SPFL League One: STIRLING ALBION 0 DUNFERMLINE 2: 04/10/14
Josh Falkingham led the team out at a sunny Forthbank where the surface was soft after very heavy overnight rain. Behind him Stuart Urquhart making his starting debut in place of Lewis Martin who was absent on international duty with Scotland U19s and Andy Stirling back in the team following injury. The close season signing from Stranraer disposed young Lewis Spence who had been one of four ever presents in the Dunfermline team. The only other change, Shaun Byrne starting in place of Ryan Thomson who sustained a groin injury in training on Monday.
Stirling Albion lost 2-0 at Stranraer the previous Saturday and they made three changes to face Dunfermline dropping all three players by the name of Smith. Darren, Darren Lee and Gordon made way for the return of Lewis Coult, Sandy Cunningham and Graham Weir.
The hosts kicked off but it was the visitors who enjoyed the early pressure with Michael Moffat and Andy Stirling making positive moves. Callum Reidford worried his defence dropping the first cross in from the right by Ryan Wiliamson.
Two Binos corners in seventh minute were eventually held by Ryan Scully. Byrne made a good run through the middle but when he laid the ball off to Ross Millen his cross cum shot from 25 yards out cleared the crossbar. In 11 minute Stirling sent a useful ball in to the near post forcing Chris Smith to head behind for a Dunfermline corner.
Millen's cross did not create any danger from the corner but when Williamson returned the ball it landed and slipped behind to land on the roof of the net.
On 13 minutes Stirling sent another cross over from the left and Moffat rose to head at goal but his effort went over the top. Five minutes later Moffat looked to have made the opening required and as he entered the opposition box he slid the ball left for Chigozie Ugwu but as the big man shot Smith made a great block.
It was one way traffic towards the home end and Reidford pulled off a great save to deny Stirling. It was 21 minutes when Byrne supplied Moffat with the best chance so far but the former Ayr striker blasted narrowly wide from just 12 yards. Ugwu was only mid way into the opposition half when he tried a speculative lob that just dropped over the crossbar.
A typical Williamson run saw him receive the ball back on the top of the box but he could not get in the shot. Next Byrne was cut down on the right edge of the box and although Millen stood over the free kick it was Forbes left foot that curled the ball beyond the far post.
Then Williamson found himself unusually far up the park and he was able to send a diagonal pass in that Ugwu just failed to convert. Weir produced Stirling's first real attempt on goal in 37 minutes and as the ball flew in from 30 yards out Scully stretched to his right hand post but fortunately the ball went wide.
Forbes tried a long range effort but was well wide left. Moffat tried a scoop that would have been spectacular if successful, sadly not. Albion's main form of attack continued to be long throw ins into the box from right back Lee Hamilton but the Pars defence kept them out. There was a late push from them however and a free kick right on the half time whistle was met by Chris Smith at the far post. The home support jumped to their feet to celebrate but his header had gone into the sidenetting.
Stirling Albion 0 Dunfermline 0
Pars had registered 61% possession in the first half and they continued in the second with the bulk of the play. A cross evaded Ugwu at the back post and Millen burst through but failed to pull the trigger. Forbes tried one from 27 yards out but his decent shot travelled just wide left.
The travelling support were up on their feet as Ugwu got in a header close in but the ball fell narrowly wide. In 58 minutes Moffat played Ugwu into the right side of the Stirling box and Ugwu looked likely but Reidford came out and the striker was forced into shooting from a tight angle with the ball hitting the sidenetting.
Faissal El Bakhtaoui then came on for the former Reading striker in Jim Jefferies first tactical change and his cross was headed behind for a 67th minute corner. That set up a rush from the posse midway up the park and Urquhart got close with a header but still Stirling frustrated the Fifers.
Williamson mounted another run but El Bakhtaoui was closed down as the ball came in to him. A 77th corner changed nothing but at the other end the Pars keeper was called upon to make a very important save.
Millen's clearance went straight to Graham Weir and his shot from 25 yards was well saved by Scully dropping down to his left. The Pars then mounted a quick counterattack.
Josh Falkingham carried the ball all the way to the edge of the box before drilling the ball at the right goalpost.
Falkingham was instrumental in setting up the much wanted goal. He connected well with his tar mates on the edge of the box before picking out Moffat who just touched the ball right for BYRNE to crash the ball low into the bottom left. 0-1
Stirling's chances of revival were then dealt a blow when central defender Craig Wedderburn collected his second yellow in the space of ten minutes and the home side played the last six minutes with just ten men.
Stirling to their credit made a good attempt to find an equaliser and the ball was deflected over off Buchanan's head with him knowing possibly very little about it.
The match was in the second minute of added time when Moffat made ground down the right. His cut back for Byrne on the edge of the box was met sweetly but the Pars got lucky as a defender's efforts to keep the ball out merely teed it up for EL BAKHTAOUI and he squeezed the ball in at the far post. 0-2
Ayr United lost at Peterhead and Morton lost at Brechin, so the Pars stay second one point behind league leaders, Forfar Athletic.
STIRLING ALBION: Callum Reidford; Lee Hamilton (Ross McGeachie HT), James Creaney, David McClune (c), Craig Wedderburn, Chris Smith, Steven Doris, Willie Robertson (Darren Lee Smith 78), Lewis Coult (Gordon Smith 62), Sandy Cunningham, Graham Weir
SUBS NOT USED: Darren Smith, Dale Fulton, Ross Forsyth, Greg Paterson (GK)
YELLOW CARD: McClune (17), Smith (53), Wedderburn (74), Weir (90)
RED CARD: Wedderburn (84)
DUNFERMLINE: Ryan Scully, Ryan Williamson, Stuart Urquhart, Gregor Buchanan, Ross Millen; Shaun Byrne, Josh Falkingham (c), Ross Forbes (Sorel Chemin 81), Andy Stirling (Lewis Spence 71); Michael Moffat, Chigozie Ugwu (Faissal El Bakhtaoui 64)
SUBS NOT USED: Alex Whittle, Ross Drummond, Finn Graham, Ryan Goodfellow (GK)
SCORERS: Byrne (80), El Bakhtaoui (92)
YELLOW CARD: None
REFEREE: Andrew Dallas
WEATHER: Sunny 13C
NEXT MATCH: SPFL League One (away) v Ayr United
Friday 10th October 2014, kick off 7.45pm
Ladbrokes Championship: Saturday 18th March, Dunfermline v Ayr United kick off 3.00pm