SPFL League One: EAST FIFE 0 DUNFERMLINE 1: Date: 10/08/13
Dunfermline travelled to meet East Fife in the opening league match of the 2013-2014 League One campaign. It was the first league game in Methil between the teams since March 1987 and the Pars were in search of their first competitive away win over East Fife since September 1973.
Jim Jefferies was again without Stephen Husband serving another two match ban after his sending off in Tuesday night's U20 league match against St Mirren. Josh Falkingham dropped to the bench and Andy Geggan came into the team that started the previous Saturday against East Stirlingshire.
East Fife gave starts to former Pars Liam Buchanan and Pat Clarke while others Paul Willis and Scott McBride were on the bench. Craig Johnstone was suspended and the East Fife line up showed four changes from the side that faced Morton the previous week.
The teams emerged to a very vocal welcome from a sell out audience. Dunfermline in their new turquoise shirts kicked off through the two Ryans Wallace and Thomson. Thomson was soon driving down the left and when he found his co-striker in front of goal the East Fife defender took him down and within 69 seconds referee Iain Brines was pointing to the penalty spot.
WALLACE took the responsibilty for the spot kick and sent it past keeper Michael Andrews to put the Pars one up right on two minutes.
Thomson again broke through on goal in the tenth minute and as he approached the penalty box tumbled when attentions of Gary Thom in pursuit got too close. This time Brines waved play on to the great anger of the travelling support and Thommo. The tackles were in the strong category and the referee blew regularly for free kicks to both sides.
East Fife were kept well away from Ryan Scully's goal until in 19 minutes Millen was forced to head behind when the trialist whipped a good delivery over from the right. Scott Durie sent the resulting corner over from the left and Scully fisted the ball out for Kane to sweep away.
In 27 minutes the opposition keper was caught out by the bobbly pitch and Wallace took advantage. He released the ball right for Ferguson just as a defender flattened him but then the cross from the right side of the penalty box was blocked and East Fife survived. At the other end Buchanan was caught offside as the home side attempted to counter.
Millen and Geggan pumped crosses into the box but no one could get a shot away and as Dunfermline tried to make their possession and passing game work they were constantly under quick harrassment from their opponents. Thomson got an opportunity to shoot in 38 minutes but fired wide left from the edge of the box.
Morris' long ball two minutes later looking for Thomson to run on to, was headed behind for a Dunfermline corner but when Millen sent that in from the left Andrews came out to hold with ease. As the half time whistle approached Scully was forced to come out to 25 yards from his goal to put in a brave header as Buchanan threatened to break through.
It had been a satisfactory half for Dunfermline but after the good start they had been a bit disappointed not to test Andrews more severely.
Half Time: East Fife 0 Dunfermline 1
Josh Falkingham was introduced for the restart taking the place of Shaun Byrne who had been limping after a first half challenge by Joe Mbu. Josh immediately injected some attacking moves, forcing a corner and then making Andrews hold a neat chip into the six yard box.
Ross Brown did not endear himself to the Pars support who were on their feet to object to his robust tackles on Wallace and then Ferguson. Falkingham won another corner in 55 minutes but when Millen sent that over Morris was penalised for climbing on his marker.
Eight minutes later Tuta created problems on the left and that resulted in three desperate blocking tackles by Morris, Geggan and Whittle. The Pars on the other hand were caught offside until in 64 minutes Falkingham's pass to Wallace was perfectly timed to beat the system but with the Pars rising to their feet to anticipate a goal the striker pulled his shot across the face of goal.
Scully was then made to save a ball that appeared to break towards goal off Millen under pressure from Clarke. This was not a match for the feint hearted, the East Fife tackles were hard and Dutot injured himself rather than Geggan in his 70th minute challenge. He failed to recover and McBride replaced him and it was the sub who scooped away a fine cross from Whittle who had made an impressive run down the left.
While the lead remained the solitary goal the Pars had to remain wary that two late goals from Buchanan against Morton had taken that game into extra time. A 77th minute corner narrowly escaped Kane's attempted header but Dargo collected and flashed a shot just over the top.
A fine cut back from Wallace was met by Falkingham on the edge of the box but his well struck effort was blocked by Willis. At the other end Buchanan got a shot in but it rose all the way and headed for the Forth and then in 82 minutes he tried an overhead kick on Scully's punched clearance but was well wide left.
The towsy match was seen out for the Pars to claim their first competitive victory away to East Fife since September 1973.
EAST FIFE: Michael Andrews, Scott Durie, Alexis Dutot (Scott McBride 72), Gary Thom, Joe Mbu; Trialist, Pat Clarke, Jonathan Stewart (Paul Willis 60), Ross Brown, Liam Buchanan, Cedric Tuta (Nathan Austin 77).
SUBS NOT USED: Trialist (GK), Cyrus Moosari, Ross Lennie, Ryan Stewart,
YELLOW CARD: Thom (57), Mbu (86)
DUNFERMLINE: Ryan Scully; Ross Millen, Kerr Young, Callum Morris, Alex Whittle; Shaun Byrne (Josh Falkingham HT), Chris Kane, Andy Geggan (c); Ryan Ferguson (Craig Dargo 65); Ryan Wallace, Ryan Thomson.
SUBS NOT USED: Luke Johnston, Jordan Moore, Fayssal El Bakhtaoui, Ryan Williamson, Michal Hrivnak (GK)
SCORER: Wallace (2 pen.)
YELLOW CARD: Kane (93)
REFEREE: Iain Brines
WEATHER: Overcast 18C
Ladbrokes Championship: Saturday 18th March, Dunfermline v Ayr United kick off 3.00pm