SPFL League One: DUNFERMLINE 1 PETERHEAD 0: 30/04/16
The only team in League One that Dunfermline had yet to win against this season were the opposition for the final match of the season. Third placed Peterhead made one enforced change, Leighton McIntosh started in place of the suspended Rory McAllister.
Dunfermline boss made three changes from the eleven that started at Airdrie the previous Saturday. Craig Reid, Andy Geggan and Joe Cardle returned with Ryan Williamson, Shaun Rooney and Rhys McCabe dropping to the bench alongside top goalscorer Faissal El Bakhtaoui.
There were several trackside presentations as the teams warmed up and the large end of season crowd filtered in. With 6236 inside East End Park Peterhead formed a guard of honour as the Ladbrokes League One champions entered the field with flame throwers on the park providing a spectacular entrance.
Peterhead kicked off towards the McCathie Stand and forced the first corner of the game in third minute that David Hopkirk cleared with ease. Dunfermline's first chance came within two more minutes when Reid fed the ball into the right side of the opposition box where Josh Falkiongham ran on to gather and flash a great ball across the face of the six yard but Michael Moffat just couldn't get the necessary touch.
Next it was a Hopkirk ball in from the right that had keeper Graeme Smith out to intercept before Ryan Wallace could finish. At the other end Ben Richards-Everton was greatly involved, first recovering from a slip and evading a balloon to clear, then blocking two on target attempts from outside the box.
A block on Moffat by Dzierzawski handed the Pars a free kick 29 yards out but Wallace sent the attempt low and wide left. Peterhead produced a promising move when Simon Ferry slipped the ball through Shane Sutherland for McIntosh to shoot from an acute angle on the right and his effort was driven into the sidenetting.
It was really sweet move in 17 minutes that turned the pressure on Peterhead. Moffat wasa picked out in the middle of the park and he fed the ball left for Cardle. Joe sent a right footed cross to the far side of the six yard box and although that found a Peterhead head the danger was not properly cleared and CARDLE found himself threaded a pass from Wallace that set him up to slip the ball into the left side of the goal. 1-0
Fifteen yards out Hopkirk was picked out by Reid but the excellently placed delivery was just a shade strong and the opportunity was gone. A minute later in 26 minute Wallace was sent through on the keeper and Graeme Smith tumbled the Pars striker just outside the box. Smith was shown yellow but the resultant free kick came to nothing as Wallace's slip to Cardle was overhit and the weak shot was low to the left.
Another Wallace free kick on the half hour was splendidly lifted over the defence for the inrunning Brad McKay but the direction on his header did not match Wallace's skilful delivery.
Swift passing, Wallace to Falkingham to Cardle to Falkingham on 35 minutes but when Josh checked and shot from 18 yards two defenders blocked his effort. Smith held a 37th minute corner from Wallace on the right and Hopkirk tried a shot from distance that Stevenson blocked.
Jordan Brown dispatched a snapped opportunity over Sean Murdoch's crossbar and in the last action of the first half Jamie Stevenson picked out sub Nathan Blockley on the edge of the box but Murdoch held comfortably.
Half time: Dunfermline 1 Peterhead 0
The league champions kicked off the second half in bright sunshine but with the Ochils still with a covering of snow it was still very cool for the last match of the season. Wallace was first to supply a chance from deep down the right. He stopped and with the ball on his left foot crossed for Hopkirk but he his shot was blocked.
Murdoch then pulled off a fabulous save when Steven Noble's ball in from a corner on the right was headed on target by Brown at the back post. All the players except Sean Murdoch were in the Peterhead half as Dunfermline confidently stroked the ball around.
The Blue Toon forced a 59th minute corner when McIntosh played the ball off Talbot. Both centre backs, Redman and Strachan had touches and attempts but eventually Falkingham got the ball out of the Pars box and Wallace made break down the right. The subsequent delivery was met by Moffat but as he slid in he sent the ball wide right at the near post.
Cardle was shown a yellow card after being brushed over in the box by Strachan. Wallace pumped in a 70th minute free kick from 28 yards out on the left but Geggan couldn't get enough on his header to hit the target.
Three minutes later Wallace got the break of the ball in a challenge with Redman and homed in on goal, evading the efforts of Strachan to halt him but sent a sizzler of a shot narrowly wide left.
Cardle had two close shots before with thirteen minutes remaining Faissal El Bakhtaoui was introduced to a great welcome. The Pars top goalscorer was seeking one more goal to claim the division's top striker title.
Shaun Byrne then came on for Josh Falkingham the Man of the Match went off to a warm ovation with everyone aware that might be his last appearance in a Pars strip. Faiss showed a classy touch in playing Cardle in at the top of the box but his slip to Moffat wasn't anticipated and Peterhead cleared. Talbot drove a shot wide left and it was all Dunfermline as the clock ran down.
Byrne was taken down 25 yards out and Faissal El Bakhtaoui drove his attempt from the resultant free kick into the Peterhead wall. Cardle's 88th minute shot went wildly left and in the second minute of added time a Geggan foul on Andy Rodgers gave Peterhead one final chance but Murdoch showed his usual great ability to beat away Sutherland's shot.
In the end it was a comfortable first win of the season over Peterhead, a great way to polish off a most successful season. The stage was built for the presentation of the Ladbrokes League One title and the title winning squad were all introduced individually until the manager emerged before Andy Geggan (as current captain) and club captain, Callum Fordyce.
The Ladbrokes representatives presented Geggs and Dycey with the League One trophy, silver streamers were fired in the air and there was joy all around East End Park. Quite a contrast from the doom of three years before when the club in administration was destined for relegation through the play offs.
Onwards into the Championship, the only sadness being the inevitable departures from East End Park and the inability to keep the title winning team together.
DUNFERMLINE: Sean Murdoch; Craig Reid (Ryan Williamson 82), Brad McKay, Ben Richards-Everton, Jason Talbot; David Hopkirk, Andy Geggan (c), Josh Falkingham (Shaun Byrne 79), Joe Cardle; Ryan Wallace (Faissal El Bakhtaoui 77), Michael Moffat.
SUBS NOT USED: Shaun Rooney, Rhys McCabe, Paul Joseph Crossan, David Hutton GK).
SCORERS: Cardle (17)
YELLOW CARD: Cardle (63)
PETERHEAD: Graeme Smith; Jamie Stevenson (Marc Lawrence 67), James Redman, Ryan Strachan, Steven Noble; Jordan Brown, Kevin Dzierzawski (Nathan Blockley 20), Simon Ferry, Nicky Riley (Andy Rodgers 75); Shane Sutherland, Leighton McIntosh.
SUBS NOT USED: Paul Jarvie (GK).
YELLOW CARD: Smith (26), Riley (50), Redman (52)
REFEREE: John Beaton
WEATHER: Fine 10C
NEXT MATCH: Next season
Ladbrokes Championship: Saturday 22nd April, Dunfermline v Falkirk kick off 3.00pm