SPL v Kilmarnock
KILMARNOCK 3 DUNFERMLINE 2 10/09/11
Attendance: 4222, Kick Off: 3.00pm.
Referee: Brian Winter
Two goals from Thomsons Jason and Ryan were not enough for the Pars to avoid their first league defeat away from home since Partick Thistle in January.
Dunfermline were without Martin Hardie but Craig Easton came in for his debut and David Graham was preferred to Andy Barrowman. From the Kilmarnock team that faced Inverness last time out Patrick Ada, Danny Buijs, Ben Hutchinson made way for Gary Harkins, Paul Heffernan and Alex Pursehouse.
Paul Burns and Andy Kirk got the match underway with the visitors defending the goal in front of the stand housing only a few hundred travelling supporters. On two and a half minutes Joe Cardle took advantage of a slip up at the back and drilled the first shot of the afternoon on target only to be blocked as the defender slid in.
The Ayrshire side broke to the other end with Andy Dowie trailling in the wake of Paul Heffernan and when the Killie striker played the ball off a man to his left he appeared to sleep at the cross and there was a major let off for the Pars. Killie then got lucky with just over four minutes gone when Jason Thomson got to the byeline and cut back for Cardle to feed Burns a shooting opportunity 20 yards out but his shot hit the right upright.
Kilmarnock pushed forward but a mixture of refereeing decisions and timely tackles meant only frustration grew both on and off the park. Things got much worse for the home eyes when Dunfermline went ahead from a 14th minute corner. Cardle pumped the ball in from the left Andy Kirk`s header came back off the bar to Dowie. His attempt was cleared off the line by James Dayton only for Jason THOMSON to stick the ball in the net off his shin.
The Rugby Park side might have gone further behind three minutes later when an Andy Kirk header was diverted behind for a corner. Then in 20th minute the fourth official beckoned referee Brian Winter over to the technical area. The referee received an ear warming from his colleague before turning to Jim McIntyre and sending him to the stand for throwing a water bottle on the ground as he showed his anger at a decision on the park.. What a welcome return to Killie then for their 1997 Cup hero!
In 26 minutes Kirk took advantage of another slack moment in the KIllie defence but he dwelt just too long in despatching his shot so it was blocked by Rory McKeown. The corner kept the pressure up on Cammie Bell`s goal but Kilmarnock`s luck was soon to change. Dayton had been causing immense problems down the right and when he got to the byeline to cut back the ball broke back to him off Alex Keddie and the Pars defender`s follow up` challenge could only result in a penalty.
Paul HEFFERNAN stepped up and stroked the ball to Gallacher`s right as the SPL Player of the Month went the other way. All square again then on 32 minutes.
Graham found Cardle on the right and the winger cut inside to get a left footed shot on target but Bell held low as he dropped to his left. Next Cardle was taken down by Jamie Fowler and Joe sent over a strong ball to the far post from the free kick to win a corner. Thomson got his head on Cardle`s delivery but the ball slid through the six yard box without a Dunfermline touch.
Right on the stroke of half time the home side went ahead after Dean Shiels made the chance for Paul HEFFERNAN who evaded Keddie to tuck past Gallacher from 15 yards.
Half Time: Kilmarnock 2 Dunfermline 1
The Pars were out ahead of Kilmarnock for the restart with John Potter replacing Alex Keddie and Ryan Thomson on in place of Craig Easton in what the Manager was later to describe as tactical substitutions. Ryan THOMSON was to make an immediate impact heading in the equaliser just four minutes into the second half. The goal came from the left side with Austin McCann feeding Cardle a ball that he lobbed to the far post. It was the 20 year old`s first goal for the club in only his third SPL appearance. 2-2.
Kirk kept the momentum up firing a shot over the bar and then making his defender slide in to prevent him breaking into the Killie box. Gallacher was forced to gather the ball from the feet of Heffernan but play was quickly back at the other end where Cardle and Fowler clashed to earn yellow cards.
Cardle cut inside, fed Graham and then when the cross was defended Jason Thomson smashed a shot across goal and out on the left. Kilmarnock shot themselves into the lead in 62 minutes when their Czech centre back Zdenek KROCA got forward to accept the chance that came after Killie were allowed to switch the ball about the top of the Pars box. 3-2.
A Dayton corner then looked like more trouble for the Fifers but Cardle nipped the ball off the toe of McKeown as he tried for an opening and then in 67 minutes a fantastic run by Dayton called for a great save by Gallacher after the Englishman twisted and turned his way around McCann and Dowie.
Andy Kirk then had the ball in the net but he was offside as he went for Cardle`s cross. Then on 70 minutes Kirk burst through on the right and flashed the ball into the direction of Ryan Thomson inside the six yard box but the ball was impressively hooked away by a defender.
Kirk was shown yellow as he tried to hook Jason Thomson`s 76th minute cross in with his hand. From then on Killie made it hard for Dunfermline to get back into the game. McCann was booked for impeding Dayton off the ball and Heffernan continued to run at the Fifers defence. Gallacher beat away an effort at his near post but there were to be no more goals at either end.
So the Pars poor league record at Rugby Park continues - no wins since December 1992. Ah well there`s another chance later in the season.
KILMARNOCK: Cammie Bell; Alex Pursehouse, Manuel Pascali (c), Zdenek Kroca, Rory McKeown; James Dayton (Jorge Galan 90), Jamie Fowler, Dean Shiels, Gary Harkins (Danny Racchi 80), Liam Kelly (Gary Fisher 80), Paul Heffernan.
SUBS NOT USED: Garry Hay, Kyle Letheren, Leon Panikvar, Ben Hutchinson
SCORER: Heffernan (32 pen. 45), Kroca (62)
YELLOW CARD: Fowler (57)
DUNFERMLINE: Paul Gallacher, Jason Thomson, Andy Dowie, Alex Keddie (John Potter HT), Austin McCann (c); David Graham, Paul Burns, Craig Easton (Ryan Thomson HT), Gary Mason (Paul Willis 73), Joe Cardle; Andy Kirk.
SUBS NOT USED: Chris Smith (GK), Shaun Byrne, Liam Buchanan, Andy Barrowman.
SCORER: J Thomson (14) R Thomson (59)
YELLOW CARD: Cardle (57), Kirk (76), McCann (85)
WEATHER: Dry 20C
NEXT MATCH: (home) v Hibernian
Saturday 17th September 2011, kick off 12:30pm
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Ladbrokes Championship: Saturday 22nd April, Dunfermline v Falkirk kick off 3.00pm