SPFL League One: STRANRAER 1 DUNFERMLINE 2: 30/08/14
Jim Jefferies named the side that did so well in defeat at St Mirren Park on Tuesday night. Chris Aitken and Sean Winter dropped out of the team that faced Ross County, so Stranraer brought in Jamie Longworth and former Pars Willie Gibson but there was no Steven Bell since he is recovering from an operation on his knee.
This League One match was an alternative attraction to the Lowland Gathering that was being held on the same afternoon at the London Road playing fields across the road from Stair Park. Many pipe bands had travelled for that event but for the Fifers the big question was would their players travel well and be in tune at three o'clock.
Michael Moffat and Chigozie Ugwu kicked off for the visitors attacking the goal at the east end of the ground. First opportunity came for Stranraer however from a fourth minute free kick. Gibson swung the ball into the Pars box from the left touchline but there was no connection made by players of either side as the ball swerved beyond the far post.
A fifth minute free kick for Dunfermline just ten yards into the Stranraer half was sent into the left side of the penalty box by Ross Millen. Gregor Buchanan headed the ball down and the defence failed to prevent Chogozie UGWU getting in a low shot that found the net from just eight yards out. 0-1
In 14 minutes Dunfermline won the first corner of the game. Millen pumped that over from the left but there was nobody able to receive the opportunity. Rumsby's challenge on Moffat earned the centre back a talking to from referee Don Robertson and more importantly Dunfermline another free kick. Millen sent that into the opposition box where Moffat flicked the ball on to Ugwu but this time keeper, David Mitchell held the effort.
Ugwu and Falkingham delivered good crosses from the right and Andy Geggan had a pop at goal from 30 yards as the Pars kept up the pressure. Stranraer in contrast were restricted to "aimless punts up the park" - quote a shout from a frustrated home fan.
In 32 minutes Craig Malcolm was yellow carded after two successive fouls on Ryan Williamson but two minutes later referee Robertson reached for his back pocket to show Millen red. The defender had stuck out his foot and Jackson Longridge had gone splattering down in the box. A free kick was awarded on the 18 yard line and GIBSON got a deflection off Josh Falkingham, on the end of the seven man Pars wall to find the net. 1-1
Just like in the play off match when Jonathan Page was sent off, with the one man advantage Stranraer piled on the pressure. Jim Jefferies withdrew Ryan Thomson to play new signing Stuart Urquhart at left back in place of the missing Millen, but it was Scully who was twice called upon to keep the home side out. The half time whistle was possibly a relief to the Pars management who could use the break to re-group. From a position of total dominance the Fifers now faced a tough task.
Half time: Stranraer 1 Dunfermline 1
Stranraer kick off the second 45 and immediately went into attack mode but Gozie was sent away up the right by Falkingham and two corners were won. At the first there was a big appeal by the away bench and fans as Gallagher appeared to handle the ball from Spence's corner. No penalty was given.
At the other end Gibson got in a good ball from the corner flag that Martin was happy to turn behind at the near post. The first cross was defended but soon there was a follow up cross from the same side that Malcolm at the far post turned into the net with his hand. The centre forward was shown his second yellow and it was ten v ten.
The Pars then had a great chance created on the right by Moffat but his defender turned the ball around the post before Ugwu had the chance to convert. A 58th minute corner, this time by Falkingham, picked out Buchanan but he just could not get enough on the ball to direct it on target.
On the hour there was an appalling miss by Geggan at the far post after Falkingham had sent the ball down the right to Moffat. The former Ayr striker delivered a great ball in to find his skipper unmarked but he sidefooted his effort wide left when it looked easier to score.
Back at the other end Scully had to be at his best to beat away a Gallagher shot after Stephen Stirling had put him through on the right side of the Pars box. The Pars then regained the lead in 63 minutes. Williamson had continually caused Stranraer problems with his runs up the right and this time he got into the oppostion box to cut back for MOFFAT who was not going to miss from ten yards out. 1-2
Williamson then tried a shot himself at the end of a run but Mitchell saved while Stranraer made a double substitution. Sub Anthony Marenghi immediately sent in a ball that Scott Robertson glanced wide right.
Other sub Chris Aitken made a good cross from the right and Longworth met the ball at the near post but sent it wide right. In 80th minute Marenghi's free kick from the right byeline went right through the six yard box for Scully to grab at the left upright. Frank McKeown had come close to notching the equaliser but fortune was with the Fifers.
Andy Stirling subbed Chigozie Ugwu for the final eight minutes but it was his former club that might have scored. A ball in from the left was looped over the crossbar off the head of Longworth.
Adam Forde twisted his way in on the left and there was real danger as the home side pushed for a late equaliser. Spence bowled Aitken over on the edge of the box and the referee saw nothing wrong with that.
An 89th minute free kick 30 yards out was driven into the Pars wall. Marenghi then had a chance but shot straight at Scully and Dunfermline were to survive a barrage of late balls to claim the three points.
STRANRAER: David Mitchell; Scott Robertson, Frank McKeown, Scott Rumsby (Adam Forde, 76), Craig Pettigrew; Willie Gibson, Stephen Stirling, Grant Gallacher (Anthony Marenghi 67), Jackson Longridge (Chris Aitken 67), Craig Malcolm, Jamie Longridge
SUBS NOT USED: Barry Russell, Sam McCloskey, Daniel Tobin (GK).
SCORERS: Gibson (35)
YELLOW CARD: Malcolm (32)
RED CARD: Malcolm (51)
DUNFERMLINE: Ryan Scully; Ryan Williamson, Lewis Martin, Gregor Buchanan, Ross Millen; Andy Geggan (c), Lewis Spence, Josh Falkingham, Ryan Thomson (Stuart Urquhart 39); Michael Moffat (Allan Smith 92), Chigozie Ugwu (Andy Stirling 82).
SUBS NOT USED: Shaun Byrne, Ross Forbes, Jonathan Page, Ryan Goodfellow (GK)
SCORERS: Ugwu (5), Moffat (63)
RED CARD: Millen (34)
REFEREE: Don Robertson
WEATHER: Fine 20C
NEXT MATCH: Fife Cup (away) v East Fife
Saturday 6th September, kick off 1.00pm at Bayview
Pre Season Friendly v Hibernian, Thursday 6th July 2017, kick off 7.45pm