SFL v Ross County


Fixture: Irn Bru SFL Division One

Attendance: 1782, Kick Off: 7.45pm.

Referee: Scott MacDonald

Dunfermline were unchanged for the visit to Inbhir Pheofharein, well that`s what the road signs say but there can be few grounds that the team can be so familiar with without having played there. This was the third attempt to play the fixture originally scheduled for 6th December and then rained off three weeks ago.

Jim McIntyre`s only change was Jamie Mole on the bench in place of Rory Loy who was off to Albania with the Scotland U21s. Ross County brought back 42 year old Craig Brewster to lead the attack alongside Dyron Daal.

The famous Dingwall downpour greeted the teams and there were some of the puddles re-appearing that put the game off on the last try. It seemed appropriate that the trackside advertising was for the Mallard pub. The visitors kicked off attacking the goal at the west end.

First shot, off target, came in fifth minute when Brewster chested the ball down to Gardyne and from the edge of the box. The Pars were then awarded two free kicks that Stephen Glass took responsibility for. The first 30 yards out after Paul Lawson dumped Graham Bayne allowed the vice captain to lift the ball over the wall but saved by Joe Malin at full stretch to his left hand post.

From the second on the left wing David Graham`s shot was blocked inside the box and on the counterattack Brewster met a cross from the left that he lofted over the crossbar.

In 11 minutes a Richard Brittain shot from 25 yards was touched right for a corner by Paul Gallacher and County pinned the Pars back for a period. Scott Thomson intercepted a Brittain cross as it was about to be accepted by Brewster in a dangerous position in front of goal.

County were certainly bothering the Pars more than they were the hosts but Calum Woods brought some respite in 22 minutes, delivering a good cross into the box that cannoned off two County players before being cleared.

Still County came at Dunfermline and a rash clearance from Woods had the bench calling on him to "settle down". Gallacher slid out to take the ball at the feet of Daal but County forced corners at the Academy end and almost scored in 29th minute. A corner from the right was headed out only as far as Daal 15 yards out on the left side. His shot was fired wide right but Gardyne`s touch sent it towards goal and Gall had to scramble along the line to prevent going behind. Quite a let off.

The 120 Pars fans had something to cheer when Graham then burst through on goal but Martyn Corrigan intervened to smash the ball away to his right. In 34 minutes a Daal shot was deflected off Wilson for another corner and Gallacher was by far the busier of the keepers.

Scott Boyd headed a corner wide left and no matter what Dunfermline tried they just couldn`t seem to get on top of the Highland team.

It was the 42nd minute before Malin was made to save another shot, dropping to his knees to save a low driven shot from Phinn. The half time whistle was a welcome chance for the Manager to assess the situation and regroup. The travelling fans were not amused.

Half Time: Ross County 0 Dunfermline 0

Dunfermline were a different side after the break with the early play being predominantly in front of the away fans. Steven Watt was yellow carded as he chopped down Bayne and the Pars tried a rehearsed routine. Graham ran up but touched the ball to Glass, he back heeled the ball for Nick Phinn to meet with a well hit effort but the defence blotted that out.

In 50 minutes David Graham shot from the edge of the box was saved by Malin but then County regained the upper hand. Lawson launched the ball into the far left of the Pars penalty box and Bell was fortunate to get away with his push on Alex Keddie. No penalty but Daal and then Brewster wasted fair chances.

A Woods cross was headed at Malin by Bayne before in 61 minutes Jamie Mole replaced Steven Bell. Before any change could take effect however Ross County scored the goal that they undoubtedly deserved.

Gardyne squared the ball right for Richard BRITTAIN and the pace of his shot beat Gallacher. Macca immediately turned to Scott Muirhead to ready himself to enter the fray and he replaced Alex Burke.

Dunfermline switched Graham to the right midfield letting Mole operate upfront with Bayne and there was a little more drive from Athletic. McCann and Woods got in crosses for Bayne but on the counter Hart and Brewster linked to set up Gardyne but his 74th minute shot went wildly wide.

Two minutes later Scott Boyd was yellow carded when Steven Watt tugged back Mole 25 yards out.  The referee booked the wrong player but a second yellow for Watt would have seen him off. Glass hit the free kick narrowly over the bar. Next Muirhead hit an opportunist shot from 30 yards and that just slipped wide right.

In 79 minutes a Glass corner from right was defended back to him and then when the ball was cleared only as far as Thomson, the Pars central defender thumped a shot on target making Malin pull off a spectacular save.

Dunfermline were at last beginning to dominate with the home side happy to sit back and hit on the break. Phinn crossed, then Muirhead crossed then Phinn hit a shot over. A Muirhead throw put Graham in for a shot and then in 86 minutes Malin held a low Graham shot.

An equaliser was deserved by now and eventually a Woods cross from the right picked out Graham BAYNE above the County defenders and his looping header dropped in at the right post.

It looked like the Fifers could push for a winner but 15 seconds into added time BREWSTER was given the opportunity 25 yards out to smash a real beauty into the top right. The decision by the sponsors that Craig Brewster was the Man of the Match was not hard to make.

ROSS COUNTY: Joe Malin; Martyn Corrigan, Alex Keddie, Scott Boyd, Steven Watt; Richard Brittain, Mark McCulloch, Paul Lawson (Richie Hart 65), Michael Gardyne (Martin Scott 84); Craig Brewster, Dyron Daal (Steven Craig 87).
SUBS: Derek Soutar (GK), John Stewart
SCORER: Brittain (62), Brewster (90 +1)
YELLOW CARD: Watt (48), Boyd (77), Brittain (89)

DUNFERMLINE: Paul Gallacher; Calum Woods, Scott Thomson, Scott Wilson (c), Austin McCann; Steven Bell (Jamie Mole 61), Nick Phinn, Stephen Glass, Alex Burke (Scott Muirhead 65); Graham Bayne, David Graham..
SUBS: Greg Paterson (GK), Greg Ross, Paul Willis.
SCORER: Bayne (88)
YELLOW CARD: Wilson (54)



NEXT MATCH: (home) IRN BRU First Division v Dundee
Tuesday 31st March 2009, kick off 7.45pm

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