SFL v Ross County


Fixture: Irn Bru SFL Division

Attendance: 2641, Kick Off: 3.00pm.

Referee: Stephen Finnie

After the win over Dundee Jim McIntyre brought in keeper Chris Smith for the injured Greg Paterson and David Graham was fit enough to return to the bench.¬ It was in the 3-3 draw against Ross County earlier in the season that Smith had broken his foot to end his three match previous experience with the Pars.

Ross County were forced into changes since Alex Keddie was sent off at Inverness on Tuesday night.¬ Their manager Derek Adams made three¬ in total¬ bringing in 19 year old centre back, Robbie Stephen, Steven Craig and Andrew Barrowman with both Michael Gardyne and Stuart Kettlewell relegated to the subs bench.

The teams changed ends before Dunfermline kicked off towards the McCathie Stand.¬ On two minutes Neil McGregor required treatment as he arrived late in a chalenge with Barrowman and only succeeded in heading the man and not the ball. Only a nose bleed though and the centre back was soon back in the fray.

First chance of the afternoon came the way of the visitors in eight minutes.¬ Paul Di Giacomo picked out Iain Vigurs and his blue boot then threaded an inviting ball into the path of Craig on the right side of the Pars penalty box but with Smith coming out of his goal the striker failed to hit the target with a blast from an angle that flew well wide right.

Five minutes later Calum Woods gathered a pass on the right side but fired what Dunfermline`s first chance narrowly over the bar. Disaster followed for the Pars though in 14 minutes when a Gary Miller cross from the right went straight to VIGURS on the left side of the six yard box and neither Ross nor Smith could prevent his shot hitting the net.

Woods got another crack at goal from a Gibson corner in 19 minutes but even with a deflection his side were denied a second. But within at minute Ross Campbell shrugged off the efforts of Morrison and Stephen to send in a cross that Michael McGovern grabbed just ahead of Gary Mason. Next a 22nd minute Gibson free kick went low to the grey shirted keeper but at least the home side were turning up their pressure.¬

McDougall was caught offside to the great disappointment of the home fans but County won¬ two corners in 25th minute¬ that took play to the other end of the park. ¬ County had a good chance in 32 minutes when Craig ran on to a pass to the left wing his cross into the danger area was just too high for Di Giacomo and Scott couldn`t turn the retrieved ball into a shot.

Greg Ross was forced to retire in 35 minutes, Joe Cardle coming on as sub but from the restart Vigurs laced a through ball that beat the Pars defensive trap to let BARROWMAN in on the keeper and he slipped the ball under Smith and home at the right post to make it 2-0 County.

Vigurs made a break in 40 minutes that might have made matters worse but Dowie and then Bell got the danger away.¬ Brittain sent Craig away down the left again but this time Smith was able to grasp the cross. It had been a poor first half for the Fifers and no doubt Jim McIntyre would have plenty to say to them at the break.

Half Time: Dunfermline 0 Ross County 2

Dunfermline desperately required to alter their destiny in the second half but it took eight minutes before there was any indication of a possible revival.¬ Calum Woods` cross into the box looked like providing Cardle with the necessary ammunition but he failed to control and County were off the hook.

David Graham came on for Ross Campbell in 55 minutes and he was immediately involved pushing forward with Cardle but it was Morrison`s bundling of Gibson off the ball 15 yards out that created the next talking point. No decision went Dunfermline`s way and it was just Gibson who got referee Stephen Finnie`s telling off.

The Dingwall side were making it difficult for Dunfermline and the home fans were growing increasingly unhappy with their inability to break through their opponents.¬ Midway into the second half Cardle was downed by Miller to give the Pars a free kick 21 yards out but Gibson lifted that over the wall and over the bar.

As McGregor closed on him Barrowman slipped a shot wide of the right post to¬ remind Dunfermline that the threat could always come at the other end.¬ Great perseverance from Gibson combining with McDougall in 71 minutes sent Graham free on the right but the offside flag was rightly raised.

When the chance did come three minutes later McGovern came out on top.¬ Dowie chose the pass to Graham and he in turn switched it on for McDougall to break into the box but the keeper was out to block what was a reasonable attempt.¬ Phinn replaced Mason before McGovern was out again to hold a Gibson delivery.

Then in 77 minutes McDougall got to the left byeline and his cross was high enough to evade the defenders and let BELL head down into the net from just outside the six yard box..¬ 2-1 and thirteen minutes remaining.

Dunfermline pushed forward so much that Gardyne was offside just a yard into the Pars half. Gibson pumped an 88th minute free kick in from the right that found Bell`s head but he couldn`t get direction on his header. Woods drove over the crossbar but time was disappearing for the Fifers.

Following various time wasting ploys by the opposition the referee allowed the match to go into the fifth minute of added time and Chris Smith sprinted forward for a final corner but that could not be controlled as it hit McGregor`s chest at the far post and it was all over.¬ Dunfermline`s third successive failure to win in home¬ matches against Ross County and that virtually ended any aspirations for promotion in 2010.

DUNFERMLINE: Chris Smith; Greg Ross (Joe Cardle 35), Neil McGregor, Andy Dowie, Austin McCann (c); Steven Bell, Gary Mason (Nick Phinn 76), Willie Gibson; Calum Woods, Ross Campbell (David Graham 55), Steven McDougall.
SUBS NOT USED: Chris Higgins, Greg Fleming (GK).
SCORER: Bell (77)
YELLOW CARD: McCann (93)

ROSS COUNTY: Michael McGovern; Gary Miller, Scott Boyd, Robbie Stephen, Scott Morrison; Martin Scott, Richard Brittain, Iain Vigurs; Steven Craig, Paul Di Giacomo (Michael Gardyne 66), Andrew Barrowman (Grant Smith 83).
SUBS: Stuart Kettlewell, Ross Grant,¬ Joe Malin (GK).
SCORER: Vigurs (14), Barrowman (35)
YELLOW CARD: Miller (67), Vigurs (82), Gardyne (85)


NEXT MATCH: (away) First Division v Ayr United
Saturday 10th April 2010, kick off 3.00pm

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