SPL v Kilmarnock
KILMARNOCK 2 DUNFERMLINE 2 Date: 19/10/02
Fixture: BOS SPL Premier League
Attendance: 5515, Kick Off: 15:00
Referee: I Fyfe, Weather: 7C Overcast at first, sunny later
Dunfermline made three changes from the team that convincingly defeated Partick Thistle last time out. Scott Wilson returned for the injured Scott Thompson with McGroarty and suspension served Brewster replacing Nicholls and Kilgannon.
Kilmarnock had the better of the early play forcing a corner after only 40 seconds when Gary McSwegan`s shot from 25 yards out was deflected over the cross bar. In the fourth minute Stevie Fulton played the ball out wide for McLaughlin who sent a dangerous cross over the face of the goal which evaded everyone.
Kilmarnock were really parked in the Dunfermline half until in the 7th minute Gary Dempsey released Crawford on the left and showing his Scotland form beat his man but was impeded before he could do any damage.
Having gained the upper hand Dunfermline pushed forward and it was Andreas Skerla who teed up Brewster but the Kilmarnock defence came out on top.
In the 13th minute the Pars had a glorious opportunity to go ahead when a neat pass from Barry Nicholson was cleverly touched off Stevie Crawford into the path of Lee Bullen. With a clear view of the goal Bullen shot but Gordon Marshall got down well to save.
By now the Dunfermline team looked very dangerous going forward and the 400 or so travelling supporters were anticipating something from the play. After quarter of an hour a Bullen cross from the right was played off the heads of Dempsey, Nicholson and McGroarty before falling to Brewster on the far left corner of the box but his looping cross-cum-shot was easily dealt with by the Kilmarnock keeper.
At the other end Marco was in good form after a Greg Shields break had set up McSwegen for a cross from which McDonald severely tested the Dunfermline keeper. Next Nicholson sent Mason steaming up the right wing from where the diminutive midfielder put in a dangerous ball for Crawford on the edge of the six yard box. The defence however won again frustrating the awaiting Brewster as well.
In the 21st minute Lee Bullen was supplied by another good ball by Gary Mason, the Dunfermline no.21 rounded Garry Hay but his shot was wide right despite the fact Marshall dived to save it. The following minute Freddy Dindeleux headed a Bullen cross behind for Dunfermline`s first corner of the match. Nicholson`s ball in was too strong despite Brewster`s attempts to save it.
In the 26th minute a Dunfermline free kick 25 yards out on the right side replicated a training ground move. Nicholson ran over the ball, McGroarty struck the ball to Crawford on the edge of the box who deflected the ball back into the path of Nicholson. Only a corner resulted however and from that Scott Wilson`s knock down provided Brewster with a shot the Kilmarnock defence was relieved to block.
There was a further buzz of anticipation in the 35th minute when Craig Brewster sent the ball out wide on the left for Stevie Crawford to speed towards the target and unleash a shot from 15 yards out which was unfortunately too high . Next Marco Ruitenbeek pulled off another fine save as Dindeleux headed in from Fulton.
With just over two minutes to half time Dunfermline eventually took the lead. It was Andrius Skerla who threaded a fine ball through to Gary Dempsey. The young Irish man brilliantly beat off at least two Kilmarnock defenders and then found BREWSTER on the corner of the penalty box. The Dunfermline striker coolly shot the ball low into the Kilmarnock net.
Kilmarnock made two changes at half time, bringing on Murray and Quitongo for Dindeleux and McDonald, as Jim Jeffries decided to "have a go". Murray was immediately involved, shooting over the cross bar after Ruitenbeek had fisted away a free kick floated in from the left.
More good play from Craig Brewster mid-way into the opposition half sent Stevie Crawford in on goal but his right footed shot was easily taken by Gordon Marshall. Disaster then struck in the 49th minute, touched with the irony of it coming from a former Dunfermline player. Wide on the right Greg SHIELDS looked up and targeted his cross, but when the cross was delivered it was heading into the right hand corner of the net. Marco, who was in a forward position in anticipation of coming for a cross ball was only able to touch the ball left handed into the net.
The scores should only have stayed level for three minutes had Dunfermline capitalised on a 52nd minute penalty awarded when Gary Dempsey was taken down by Marshall at the top of the penalty box. Lee Bullen was the man charged with the responsibility but to his horror he watched Marshall dive to his left and save the firm but low shot.
These incidents raised the temperature of the game and at the other end Gus McPherson dived in to block a McSwegan shot on 55 minutes. Scott Wilson was yellow carded for a challenge on the right and Marco was back in action to save from Jose Quitongo. Played switched quickly to the other end and when Bullen sent the ball out wide right for Stevie Crawford the ball was sent back into the box and Gary Dempsey fired in a good shot that Marshall saved with his outstretched left foot.
As the ball broke back Lee BULLEN stepped forward to smash home from six yards. The away fans in the stand immediately behind the goals were on their feet to celebrate this 58th minute strike.
Jeffries continued his policy of throwing on forwards - Jimmy Calderwood later said "he must have learned something from me!" - on came Kris Boyd for McSwegan. The Pars suffered a set back with Lithuanian defender Skerla having to go off with a hamstring problem meaning Davie Nicholls came on as sub.
As the ball became a pinball around the Pars penalty box, Marco came to clutch a Fulton cross but when Wilson deflected another cross behind him McPherson failed to stop it going out for a 76th minute corner. This was one corner too many.
Nicholson and Bullen tried to counter the near post ball but Chris Innes got between them to flick the ball to the far post. Quitongo dived in to power a header on target, Marco parried but the ball was loose in the six yard box and sub Kris BOYD yet again cost Dunfermline two points as he scored the equaliser.
The October sun came out to kiss the Pars supporters and their team did not accept kissing the points away. Dempsey, a real challenger for Man of the Match was still battling away with ten minutes left and the support were on their feet with outrage as the Pars man was taken down on the edge of the box but no whistle followed.
The match could have gone either way at this point; Ruitenbeek saved an effort from Boyd after the Killie sub had got away from Nicholls and then the keeper managed to intercept a ball from Quitongo that was destined for Boyd.
Both teams were possibly happy with the draw although Jimmy Calderwood had to concede it was two points lost. Best for Dunfermline were Mason and Dempsey; Crawford had a quieter afternoon but his pace still had the fear of death on the Killie defence.
So after playing all the teams in the SPL once Dunfermline are where they want to be - in third spot behind the Old Firm. Consolidate on that and then we can go to the next stage and try to beat the Old Firm at East End Park at least. Celtic at home is next, live on BBC TV next Sunday. We do not have long to wait to see if we can do it; we live in hope, cultivate the faith and want for the glory.
Kilmarnock: Marshall; Dindeleux (Murray H/T), Innes, McLaughlin, Shields, Fulton, McDonald (Quitongo H/T), Locke, Hay, McSwegan (Boyd 73), Boutal
Kilmarnock Subs: Meldrum, Sanjuan
Kilmarnock Goal Scorers: Shields (49), Boyd (76)
Kilmarnock Yellow Card: Marshall (51)
Ladbrokes Championship: v Falkirk, Tuesday 2nd January 2018, kick off 3.00pm