SFL v Livingston


Fixture: Irn Bru SFL Division One

Attendance: 3036, Kick Off: 7.45pm.

Referee: Alan Muir

Jim McIntyre was delighted to have this postponed match from Saturday re-arranged for Tuesday 30th December.┬ His team showed four changes from the one that drew 4-4 with Clyde on the Saturday before Christmas. Scott Thomson was ill, Rory Loy, Austin McCann and Alex Burke dropped to the bench. In their places in came Scott Wilson, Scott Muirhead, Kevin Harper and Steven Bell.┬ Paul Hegarty`s Livi side saw Gary Miller replace Murray Davidson.

The match may have gone ahead at the second attempt but tonight`s encounter between second and third certainly took its time producing anything to warm up the 3036┬ fans brave enough to venture out in the freezing temperature.

Fully quarter of an hour had elapsed before the first real chance fell to┬ either team, with Graham Bayne collecting a botched clearance from a stranded Roddy McKenzie only to match the former Par by miskicking the ball straight back┬ at the stranded goalkeeper.

Nick Phinn came closer a couple of minutes later with a low drive just wide but ultimately it took referee Muir being felled in a collision with┬ Livingston`s strikers to bring some festive cheer to the crowd.

The visitors enjoyed more pressure in the latter stages of the first half┬ with Calum Elliot seeing a shot skid off the bar via a Greg Shields deflection and Joe Hammill coming close with a lob that dropped just onto the top of Paul Gallacher`s net.

Hammill didn`t fair any better when awarded a free kick just outside the box, and neither his shot nor Rocco Quinn`s effort just before the break provided┬ the Pars keeper with any real danger.

Both teams opened the second half looking stronger and the Pars were unlucky┬ not to snatch a lead when Greg Ross lofted a cross to the back post where Steven Bell`s header flew just wide.

Far from spurring the teams into a frantic battle of footballing wits, the game soon exploded into life for the wrong reasons.

After being harried by numerous attempted Pars tackles, Leigh Griffiths was lucky┬ to only pick up a yellow card for lashing out a couple of times at Stephen Glass; a cynical foul by Bell started a minor ruckus in the middle of the park, earning himself and Elliot a booking each; McPake then got in on the act with an equally cynical foul on Phinn.

Among all the tantrums and handbag throwing it was easy to miss the fact that Andy Kirk nearly fired the Pars into the lead but for a terrific block by James McPake.

The Pars were denied the lead again twice around the hour mark with a couple┬ of good efforts from Bayne. Some neat play by Muirhead and Phinn provided┬ the striker with his first opportunity from which he kept his balance well┬ to force McKenzie into tipping the ball over the bar; his second effort a minute later saw a well-struck snapshot blaze just wide of the post.

There was controversy shortly after when substitute Rory Loy picked up a loose ball yards from goal and saw his shot deflected wide by Miller leading
to claims that the defender had used his hand to steer the ball wide.

The Pars had barely stopped their protests when, in the 65th minute, a further talking point provided the home team with the lead, and from a most
unlikely source. Glass`s low corner saw Greg SHIELDS pop up with a glancing┬ header that looked at first as though it had been stopped on the line┬ however the referee`s assistant had no hesitation in awarding a goal, much to the fury of the Livi back line.

With their initial response of shouting at the officials and picking up a yellow card not entirely effective, the visitors tried the more sensible
approach of playing some football and very nearly got an equaliser back just two minutes later. Hammill should have done better when he found himself in┬ space with just Gallacher to beat but the keeper pulled off an important┬ save to send the ball wide of the post.

The Pars almost extended their lead when a quick thinking Loy attempted to deflect Ross`s shot into the net from close range but McKenzie pulled off an excellent save which spurred the visitors on to a sustained period of pressure. They could not make their play count where it mattered however and both Quinn and Hammill failed to threaten when they should have at least forced Gallacher into further action.

In the final five minutes the Pars might have had a chance to extend their┬ lead when Loy appeared to have been fouled Innes inside the box but Referee Alan Muir saw nothing wrong.

Loy was involved again a minute from time when he made a great run across┬ the Livingston half of the pitch before laying the ball off to Bayne, whose┬ shot from the edge of the box curled just around the wrong side of the post.

There was one final scare for the Pars when the visitors were awarded a┬ corner three minutes into injury time but it was well cleared and they were
able to see out the rest of the game. Three points at East End made up a valuable Christmas present that the Pars have been long awaiting and again narrows the gap on leaders St Johnstone.

DUNFERMLINE: Paul Gallacher, Calum Woods, Greg Shields, Scott Wilson (c), Greg Shields, Scott Muirhead, Kevin Harper (Greg Ross 22), Steven Bell, Nick Phinn, Stephen Glass, Graham Bayne, Andy Kirk (Rory Loy 62),
SUBS NOT USED: Alex Burke, Austin McCann, Callum Reidford.
YELLOW CARDS: Ross, Wilson, Bell, Bayne.
SCORER: Shields (65).

LIVINGSTON: Roddy McKenzie, Dave MacKay, James McPake, Chris Innes, Jason Talbot; Anthony McParland, Gary Miller (Keaghan Jacobs 78),┬ ┬ Rocco Quinn, Calum Elliot, Leigh Griffiths, Joe Hamill.
SUBS NOT USED: Cameron MacDonald, Phil Cave, Gordon Smith, Tierri Martini.
YELLOW CARDS: Griffiths, Elliot, McPake, McKenzie

NEXT MATCH (home) Homecoming Scottish Cup v Clyde,
Saturday 10th January 2009, kick off 3.00pm

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