SFL Div One: DUNFERMLINE 4 DUMBARTON 0
For the visit of Dumbarton, Andy Kirk - scorer at Strathclyde Homes Stadium earlier this season - replaced Andy Barrowman up front, otherwise it was the same personnel as faced Raith Rovers the previous Saturday. The visitors' new manager, Ian Murray, brought back Stephen Grindlay in goal and Alan Lithgow returned in defence. Martin McNiff and Steven McDougall also dropped out with Chris Turner and Mark Lamont favoured.
Given the well documented and much talked about Pars troubles off the field this was possibly as much about those in the stands than those on the pitch. A good home crowd gave the team plenty of encouragement as they kicked off attacking the goal at the Cowdenbeath end.
There was some pretty passing moves from Dunfermline in the opening minutes but Dumbarton dealt with that and an early Joe Cardle free kick floated in from the left touchline.
The only consolation for Josh Falkingham when he was dumped on the advertising boards behind the goals by Lithgow was the first corner kick of the game. Callum Morris dived in to get his head to the setpiece but his sights were set wide right. Ryan Wallace was first to test the keeper with a low tenth minute effort.
The game stopped in 16th minute when Jordan McMillan and Jim Lister clashed; after physios' treatment both continued. Cardle was twice caught offside when long balls were aimed at his way, qualifying him for some wrath from Manager Jim Jefferies. Four minutes later Wallace burst through on to a through pass but Lithgow blocked his shot from 15 yards out.
Dumbarton were being completely bossed by the Fifers but there was little joy in the final third to rouse the home support. Dumbarton's first direct attacking run on goal was ended when Falkingham downed Lamont on the edge of the box and although a corner came about from the free kick there was nothing to bother Gallacher.
That changed in 29 minutes when the purple topped Pars keeper had to turn a Lithgow header behind for a corner kick and from that the defender sent a powerful header over the bar. Just when the Sons looked like they had got their game going, Dunfermline scored. It was a simple pass from Wallace on the left to the far post and FALKINGHAM met that beautifully to head past Grindlay. 1-0 with 31 minutes gone.
The lead increased six minutes later when Falkingham took the ball to the byeline and his cut back was diverted into his own goal by Dumbarton captain, Andy GRAHAM. The centre back made a valiant attempt to keep the ball out but it slipped over the goal line at the base of the left goalpost.
Andy Kirk then burst through on the left and he was desperately unlucky to see his shot clear the right post. It had not been the most exciting of opening 45s but the home side would be happy to go in two ahead.
Half time: Dunfermline 2 Dumbarton 0
The first three minutes of the second half raised the hopes of those seeking a boost in the excitement level. Cardle was given lots of room on the left and he got in a shot that Graham blocked. Next Lithgow cleared a Wallace shot off the line and then Graham again blocked when Kirk nodded down for Wallace. What a start, and then what a miss on 51 minutes.
Cardle progressed deeper than he might have thought on, to cut back an inviting ball through the six yard box. The slightest of touches from Kirk or Wallace would have added to the scoreline but alas there was none. Then in 58 minutes Cardle worked his way into a shooting position but Grindlay saved his effort.
Five minutes later McMillan made a stunning sprint into the left side of the Dumbarton box to get on the end of a Cardle pass but Grindlay plucked out the captain's cross at his near post.
As the game entered its final quarter Cardle raced away with the whole half ahead of him after Nicky Devlin failed with his challenge on Wallace. Keeper Grindlay came out and Cardle went down as he tried to pass him. Referee Des Roache brandished his red card and Dumbarton were down to ten men. Substitute keeper was Jamie Ewings as forward Lister was withdrawn but despite going the right way he could not stop Ryan WALLACE's spot kick. 3-0.
Perseverance by Dumbarton's Scott Agnew earned a free kick on the edge of the Pars box and a well struck free kick by Chris Turner made Paul Gallacher pull off an impressive save.
Shaun Byrne had replaced Falkingham in 76 minutes and he got a chance on the edge of the box after a Cardle free kick was defended but the Sons' defence blocked. Five minutes from the end McMillan was denied a goal by a goal line clearance and then sub Andy Barrowman headed downwards at the far post but outside it.
Ewings saved a Dowie header at an 86th minute corner and given their continued superiority it was no surprise when CARDLE broke to stick away a fourth goal in the final minute of normal time. Three points keep the Pars up there with Partick Thistle who had a good home win over an on-form Livingston at Firhill.
DUNFERMLINE: Paul Gallacher, Andy Geggan, Andy Dowie, Callum Morris, Jordan McMillan (c); Josh Falkingham (Shaun Byrne 76), Stephen Husband, Ryan Thomson, Joe Cardle; Andy Kirk (Andy Barrowman 83), Ryan Wallace (Craig Dargo 73).
SUBS NOT USED: John Potter, Michal Hrivnak (GK)
SCORERS: Falkingham (31), Graham (og 37), Wallace (69 pen.), Cardle (90)
YELLOW CARD: Dowie (28)
DUMBARTON: Stephen Grindlay, Andy Graham, James Creaney (Ross Forsyth 65), Nicky Devlin, Alan Lithgow, Scott Agnew, Chris Turner, Jim Lister (Jamie Ewings 68), Bryan Prunty, Mark Gilhaney (Steven McDougall 60), Mark Lamont.
SUBS NOT USED: Garry Fleming, Martin McNiff.
RED CARD: Grindlay (67)
YELLOW CARD: Devlin (82)
REFEREE: Des Roache
WEATHER: Dry 4C
50/50 half time draw winner was No. 11615. The prize amount - £919.00.
The second prize of a DAFC £20.00 gift voucher - ticket No. 11616.
NEXT MATCH: (away) William Hill Scottish Cup v Partick Thistle
Saturday 1st December 2012, Kick off 3.00pm
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Betfred Cup v Peterhead: Saturday 22nd July 2017, kick off 3.00pm