SPFL League One: DUNFERMLINE 2 STENHOUSEMUIR 0: 13/09/14
Stenhousemuir missed out on the play offs by just one point last season but have had a fairly mixed start to this league season. After a win over Airdrie they have followed that up with a goalless draw against Brechin and a 5-4 defeat to newly promoted Stirling Albion. They then held form team, Ayr United to a 1-1 draw.
The visitors fielded teenage striker Gary Oliver who has joined them on loan from Hearts and keeper Greg Fleming faced his old club. Dunfermline made one change Ross Drummond resuming at left back in place of his suspended stand-in Ross Millen.
Michael Moffat and Chigozie Ugwu kicked off with strong September sunshine on their backs and it was the Pars who threatened immediately. Ryan Williamson got in an early cross from the right that created difficulties for the visitors' defence. Ryan Thomson sent the ball towards goal but Fleming nipped in before Ugwu could connect.
Stenhousemuir had to make a second minute substitution after Bryan Hodge was forced off holding his shoulder, Sean Dickson came on in his place. Play continued but the greatest heat came from Jim Jefferies for referee Craig Charleston who twice had words with Ugwu within the opening ten minutes.
A Pars free kick on the right corner of the Stenny box created danger but when Josh Falkingham delivered the defence cleared. A returned ball for Ugwu could not be controlled. In 13th minute Thomson was played through into the opposition box but his shot went straight into Fleming's arms.
Next minute it looked inevitable that the goal would come. Falkingham did everything right as he skilfully evaded challenges to get to the right byeline. His cut back was perfect for the unmarked Moffat but the former Ayr United striker hit the crossbar and no one could latch on to the rebound.
On 18 minutes Oliver won a corner off Gregor Buchanan and when that was played in from the right Ryan Scully got a rare touch as he gathered easily. Falkingham did well again on the right and the cross was not cleared convincingly allowing Ugwu to latch on to the chance but his effort was deflected wide right.
That corner came to nothing but then at the midway point of the half a Drummond corner from the right was desperately palmed away by Fleming. At the other end Scully held a speculative cross over from the right but there had been glimpses of potential threat when Oliver and Grehan combined.
Passing from both teams were not as accurate as thery could have been and as a result the tempo of the game was a bit cool. Lewis Martin hit a Drummond corner wide right before play switched to the other end but when Ross Meechan crossed Stenhousemuir were pulled up for a push on Buchanan as the ball went outside the far post.
On 32 minutes Thomson could not get on enough of a Falkingham cross and as a result his header went high over the bar. Two minutes later a Falkingham corner on the right was followed by another from him on the left. Fleming fisted that out and Moffat's follow up shot was blocked.
The game badly needed a goal but the next chance from a Drummond cross was cleared and again Moffat's follow up was blocked. Williamson got in on the right but a defender intercepted the final ball towards his strikers.
It was a half where the home side enjoyed 64% possession, had six corners to their opponents one. Moffat had come closest with just the woodwork keeping him out.
Half time: Dunfermline 0 Stenhousemuir 0
Colin McMenamin replaced Paul-Jon Sludden in the Stenny team as they restarted. Ryan Thomson released a shot within 75 seconds that Fleming had to stop and very quickly thereafter Falkingham's header was held by the keeper.
The Pars were certainly showing signs of the spurs being forced on to them for the second 45. A surging run from Williamson in 53 minutes won a corner and the home side rallied behind their team. That came to nothing but then an Ugwu shot from the right was forced behind for another. This time Falkingham's delivery was met by THOMSON to head home at the near post. 1-0
Five minutes later on 59 minutes Falkingham crossed to the far post and Thomson was unlucky not to get the necessary touch at the far post. Next Thomson was played in by Williamson but he was caught offside.
There were three yellow cards in the space of two minutes one of which like against Stranraer the ptrevious Saturday was to result in the opposition later going down to ten men.
Ugwu made a break and laced the ball back across the penalty box but no one could capitalise on the 66th minute chance. Then three minutes later Kris Faulds sent a diagonal pass towards goal from the right and in his attempts to score McMenamin tried a 'hand of God' and earned a second yellow. It was a long walk from the Pars box back to the tunnel.
Jim Jefferies used the break to bring on Andy Stirling for goalscorer Thomson and in 77 the sub should have scored as he was best placed to accept the cross at the end of another signature Williamson run. Unfortunately Ugwu went for the ball ahead of him and between them they failed to convert a great opportunity.
With eleven minutes remaining a Falkingham corner was flicked across goal by Geggan and Moffat was unlucky not to finish at the far post. Just one goal divided the sides but the Fifers were still well on top.
One Pars corner after the other followed as the clock ran down but it was a Williamson run that led to the second goal. The right back was tripped by Ciaran Summers as he tried to go past him on the right side of the box. Referee Craig Charleston pointed to the spot and Michael MOFFAT converted giving Fleming no chance. 2-0
Moffat might have had a second just one minute from time after Stirling can created a chance with his industry down the left but Greg Fleming pulled off a wonderful save to deny the Pars striker.
In the end it was a comfortable win in which Ryan Williamson was mercurial.
DUNFERMLINE: Ryan Scully; Ryan Williamson, Lewis Martin, Gregor Buchanan, Ross Drummond; Josh Falkingham, Andy Geggan (c), Lewis Spence, Ryan Thomson (Andy Stirling 70); Michael Moffat, Chigozie Ugwu
SUBS NOT USED: Ryan Goodfellow (GK), Shaun Byrne, Ross Forbes, Stuart Urquhart, Faissal El Bakhtaoui, Allan Smith
SCORERS: Thomson (54) Moffat (84)
YELLOW CARD: Spence (63)
STENHOUSEMUIR: Greg Fleming; Ross Meechan, Stewart Greachen, Ross McMillan, Ciaran Summers; Kieran Millar, Kris Faulds, Paul-Jon Sludden (Colin McMenamin HT), Bryan Hodge (Sean Dickson 2); Martin Grehan, Gary Oliver.
SUBS NOT USED: Dean Shaw (GK), Robbie Duncan, Alan Lithgow, Ryan Millar, Joshua Watt.
YELLOW CARD: Greacen (43), McMillan (62), McMenamin (63)
RED CARD: McMenamin (69)
REFEREE: Craig Charleston
WEATHER: Sunny 21C
NEXT MATCH: SPFL League One (away) v Morton
Saturday 20th September 2014, kick off 3.00pm
50/50 draw: winning number 111416 won £764
Ladbrokes Championship: Saturday 18th March, Dunfermline v Ayr United kick off 3.00pm