SFL v Ross County


Fixture: Irn Bru SFL Division One

Attendance: 2381, Kick Off: 3.00pm.

Referee: William Collum

Dunfermline returned to East End Park for the first time in four weeks hoping to take up from where they left off in the 3-1 win over Partick Thistle.┬ Jim McIntyre couldn`t field the same eleven however; Greg Fleming was out with a dislocated finger and┬ Graham Bayne had an injury but Andy Kirk was an able replacement to come in. Chris Higgins┬ dropped out from the team that faced Ayr┬ but Neil McGregor was fit to return.┬ Longer term injuries Calum Woods and Joe Cardle were welcome sights on the bench.

Derek Adams` Ross County showed one change from Tuesday night`s game against Morton, Martin Scott replacing Iain Vigurs. The fog that had affected all of Central Scotland descended on East End Park pre-kick off creating a somewhat mystic atmosphere.┬ The teams changed ends before the start and Kirk and McDougall got the match underway with the home side attacking the goal at the McCathie stand end.

Within 45 seconds Kirk had the first chance of the afternoon but he headed Steven Bell`s cross from the right on to the roof of the net.┬ Scott won a Ross County corner off Greg Ross in 6 minutes but Chris Smith, on his home debut was out to┬ take the delivery.

A defensive error from Burke allowed Scott to advance on goal and McGregor`s tackle earned the visitors a penalty and the defender a yellow card. Richard BRITTAIN assumed responsibility for the spot kick sending it to Smith`s left to put County 1-0 up within 8 minutes.

When Bell was chopped down by Paul Lawson five minutes later the Pars had their first crack at goal but Willie Gibson`s attempt from the 25 yard free kick came back off the County wall.┬ It took until 22 minutes before Dunfermline got a real chance to claw things back.┬ Steven McDougall raised a through ball from the right touchline for Andy KIRK to run on to and slip past Michael McGovern for the equaliser.

Ross County however were only behind for three minutes.┬ Their 80 strong travelling support were soon celebrating a superb Paul LAWSON goal from 30 yards.┬ He controlled the pass, flicked┬ the ball┬ up and volleyed┬ it over the head of Chris Smith to restore the advantage.

In 32 minutes a David Graham coss from the left was nodded down and Burke latched on to the loose ball, driving left into the penalty box before shooting across the face of goal and out at the far post.┬ The Pars equaliser was only three minutes away however Willie Gibson provided the pass that put Andy KIRK through on the right and he slotted past McGovern from the edge of the box for his tenth goal of the season.

Spurred on by the goal Dunfermline continued to threaten and were very unlucky in 37 minutes when McDougall cut back from the byeline.┬ Andy Kirk was well placed to get in a troublesome pass but the shot came back off Gary Miller`s feet on the six yard line.┬ In 41 minutes McDougall beat everyone on the left side of the box but his final pass went behind Kirk. Not put out by that the Pars attacked again and this time GIBSON was given the space to gather, drive and then power his 18 yard shot past McGovern.┬ East End Park erupted as Dunfermline took the lead for the first time in the game.

Half Time: Dunfermline 3 Ross County 2

Dunfermline started well in the second half, Graham being taken out to give them an early free kick that Gibson drove on target but┬ was deflected away for a 47th minute corner.┬ County had an opportunity in 56 minutes when Martin Scott laced a ball through for Di Giacomo but Austin McCann came in with a tremendous eleventh hour tackle to deny the third equaliser of the afternoon.

After┬ such an┬ eventful first half, incidents were slow to materialise in the second.┬ David Graham injected some pace into a Pars attack down the left but his final ball was mopped up by the opposition defence. As the match entered its final quarter Andy Kirk had a wonderful chance to secure his hattrick. McDougall did all the hard work before releasing the ball inside for his co-partner in attack but the shot from 15 yards was saved by McGovern who was all too happy to concede only a corner.

County were not out of the match with a 3-2 scoreline and substitute Steven Craig served further warning in 69 minutes with a shot that broke off Chris Smith. Dunfermline threatened again four minutes later when McDougall`s cross was forwarded to Kirk by Graham and the County keeper came to the rescue again.

Calum Woods made his comeback from injury when he replaced Greg Ross and the 74th minute sub swung over a left footed┬ cross that Graham and Kirk interchanged before Kirk hit on target only for Scott Boyd to clear off his goal line.

Iain VIGURS was only off the bench five minutes before he buried a right footed effort from the edge of the box into the bottom left of the Pars net.┬ Boyd contributed to the goal surging forward and then finding himself on the right to cross in a ball that Scott laid off for the goalscorer behind him.

The Pars had five minutes to retrieve the three points and Graham came close to getting on the end of a Gibson ball through the County penalty box.┬ Gibson then had a drive that just didn`t bend in enough at the far post.┬ County had their chance too but Smith came out to dive bravely at the feet of both Craig and Wood to save the day.

In the third minute of added time Graham scooped the last chance over the crossbar and so 3-3 it ended.┬ A┬ highly entertaining match but disappointing that the Pars couldn`t clinch┬ all three points.

DUNFERMLINE: Chris Smith; Greg Ross (Calum Woods 74), Neil McGregor, Andy Dowie, Austin McCann; Willie Gibson, Steven Bell, Alex Burke (c) (Nick Phinn 65), David Graham; Steven McDougall (Graeme Holmes 81), Andy Kirk.
SUBS NOT USED:┬ Joe Cardle,┬ Greg Paterson (GK).
YELLOW CARD: McGregor (8)
SCORER: Kirk (22, 35), Gibson (41)

ROSS COUNTY: Michael McGovern;┬ Gary Miller, Scott Boyd.┬ Alex Keddie, Scott Morrison; Richard Brittain, Paul Lawson, Stuart Kettlewell (Garry Wood 58), Michael Gardyne (Iain Vigurs 80), Martin Scott; Paul Di Giacomo (Steven Craig 63).
SUBS NOT USED: Joe Malin,┬ Graham Girvan
SCORERS: Brittain (8), Lawson (25), Craig (85).
YELLOW CARD: Wood (82)

WEATHER: Dull, cold and misty┬ 4C

NEXT MATCH: (home) First Division v Inverness Caley Thistle
Saturday 19th December 2009, kick off 3.00pm┬

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