SPFL League One: DUNFERMLINE 1 MORTON 2: 25/10/14
This was the opportunity to put things right for a bad day in Greenock. Visitors Morton were the last team to defeat Dunfermline with a 2-1 scoreline on Saturday 20th September. They were also the last team to score against the Pars. Five weeks later the two meet again and Jim Duffy's side has won only once since.
Morton were led out by captain Andy Barrowman while Andy Geggan led out a Pars side that showed two changes from the one that faced Forfar. Alex Whittle came in at left back and Shaun Byrne started in midfield. That meant Ross Millen was switched back to right back and both Ryan Williamson and Andy Stirling found themselves on the bench.
The Pars were sporting a special shirt to raise funds for Poppyscotland. The shirts which were a one off will not be sold but instead signed by the players and management team before being auctioned off for the appeal. There was a minute's silence and a bugler accompaniment pre match.
The teams changed ends before Dunfermline kicked off attacking the goal at the McCathie stand end and in 35 seconds Millen drove an effort from 30 yards that just cleared the right upright. In the next move a corner was won on the right and although Millen's delivery was defended the ball dropped nicely for Josh Falkingham and his second minute shot from 20 yards had Gaston 'waving' at it as it scraped the top of his crossbar.
On to the fifth minute and Falkingham collected as Faissal El Bakhtaoui challenged. The midfielder clipped the ball left for Geggan but his effort was blocked by Lee Kilday. The Pars were really on fire as next El Bakhtaoui ran his marker ragged to send over a ball to the near post that keeper Gaston got rather than Michael Moffat.
Morton should have scored with their first foray in nine minutes. Declan McManus got the break of the ball as Gregor Buchanan closed him down on the byeline and the player on loan from Aberdeen crossed for Barrowman but from just eight yards out he succeeded in deflecting the ball wide left.
The visitors began to push more into the Pars half without creating too much but it was 16th minute before another attempt was fired at the Morton goal, Bakhtaoui hitting the ball over from 20 yards. When Whittle won a corner five minutes later Buchanan headed over the crossbar. Falkingham hit another over the bar and El Bakhtaoui's run into the box was stopped before he could cut the ball back.
Dunfermline continued to create and it was a Lewis Spence shot in 27 minutes that was deflected behind for a corner on the left. When Millen pinged that across the face of goal not a single player could get a touch. Just two minutes later Bakhtaoui ran on to a sweet pass from Spence and with Falkingham and Moffat making spaces for him to pass into. It was Moffat he targeted but he was robbed by Ricki Lamie as he was about to pick his spot.
Morton kept close to Dunfermline and made it hard for them. They threatened on the break and Barrowman forced a 37th minute corner but Joe McKee played that out before it reached the six yard box.
Four minutes from the break Falkingham and then Millen had to react sharpish to deny Morton chances in the Pars box. Play halted for an injury to Connor Pepper before the ten men took a corner on the left. Buchanan headed that away but Morton finished the half strongly.
Dunfermline 0 Morton 0
The game needed a goal and just seven minutes into the second half it duly arrived. A lob across from Moffat on the left had Geggan challenging for the ball at the far post but when the ball got knocked down it was EL BAKHTAOUI who was presented with the chance and he fired through several legs to find the net low left. 1-0
Dunfermline were lifted with the goal and Byrne swung a good ball across goal. Millen had a free kick 35 yards out twice charged down before McManus wriggled free down the right only to fire into the sidenetting.
A McKee shot from afar was deflected for a corner on the right and from that Sean Crichton headed to the base of the left post where Ryan Scully arrived in time to turn the ball away for another corner. There was more defending to be done but the ball fell to Tom O'Ware and he launched a shot from 25 yards that whistled narrowly wide left.
David McNeil replaced Mark Russell midway through the second half and it was the sub who picked out McManus in the Pars box. His shot was good but Scully's save was excellent diving to his left to maintain his clean sheet. In 74 minutes Byrne took the full blow of the ball on his head, he recovered to stroll off but Ryan Thomson came on in his place.
Moffat made good headway through the centre and when he looped the ball over the defence for El Bakhtaoui the keeper came out to win the race and punch clear. It was becoming more and more Morton though. The warning signs had been there and in 79 minutes they scored an equaliser. McKee sent over a corner from the right and Tom O'WARE powered a header past Scully. 1-1
An 83rd minute corner was held by Gaston when Dunfermline tried to respond. It was Morton who almost clinched the winner two minutes later with McNeill leaving McKee the chance to fire at goal but fortunately Millen blocked.
In 88 minutes McManus was sent through and he evaded Martin's challenges as he raced into the right side of the box but Scully came out to make a great tackle to take the ball. There followed two good opportunities for the home side. First Millen pumped the ball across goal with sub Ross Forbes nearest to converting and then in another forward movement Geggan was presented with a chance but hit it at the keeper.
The Fifers were to pay dearly for not taking their chances when Declan McMANUS grabbed his in the third minute of added time sweeping the ball into the far corner of the net from the edge of the box. The right time to score a winner, there was no time to respond and the Pars slumped to their first home league defeat of the season.
- - Watch Alex Whittle post match interview on Pars TV
- - Watch Andy Barrowman post match interview on Pars TV
DUNFERMLINE: Ryan Scully; Ross Millen, Gregor Buchanan, Lewis Martin, Alex Whittle; Andy Geggan (c), Lewis Spence, Josh Falkingham (Ross Forbes), Shaun Byrne (Ryan Thomson 76), Faissal El Bakhtaoui, Michael Moffat (Allan Smith)
SUBS NOT USED: Stuart Urquhart, Andy Stirling, Ryan Williamson, Ryan Goodfellow (GK)
SCORERS: El Bakhtaoui (52)
YELLOW CARD: None
MORTON: Derek Gaston; Lee Kilday, Thomas O'Ware, Sean Crichton, Ricki Lamie; Connor Pepper (Robbie Crawford 57), Stefan Milljevic, Joe McKee, Mark Russell (David McNeil 68); Andy Barrowman (c), Declan McManus.
SUBS NOT USED: Reece Hands, Jordan Allan, John Scullion, Craig Knight, Nico Caraux (GK)
SCORERS: O'Ware (79), McManus (93)
YELLOW CARD: McKie (50), Lamie (89)
REFEREE: John McKendrick
WEATHER: Windy, dry 13C
NEXT MATCH: William Hill Scottish Cup (away) v East Stirlingshire
Sunday 2nd November 2014 kick off 3.00pm at Ochilview Park
50/50 Half Time Draw:- Winning ticket no.124478 won £859
Ladbrokes Championship: Saturday 18th March, Dunfermline v Ayr United kick off 3.00pm