SFL Div One: MORTON 4 DUNFERMLINE 2 : Date: 29/12/12
The Pars headed down the Clyde's south bank to face second placed Morton. Callum Morris returned from suspension but Jordan McMillan was missing, serving the first of his two match suspension. Joe Cardle and John Potter found themselves relegated to the bench with Ryan Thomson and Craig Dargo coming into the starting eleven. Pre match doubt Willie Dyer recovered so Morton made one change from the team that won at Firhill on Boxing Day and that meant no David Graham, ex Dumbarton player, Tony Wallace coming in to take his place.
Allan Moore's very experienced team lined up 4-3-3 as they attempted to extend their good form that has seen them lose only one match in the last 17. Stephen Jordan was the Pars captain and it was the visitors in their red away strip who kicked off playing east to west.
Fouad Bachirou created mayhem in the first minute breaking through the left side of the Pars defence to force Morris to attempt a clearance that Tony Wallace then sent back across and Paul Gallacher was forced into serious action in only 36 seconds.
Dunfermline promised in sixth minute with a good build up punctuated by a Andy Barrowman header on for Dargo but unfortunately the offside flag went up. Stephen Husband then fed Josh Falkingham and his shot from 25 yards out was turned around his right hand post by keeper Derek Gaston. When the corner was played in MORRIS made the run to glance his header in at the near post. 1-0 in tenth minute of the match.
Morton almost struck back straight away for a corner. Mark McLaughlin got a good connection as the ball came over from the right but Ryan Wallace was on the left post to clear. Back at the other end another corner crossed in from the left by Falkingham was headed over the crossbar by the inrushing Thomson.
There was danger in 17 minutes when David O'Brien broke away down the left but Andy Geggan did well to get back and put in a telling tackle on the former Stirling Albion player. Four minutes later Barrowman and Dargo exploited some indecision in the home defence but could only win a corner.
A 27th minute Morton free kick delivered by Michael Tidser allowed McLaughlin a header that bounced up and off the Pars crossbar and the ball was scrambled clear. Next Morton's Wallace crossed and this turned out to be a shot that landed on the roof of the net.
Dunfermline had the next opportunity when Thomson slipped the ball right to Dargo but Gaston saved. Although heatedly disputed by Jordan, yet another 'Ton free kick was pumped into the Pars box and headed behind for a corner. A tough Hardie tackle on Thomson handed the Pars a free kick that Wallace sent into the Morton box. This was headed behind for a corner on the right and there were strong appeals from the travelling support in the standing area on the far side for a penalty when Dowie's effort appeared to hit Kevin Rutkiewicz's hand. No decision.
Ryan Wallace was offside in 41 minutes when neatly played through by Dargo but then in 44 minutes Morton scored an equaliser. Rutkiewicz picked out Hardie on the left and he crashed a shot off the left post only for BACHIROU to net as the ball broke in front of goal. It was possibly inevitable given all the chances they had in the first half that they would eventually make the breakthrough.
Half Time: Morton 1 Dunfermline 1
The second 45 started slowly, the first opportunity an attempted scissors kick by Dargo on a Barrowman cross in 49th minute. It had all been so cautious until in 56 minutes a cut back on the left sat up nicely for TIDSER to crash, Hardie like, past Gallacher from 25 yards out.
Four minutes later Cappielow was rocking as the home side increased their advantage to two goals. Geggan failed to stop O'Brien's squared ball and Weatherson got a shot that broke to Bachirou and Gallacher blocked but the break fell for WEATHERSON to stick the ball in the net at the keeper's left hand post. 3-1
Joe Cardle had replaced Husband just before the 'Ton third goal and the no.14 won a 69th minute free kick that Jordan pumped into the home box but their defending was resolute. In 72 minutes Cardle squared in the box and Thomson beat the keeper with a well struck shot only to see Willie Dyer clear off the line.
Andy Kirk had replaced Dargo and he caused the problems that forced another Athletic corner but yet again the defence denied the Pars a clear effort on goal. The Pars got the goal they were looking for in 77 minutes after a fine long range effort from the yellow boot of Cardle dropped back off the bar and WALLACE finished in the top left.
Scott Taggart made a chance for himself in 87 minutes but Gallacher dropped to his knees to save. But with Pars pushing for the equaliser Morton snatched the goal that would put the result beyond the Fifers. It was 89th minute as TIDSER twisted his way around Gallacher to net. 4-2
Morton go top as a consequence of their back to back wins over title challengers Partick and Dunfermline.
MORTON: Derek Gaston; Craig Reid, Kevin Rutkiewicz, Mark McLaughlin, Willie Dyer; Martin Hardie, Fouad Bachirou, Michael Tidser; Tony Wallace (Scott Taggart 79), Peter Weatherson (Peter MacDonald 65), David O'Brien.
SUBS NOT USED: David Hutton, Kyle Wilkie, Tom O'Ware,
SCORER: Bachirou (44), Tidser (56, 89), Weatherson (60)
YELLOW CARD: Reid (70)
DUNFERMLINE: Paul Gallacher; Andy Geggan, Andy Dowie, Callum Morris, Stephen Jordan (c), Josh Falkingham, Stephen Husband (Joe Cardle 58), Ryan Thomson, Craig Dargo (Andy Kirk 71), Andy Barrowman (Alex Whittle 78), Ryan Wallace.
SUBS NOT USED: John Potter, Michal Hrivnak (GK).
SCORER: Morris (10), Wallace (77)
YELLOW CARD: Jordan (83), Falkingham (84), Wallace (91)
REFEREE: John McKendrick.
WEATHER: Overcast, showery 5C
NEXT MATCH: (home) Scottish First Division v Raith Rovers
Wednesday 2nd January 2013, kick off 3.00pm
- www: MATCH PICTURES
Ladbrokes Championship: Saturday 22nd April, Dunfermline v Falkirk kick off 3.00pm