SFL v Livingston


Fixture: Irn Bru SFL Division One

Attendance: 3414, Kick Off: 3.00pm.

Referee: Stephen Finnie

Injury ruled out Greg Shields, Stephen Glass and Kevin Harper while suspension of Nick Phinn compounded the selection problem for Jim McIntyre. Sol Bamba returned to the Pars side for the visit of Livingston and there were first starts for Simon Wiles and Steven Bell.

From the Livi side that disposed of St Johnstone in the Co-operative Insurance Cup in midweek, Phil Cave and Pierre Martini came in to replace Jean- Jose Cuenza and Roddy McKenzie. On loan signing Callum Elliot was on the bench, in contrast the Pars bench included 18 year old Stuart Dearden and 17 year old Ryan Thomson.

Leigh Griffiths had the ball in the net in fourth minute but was well flagged for offside long before he shot. The travelling support failed to spot the yellow and red checkered signal and celebrated pointlessly.

Both sides forced corners but there was little to concern the keepers from those. It was 10th minute when a Wiles cross was miscued by Dave Mackay and Martini had to come out to collect. Rocco Quinn tried a long range effort six minutes later that was woefully off target but then brought Gallacher into play to cut out a better ball in from him from the left.

Andy Kirk sent a low shot into the sidenetting and at the other end Anthony McParland fired a 25 yard shot narrowly over Gallacher`s crossbar and into the McCathie Stand.

The all black figure of Gallacher did well to turn a vicious McParland drive in 25 minutes, around his left post after Murray Davidson`s initial shot had rebound back out off Sol Bamba. He was fast off his line two minutes later when the Fifers got caught on the counterattack. From the centre circle Quinn played a defended ball swiftly through for Griffiths. No offside flag but the keeper came way out to his right to extinguish the danger.

When McPake halted Andy Kirk`s progress down the left a 31st minute free kick raised the hopes but Graham Bayne headed that over the bar. It was a bit of a relief to see Macca`s men enjoy a little more possession because Livi had the better of the first half. A Wiles cross into the box was cut out by a diving header from McPake.

The Pars best chance of the match came in 39 minutes when a Wiles ball in from the right corner flag was sent over the bar by Bayne. Two minutes later Livingston made them pay dearly. The Pars defence seemed to stop, looking for an offside flag as Davidson broke on to a Hammill lob into the left side of the box. No flag and the Livi player slipped the ball to his right to present GRIFFITHS with an easy conversion from five yards.

Not the best time to lose a goal and really if Dunfermline are going to alter things they are going to have to be more cohesive in the second half and get the service to the front men.

Half Time: Dunfermline 0 Livingston 1

The Lions started the second half with further promise.┬ A neat switch from a throw in from MacKay to Quinn set up Griffiths with a shot that was blocked on the top of the box. Then a cross goal ball by Griffiths forced Thomson to concede a corner on the right and McParland`s second cross was turned over the bar by Griffiths.

It all looked rather ominous until Andy KIRK`s glancing header on a Simon Wiles cross gave the Pars a 53rd minute equaliser. It all started from a switching pass from Bamba that brought the new signing from Blackpool into play. His cross was perfect for the predator instincts of the Northern Ireland man who sent the ball beyond Martini into the far corner of the net.┬ The goal lit up the game for the home support who until then had little to shout about other than boo the match officials.

In 63rd minute the pressure from the Pars front two nearly carved a route through the centre of the Livi defence and when the ball was cleared only as far as Alex Burke he was unlucky with his chip from 20 yards with Martini just reaching to save.

From being well out of the match the home side now looked really up for the challenge.┬ They had to survive a loose pass back that Davidson almost got in to convert.┬ Next McCann went through Davidson to concede a 68th minute free kick and Gallacher had to make a clean clutch on MacKay`s header as the ball dropped under his bar.

A fantastic individual effort from Leigh GRIFFITHS produced a really special goal to put Livingston 2-1 up in 74 minutes. Driving in from the right he evaded the tackles of McCann and then Thomson. Trailing the ball with his heel he danced around Wilson and Bamba before slipping the ball past Gallacher at his near post.

Dunfermline might have snatched the equaliser on 80 minutes when Woods high cross was knocked down for Bell in front of goal but he managed to send his effort from close in, over the bar.┬ Two minutes later Quinn tested Gallacher after Bamba`s pass was intercepted by sub Cuenca and his neat back heeler┬ took out the defence to set up the Livi striker.

Kirk hit the crossbar five minutes from time and then was adjudged offside when a nice head flick looked to have sent him, quite legitimately ┬ through.┬ More boos resounded around East End Park and┬ only ceased when Kirk looked like getting a connection on a Bamba header.┬

It was a frantic finale but Dunfermline just could not rescue the point they will feel they deserved. Results elsewhere with Queen of the South defeating league leaders Dundee and Ross County winning at Firhill meant that Livingston went top of the table.

DUNFERMLINE: Paul Gallacher; Calum Woods, Scott Wilson (c), Scott Thomson (Scott Muirhead 77), Austin McCann; Simon Wiles (Iain Williamson 72), Steven Bell, Sol Bamba,, Alex Burke; Andy Kirk, Graham Bayne.
SUBS:┬ Ryan Thomson, Stuart Dearden, Callum Reidford
YELLOW CARD: Bayne (43), McCann (60), Wilson (72), Muirhead (83)
SCORER: Kirk (53)

LIVINGSTON: Pierre Martini; Dave Mackay, James McPake (Gary Miller 58), Chris Innes, Phil Cave (Jason Talbot 56); Anthony McParland, Liam Fox, Murray Davidson, Joe Hamill; Leigh Griffiths (Jean-Jose Cuenca 78), Rocco Quinn, ,
SUBS: Roddy McKenzie, Callum Elliot,
SCORER: Griffiths (41, 74)

WEATHER: 20┬║C Dry

NEXT MATCH: IRN BRU First Division (away) v Dundee
Saturday 13th September 2008, kick off 3.00pm

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