SFL v Ross County


Fixture: Irn Bru SFL Division One

Attendance: 2415, Kick Off: 3.00pm.

Referee: Frank McDermott

Weather has made two of the previous three trips north to Dingwall a fruitless journey but there was no problem this time with a fine day welcoming the Pars players and fans to Victoria Park. Dunfermline were certainly hoping that the sun was out to shine on them as Greg Ross started and Nick Phinn was on the bench. Scott Thomson was back to take over the role in the centre of defence, of the suspended Scott Wilson and Austin McCann came in to take the place of the injured Scott Muirhead.

The big news in the Ross County team was that Craig Brewster was on the bench. Derek Adams made four changes with Martyn Corrigan, Stuart Golabek, Richie Hart and Steven Craig coming into the side that drew with Clyde the previous Saturday. Scott Boyd and Richard Brittain were suspended.

The visitors kicked off defending the goal at the Academy end where just over 100 of the travelling support had chosen to stand in the sun. After 65 seconds Steven Bell went up in a challenge with Ross County captain Stuart Golabek and after a period of three minutes while Gerry Docherty and Bobby Robertson gave the Pars midfielder treatment Alex Burke sent in a free kick that Greg Shields attacked at the far post incurring yet another injury. Another two minutes later the game restarted and both the Pars captain for the day and Bell were fit to continue.

It was the 11th minute of the match when Sean Higgins produced the first attempt at goal but his chip from outside the box dropped well wide left of Gall`s goal. Five minutes later Bell was set up nicely by Woods from a Graham lay off but that was blocked and Graham Bayne despatched the break over the crossbar.

In 21st minute Martyn Corrigan was stretchered off after another three minutes of stoppage and Adam Strachan became the first sub to be used. County went up the park and a Mark McCulloch cross dipped into the six yard box from the right allowing Steven Craig a header that thankfully went over the crossbar.

In 27th minute Greg Shields crumbled on the edge of the penalty box as he went up for a challenge. Another two minutes of stoppage but this time Shields with a calf injury was not fit to continue and as he limped off Nick Phinn replaced him in 31st minute. Ross went to right back and Woods moved in to the centre of the defence.

In 34 minutes the Bayne switched the ball right for Graham to drive low at the target and Alex Keddie scuffed his clearance over his own bar. Graham sent the corner in from the left and Thomson headed the ball back across goal for Calum WOODS to ram the ball past Malin.

County threatened a fast response but Paul Gallacher was out sharpish to prevent Craig on the break. Michael Gardyne fed a bouncing ball into the Pars box and Woods did a great job to shield the ball away from Craig to allow Gallacher to collect..

A Burke cross in the sixth minute of added time was headed behind by Gardyne and Malin`s poor punch led to a second corner. The second time the keeper`s punch was much more effective.

There should have been at least 12 minutes of added time but the referee played eight. It had not been the most exciting of first halfs but at least at the turnaround the Fifers were ahead.

Half Time: Ross County 0 Dunfermline 1

County came at the Pars from the restart with Paul Lawson getting three bites before the ball was eventually cleared but a fine individual effort from Steven CRAIG after just 90 seconds gave County the equaliser. The striker cut in from the left corner flag evading two defenders challenges before lifting the ball into the far corner of the net.

Phinn was unlucky at a Graham corner and then Thomson was upended inside the County box but the Pars were not given the decision. A Golabek drive in 51 was tipped over the bar by Gallacher and two County corners followed as the home side applied the presure.

Two minutes later former Par Mark McCulloch swept over the cross from the right that Lawson got a good connection on but McCann did well to block. Richie Hart then broke through on the left and whistled a shot narrowly wide.

A Higgins corner from the left in 62nd minute was headed on target by Keddie and Phinn headed off the line to keep County out. Gallacher then did well to deny Craig after he had cut open the right side of the Dunfermline defence.

In 71 minutes Strachan broke up the right channel to pick out Craig on the far side of the box. He miskicked leavijng Higgins a shot but he smashed the ball wide right. Rory Loy replaced David Graham for the final 20 minutes and in 74 minutes a sweet pass into the right side of the box by Ross let Bell in to cut back for Andy KIRK. The striker sunk the ball beyond Malin to cue a celebration.

Three minutes later a long ball up towards the home goal put Malin in trouble. The keeper was on the edge of his box and could not catch the ball, instead he failed to clear and BAYNE was able to strike the ball home at an angle from the left 15 yards out.

Bayne had another great chance just two minutes later as he broke free down the left. Andy Kirk was waiting for the cut back but the goalscorer went for the top right but only succeeded in feeding Loy on the far side. He cut back for Burke to try a blast but he drove the ball into a defender.

A satisfactory result then as Dunfermline Athletic registered their first ever league win in Dingwall. All that`s required now is an equally successful result against the next opponents who will be wearing the same navy blue colours!

ROSS COUNTY: Joe Malin; Martyn Corrigan (Adam Strachan 23), Alex Keddie, Steven Watt, Stuart Golabek; Michael Gardyne, Mark McCulloch, Paul Lawson (John Stewart 79), Richie Hart; Sean Higgins, Steven Craig.
SUBS: Derek Soutar, Craig Brewster, Scott Morrison.
SCORER: Craig (47)

DUNFERMLINE: Paul Gallacher; Calum Woods, Greg Shields (c) (Nick Phinn 31), Scott Thomson, Austin McCann; David Graham (Rory Loy 71), Steven Bell, Greg Ross, Alex Burke; Graham Bayne, Andy Kirk.
SUBS: Greg Paterson (GK), Lee Graham, Paul Willis.
SCORER: Woods (35), Kirk (74), Bayne (77)

WEATHER: Sunny 12ÂșC


NEXT MATCH: Scottish Cup Semi Final v Falkirk
Sunday 26th April 2009, kick off 3.00pm Hampden Park.

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