SFL v Ross County


Fixture: Irn Bru SFL Division One

Attendance: 1757, Kick Off: 7.45pm.

Referee: Willie Collum

Dunfermline travelled to rainy Dingwall to complete the first quarter of the season in a match that had been postponed for Ross County`s appearance in the Alba Challenge Cup Semi Final.

Calum Woods and Graeme Holmes came into the side replacing the injured Scott Muirhead and international call up Andy Kirk.┬ Derek Adams brought in Steven Watt and Paul Lawson with Scott Boyd and Paul Di Giacomo relegated to the bench.┬ Home fans didn`t seem to think that was too attacking of a line up for a side that were hoping for the three points to take them to the top of the league.┬ There was a change of referee from that previously intimated meaning Willie Collum was in charge.

The visitors kick off playing north to south and Neil McGregor had the home fans wincing with a strong challenge on Martin Scott after just 20 seconds.┬ The game had an open beginning with Gary Wood flighting over an inviting cross from the right that got no takers in third minute.

Two minutes later County forced the first corner of the night when Woods had to clear a Scott cross from the left. The Pars defence dealt with the well delivered ball.┬ Greg Ross took the ball off Woods toes to concede a seventh minute corner.┬ Watt`s header from Richard Brittain`s corner led to another corner but this time Fleming came out to clear.

Breaking down the left channel David Graham was chopped down by Stuart Kettlewell to give Gibson a chance to strike a 25 yard free kick but he blasted that well over and wide right.┬ The playing surface was near perfect and after being put under pressure for the first ten minutes the Pars began to turn on a good passing game.┬ DA won their first corner in 16 minutes when Graham received a Dowie pass to set up a shot at goal.┬ The shot was deflected for a corner from the right that Dowie met with powerful header. That was blocked and Gibson met the rebound but was┬ wide again.

Graham had another on target shot that County blotted out before Dowie had to use his full height to deny Watt latching on to a Scott cross. In 26 minutes Alex Keddie flew into Gibson as he tried to break through with a one two off Phinn. No yellow card and Gibson got up to fire the 25 yard setpiece low┬ through the wall but to keeper Michael McGovern.

A 29th minute corner from Gibson on the left was played to the very far side of the six yard box for Woods to run in to but unluckily he just missed. County were reverting to long balls that caused few problems until in 33 minutes Scott Morrison`s lob saw Woods break into the box with McGregor in his shadow and a shoulder charge disconnected the player from the ball to thwart the danger.

Five minutes from the break Ross won a corner on the right but Gibson`s cross was headed away by Watt and next at the other end Keddie came very close to getting on the end of a Morrison free kick but the ball slipped through a crowded box for a goal kick.

Another corner on the right was sent in by Gibson, McGregor just failed to get his mop to it and Woods return was dealt with by the keeper.┬ In 44 minutes Lawson produced a power driver of a shot from 25 yards out that was deflected inches over the bar.┬ County forced two corners as the match went into added time and Fleming had to save a well connected header from eight yards right on the whistle

Half Time: Ross County 0 Dunfermline 0

The 100 or so travelling fans were hoping to see the goals at their end in the second 45 as, still with the rain coming down, Gardyne and Wood got things underway. It was County who threatened first Brittain delivering a diagonal ball that Gardyne eventually fired on target but Fleming saved.

McGregor conceded a free kick on the left angle of the box and Kettlewell struck after Fleming had palmed away. It looked net bound under McGregor flew in from nowhere to head off the line. Miraculous!┬ It was all towards the yellow shirted Pars keeper for the opening ten but he held a cross, then benefited from an offside decision and Woods booted clear a dangerous ball in from Gardyne.

Like the first half the Fifers came right back into things after the home side`s strong opening ten minutes forcing Derek Adams into subbing Paul Di Giacomo for Kettlewell in 62.┬ Two minutes later David Graham missed a real sitter from just six yards when Gibson sent Phinn to the right byeline and the cutback was perfect for a strike but somehow the former Hamilton man sent the ball over the bar.

The Pars brought on Joe Cardle for Phinn and immediately the sub was unsettling the home defence.┬ His delivery in to Graham was teed back for Bayne but he fired over from 15 yards.┬ Cardle`s 69th minute cross was headed wide by Graham and then another Cardle move bursting into the box twisting and turning his way passed two players before squaring to Bayne seven yards out.┬ McGovern beat the ball back and the captain retuned the ball but wide left.

From a let off at one end there was another at the south end.┬ Sub Iain Vigurs released a low drive from the edge of the box that Fleming, diving to his left saved with his feet to put the ball past his right post.┬ Keddie followed that up with a 72nd header over the crossbar and Fleming held County`s eighth corner of the game three minutes later.

Brittain hit the stand with a first time effort in 79 minutes as County pushed up.┬ Vigurs looked dangerous and kept the Fifers pegged back. Morrison saw his shot blocked as the Dunfermline defence held out.

A Morrison free kick from the right corner flag in 85 minutes was headed clear and Steven Watt belted a returned ball well wide.┬ Graham sent a stoppage time shot into McGovern`s hands and after that it was all over.

It may have been a goalless draw but it was an exciting match.┬ Neither side took their chances after creating plenty of openings.┬ Caley Thistle`s win at Starks Park keeps Raith and Ross County behind the league leaders Queen of the South.┬ An away┬ point for the Pars but it was well earned, County might view it as two points dropped but should be happy with their draw given Dunfermline played some good attacking football at times.

ROSS COUNTY: Michael McGovern; Gary Miller, Scott Morrison, Stuart Kettlewell (Paul Di Giacomo 62), Steven Watt, Alex Keddie, Michael Gardyne, Paul Lawson, Garry Wood (Iain Vigurs 70), Richard Brittain (c), Martin Scott
SUBS:┬ Scott Boyd, Daniel Moore, Joe Malin (GK)

DUNFERMLINE: Greg Fleming; Greg Ross, Neil McGregor, Andy Dowie, Calum Woods; Graeme Holmes, Alex Burke (Steven Bell 82); Willie Gibson (Steven McDougall 78), Nick Phinn (Joe Cardle 64),┬ David Graham; Graham Bayne (c)
SUBS: Chris Higgins, Greg Paterson (GK)

WEATHER: Wet 12┬║C

NEXT MATCH: (away) v Inverness Caley Thistle
Saturday 17th October 2009, kick off 3.00pm

Connection courtesy of┬ Ross County FC.

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