (60)
DUNFERMLINE ATHLETIC: Greg Fleming; Calum Woods, Neil McGregor, Andy Dowie, Austin McCann; Steven McDougall (Nick Phinn 45), Steven Bell (Scott Muirhead, 89), Alex Burke, Joe Cardle (Greg Ross, 85); Andy Kirk, Graham Bayne (c).
SUBS NOT USED: Greg Paterson (GK), Chris Higgins.
YELLOW CARD: Cardle (70), Dowie (72)
WEATHER: Sunny, 21oC 5,326
NEXT MATCH: (away) First Division v Partick Thistle
Saturday 19th September 2009, kick off 3.00pm
Ladbrokes Championship: Saturday 18th March, Dunfermline v Ayr United kick off 3.00pm