SFL v Dundee
DUNFERMLINE 0 DUNDEE 0 Date: 15/01/11
Fixture: Irn Bru SFL Division
Attendance: 3385, Kick Off: 3:00pm.
Referee: Craig Charleston
Even after incurring points deduction for going into administration, Dundee arrived at East End Park in the spirit of Braveheart; you can take our points but you cannot take away our form. The Pars task was to halt the Dees impressive six match run of taking maximum league points. Top of the table Pars made two changes for the visit of Barry Smith`s Dundee; Jim McIntyre handed 19 year old Ryan Thomson his first ever league start and Pat Clarke came in to partner Andy Kirk up front. Steven McDougall dropped to the bench and Joe Cardle and Wullie Gibson were back alonngside them. Nick Phinn was absent with an ankle injury.
Dundee`s top goalscorer Leigh Griffiths was suspended following his red card late on in Sunday`s Scottish Cup tie against Motherwell.They fielded a trialist, former Rangers youth and St Mirren striker Tom Brighton, in his place. Nicky Riley replaced Johnny Stewart in an otherwise unchanged Dundee side.
The Pars kicked off after Dundee broke from their lengthy huddle with the home side attacking the Cowdenbeath end that housed a relatively small travelling support. On a wet pitch that gave little bounce the visitors took the game to Dunfermline with Sean Higgins collecting an early yellow card for a rash challenge on Neil McGregor and then Nicky Riley robbing Austin McCann to set up the first chance of the afternoon but Chris Smith held what might have been a dangerous cross.
Dunfermline should have gone ahead in seven minutes after Calum Woods cross from the right dropped to Thomson but his first effort was blocked by O`Donnell, Graham`s follow up dropped to Thomson again but again just four yards out, O`Donnell dived in to prevent the shot.
A Forsyth push on Paul Willis set up a free kick four minutes later but Willis`s quick low ball to Kirk was played out by Woods. Nevertheless Dunfermline kept up the momentum,Willis was put through by Alex Keddie but cut out by O`Donnell and after Graham came across field to find Woods on the right Thomson met the cross with a good downward header from six yards but Rab Douglas held.
Thomson won a corner off Gary Harkins in 19 minutes and when the ball was defended straight back to him Willis sent in a supplementary that Woods glanced but just evaded Kirk as Dundee edged it behind for another corner. There was a melee in front of goal from the next but none of McGregor, Thomson or Clarke could get in a shot as the defence did its job so the midway point of the first half was reached with Dunfermline well on top but no goals to show for it.
A David Graham run earned another Pars corner in 27 minutes but the cross evaded Clarke and hit Keddie, unluckily Thomson handled as he tried to pick up the scraps. Two minutes later Thomson whipped over a great ball from the right but Clartke`s attempt to connect 16 yards out failed as the pace of the ball beat him.
Having rode their luck Dundee came back at Dunfermline and Woods had to head clear from in front of goal and Riley pounced on a loose ball to power the ball over the Pars crossbar. McGregor headed away an Irvine cross before at the other end Douglas dived to cut out a dangerous Willis cut back.
Half Time: Dunfermline 0 Dundee 0
The second half was only 60 seconds old when Higgins went through Keddie as he shielded the ball out for a bye kick and referee Craig Charleston showed the Dundee striker a second yellow card. A setpiece on the left created the first chance of the second period as Mason threaded the ball into the box for Thomson but Douglas was out fast to concede the corner. Graham popped a shot from that over the bar.
The rain poured down as Kirk played in Graham but O`Donnell saw him off before Tom Brighton made Smith save from Dundee`s first shot on target in 55 minutes. Three minutes later a Willis pass sent Kirk through the middle and as he threatened to make the break, former Par Craig McKeown accepted a yellow card for a professional foul to put an end to that. Lucky perhaps that he was 45 yards from goal since he was most likely the last defender,
Wullie Gibson replaced Paul Willis in 64 minutes and nearly scored with his first strike. Graham burst down the left and when Clarke was closed out on 18 yards the ball was switched for the sub to drive at goal. The ball appeared to deflect off Irvine and Douglas but much to the annoyance of the McCathie Stand crowd a bye kick was awarded.
After Douglas squeezed Graham`s shot behind for a corner McCann swept in a return that McGregor just failed to get enough on. In 70 minutes Forsyth tried a long distance shot that was wayward but it was soon back deep in the Dundee half. Benedictus, and O`Donnell were carded as they found Graham and Gibson too tricky. Gibson thumped a resultant free kick at Douglas but the big man did well to keep it out and the defence drove the ball away.
Dundee wasted time at every opportunity and the clock did appear to be running away from the Fifers. The home side were getting plenty of possession but Dundee were making it hard for them as they resisted the big punt up the field into the packed Dee defence. McGregor moved into midfield as Mason, with a back spasm, was subbed by Andy Dowie but the best that the Pars could do was a chipped ball into the box that ran away from the pursuing players.
The Dundee support were in full song as Riley`s shot from 20 yards was tipped over the bar by Smith in 86 minutes. Back in front of the McCathie Stand sub Steven McDougall won a corner but Woods turned Gibson`s delivery wide right. Harkins had a go from a 30 yard free kick but could only place the ball on the top of the net.
In the third minute of added time Kirk headed a Woods cross over the bar and the best that Dunfermline were to get was one point. Raith Rovers 1-0 win at Dingwall takes them above Dunfermline. The early misses in this game cost the Pars their leader status.
DUNFERMLINE: Chris Smith; Calum Woods, Neil McGregor, Alex Keddie, Austin McCann (c); Paul Willis (Wullie Gibson 64), Ryan Thomson, Gary Mason (Andy Dowie 82), David Graham; Andy Kirk, Pat Clarke (Steven McDougall 77),.
SUBS NOT USED: Joe Cardle, Kyle Allison (GK)
DUNDEE: Rab Douglas; Gary Irvine, Craig McKeown, Rhys Weston, Kyle Benedictus (Connor Rennie 73); Nicky Riley, Stephen O`Donnell, Gary Harkins, Craig Forsyth; Trialist (Leighton McIntosh 83), Sean Higgins
SUBS NOT USED: Johnny Stewart, John Gibson (GK)
YELLOW CARD: Higgins (2), Harkins (55), McKeown (58), Benedictus, (72), O`Donnell (73)
RED CARD: Higgins (47)
WEATHER: Damp 11C
NEXT MATCH: (home) Scottish Cup Fourth Round Replay v Montrose
Tuesday 18th January 2011, kick off 7.45pm
Ladbrokes Championship: Saturday 22nd April, Dunfermline v Falkirk kick off 3.00pm