SFL v Inverness Caley Thistle


Fixture: Irn Bru SFL Division One

Attendance: 2280, Kick Off: 3.00pm.

Referee: John McKendrick

Greg Paterson started his first ever league game for Dunfermline after on loan Chris Smith fractured his foot.� Otherwise Dunfermline fielded an unchanged outfield ten. Eric Odhiambo dropped out of the Inverness team to make way for Richie Foran to return from suspension.

The match survived winter`s wrath to kick off as planned at 3.00pm but not before snow 90 minutes before kick off had covered the green pitch and lines had to be brushed before Referee John McKendrick passed it playable.� The undersoil heating had done its job but the surface was fairly wet as Dunfermline kicked off attacking the goal in front of the CCW East Stand.

Paterson got an early touch in 75 seconds when Alex Burke sent back an intercepted pass from Foran.� He showed total calm dragging the ball to his right to evade� the inrushing opponent and boot the ball up the park.

The home side showed well in the opening minutes, denying Inverness much of the ball and Andy Kirk got in the first shot of the game in six minutes after David Graham had picked him out on the top of the D.� Ryan Esson dealt with that easily but next minute� he rashly went rushing away out to the right touchline and was lucky to win the ball in a spill with Steven McDougall.

At the other end Adam Rooney had Inverness`s first attempt when Foran nodded down a crossed ball from the right.� Fortunately his shot was well wide of the right post. Next minute Neil McGregor slid in to halt Rooney`s run in on goal and then Dunfermline forced the first corner of the afternoon when Greg Ross sent Steven Bell deep right but the defence put the ball behind.� Graham had no luck with his connection on Gibson`s delivery, the ball ending up in the stand.

In 16 minutes Paterson miskicked and Bell was forced to trip Foran as he threatened to advance on goal.� Fortunately the Pars defence got Jonathan Hayes free kick away but Inverness began to win more balls and for a few minutes demonstrated that they could pass the ball. It was 21st minute before Graham took Dunfermline forward releasing a pass to McDougall who tried a low angled drive on target but nothing that was going to beat Esson.

As the players slid about it became increasingly likely that a mistake somewhere was going to cost a goal. In 27 minutes a wayward header from Andy Dowie went straight to Rooney but McGregor made a telling tackle to stop the shot. The visitors kept coming though and four minutes later Hayes put Rooney through.� This time he did get in a shot but it was outside Paterson`s� right hand post.

In 33 minutes Paterson made his first save in earnest.� Again Hayes fed Rooney and the striker`s low shot was well held by the Pars keeper dropping� to his right.� Esson was kept involved when Gibson accepted a Graham pass and then fired on target requiring the former Dons keeper to parry away the effort.

Six minutes from the break Kirk was on the end of a Graham pass but his shot went wide left.� Dunfermline finished the half promisingly, Gibson`s corner from the left being headed away by Foran, then another from the other side being headed over the crossbar by Andy Dowie.

Half Time: Dunfermline 0 Inverness Caley Thistle 0

The pitch was nearly clear of snow when the second half kicked off and it seemed to suit Dunfermline the better.� Paterson had to hold a Rooney shot but that apart it was the Pars who did most of the attacking. Kirk forced Esson to tip his shot around the right post in 50 minutes after Austin McCann`s cross was nudged on to him by McDougall.

McDougall forced play down the left and was unlucky to see a good cross headed clear.� Bell then found himself in possession on the edge of the Caley box but he played the ball back for Graham and then out to Gibson.� It was Ross who eventually put the ball over but Esson made easy meat of it.

On the hour David Graham switched to striker as Joe Cardle came on for Steven McDougall. The fans were immediately roused and into song for the first time in the match. Graham was left to feed Cardle for a dangerous ball into the box that was headed clear but right away a� cheeky Cardle backheeler let in Graham for a shot that Esson saved low at his right hand post.

In 69 minutes Willie Gibson tried a shot from 30 yards that almost dipped in below the bar for what would have been his fifth goal in his last five games.� Nick Phinn replaced Steven Bell with 15 minutes to go but it was Caley who created the chances and Paterson was bravely out to dive at the feet of Sanchez to deny a shot.� From the corner Paterson fisted a clearance and his defence was kept busy as the match entered its final ten minutes.

Paterson was the busier keeper holding a well struck shot from Foran in 87 minutes and then grabbing a Dowie header back as Rooney raced in between them.� So it finished 0-0 and Dunfermline have yet to win over Inverness at East End Park this century.�

DUNFERMLINE: Greg Paterson; Greg Ross, Neil McGregor, Andy Dowie, Austin McCann; Willie Gibson (Calum Woods 89), Steven Bell (Nick Phinn 75), Alex Burke (c), David Graham; Steven McDougall (Joe Cardle 60), Andy Kirk.
SUBS:� � Graeme Holmes, Greg� Fleming (GK).

INVERNESS CALEY THISTLE: Ryan Esson, Grant Munro, Nauris Bulvitis, Lionel Djebi-Zadi,� Stuart Duff, David Proctor, Lee Cox, Jonathan Hayes (Dougie Imrie 66), Adam Rooney, Richie Foran, Dani Sanchez,(Eric Odhiambo 85).
SUBS: Kyle Allison (GK), Russell Duncan, Dan Stratford,.

WEATHER: 2C pre match snow.

NEXT MATCH: (away) First Division v Airdrie United
Saturday 26th December 2009, kick off 3.00pm

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