SFL Div One: DUNFERMLINE 3 COWDENBEATH 0
The fixture schedule entered its second quarter with the visit to East End Park of nearest neighbours, Cowdenbeath. Dunfermline fielded the same starting eleven as for the previous game against Morton and had the same bench as well.
Cowdenbeath brought in captain John Armstrong, David Cowan at right back and striker Lewis Coult for their trip along the A92. The Pars kicked off attacking the goal in front of the travelling support and it was Dunfermline who tested the keeper first. Ryan Wallace was played into the right side of the penalty box in fourth minute and he unleashed a fierce shot from the angle that was on target but Thomas Flynn made a good save.
A Stephen Husband free kick from midway inside the Cowdenbeath half was met by Andy Dowie with a powerful header over the bar. On eight minutes Marc McKenzie was able to pick out Jamie Stevenson on the left side and his well struck effort was rising all the way to clear Paul Gallacher's crossbar.
In eleventh minute play was halted by referee Kevin Clancy after Colin Cameron ran into him. The ball was returned for Gallacher to re-commence the Pars build up. The home side were looking comfortable with the bulk of the possession and two minutes later Husband's drive from 25 yards was blocked by O'Brien.
Andy Barrowman was flagged offside as Joe Cardle prodded the ball into the area in front of the visitors' goal but in 17 minutes it was Cowdenbeath who earned the first corner of the game and when that was sent in from the right Greig Stewart smashed a shot on target but Barrowman was in the way to stop it being flattened in the process.
Back to the other end and Andy Geggan pumped another cross over from the right, then a Cardle free kick was headed behind by Mbu. Josh Falkingham's cross was defended and Dunfermline failed to make anything of their first corner of the afternoon. Jordan McMillan was caught offside as Thomson tried to breach the Cowdenbeath defence but the game at this stage was doing nothing to warm the Fife fans anywhere in the ground.
Then a weak Geggan pass back looked like causing big problems but Gallacher won the race and his clearance took a couple of touches before Falkingham broke at speed. He was able to feed CARDLE on the left and he cut inside and shot from 15 yards between two defenders to beat at Flynn's near post and put the Pars ahead.
That 28th minute goal could have been added to two minutes later. Armstrong was yellow carded for upending Ryan Thomson in the Cowden box and the referee pointed to the spot. Unfortunately Husband could not repeat his penalty success from the previous game. The red kitted keeper, Thomas Flynn went to his left but his outstretched foot was able to prevent the Pars going two up.
Husband's luck continued to desert him as a Cardle cross could not be converted from inside the six yard box. Dunfermline continued to press but Flynn and Mbu continued to keep them out. In 39 minutes Geggan's forward pass was laid off by Barrowman but Flynn stopped Husband's attempt from 25 yards albeit at the second take.
Two minutes from the break the Cowdenbeath goalkeeper needed the physio's attention for a second time and sub keeper Craig Wight came on.
Half Time: Dunfermline 1 Cowdenbeath 0
Due to an injury to referee Kevin Clancy sustained in an eleventh minute clash with Colin Cameron, a replacement had to be found at half time. The delay lasted 30 minutes before a suitable volunteer - a G4S supervisor, Jock Campbell - was found to take over running the line in front of the North Stand.
The first good chance came in 54 minutes when Cardle twisted and turned his way around several opponents before testing substitute keeper Wight with a fine shot from 30 yards. The second of two corners from the right was then crashed wide right by Husband.
The McCathie stand then voiced their lack of confidence in the stand in the referee when Wallace seemed to be upended amongst mayhem in the visitors box. Cardle had another run down the left, cutting inside to shoot but his effort went over the top. At the other end Cowden dropped an effort on to the roof of Gallacher's net.
Thomson was yellow carded in 62 minutes but Stevenson's free kick was held by Gallacher. Two minutes later Callum Morris was shown the same card in what was virtually a last man tackle. This time Stevenson's shot from 33 yards was fired over the bar.
Andy Kirk was the Pars first sub of the day, replacing Andy Barrowman in 66 minutes. Cowdenbeath took heart from a Cameron free kick that fell to Coult on the far side of the box and their fans broke into song for a short spell while their side played in front of them.
The Pars resumed their dominance of possession but with nine men strung out in front of keeper Wight the Pars were restricted to long balls into the box that were easily dealt with. Falkingham had a shot cannon off Armstrong who then fouled the wee man and he required treatment from physio Kenny Murray at the edge of the box before the free kick could be taken.
Wallace drove the 76th minute free kick into the six man defensive wall but two minutes later his cross from the right edge of the penalty area was swished at by ARMSTRONG and he successfully diverted the ball into his own net. 2-0
By this time results elsewhere were known; Partick had drawn at Falkirk and Morton drawn at Livingston so three points would lift Dunfermline to joint top with Thistle. That was as good as assured when Craig DARGO, 79th minute sub for Wallace, slid in to convert an Andy Geggan cross after a neat interchange between the full back and Kirk. 3-0.
Balwearie High School former pupil Ross Drummond then came on for his first team debut, taking Cardle's place with five minutes remaining. There were loud appeals for a penalty when Geggan was flattened in the box but no more penalties for this game.
No more goals either despite Husband hitting the crossbar and Falkingham bringing a great save out of Wight. For the sixth match in a row Cowdenbeath had failed to score against their Townie rivals. The three goal winning margin was enough to take the Pars above Thistle to sit at the top of the table.
DUNFERMLINE: Paul Gallacher, Andy Geggan, Andy Dowie, Callum Morris, Jordan McMillan, Stephen Husband, Ryan Thomson, Josh Falkingham, Joe Cardle (Ross Drummond 85), Andy Barrowman (Andy Kirk 66), Ryan Wallace (Craig Dargo 79).
SUBS NOT USED: John Potter, Michal Hrivnak (GK)
SCORER: Cardle (28), Armstrong (78 og), Dargo (84)
YELLOW CARD: Thomson (62), Morris (64)
COWDENBEATH: Thomas Flynn (Craig Wight 44); David Cowan, John Armstrong (c), Joe Mbu, Kenny Adamson; Marc McKenzie, Colin Cameron, Tom O'Brien, Jamie Stevenson; Lewis Coult Greg Stewart.
SUBS NOT USED: Kyle Miller, Mark Ramsay, Ruben Garcia, Dean Brett.
YELLOW CARD: Armstrong (30)
REFEREE: Kevin Clancy
WEATHER: Cool 7C
50/50 HALF TIME DRAW: Winning number was No. 09841. The prize, £675.00. The second prize of a DAFC £20.00 gift voucher was ticket No. 10682.
NEXT MATCH: First Division (away) v Partick Thistle
Saturday 10th November 2012
Ladbrokes Championship: Saturday 22nd April, Dunfermline v Falkirk kick off 3.00pm