SPL v Kilmarnock
DUNFERMLINE 2 KILMARNOCK 1 Date: 03/04/04
Fixture: BOS SPL Premier League
Attendance: 3914, Kick Off: 15:00
Referee: Charlie Richmond, Weather: Cold, windy with torrential rain at times
A poor crowd braved some even poorer weather to witness another poor match in Dunfermline`s battle to overturn the disappointing form they have had against Kilmarnock in recent years. The home support was disappointed however when the Pars found themselves a goal down in under ten minutes.
Andy Tod had come close for the Pars early on when he headed onto the roof of Colin Meldrum`s net but it was to be the visitors who benefited from some aerial play at the other end of the park. With Tod having fouled Boyd at the corner of the Pars box, Killie had a free kick in a dangerous position.
Skora`s free kick whipped in beyond Stillie to the back post where a huddled mass of players rose as one, Danny INVINCIBLE getting the vital touch to take the ball over the line. The ball ricocheted around and crossed the line a couple of times but it was only when referee Charlie Richmond noticed the actions of his linesman that the goal was confirmed, sending the small band of visiting supporters into a delayed rapture.
Kilmarnock retained the lion`s share of possession but were not using it effectively and very nearly paid the price shortly after taking the lead. When Stevie Crawford picked up the ball in the corner and hit the bye line, his cutback nearly resulted in a scarcely deserved equaliser for the Pars when Derek Young lashed a shot wide of the
As much as they dominated proceedings it took a set piece to create Kilmarnock`s only other real chance of the first half with a free kick being awarded twenty-five yards from goal. Skora let rip with a powerful drive and when a stray Pars hand deflected the ball in mid-flight, unseen by the man in black, Stillie had to react quickly to punch the ball over the bar.
Five minutes from the break a lacklustre Pars received a lifeline. A sudden spark of life saw Derek Young combine with Brewster on the left wing, resulting in a high ball swirling into the Kilmarnock box. It seemed that neither defence was destined to shine today as Barry NICHOLSON was left alone in the box to deliver a completely free header beyond Meldrum.
The goal seemed to give the Pars a little lift and they carried this newfound momentum into the second half. Within a minute of the restart the Pars carved out another chance, albeit with assistance from Lilley`s and Fowler`s slapstick defending antics, but Derek Young`s shot flashed across Meldrum and beyond the far post. Killie did manage to get the ball into the net again themselves but the goal was disallowed for a foul on Stillie and play once more swung back in the Pars` favour.
Brewster picked out Shields with a perfectly timed ball into the corner and the fullback evaded his former teammates to slide the ball back across the Kilmarnock box. Crawford was blocked but Brewster was able to regain the ball eight yards out but a superb block by Lilley took the sting out of the shot and enabled Meldrum to gather it safely.
Dunfermline were managing to get plenty of balls into the Kilmarnock box with little to show for it but midway through the half the vital goal finally came. Substitute Lee Bullen sent a long pass down the line and Stevie CRAWFORD outpaced Greer to collect it. Holding the big centre half at bay long enough to make it into the box the Pars striker contributed to an otherwise quiet game with an excellent finish to curl the ball past Meldrum into the far corner of the net.
As the game crawled into the dying stages, Dunfermline unsurprisingly found themselves pinned back by a Killie side that had thrown Dargo and McSwegan into the mix in search of an equaliser. There was a brief scare when Boyd sent a free header wide of the post and in the last few minutes ex-Par Colin Nish saw his effort chalked off for using his hand to put it in, but the Pars held on for a good victory.
The performance was not a memorable one but the win is exactly what was needed in preparation for next week`s Hampden trip.
Kilmarnock: Meldrum, Lilley, Locke, Greer, Dindeleux, Fowler (Nish 83), Skora, Boyd, Murray (McSwegan 78), Hay (Dargo 75), Invincible
Kilmarnock Subs: Smith, Dodds
Kilmarnock Goal Scorers: Invincible (9)
Kilmarnock Yellow Cards: Locke, Lilley, Nish
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