SPFL League One: DUNFERMLINE 0 FORFAR ATHLETIC 0: 18/10/14
Forfar Athletic fielded an unchanged starting eleven while Jim Jefferies was able to bring back Lewis Martin after international duty and captain Andy Geggan returned after injury meaning Shaun Byrne found himself on the bench.
It was not just the first v second in this game, it is also a match between the two oldest managers in Scottish football with Dick Campbell aged 60, facing Jim Jefferies who had three years seniority. Dunfermline of course were hoping that added experience would help the Pars to their fourth successive home win and extend their record of not having conceded a goal at home in the league this season.
Show Racism the Red Card was displayed by both teams ahead of kick off before the visitors got proceedings underway attacking the goal at the McCathie Stand end.
Dunfermline were the first to press with the first corner of the game and also the first effort in four minutes when Andy Stirling popped a shot from 33 yards that just cleared the crossbar. Ross Millen curled two crosses over, one from either side but both were just too strong.
Forfar worked themselves into the game as ten minutes were completed with Omar Kader and Mark Baxter pushing up. Two decisions by referee Stephen Finnie riled the Pars bench and fans meaning Forfar possibly enjoyed more possession than they warranted. Dale Hilson got in a shot when Gavin Swankie laid the ball off to him but that was blocked in the Pars defence.
Ryan Williamson earned the Pars a 16th minute corner but when the chance dropped to Josh Falkingham he blasted wildly over Rab Douglas' bar. Three minutes later Michael Moffat played the ball left for Millen to meet on the edge of the penalty box but his well hit drive went wide left.
On 20 minutes there was a big let off for the Pars as Williamson was short with his back pass to Scully and Swankie nipped in to shoot from the left side of the box. Fortunately he pulled his effort wide right.
A Pars corner midway through the half saw ten Forfar men in their penalty box and just Moffat on the goaline. As five Pars players ran out to meet Millen's delivery from the left, Douglas leapt to hold. At the other end Forfar accepted a corner, their first, when Martin belted the ball off Williamson and Scully had to be alert to keep out Stuart Malcolm at the near post.
A 31st minute corner on the left almost caught Forfar out. Millen's cross was low and Stephen Husband miscued his clearance teeing up Faissal El Bakhtaoui but he sent the opportunity inches outside the right upright. Next another Millen corner from the left found Gregor Buchanan's head but he guided the ball over the bar from close in.
The home side had the majority of possession but were finding it hard to penetrate the Loons defences. El Bakhtaoui and Moffat tried hard but were constantly frustrated. As half time approached Swankie took advantage of a Martin slip but when he allowed Hilson to dictate how to execute a shot his pass left for Danny Denholm went astray.
Half time: Dunfermline Athletic 0 Forfar Athletic 0
Dunfermline had registered 57% possession in the first half, they had six attemps at goal in comparison to Forfar's three and six corners to their opponents one but it is goals that count and no doubt Jim Jefferies and Neil McCann made that quite clear to their players at the interval.
Geggan and Spence got the game underway and the ball immediately went right for Williamson to gain ground up the wing and cross the ball across the face of goal. Forfar responded when Dods put the ball high over the Dunfermline defence and Swankie got in a shot that Scully pushed into the sky before taking second time.
Play switched back to the other end and Moffat and Geggan were unlucky not to create a better chance in 52 minutes. Buchanan collected the Pars first yellow card a minute later and from the resultant free kick Husband picked out Dods at the far post but his header drifted over the bar.
Ross Forbes came on for Andy Geggan and Gavin Malin for Stephen Husband. A Falkingham pass on the hour picked out El Bakhtaoui on the right side of the visitors box but he smashed the chance wide. Next the Frenchman was sent scurrying down the left by Falkingham but he lost out on the Forfar byeline and the Loons broke fast with Swankie just losing out to Scully in the race for the ball 30 yards out and Hilson's chip at the unguarded goal going over the top.
Forfar then came even closer Swankie latching on to a slip up by Martin and sending in a shot from a difficult angle on the right that rolled across the goal and came back off the far post. Then in 72 minutes the Pars goal was kept intact by two great saves by Ryan Scully. First he denied James Dale then got up and dived to his right to prevent Hilson accepting the chance from the rebound.
The near things lifted the Pars crowd but still the route to Douglas' goal was well defended.
Five minutes from time it looked like the deadlock might eventually be broken when Malcolm's hand got in the way of a Forbes shot. Stephen Finnie pointed to the spot and Chigozie Ugwu assumed responsibility for the penalty. Usual penalty taker Ross Millen had been subbed and there was some dispute as Falkingham wearing the captain's armband pushed forward Moffat to do the business but the Englishman stood firm and sent the setpiece to the keeper's left. Rab Douglas went the right way and beat out the shot to further frustrate Jim Jefferies side.
Forfar had chances of their own with Swankie again testing Scully and Dods getting close to heading in from an 89th minute corner.
One point each, Pars home league clean sheet intact and Ryan Scully awarded the Man of the Match award.
DUNFERMLINE: Ryan Scully; Ryan Williamson, Gregor Buchanan, Lewis Martin, Ross Millen (Alex Whittle 66); Andy Geggan (Ross Forbes 55), Lewis Spence, Josh Falkingham, Andy Stirling; Faissal El Bakhatoui (Chigozie Ugwu 71), Michael Moffat.
SUBS NOT USED: Ross Drummond, Shaun Byrne, Allan Smith, Ryan Goodfellow (GK)
YELLOW CARD: Buchanan (53), Spence (78), Falkingham (79)
FORFAR ATHLETIC: Rab Douglas; Mark Baxter, Darren Dods, Stuart Malcolm, Jim Paterson; Omar Kader, Stephen Husband (Gavin Malin 57), James Dale, Danny Denholm; Dale Hilson, Gavin Swankie.
SUBS NOT USED: Michael Dunlop, Mark Fotheringham, Chris Templeman, Liam Keiller, Craig Smith, Ross Salmon (GK).
YELLOW CARD: Husband (41), Paterson (50), Hilson (84).
REFEREE: Stephen Finnie
WEATHER: Fine, sunny intervals 18C
NEXT MATCH: SPFL League One (home) v Morton
Saturday 25th October 2014, East End Park, kick off 3.00pm
50/50 HALF TIME DRAW: Ticket number 122566 won £797
Pre Season Friendly v Hibernian, Thursday 6th July 2017, kick off 7.45pm