SFL Div One: DUNFERMLINE 2 HAMILTON 3: Date: 06/04/13
A lot of activity in and around East End Park on Saturday and perhaps it was this that contributed to the late arrival of many Pars fans for this vital game against Hamilton. The game was delayed for five minutes to allow late fans in but in the end the crowd didn't quite match the 5,000 hoped for. That said, for Grand National Day with just over 100 Accies fans among the crowd, it was a great turnout.
Jim Jefferies had more selection options than last week and was able to bring back Andy Geggan and Callum Morris from injury, taking the place of Chris Kane and John Potter respectively, who both took a seat on the bench. Allan Smith also got his first start in the place of the injured Ryan Wallace, while prolific Under 20 striker Blair Henderson got his first seat on the bench.
Dunfermline took the kick facing toward the empty East Stand, but the game could not have had a worse start from a Dunfermline point of view. Hamilton won a corner on the left, and that quickly became a second as Millen cleared at the front post. The second saw Crawford play a dangerous cross into a crowded six yard box where Jon McSHANE powered a header past a crowded Hrivnak from six yards in only the second minute.
Hamilton held the early upper hand as Dunfermline's youngsters looked nervous in front of their own fans. A cross from the right found Crawford but Morris managed to clear. The Pars fans were trying their best but the atmosphere was strangely quiet as chances at either end were few and far between. But as Dunfermline came more into the game, their support became more vocal.
Dunfermline got their first opening in the 14th minute after a thrown in was sent by Thomson to Falkingham who turned at the edge of the box to fire a good shot just over the bar.
The playing surface didn't look at its best but that didn't bother the Pars youngsters who were now trying to put some pace into the game, with both Millen and Whittle showing a lot of energy down the flanks.
In 21 minutes Dunfermline won their first corner of the game, and Millen's inswerving kick drew gasps from the crowd as it only just scraped over the cross bar on its way straight out.
Allan Smith was showing that he could compete at this level and in the 27th minute he won another Pars corner after a good drive into the box. That came to nothing and then Hamilton got back into the Pars half for the first time in what seemed ages. Their free kick dropped to Devin at the back post but fortunately he fluffed the effort.
In 36 minutes Dunfermline got back on level terms with a goal that their play had undoubtedly merited. It was Smith again winning a corner which Millen took from the right. His first effort was too short and it came back to him, but at the second attempt he drove a low ball across the front of the goal which the defender could only help to loop into the air for the waiting Ryan THOMSON who pounced with a header for his seventh goal of the season.
Now the crowd were on their feet! Kerr Young did well to concede a corner from a break into the Pars box just after the restart.But Dunfermline were soon back at the other end with Thomson's chest down giving Falkingham a pop at goal that went straight to the arms of Cuthbert.
McKinnon was booked for unsporting behaviour and the game had been interrupted a number of occasions for petty fouling, mainly it has to be said by Hamilton players.
The Pars fans' frustration at the lack of Hamilton bookings blew up when Andy Geggan became the first player to earn a yellow card for persistent fouling in 39 minutes.
In the next minute Hamilton won a corner and this time Hrivnak did well to punch clear. Pars went straight up the park and Millen's cross for Byrne was cut out
In 41 minutes, Andy Geggan received treatment after a tackle from McKinnon, but was unable to continue and went off to a huge ovation to be replaced by Chris Kane.
Hamilton were back on the offensive before the break but with no further action of note, the teams went in level at half-time. The young Pars team did well to recover from losing an early goal giving their fans hope for the second period.
Half-Time: Dunfermline Athletic 1 Hamilton Accies 1
Dunfermline had the first real chance of the second half. In 48 minutes Whittle and Byrne combined well down the left
flank only for Shaun to be upended by Gordon who got Hamilton's second booking to wry cheers. Millen's cross from the free kick was returned to the full back but his second effort deep into the Hamilton penalty area was met by the onrushing Morris who bulleted a header but well over.
In 51 minutes Husband became the second Pars booking of the afternoon as Hamilton began to take more control of the game and in 57 minutes Accies took the lead for the second time.Smith conceded a free kick on the edge of the area, and as Crawford's free kick was swung in from the
right, Michael DEVLIN found space to head into Hrivnak's left hand corner.
Dunfermline weren't about to lie down and in the next minute a free kick from Millen found the head of Morris but his header went wide. Three minutes later and more determined work from Smith won another Pars corner but this was easily dealt with by the Hamilton defence.
However in 65 minutes, Dunfermline's persistence paid off.
Byrne was fouled outside the box by Gillespie who was yellow carded. Millen's free kick from the left was perfectly flighted into the box and referee Des Roache immediately awarded a penalty kick to the Pars as
Canning prevented Morris's jump.
A third yellow card for Hamilton and after a short delay while Cuthbert did everything he could to put the penalty-taker off, Stephen HUSBAND rifled an unstoppable spot kick low past the goalkeeper to bring the Pars back on level terms.
There was no shortage of effort from the Pars and Thomson and Smith were doing a great double act at the front to give the Hamilton defence a hard time. But it was Accies who almost broke the deadlock on the break, with Hrivnak diving bravely at the feet of the Hamilton forwards as
the ball came in from the left.
In the 73rd minute, May got the ball on the break and his shot from 12 yards brought out a super save from Hrivnak.
Hamilton were beginning to look more likely now, and after good interplay Routledge brings out another great save from Hrivnak, diving to his left to concede a corner. The corner wasn't cleared convincingly though and as the ball was fed back in, CANNING was at the back post unmarked to have the easiest opportunity to drive home Hamilton's third
goal in 77 minutes.
Seven minutes later, Jim Jefferies made his second substitution, bringing on 18 year old Blair Henderson for his debut to replace Stephen Husband. The young Pars were beginning to look tired but still trying to go forward and before the 90 minutes was up Kane has a shot blocked while Josh Falkingham almost broke through with a good run. But it was not to be and Dunfermline slip to their eighth successive home defeat.
Hard to believe but before we get too depressed about statistics, this was a defeat of a different kind.Jim Jefferies finished the match with two 18 year olds and four nineteen year olds on the park, and nobody else more than 23.
Perhaps the goals could have been avoided, but there was some very good football being played. Falkingham's midfield prompting, the attacking displays of
the two full backs and the running of the two front men were among the highlights, and if the team can now build upon these positives there is great hope for the future.
DUNFERMLINE ATHLETIC: Michal Hrivnak, Ross Millen, Alex Whittle, Kerr Young, Callum Morris, Andy Geggan (Chris Kane 44), Shaun Byrne, Stephen Husband (Blair
Henderson 84), Allan Smith, Josh Falkingham, Ryan Thomson.
SUBS NOT USED: John Potter, Fayssal El Bakhtaoui, Ryan Goodfellow
SCORERS: Thomson (36), Husband (pen 66).
YELLOW CARDS: Geggan (39), Husband (51)
HAMILTON ACCIES: Kevin Cuthbert, Ziggy Gordon, Stephen Hendrie (Louis Longridge 70), Michael
Devlin, Martin Canning, John Routledge, Ali Crawford, Darian McKinnon, Stevie May, Grant Gillespie, Jon McShane (Andy Ryan 79).
SUBS NOT USED: Jonathon Page, Alex Neil, Scott Christie
SCORERS: McShane (2), Devlin (57), Canning (77)
YELLOW CARDS: McKinnon (37), Gordon (48), Gillespie (64), Canning (65), Devlin (89)
REFEREE: Des Roache
WEATHER: bright sunshine but very cold
- www: MATCH PICTURES
Ladbrokes Championship: Saturday 22nd April, Dunfermline v Falkirk kick off 3.00pm