SPL v Hibs
HIBERNIAN 0 DUNFERMLINE 1 05/11/11
Attendance: 9531 (600 away fans), Kick Off: 3.00pm.
Referee: Craig Thomson
The Pars made the short trip to the capital city in quest of SPL points from the match against Hibs. Jim McIntyre made four changes with Andy Dowie, Ryan Thomson, Paul Willis and Liam Buchanan replacing Paddy Boyle, Craig Easton and Jason Thomson and the suspended Gary Mason, Hibs were unchanged from the side that drew at Celtic Park the previous Saturday.
A welcome sight on the subs bench was Martin Hardie back after an absence of over two months. It was the visitors who kicked off through Kirk and Buchanan but it was Hibs who threatened first with Galbraith and then Wotherspoon getting in early passes in front of the Pars goal. Garry O`Connor tested Paul Gallacher but the keeper held easily.
The Pars then scored with their first attack. A Willis ball from the right was met by Austin McCANN at the far post as he nipped in front of Wotherspoon. Two minutes and 12 seconds, Pars 1-0 up. Ozzie`s first goal for the Pars and his first since September 2004! Hibs tried to respond with Griffiths being snuffed out in front of goal and it was actually Buchanan who got in the next shot on goal.
A John Potter clearance was belted against Paul Burns and play stopped for him to receive treatment. On the resumption Buchanan got to the right byeline and flashed the ball across goal just evading Kirk`s outstretched foot. On the quarter hour Willis had a powerful shot blocked out but then a Hibs free kick 30 yards out was fired straight at Gallacher by Junior Agogo.
Two minutes later the Pars had their own crack at a 30 yard free kick but Kirk`s effort came back off the wall and then Austin McCann delivered the return from the left but the Hibs defence cleared away in front of the inrushing Thomson. David Stephens thwarted a Buchanan break on to a long Graham pass but the Hibs defender did his job legally.
On 25 minutes Andy Kirk spotted Hibs keeper Graham Stack off his line but the former Jambo hit the 35 yard attempt narrowly over the crossbar. It was the Pars who began to enjoy the territorial advantage but the shooting chances were restricted as the green defence was resolute.
Ten minutes from the interval Buchanan was crunched by Paul Hanlon but the free kick was well defended. Next however Kirk crashed a low shot to the bottom right but Stack turned the ball round his post for a corner. Willis sent that over and there were strong appeals from Andy Dowie who felt that his header attempt was impeded by Stephens.
Willis caught Galbraith to concede a soft free kick 30 yards out but Galbraith fired it low and well wide right. Willis had a shooting opportunity but was equally wide at the other end. Griffiths got a great chance in the final minute but Gallacher palmed away the shot and Dowie put in a great block on the rebound. Wotherspoon then tried a low drive from the angle but the shot was deflected behind off McCann. Consequently the Fifers went in deservedly ahead but it was still clear in the memory that the September meeting with Hibs at East End Park was a game of two halves.
Half Time: Hibernian 0 Dunfermline 1
Hibs, as one would have expected, emerged after the break to turn up the pressure on the Pars. Corners and a Griffiths free kick were dealt with although there were some scary moments. Graham sent Buchanan away down the left in 56 minutes to relieve the pressure but it was soon back at the other end with a Wotherspoon cross headed on target by Griffiths which was touched over his bar by Gallacher.
Next Griffiths got to the left byeline from where he cut back for O`Connor but fortunately the striker`s shot went wide left. In 59 minutes Hanlon teed up Griffiths to burst into the box but McCann`s challenge probably did enough to make him pull it across goal and wide of that left post.
A great ball in from Willis on the hour forced O`Hanlon to head behind at the far post. Unfortunately the Willis taken corner dropped beyond Keddie at the far post. On 65 minutes a Griffiths challenge on Willis was a bit late and the Edinburgh born winger required the physio`s attention.
Ivan Sproule came on for Agogo as the game entered its final quarter with the Pars having a torrid time. Buchanan broke on the counter but failed to get away from his defender then it was back to the other end. Steven McDougall came on for Buchanan for the final 20 minutes.
Gallacher had not been that busy but in 72 minutes he pulled off a superb save to deny O`Connor who was at the back post to get his head on a Wotherspoon cross. McDougall fought off a challenge to produce a fantastic ball to the back post and it was McCann, again, who narrowly failed to convert at the far post.
Ten minutes from the end Wotherspoon attacked down the right and powered a good shot on target, Gallacher beat it away and the Hibs right back smashed the rebound over the bar. Griffiths tested the Pars keeper again forcing a fine save from him low at his left hand post. and next he rattled the bar in 82 minutes although the offside flag had already been raised.
Making his first appearance since 27th August, Martin Hardie replaced Andy kirk for the final seven minutes. The sub was pushed up front and immediately won a free kick when O`Hanlon held him down but Cardle`s ball in from the left seeking Hardie was headed away. The introduction of Cardle and Hardie had the effect of moving play much further up the park.
Galbraith thumped an 89th minute shot well wide from 30 yards out and the home fans boos echoed around the ground. Griffiths forced another fine save out of Gallacher in the first minute of the added four minutes. Stack came up for the corner but the Pars survived.
Thomson was yellow carded in conceding a 93rd minute free kick that Stack pumped into the Pars box. It was certainly a nervy ending to the game but in the end it was an important Pars win, their first in ten matches.
HIBS: Graham Stack; Paul Hanlon, David Stephens, Sean O`Hanlon, Daniel Galbraith, Isaiah Osbourne, Lewis Stevenson (Richie Towell 72), David Wotherspoon, Garry O`Connor (Akpo Sodje 79), Manuel Junior Agogo (Ivan Sproule,67), Leigh Griffiths.
SUBS NOT USED: Sean Welsh, Martin Scott, Victor Palsson, Mark Brown (GK)
YELLOW CARD: Hanlon (71)
DUNFERMLINE: Paul Gallacher, Andy Dowie, John Potter, Alex Keddie, Austin McCann (c); Paul Willis (Joe Cardle 80), Paul Burns, Ryan Thomson, David Graham; Andy Kirk (Martin Hardie 83), Liam Buchanan (Steven McDougall 70).
SUBS NOT USED: Chris Smith (GK), Paddy Boyle, Shaun Byrne, Kerr Young.
SCORER: McCann (3)
YELLOW CARD: McDougall (78), Cardle (88), Thomson (93)
WEATHER: Sunny 12C
NEXT MATCH: (away) SPL v St Mirren
Saturday 19th November, kick off 3.00pm
Ladbrokes Championship: Saturday 18th March, Dunfermline v Ayr United kick off 3.00pm