SFL v Cowdenbeath
DUNFERMLINE 2 COWDENBEATH 1 Date: 18/09/10
Fixture: Irn Bru SFL Division
Attendance: 4316, Kick Off: 3.00pm.
Referee: Charlie Richmond
Nearest neighbours Cowdenbeath returned to East End Park on league business for the first time in 17 years.¬ Jim McIntyre named an unchanged side for the second week running. Cowden who have already beaten Raith Rovers at Starks Park¬ made one change from the side that won at Greenock the previous Saturday.¬ Jimmy Nicholl played Joe Mbu in place of Tom O`Brien.
Cowdenbeath kick off defending their `end and within 70 seconds Joe Cardle almost breached that defence after Bell and Kirk had carved open a route through on the right side of the visitors box. Former Pars keeper Davie Hay did just enough to keep the Pars out.
Wilie Gibson swept over a sixth minute free kick into the opposition box but the visitors cleared that to hit on the break.¬ Mark McKenzie¬ travelled up the left to lace a square ball to Colin Cameron on the edge of the Pars penalty box and when he slipped the ball to John DEMPSTER to his right the centre forward was free to pick his spot and send Cowdenbeath into an early lead.
Dunfermline pushed up winning two corners in 12th minute.¬ The first was defended out to Cardle lying deep and the ball was played through Andy Dowie to Chris Higgins on the right. His delivery in to the feet of Andy Kirk was squeezed out for another corner but Bell headed that one over the bar after Gibson had delivered from the right.
Chris Smith tipped a Mark McKenzie over his crossbar and then in 15 minutes an Armstrong free kick was charged down. At the other end Gibson`s diagonal ball into the box¬ for McDougall saw the Pars striker eased off the ball by Mark Baxter.
For ten minutes neither team made much impact in front of goal but the lead was enough to have the travelling support on their feet, chanting and singing. In contrast the Dunfermline Manager appeared to being going hoarse trying to tell Joe Cardle to stay wide. Gary Mason received treatment in 28 minutes but the home support were growing increasingly quieter.
Dempster got a back flick on to a long throw from Scott Linton but the ball sailed across the face of the Pars goal for McCann to take away. Mason slid into a pass from McKenzie taking the ball away from Cameron but Referee Charlie Richmond awarded a free kick and from that Adamson floated the ball for Armstrong at the far post but his header dropped outside the left upright.
A Craig Winter foul on Mason then handed Gibson a free kick 40 yards out.¬ He touched that left for McCann to fire low into the feet of McDougall 15 yards out but when Mason eventually got the shot in it was blocked.¬ David Hay was then out fast to grab a Cardle cross but as half time approached a sense of urgency arrived in the Pars team.
Steven Bell fed Gibson the ball 25 yards out but the former Killie man just sent the ball into Hay`s arms. Cowdenbeath were pegged back deep into their own half but there was no way through their defences.¬ Play was deep inside the Cowden half but after numerous passes and searches for an opening a Cardle dink into the box was taken by Hay. Into added time at the end of the first half and a Gibson free kick was easily cleared. Jeers and whistles rang in the Pars players ears as they made their way in for the break.
Half Time: Dunfermline 0 Cowdenbeath 1
It was a late start to the second half following a re-enactment of the Dunfermline v Valencia 6-2 match at the interval. Pat Clarke replaced Steven McDougall for the second half.¬ Early play was all towards the Cowden goal.¬ In 48 minutes McCann looked as though he had too much weight on his cross to the far post but Bell headed the ball back along the goaline for Hay to touch over. The ensuing corner gave the visitors problems but they scrambled the ball away.
Woods thrashed a Kirk cut back well wide in 52 minutes but with five men strung along the back it was increasingly difficult for the Pars.¬ McCann made a breakthrough in 56 minutes, getting the better of right back,¬ Baxter¬ to reach the byeline but Bell headed the cross into Hay`s arms.¬ Cardle curled a long distance attempt outside the right post.
In 59 minutes a Cardle pass for Kirk to run on to¬ was thumped behind by Adamson but nothing could be made of the corner. It was one way traffic with Chris Smith a lonely soul midway inside his own half. Bell nodded a cross behind him for Cardle in 63 minutes but the offside flag was up.¬ Within the minute¬ however the goal that had been threatening was duly delivered. Calum Woods` cross from the right wing was headed back across goal by Cadrle and this time BELL`s header was unstoppable. 1-1.
Gibson broke free up the right in 69 minutes, his cross was blocked, Mason then picked out Cardle but the hard pressed defence was not to give in again so fast.¬ Nick Phinn replaced Mason¬ and there were some sweet exchanges between Kirk, Clarke and Cardle but still nothing to tax Hay. Then in 77 minutes Kirk looked as though he had missed a glorious chance to put the Pars ahead for the first time in the game.¬ The ball whizzed in from the right and the Pars top goalscorer failed to connect but CARDLE was right behind him and he powered¬ a left footed effort¬ in at the left goalpost.
Lee Sibanda came on for Craig Winter and in 85 minutes Gibson won the ball off him in midfield¬ to drive in on goal.¬ The pass to Kirk on his left looked a certainty but Hay saved and then the same again next minute when this time it was Phinn who was laid the chance on a plate but he blasted the ball into the McCathie Stand.
Clarke played Kirk through in 87 minutes but Hay was out well to stop the Irishman again at the edge of his area. It was certainly no easy victory for Dunfermline, there are no easy matches in this league.
With Dundee holding league leaders Raith to a goalless draw at Dens Park, the 2-1 win takes Jim McIntyre`s team to the top of the table.
DUNFERMLINE: Chris Smith; Calum Woods, Andy Dowie, Chris Higgins, Austin McCann (c); Willie Gibson, Steven Bell, Gary Mason (Nick Phinn 72), Joe Cardle; Andy Kirk, Steven McDougall (Pat Clarke HT).
SUBS: Alex Keddie, Alex Burke, Kyle Allison (GK)
SCORER: Bell (63), Cardle (77)
COWDENBEATH: David Hay; Mark Baxter, John Armstrong, Joe Mbu, Kenny Adamson; Scott Linton, Mark Ramsay (Brian Fairbairn 78), Colin Cameron, Craig Winter (Lee Sibanda 82), Marc McKenzie, John Dempster (Greg Stewart 82).
SUBS: Dean Brett,¬ Ludovic Roy (GK).¬
SCORER: Dempster (7)
YELLOW CARD: Baxter (91), Cameron (92)
WEATHER: Sunny 16C
NEXT MATCH: (away) Co-operative Insurance Cup v Rangers
Tuesday 20th September 2010, kick off 7:45pm¬
Ladbrokes Championship: Saturday 18th March, Dunfermline v Ayr United kick off 3.00pm