SFL v Raith Rovers
DUNFERMLINE 2 RAITH ROVERS 1 Date: 16/03/10
Fixture: Irn Bru SFL Division
Attendance: 4549, Kick Off: 3.00pm.
Referee: David Somers
DUNFERMLINE 2 RAITH ROVERS 1
One change in either side for this Fife Derby. Dunfermline brought back Gary Mason in place of Alex Burke and Raith Rovers fielded Mark Ferry for the injured Dougie Hill.
The Pars kicked off attacking the goal in front of a vocal Rovers support. In the early play Dunfermline strung together sequences of passes but failed to penetrate the visiting defence. Gregory Tade managed to ease in on the right side of the Pars box in eight minutes. His cross was deflected out only as far as Stephen Simmons but to the enjoyment of the home support the former Par failed to control the ball 20 yards out and so no shot was executed.
It was Rovers who won the first corner of the game in 10 minutes when Allan Walker`s attempt was sliced behind by Andy Dowie. Iain Williamson attacked the corner but his header was cleared by Chris Higgins.
Next minute it was the Pars turn to attack and a Willie Gibson cross from the left was headed down by Steven Bell. The keeper, David McGurn, cleared but Steven McDOUGALL was perfectly placed on the top of the box to hammer home his second goal in four days.
Five minutes later a Graeme Holmes ball over from the right picked out David Graham but his header was held by McGurn on his line. Next McDougall cut in from the left and blasted a shot over the bar. Rovers tried to take the game to the other end but in 21 McGurn was back in action to hold an overhit Woods cross.
Simmons swept a ball to sub Dene Shields out on the right flank in place of Graham Weir and a cross flashed across the six yard box but just too far in front of Tade to create an equaliser. Next minute, 26, Tade laid off a pass to Williamson and his fierce release from around 14 yards rebounded back off Dowie on to him and behind for a goal kick.
It was an open match with plenty to entertain at both ends. Higgins headed over at a Pars corner delivered by Gibson from the left. On 32 minutes Williamson touched the ball on to Walker on the edge of the box but Tade was offside as the ball deflected on towards him just 8 yards out.
Ten minutes from the break Mason switched the ball towards the right and Holmes collected the headed clearance to shoot from 25 yards but unfortunately straight at McGurn. Graham went down in a robust challenge but Dunfermline played on putting the Cup semi finalist under pressure but could only force a corner that came to nothing.
The visitors were forced into a second substitution in 38 minutes when Thierry Gathuessi limped off and sub Robert Sloan looked like getting a dream start as Tade broke from Higgins. Tade threaded the ball into the sub`s path but he lifted his shot into the McCathie Stand.
East End groaned as Gibson ended his smart movement down the left with a poor final lay off in front of goal. Ferry headed the next Gibson cross behind for a corner but then after Bell put two feet into a tackle on Tade, Referee David Somers produced a red card to the Pars midfielder in almost the same spot as he had shown Gibson red in his previous match at East End v Raith.
Pars ahead at the break but it will be a long next 45 minutes for the ten men.
Half Time: Dunfermline 1 Raith Rovers 0
First danger of the second half came from Sloan who curled a 25 yard free kick over the crossbar. Andy Dowie collected a yellow card for the challenge on Johnny Russell that had given Sloan the early opportunity. Raith kept coming at Dunfermline and Fleming held bravely under challenge from Williamson although the referee had blown against the Raith no.7.
It was looking like the Pars might have to endure all the pressure but then from a throw in deep left Graham switched the ball to GIBSON as he ran around behind him and the former Killie player was through to smack the ball past McGurn for 2-0. From being sedate the home support suddenly had plenty to celebrate.
The 55th minute goal should have quickly been followed by a third just three minutes later. Gibson picked out McDougall who went left to square for Holmes but his effort was held by McGurn albeit at the second attempt.
Raith got a goal back in 62 minutes when referee Somers quite rightly played on as Gibson committed a foul that would later earn him a yellow card. From 30 yards out Sloan threaded a ball into the right side of the Pars penalty box where WALKER latched on to it and sent it under the advancing Fleming.
The visitors were out of luck three minutes later when Wiliamson`s cross just eluded Russell in front of goal. JIm McIntyre then made a double substitution as the match entered its final quarter; Alex Burke and Nick Phinn replaced Willie Gibson and Graeme Holmes.
It grew increasingly uncomfortable for the home support as Woods, Dowie and then Higgins cleared in dangerous situations. Ferry walloped a 73rd minute shot from 30 yards inches wide right and then Higgins robbed Tade as he was about to pull the trigger as well.
Dunfermline kept two men up and it almost paid off when a rare intrusion into the Rovers box saw Laurie Ellis lucky to get away with bundling Graham off the ball. No penalty and so it was back to the other end. Williamson won a corner on the right but Burke got that one away. Woods then headed clear a Grant Murray delivery and the heat was off as a free kick took the game back up the park.
In 83 minutes a loaded Ferry delivery was headed on by Tade and with a spin in front of goal, Walker earned a corner when he might have done better. Ross Campbell replaced Steven McDougall with six minutes remaining. Graham booted the ball down the left for Burke to catch but he could only win a free kick that ended up fruitless because he slipped in execution. Still the minutes were slipping away from the Kirkcaldy side.
Into added time with the Dunfermline end whistling crazily and the tackles flying in, Murray got the final chance when a cross from the left ricocheted on to him but Fleming held easily on the line.
After 94 minutes the final whistle was met by loud cheers and jubilation both on and off the park save for those with Rovers allegiencies. So as the Pars move into third place it is on to Starks Park on Saturday for the next instalment of the Fife derby.
DUNFERMLINE: Greg Fleming; Calum Woods, Chris Higgins, Andy Dowie, Austin McCann (c); Graeme Holmes (Nick Phinn 67), Steven Bell, Gary Mason, Willie Gibson (Alex Burke 67); Steven McDougall (Ross Campbell 84), David Graham.
SUBS: Greg Ross, Greg Paterson (GK).
SCORER: McDougall (11), Gibson (55)
YELLOW CARD: Dowie (47), Gibson (62)
RED CARD: Bell (44)
RAITH ROVERS: David McGurn; Grant Murray, Laurence Ellis, Thierry Gathuessi (Robert Sloan 38), Mark Ferry, Allan Walker, Iain Williamson, Stephen Simmons, Johnny Russell (Darren Smith,84),Graham Weir (Dene Shields 19), Gregory Tade.
SUBS: Gary O`Connor (GK), Craig Wedderburn.
YELLOW CARD: Sloan (45+2), Simmons (93)
SCORER: Walker (62)
WEATHER: Dry 7C
NEXT MATCH: (away) First Division v Raith Rovers
Saturday 20th March 2010, kick off 3.00pm
Ladbrokes Championship: Saturday 22nd April, Dunfermline v Falkirk kick off 3.00pm