SFL Div One: COWDENBEATH 0 DUNFERMLINE 4 : Date: 11/08/12
Last season these teams were two divisions apart but for the opening league match of the 2012-13 season, Dunfermline travelled just five miles along the A92 to meet neighbours Cowdenbeath, the Second Division champions. It was a new look Pars team that included only four players who turned out in May in the final SPL match against Kilmarnock. Jordan McMillan, Andy Dowie, Paul Willis and Ryan Thomson were the survivors who started at Central Park.
Cowdenbeath manager Colin Cameron made two changes from the side that was knocked out of the Scottish Communities League Cup at Montrose the previous Saturday. Out went Rubén García Rey and Thomas O'Brien and in came Mark Ramsay and Kenny Adamson.
The Pars in their new red away strip kicked off towards the High Street end, Barrowman and Thomson getting the play underway and within nine seconds Thomas Flynn the Cowdenbeath keeper had to come out to the edge of his area to clear.
There was a lack of goalmouth action but Barrowman, Whittle and then Thomson fed balls into the home penalty box but to no avail. In eight minutes, Paul Gallacher was kept involved reacting fast to collect a slightly weak header back from John Potter. Cowden did stick the ball in the net a minute later but the offside decision had already been given.
A long throw in then caused some problems for the home defence after eleven minutes when Geggan launched a lengthy ball into the centre of the box and the Blue Brazil defence had to block a Josh Falkingham shot. Scott Linton pumped in a free kick from the right touchline that the Pars got away. Player/ Manager Cameron was shown yellow after just quarter of an hour and then the home side conceded another free kick immediately after that.
Stephen Jordan had a pop from the 17th minute free kick forcing Flynn to drop to his knee to hold a low bouncing effort from 25 yards. Dowie caught Jamie Stevenson a bit late but there was no threat from the Cowden setpiece.
In 25 minutes Barrowman headed a long ball wide left while at the other end Dowie's header was significant after Gallacher was played a short pass back from the same defender and Lewis Coult got in a shot on the unguarded target from 28 yards out that was fortunately intercepted.
Cowdenbeath began to see slightly more of the ball but let themselves down with overhit shots and free kicks. Geggan had another long throw into the Cowdenbeath box in 38 minutes but neither Willis nor Thomson could get a decent contact. Two minutes later a long throw from the left this time from Jordan slipped tantalisingly through the home box but Kenny Adamson scooped the ball away at the far post.
A Pars corner in 42 minutes created bedlam in the box when Potter squared the ball back across for Jordan but his first touch let him down and the ball broke with Willis eventually finding himself in for a shot but he blasted the ball over the bar.
Then just one minute from the break Whittle rose to head a long ball sent in from the right towards the keeper who raced out. Thomson reached the ball as Flynn met it and the ball broke kindly for Andy BARROWMAN to score Dunfermline's first league goal of the season.
Apart from a good start and a good finish to the half Dunfermline struggled to take control of the game in the first half. The half time lead was possibly only marginally deserved.
Half Time: Cowdenbeath 0 Dunfermline 1
Cowdenbeath reacted to their half time talk with Stevenson shooting into the sidenetting within two minutes and then forcing a corner that was sent straight into the arms of Gallacher. The home side were then to hand the Townies a soft corner. Jamie Stevenson sliced his clearance and gifted a corner down on the right. Alex Whittle whipped in a great ball to the near post where THOMSON met the cross and glanced the ball into the net from six yards. 2-0 for the Pars.
The Pars had their tails up now and had the benefit of a strong east wind on their backs. In fairness Cowden fought for a goal with Potter and Jordan required to make telling clearances while Marc McKenzie had a low on target drive blocked.
Ryan Thomson hit the crossbar in 62 minutes but referee John McKendrick had blown up for an infringement and the Pars gaffer earned a few words from the whistler for his protestations. Geggan's cross was cut out three minutes later for another corner that Flynn fisted away for another this time on the left but the second one had too much weight on it from Whittle.
Geggan had another two throw in efforts that he launched into the home box but each time keeper Flynn managed to punch clear.Gallacher had to hold a similar approach from Cowdenbeath but he held comfortably. There were then better efforts from Cowden when Dowie was forced to head away for a corner and when that came over from the right Adamson headed powerfully over the bar.
With 11 minutes remaining Ryan THOMSON put the result out of any doubt. Centre back Joe Mbu failed to make a decisive clearance allowing Falkingham to collect and play in the Pars no.8 to strike with his left foot from 15 yards. Then Josh FALKINGHAM grabbed a goal for himself and what a cracker it was smashing it into the net from 30 yards.
Cowdenbeath had Mark Ramsay stretchered off and Ryan Thomson was announced the sponsors Man of the Match. It took the Pars a wee while to get going but they certainly found the net when they were presented with the chances. Top of the table on day one, let's hope it could be an omen.
COWDENBEATH: Thomas Flynn; Dean Brett, John Armstrong, Scott Linton, Joe Mbu, Kenny Adamson, Marc McKenzie, Mark Ramsay (Kyle Miller 89), Colin Cameron, Jamie Stevenson (Greg Stewart 62), Lewis Coult.
SUBS NOT USED: Lewis Milne, Jack Nicholson, Lee Wilson.
YELLOW CARD: Cameron (15)
DUNFERMLINE: Paul Gallacher; Andy Geggan, Andy Dowie, John Potter, Stephen Jordan; Jordan McMillan (c); Josh Falkingham (Craig Dargo 89), Ryan Thomson, Paul Willis, Andy Barrowman (Andy Kirk 78), Alex Whittle (Paul Burns 81)
SUBS NOT USED: Stephen Husband, Michal Hrivnak (GK)
YELLOW CARD: Whittle (30), Potter (77)
SCORER: Barrowman (44), Thomson (49, 79), Falkingham (83)
REFEREE: John McKendrick.
WEATHER: Fine 18C
NEXT MATCH: SFL First Division (home) v Partick Thistle
Saturday 18th August 2012, kick off 3.00pm
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Ladbrokes Championship: Saturday 18th March, Dunfermline v Ayr United kick off 3.00pm