SFL v Ross County


Fixture: Irn Bru SFL Division One

Attendance: 2631, Kick Off: 3.00pm.

Referee: Chris Boyle

Ross County were the opposition for the seventh league match of the season. With Calum Woods out suspended Scott Thomson returned to the Pars defence and Steven Bell started only his second match since joining from Stirling Albion, in place of Stephen Glass who was out with an abductor muscle injury. Kevin Harper returned after missing four of the last five matches meaning Simon Wiles was back on the bench.

The opposition made three changes from the team that faced St Johnstone the previous Saturday. Paul Lawson, Sean Higgins and Scott Morrison made way for Michael Gardyne, Dyron Daal and Martin Scott.

County kicked off attacking the goal at the McCathie Stand end and Scott immediately tried to find a route through the centre of the Pars defence. The ball was touched back for Paul Gallacher and with Daal coming in on top of him, was forced into a hurried clearance after only 12 seconds. Gardyne put in the first shot of the afternoon but his fourth minute attempt went wide right.

The Pars first forward movement into the visitors half saw Harper break from half way only to be unceremoniously dumped by Richie Hart 30 yards out. The County man was shown yellow and Alex Burke and Scott Thomson stood over the ball as the defensive wall was formed. THOMSON took responsibility and fired a great free kick over the wall to find the top right of Bullock`s net.

The home support had to wait until 20th minute before they had some further goalmouth action to excite them. Harper`s cross was knocked down by Graham Bayne and Nick Phinn got in a shot that was blocked. Andy Kirk picked up the pieces but was offside when he shot from eight yards.

Four minutes later Harper pushed the ball through the Ross County six yard box but there were no takers. Two more crosses were sent in by Harper and Bayne required treatment after the second one as he clashed with Boyd.

Dunfermline looked comfortable without extending their lead. Kirk and McCann supplied further crosses into the box but alas nothing came from them.

Paul Gallacher was kept involved with a fine punched clearance on a 34th minute Hart free kick from the left touchline and then the former Caley Thistle player won cheers for hitting the third back row of the McCathie Stand with his attempt to convert Daal`s lay off.

Bullock was relieved to be able to chase back and retrieve the ball as he was closed down by Bayne on the left side of his box and County switched play to the other end but with little to show for it. Gallacher easily held a back flick from Steven Craig and despite a Bayne cross and a vain attempt to walk the ball through the opposition defence by Harper, it looked like there would remain just one goal of a difference at the break.

Kevin Harper had other thoughts and his next ball into the box was firm. Kirk didn`t connect but Nick PHINN was right behind him to turn the ball into the net from seven yards.

Half Time: Dunfermline 2 Ross County 0

From a Dunfermline viewpoint the second half was slow to start.┬ There was plenty time to reflect that the autumn colours were beginning to tint the trees in the neighbouring cemetery as the team in red on the park appeared to be more prominent too.┬ Both Macca and Gerry McCabe could be heard bellowing instruction to keep it simple as Gardyne popped a shot from outside the box that whizzed by Gallacher`s right post.

The Pars first chance of the second 45 came eight minutes after the restart when Phinn broke through on the right to cut the ball back for Kirk but Bullock did well to beat the shot away.┬ County continued to exert pressure winning corners that were cleared in not always the most convincing manner.

The County threat finally produced a goal in 58 minutes when Steven CRAIG got away from Scott Wilson and with a low diagonal shot tucked the ball past Gallacher into the bottom left.

Kirk forced a corner off Boyd in 66 minutes and when Simon Wiles who had come on for Kevin Harper swung that in Thomson`s header┬ returned the ball into the six yard box but somehow Bullock`s goal survived. Kirk got two bites at it before sending the ball narrowly wide of the left post.

Derek Adams side were reduced to ten men five minutes later when Richie Hart collected a second yellow for a challenge on Steven Bell.┬ Hart could hardly have reached the dressing room when his team went a further goal behind.

Wiles cut in from the right and shot left footed on target.┬ Bullock parried the stinging shot but the 30 year old keeper could do nothing to stop BELL hitting the net with a headed effort from six yards.

With 15 minutes remaining, the latest Pars loan signing, Ross Campbell from Hibs, replaced Andy Kirk and he was unlucky not to make his mark almost right away when Bell squared the ball for Bayne to thrash at Bullock from 25 yards. The ball spilled loose from the keeper but he recovered it just before Campbell could connect.

County kept trying with Craig continuing to be the main danger.┬ He came close to turning in a Higgins cross in the final minute but this was a comfortable Dunfermline win without creating too many chances. Three goals and three points, what`s more Scott Wilson broke his run of seven yellow cards in seven matches.

DUNFERMLINE: Paul Gallacher; Scott Thomson, Greg Shields, Scott Wilson (c), Austin McCann; Kevin Harper (Simon Wiles 61), Nick Phinn, Steven Bell, Alex Burke; Andy Kirk (Ross Campbell 75), Graham Bayne.
SUBS: Scott McBride, Lee Graham, Callum Reidford
SCORER: Thomson (6), Phinn (45), Bell (71)
YELLOW CARD: Bell (85)

ROSS COUNTY: Tony Bullock; Mark McCulloch, Andy Dowie, Scott Boyd, Alex Keddie; Richie Hart, Michael Gardyne (Adam Strachan 61), Richard Brittain, Martin Scott; Dyron Daal (Sean Higgins 87), Steven Craig.
SUBS: Derek Soutar, Steven Watt, Scott Morrison.
YELLOW CARD: Hart (5), Scott (42)
RED CARD: Hart (71)
SCORER: Craig (58)

WEATHER: Overcast 19┬║C

NEXT MATCH: (home) Co-operative Insurance Cup v St Mirren
Tuesday 23rd September 2008, kick off 7.45pm

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