SPFL League One: DUNFERMLINE 0 BRECHIN CITY 0: 09/08/14
After two fine wins in the Petrofac and League Cups Jim Jefferies side were well set up to go into the league opener. Jim Jefferies was forced into making one change to the team that started and did so well on Tuesday night against Raith Rovers; Ross Forbes in for the suspended Josh Falkingham.
Brechin made one change from the side that did well against Dumbarton the previous Saturday; Darren McCormack preferred to Alan Trouten. It was the visitors who kicked off in glorious sunshine and they forced a free kick just nineteen yards out within 70 seconds when Lewis Martin brought down Andy Jackson on the edge of the box. Fortunately left back Colin Hamilton blasted that over both the Pars wall and the crossbar.
Faissal El Bakhtaoui threatened to get in on the right side before the Pars won the first corner of the game in nine minutes. There were appeals from the McCathie Stand at the other end when Gregor Buchanan was impeded by Hamilton as he went for the cross but no penalty and when a shot was forthcoming the weak effort from Forbes went wide left.
Three minutes later nice close play between Millen and El Bakhtaoui on the right led to a good cross being sent over but Moffat could only earn a corner. Again Buchanan and Hamilton tussled and the big centre back was blown up for a push. Another corner followed from the right soon after and this time it was taken short before dispatched in Moffat's direction but his shot was blocked by Paul McLean.
A Callum Tapping shot from distance had been sent into Ryan Scully's arms but apart from that the first twenty minutes had all been towards Graeme Smith in the City goal. A breakthrough was prevented by a diving header from Paul McLean after Moffat had picked out Geggan on the right and his ball in created real danger at the near post.
On 27 minutes Andy Jackson sent Ryan Ferguson away and with other former Par Robert Thomson the pair threatened but a loose final ball 15 yards out from Ferguson let the Pars off the hook. Two minutes later Smith came charging out his box to try and stop Moffat latching on to a long ball but the Pars striker got there first to touch the ball on from 30 yards out and he was on his back as the ball bounced narrowly outside the right goalpost.
Brechin's first corner of the afternoon in 32 minutes saw Thomson get in two shots both of which were blocked before Tapping blasted high into the McCathie Stand. Next Ross Drummond whisked over an inviting ball from the left but Geggan's header went straight to Smith.
There was a booking for McLean in 38 minutes and from the free kick Millen delivered a good ball from the left side but just too big for the attack force. Chances kept coming with Moffat having the best of them. He was perilously close to converting a fine Millen cross and then after El Bakhtaoui had used his skills to jink around defenders on the edge of the box the former Ayr United man shot wide left.
As much as the Pars had dominated, a header two minutes into added time at the end of the half could have seen Brechin go in ahead. Craig Molloy lofted the ball towards Hamilton and his attempt cleared the bar.
Half time: Dunfermline Athletic 0 Brechin City 0
Moffat and El Bakhtaoui kicked the second 45 off but it was City's Tapping who had the first attempt at goal from 25 yards though he was wide left. Jackson flashed a cross through the Pars six yard box and then Hamilton lobbed in a 49th minute cross that gave Thomson a fantastic opportunity in front of goal to score the opener but fortunately Scully saved the shot.
Six minutes into the half there was a blow for the Fifers as Buchanan had to be substituted. He limped off and Jonathan Page came on. There was a good effort from Forbes hitting a free kick on target but Smith leapt to punch the ball over his bar. In 55 minutes Smith held a driven shot from El Bakhtaoui before the French Moroccan striker was replaced by Ryan Wallace.
An opening again came Dunfermline's way with Lewis Spence accepting a lay off on the edge of the box but his right shot was tipped away by Smith. The keeper then stopped a Moffat shot in 62 minutes and held Drummond's follow up. Forbes then created a great chance with an accurate pass from the left byeline straight to Geggan on the right side of the box but somehow he pulled his shot outside the far post.
With the score 0-0 Brechin were still in this match and reminded everyone with 71st minute free kick that Molloy hit at Scully. Geggan blasted a shot past the right post just before Jim Jefferies threw on another striker. Forbes was withdrawn and Chigozie Ugwu came on.
It was Brechin however who should have scored with Thomson evading Page, making tracks into the Pars box and hitting the left post when a lay off to Barr to his left might have had a better pay back.
The Pars pushed forward but were continually frustrated by their opponents. The ball evaded Geggan at the back post when Spence placed the ball there. Ugwu chased everything, Geggan had a shot blocked and at the other end Barr caused Scully to tip the ball over his crossbar in 94th minute. There was just not going to be a goal in this match.
A disappointing result for League One's odds on favourites. Brechin did what a lot of clubs might do when they visit East End Park this season - concede midfield but defend in depth. The opposition and their supporters really celebrated their goalless draw.
DUNFERMLINE: Ryan Scully; Ross Millen, Gregor Buchanan (Jonathan Page 51), Lewis Martin, Ross Drummond; Andy Geggan (c), Shaun Byrne, Lewis Spence, Ross Forbes (Chigozie Ugwu 73); Faissal El Bakhtaoui (Ryan Wallace 58), Michael Moffat
SUBS NOT USED: Andy Stirling, Allan Smith, Ryan Williamson, Ryan Goodfellow (GK)
YELLOW CARD: Drummond (67), Martin (71)
BRECHIN CITY: Graeme Smith; Jamie McCormack, Paul McLean, Darren McCormack, Colin Hamilton; Ryan Ferguson (Greg Cameron 64), Gary Fusco, Callum Tapping (Bobby Barr 64), Craig Molloy (c), Robert Thomson; Andy Jackson
SUBS NOT USED: Steven Jackson, Jim McLauchlan, Alan Trouten, Ben Tough (GK)
YELLOW CARD: McLean (38)
REFEREE: Euan Anderson
WEATHER: Fine 20C
NEXT MATCH: SPFL League One (away) v Forfar Athletic
Saturday 16th August, kick off 3.00pm
HALF TIME 50/50 DRAW: Winning ticket no.118946 won £754
Ladbrokes Championship: Saturday 18th March, Dunfermline v Ayr United kick off 3.00pm