SFL Div One: DUNFERMLINE 3 RAITH ROVERS 1
The blow that came with the Pars drop to the SPL was softened when the First Division fixtures revealed twelve derby matches and this one against Raith Rovers was awaited with great anticipation. Jim Jefferies brought Joe Cardle in for the injured Alex Whittle, the only change from the side that defeated Montrose 3-0 in the midweek Scottish Communities League Cup tie.
Pars just last season, Jason Thomson and Pat Clarke started for the Rovers who brought in Colin Wilson and Grant Anderson into the side that won their cup tie 4-1 at Ross County. Laurie Ellis and Greig Spence dropped out.
Bright sunshine graced East End Park as Ryan Wallace and Josh Falkingham got the game underway and wee Josh picked up a yellow card immediately for his robust tackle on Eddie Malone after just 30 seconds. In fifth minute Thomson dumped Cardle on to the north touchline and he sent in a dangerous ball to the far post but the attacking Pars pack could not get a connection.
Next minute a through ball put Andy Barrowman in on goal but David McGurn dived to his left to pull off a great save from a well connected strike. This upped the volume in the stadium with the Pars drum in full beat. Rovers won a tenth minute corner and when that was sent in from the left by skipper Allan Walker, the defence headed out for Grant Anderson who sent his effort into the McCathie Stand.
At the other end Wallace cut back a great ball from the right side of the penalty box and although Cardle managed to chest the ball down he was closed down before he could get in a shot. On the quarter hour Cardle fed Stephen Jordan on an overlapping run and his ball across for the head of Barrowman got defended out only for Stephen Husband to gather but his left footed rocket was well blocked.
Then in 16 minutes slack play on the left side of defence let Raith in on the right side of the box and Dowie's tackle on Grant Anderson earned the visitors a penalty kick. Brian Graham assumed the responsibility and with a lengthy roll of the drum Paul Gallacher dived to his right to parry the attempt and then McMillan quickly swooped in to deny the inrushing Clark. Great celebrations from the home support and further cheers as Gall fisted clear Walker's corner. It seems that Paul Gallacher likes to save penalty kicks early in the season following his successes last season against St Mirren and Dundee United.
Wallace fired a shot at McGurn as the play continued to be end to end. Then in 25 minutes a long ball picked out Ryan WALLACE and he got the better of Colin Wilson who slipped leaving the Pars striker to hit the net from 18 yards.1-0.
Play continued towards the Raith goal but Wallace's low ball into the box was cleared by Stuart Anderson. Then in 33 minutes Cardle sent the ball into the six yard box Wallace and FALKINGHAM raced in to challange and remarkably the wee Yorkshire terrier headed passed McGurn. 2-0.
Jason Thomson followed Dougie Hill into the ref's book in 36 minutes as the competitive complexion of this Fife Derby continued to generate the decibels. Rovers forced a 40th minute corner over on the right after a good Hill header was cleared off the line. The following corner was cleared and then Gallacher held Walker's long range lob.
Cardle had two chances as the match went into added time at the end of the first half. First he smashed a shot on target from 30 yards that McGurn could not hold but Thomson hooked the clearance away. Then Joe was at the left post to accept the pass but the defence and McGurrn squeezed him out.
It had been a fantastic exciting first 45 and of course at the interval the scoreline was looking extremely satisfactory.
Half Time: Dunfermline 2 Raith Rovers 0
The Rovers were out early for the restart and immediately showed eagerness to attack the goal in front of their large travelling support. Player / Manager Grant Murray replaced Wilson and Eddie Malone tested Gallacher with an early shot but Wallace caused them worries as he turned and hit a good effort over the bar.
Graham clipped Morris in the Rovers next attack but then got a soft decision after Cardle was rather harshly penalised. Walker stroked the free kick in from the right, midway into the half, and GRAHAM dived in low to head past Gallacher. 2-1 and 39 minutes to go.
Raith's deficit was back to two goals within five minutes and it came from a truly awesome move. Wallace made the break in the centre, fed the ball to Cardle to his left and then on to Geggan further out. The former Ayr United midfielder swung the ball left footed to the right post and BARROWMAN arrived to head the ball downwards into the Rovers net. 3-1
Rovers continued to compete and there was some successful but frantic Pars defending. There was an appeal for a penalty when Graham's shot hit Morris on the arm but Calum Murray was right in front of the incident and saw no infringement.
In 64 minutes Geggan got a good opportunity to open his goalscoring account but he hammered Barrowman's knock down over the crossbar from 20 yards. Jordan frustrated Raith with a good interception and Walker was then caught offside much to his chagrin.
Falkingham then played in Cardle on the left and he did his characteristic twist and turn before thrashing his shot narrowly wide left and into the stand. The Pars had the ball in the net two minutes later in 72 when Falkingham's shot was touched past McGurn but the striker was indisputably offside. Then at the other end Gallacher pulled off another fine save after sub David Smith had beaten the Pars offside trap but Gall got a vital touch as the on loan Jambo tried to beat the keeper to his right.
Falkingham sent over a nice ball in 82 minutes but Wallace crashed his effort on the angle into the right sidenetting. Cardle was chopped down by Thomson and the right back was fortunate not to collect a second yellow card. Barrowman headed over a good delivery in from Wallace in 86.
Rovers continued to fight for a goal but in vain as Walker's powerful effort being deflected out for a corner on the left. When that came over Murray's attempt was well blocked. They failed to make anything from an added time corner and it ended with a fine Dunfermline victory.
What a match! A great result but really well deserved. Jim Jefferies team seems to have come of age, what a pity there's a fortnight until the next game.
DUNFERMLINE: Paul Gallacher; Jordan McMillan (c), Andy Dowie, Callum Morris, Stephen Jordan; Josh Falkingham (Craig Dargo 92), Stephen Husband (Chris Kane 80), Andy Geggan, Joe Cardle (Andy Kirk 87); Ryan Wallace, Andy Barrowman
SUBS NOT USED: John Potter, Michal Hvirnak (GK)
SCORER: Wallace (25), Falkingham (33), Barrowman 56)
YELLOW CARD: Falkingham (1), Husband (80)
RAITH ROVERS: David McGurn; Jason Thomson, Colin Wilson (Grant Murray HT), Dougie Hill, Eddie Malone; Stuart Anderson, Allan Walker, Joe Hamill, Grant Anderson (David Smith 63), Pat Clarke (Greig Spence 75) , Brian Graham
SUBS NOT USED: Ross Laidlaw (GK), Reece Donaldson.
SCORER: Graham (51)
YELLOW CARD: Hill (30), Thomson (36), Murray (53)
REFEREE: Calum Murray.
WEATHER: Overcast with sunny intervals 17C
50/50 HALF TIME DRAW: the winning ticket number at this match was No.01277. The prize amount was £716-00.
The second prize of a DAFC Polo Shirt was won by ticket No.01562.
NEXT MATCH: SFL First Division (away) v Dumbarton
Saturday 15th September 2012, kick off 3.00pm
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Ladbrokes Championship: Saturday 22nd April, Dunfermline v Falkirk kick off 3.00pm