SPL v Aberdeen
ABERDEEN 4 DUNFERMLINE 0 30/10/11
Attendance: 8333, Kick Off: 7.45pm.
Referee: Bobby Madden
Friday football in the Granite City was termed an experiment but it was not one that worked for Dunfermline. In fact it heralded one of their poorest league showings for a long time. Jim McIntyre brought in John Potter and Craig Easton and out went Joe Cardle and Ryan Thomson. Aberdeen made one change from the side that played Motherwell - Fraser Fyvie replaced Chris Clark.
It was a lovely summer like evening considering it was the last day of September but it didn`t look a popular choice as the barbecues posed a suitable alternative entertainment. Aberdeen fans were not trooping in but then they had not been given good experiences of late, the Pars fans were tucked away in their usual section but restricted to the rear half of one section.
The line up was just one man up front for the visitors - Andy Barrowman. David Graham and Paul Burns tucked in behind him and then there was Easton, Dowie and Mason between them and the back four.
Dunfermline kicked off attacking the goal at the beach end but it was Aberdeen who made the better of the opening minutes with Fraser Fyvie picking out Rory Fallon on the left side of the box but the defence soaked that up. On four minutes a dangerous cross from the left was missed by Vernon on six yards and McCann headed behind for a corner. That didn`t create a problem but in the fifth minute Aberdeen scored an opener.
Captain Ricky Foster got the better of Jason Thomson on the left and his outswinger of a cross was perfect for Scott VERNON to head home from close in at the near post. Five minutes on the clock 1-0 Aberdeen.
The home side definitely took the lift fro the goal and the Fifers made it hard for themselves with some slack passes and overstruck balls. Their fisrt chance of any sort came in 14 minutes when Graham`s perseverance fed the ball to McCann to cross and the header back across the penalty box found Burns but his header was neither an attempt at goal or a knock down.
Foster`s cross in 16 minutes gave Fallon a clear chance and Gallacher saved. Within a minute another cross from the left created another heading chance this time for Vernon and Gallacher tipped the ball over the bar. Fyvie prodded a ball through that allowed Vernon to break through the Pars central defence but fortunately he made a very poor attempt and Gallacher picked up the ball as it broke off Potter.
Aberdeen were really not cashing in on all this advantage, something Dunfermline had to feel incredibly lucky about. As the second quarter of the game arrived the black and white shirts were seeing a bit more of the ball but it didn`t look as though they would ever find a route to goal
Graham drove into the Dons box in 24 minutes and forced the Pars first corner of the match. That was immediately followed by a second corner that Alex Keddie attacked but his header was easily dealt with. At the other end Fyvie in the centre circle slipped the ball to Arnason. He laced it into the path of Rob Milsom who raced forward and fired a fine shot narrowly wide from 25 yards.
McCann lofted a cross that didn`t worry Gonzalez as it dropped on to the top of the net. Youl Mawene held Barrowman down to earn the Pars a free kick on the half hour. Graham and McCann worked the ball forward and Barrowman was on the end of Ozzie`s cross but headed wide right. Two minutes later Paul Gallacher pulled off a fantastic save as Foster got in another cross and Vernon`s header looked a certain goal until Gall turned it around his right hand post.
Two minutes later Foster provided another opportunity for Milsom but Gallacher pulled off yet another wonderful save. The man in green looked possessed as he fisted away the corner kick but he could do nothing about VERNON`s 35th minute header. Arnason played the ball into the six yard box where Mawene headed it on and it was destined to go beyond the far post until the Dons no.9 headed in from a dubious position in terms of the offside rule.
Whatever the system that Dunfermline had tried to deploy it was changed in 39 minutes when Andy Kirk replaced Andy Dowie and the Pars went 4-4-2. Paul Burns went to the right wing and David Graham to the left as the two Andys came together upfront. Briefly they looked more like themselves with Graham centring from the left and Easton getting a shot on target that was held by the keeper.
But Aberdeen finished the half strongly and it got worse for Macca`s team in the final minute when after good possession, Vernon fed FYVIE the chance to smash the ball beyond Gallacher from 20 yards out. The half time break had not come soon enough and in reality might have been further behind had it not been for the heroics of their goalkeeper.
Half Time: Aberdeen 3 Dunfermline 0
The Pars were out more than two minutes early for the second half. No further changes from Jim McIntyre for now as Aberdeen restarted and Foster`s cross to the back post was headed behind by McCann for a corner to Aberdeen within 45 seconds. It wasa a free kick in 50 minutes that created the first danger of the half after Mason had hauled Vernon down on the edge of the box. Milsom took the setpiece and crashed the ball off the crossbar.
Balls continued to pepper the Pars penalty box and it was all Aberdeen for the opening ten minutes of the half. Corners were delivered with Mawene coming closest. More corners kept coming and fortunately Aberdeen were failing to get on the end of any of these excellent opportunities.
Andy Barrowman got in a shot for the Pars from 20 yards but Gonzales pushed that 58th minute effort past his post. Joe Cardle replaced Gary Mason on the hour as Macca tried to lift his team.
A let off in 61 minutes when Thomson was robbed by Arnason to release Vernon but again there was nobody on the final ball. That was followed by another even bigger let off when Arnason shot from distance, hit the ball off the left post and then Fallon blasted the rebound over the crossbar. Gallacher came out in 65 minutes to kick the ball clear of Milsom as he threaten to penetrate the right side of the Pars defence.
Ryan Thomson was the final throw of the dice for the Fifers in 66 minutes as he took over from Easton. Five minutes later Mohamed Chalali was Craig Brown`s first substitution replacing Rory Fallon and Fyvie powered another shot that Gallacher had to beat away. Milsom then broke through and crashed the ball wide as Keddie came rushing back to close out the shot.
The Pars then tried every route possible to stop Aberdeen; Gallacher then prevented Vernon snatching his hattrick with yet another good save and sub Peter Pawlett smacked a shot into the left sidenetting. VERNON completed that hattrick ten minutes from the end after Chalali launched a shot from distance that came back off the woodwork to allow the striker a tap in to make it 4 -0.
Graham shot at Gonzales in 84 minutes but it had been a very quiet second half for the Aberdeen goalie. A dreadful night for Dunfermline; 17 goals conceded in their last five league games and only one point from the last 15 on offer. More concerningly this performance was well below what is required and the results must be sapping confidence out of the First Division champions.
The result takes Aberdeen on to the same number of points as Dunfermline but above them on goal difference as the Pars fall to 11th.
ABERDEEN: David Gonzalez, Rickie Foster, Ryan Jack (Chris Clark 81), Youl Mawene, Andrew Considine, Fraser Fyvie (Peter Pawlett 77), Rob Milsom, Issac Osbourne, Kari Arnason, Scott Vernon, Rory Fallon (Mohamed Chalali 71).
SUBS NOT USED: Jason Brown, Rory McArdle, Darren Mackie, Josh Magennis.
SCORER: Vernon (5, 39, 80), Fyvie (45)
DUNFERMLINE: Paul Gallacher, Jason Thomson, John Potter, Alex Keddie, Austin McCann (c); Craig Easton (Ryan Thomson 66), Andy Dowie (Andy Kirk 39), Gary Mason (Joe Cardle 60); David Graham, Paul Burns; Andy Barrowman (Andy Kirk 39).
SUBS NOT USED: Chris Smith (GK), Paul Willis, Shaun Byrne, Paddy Boyle.
WEATHER: Dry 18C
NEXT MATCH: SPL (home) v Hearts
Saturday 15th October 2011, kick off 3.00pm.
Ladbrokes Championship: Saturday 22nd April, Dunfermline v Falkirk kick off 3.00pm