SFL Div One: LIVINGSTON 2 DUNFERMLINE 1: Date: 08/12/12
Dunfermline's hero from the previous week's cup tie, goalkeeper Paul Gallacher was out of the trip to Livingston after going over on his ankle in training. That made way for the 21 year old Slovakian Michal Hrivnak to come in for his first competitive taste of Scottish football. The former Brescia stopper had a fine game in midweek as the U20s defeated Hearts and there would be hopes that he would carry that form into this match.
Only other change made by Jim Jefferies was Joe Cardle starting in place of Ryan Thomson. For Livvy Callum Booth dropped out to make way for Kevin McCann, their only change from the side that started against Dundee in the previous Saturday's cup tie.
The visitors in their red away strip, kicked off attacking the shopping centre end. An early offside decision gave Hrivnak his first touch but it was Dunfermline who then held on to possession with slow and deliberate build ups. Callum Morris tried to burst through on his own in seven minutes but his shot at goal from 25 yards unluckily clipped the heels of Andy Barrowman.
Craig Dargo just failed in an attempted one two on the edge of the box but it was all Dunfermline until former Pars youth team player, Stefan Scougall got up the left but his cross into the box was cut out. Back at the other end Josh Falkingham set up Dargo but he tried to beat on one too many at the near post and the chance evaporated. In 13 minutes Jordan McMillan won a soft free kick that handed Stephen Husband the chance to pump the ball into the six yard box but there was no connection and a goal kick was all that was to come of it.
In 19 minutes the complexion of the match changed completely as the Pars central defender Callum Morris was shown red for his uncompromising tackle on Scougall. The free kick awarded on the edge of the box was struck by Liam Fox and the ball rebounded back off the left upright.
Joe Cardle was then withdrawn as the Pars restructured. McMillan went to left back, Steven Jordan to central defence alongside Andy Dowie and Andy Geggan found himself at right back once more. Sub Ryan Thomson filled the midfield role as Livingston tried to take immediate advantage of playing against ten men.
It looked as though the Pars had made the breakthrough in 32 minutes however when Husband played a good ball into the feet of Barrowman but his sweeping shot slipped narrowly outside Andrew McNeil's right hand post.
Then it got even closer at the other end. Striker Marc McNulty robbed Jordan and homed in on goal, he rounded Hrivnak but then crashed the ball off the junction of crossbar and left post. In the ensuing stramash Scougall sent a good chance over the crossbar.
Husband then forced a good save out of McNeil who dived to his left to turn the ball out for a corner on the right. When that came over Dargo returned it for Barrowman but his header landed on the roof of the net.
Anthony Andreu and then Scougall again had chances but it was a very open game with Barrowman and Dargo nearly creating a goal. With six minutes of the half remaining Hrivnak continued to perform heroics keeping McNulty out and then blocking the corner and dropping into a pile of players to smother the ball.
It had been quite a first half. All Dunfermline until the sending off and then plenty of chances for the home team but with Hrivnak having a stormer of a debut it remained all square at the interval. The Pars quality certainly shone through even when playing with a man short and there had to be optimism that a positive result was still possible.
Half Time: Livingston 0 Dunfermline 0
The home side tried hard from the restart and some towsy defending was required. Barrowman was yellow carded for a challenge and then Dargo received similar when every Pars player was expecting a penalty. Dargo went down in a challenge on the top of the box but referee John Beaton decided he dived. Frustration continued when McMillan collected the Pars third card in six minutes when he appeared to quite clearly win the ball on halfway.
In 63 minutes Barrowman laid the ball off right to Dargo and McNeil got lucky as Jesus Garcia Tena diverted the ball into the keeper's hands. Two minutes later GARCIA was forward to take a snapshot from 35 yards that sailed into the corner of the Pars net. 1-0.
Dunfermline rallied and Husband hit a free kick into the defensive wall but the home side threatened to exploit openings as the Pars tried for an equaliser. McNulty was blocked out by Jordan in 72 minutes and then Keaghan Jacobs had a fierce shot but off target. Refereeing decisions continued to go against the Fifers much to the chagrin of the travelling support.
Wallace a 69th minute sub for Dargo had his effort turned behind for a corner and Thomson came close to converting from that. The final throw of the dice came with Alex Whittle's introduction in 82 minutes in place of Andy Dowie.
Geggan and McMillan made some crucial tackles but the Pars were beginning to run out of steam and time. In the final minute of the ninety Keaghan Jacobs jinked his way around the Pars defence and when his shot dropped to MULLEN at the far post he turned in Livingston's second. The 89th minute substitute's first touch! Stephen Jordan was yellow carded for complaining that the goalscorer was offside.
The result was out of question but Dunfermline did get a late consolation. Ryan Wallace was taken down in the box by Craig Barr who saw red and then BARROWMAN despatched the spot kick into the roof of the net with the final kick of the ball.
So with Partick Thistle's match at Cowdenbeath frozen off, the Pars failed to take advantage of the situation but remain level on points with the Firhill club.
LIVINGSTON: Andy McNeil; Kyle Jacobs (Callum Booth 76), Jesus Garcia Tena, Craig Barr, Kevin McCann; Anthony Andreu, Burton O'Brien, Keaghan Jacobs, Liam Fox (Jordan Morton 60), Stefan Scougal (Danny Mullen 89); Marc McNulty,
SUBS NOT USED: Callum Fordyce, Darren Jamieson (GK).
YELLOW CARD: Barr (27), Garcia (68). Kyle Jacobs 76)
SCORER: Garcia (65)
DUNFERMLINE: Michal Hrivnak, Jordan McMillan (c), Andy Dowie (Alex Whittle 82), Callum Morris, Stephen Jordan; Josh Falkingham, Stephen Husband, Andy Geggan, Joe Cardle (Ryan Thomson 22); Craig Dargo (Ryan Wallace 69), Andy Barrowman.
SUBS NOT USED: Andy Kirk, Ryan Goodfellow (GK)
RED CARD: Morris (19)
YELLOW CARD: Barrowman (53), Dargo (55), McMillan (59), Thomson (86), Jordan (90)
SCORER: Barrowman (94)
REFEREE: John Beaton.
WEATHER: Damp 6C
NEXT GAME: Irn Bru First Division (home) v Hamilton Accies
Saturday 15th December 2012, Kick off 3.00pm
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Betfred Cup v Peterhead: Saturday 22nd July 2017, kick off 3.00pm