SFL v Stirling Albion


Fixture: Irn Bru SFL Division

Attendance: 3025, Kick Off: 3.00pm.

Referee: John McKendrick

Tipped by many in the media to be strugglers this season, Stirling have denied the odds and upset a few teams to date; recent form has been good with wins over Partick and Raith but Dunfermline`s aim was to prevent them adding to the 12 points they have taken from the opening 10 games. Jim McIntyre made one change from the team that started at Dens Park, David Graham selected ahead of Joe Cardle.

Stirling were missing the suspended Chris Aitken and Ross Forsyth, meaning Jonathon Brown and John Kane started in John O`Neill`s team.

The Pars kicked off attacking the goal at the McCathie Stand end and it was the former Par between the sticks, Callum Reidford who was the first keeper in action after 60 seconds¬ as Wullie Gibson tested him from 25 yards. The home side forced the first corner of the afternoon when Calum Woods cross from the byeline was headed behind by Brian Allison as Andy Kirk put him under pressure at the far post.

On eight minutes a Graham foul on Jerome Heeking handed Stirling an opportunity to pump a useful ball into the box but the Pars defence headed away the danger. Next minute Dowie swished a tackle at the advancing Scott Robertson and the Pars were fortunate that his cut back 12 yards out went behind the only Stirling player in the box.

Pat Clarke had a glorious chance on ten minutes as from six yards he headed Woods ball to the far post round the outside. Two Pars corners in 13th minute piled on the pressure with the best chance dropping to Kirk initially as Gibson played him through. Four minutes later Gibson swung in a ball from a free kick on the left wing that was deflected over after Bell`s attempt to head home.¬ Stirling failed to clear from the corner and Heeking fouled Gary Mason on the edge of the box.¬ Wullie GIBSON smashed the ball home from 20 yards and although Reidford flung himself across his goal to his right there was no stopping this rocket.

Two minutes later a similar situation gave Gibson another pop at Reidford but this time his shot was driven at the heels of Clarke and the keeper was excused his task.

Stirling should have punished the Pars defence in 20 minute as Dowie and Chris Smith fluffed their defence at the keeper`s right hand post. Gordon Smith, the Stirling no.9 failed to net as¬ the 24 year old stopper¬ recovered sufficiently to push the ball across goal and behind for a corner. Next another free kick opportunity for Gibson saw him rattle the crossbar from 24 yards.

Chris Smith pushed the ball out for a corner on the left and then held well as Andy Gibson got his head on the delivery. Pars counterattacked with Gibson lofting the ball wide left for Graham and when he executed his cross Reidford saved bravely at the feet of Clarke.¬ Athletic`s second goal was then to come, on the half hour, from a Gibson corner.

The cross from the right was touched back from Bell to Mason and his driven shot was turned in at close quarters by Andy KIRK for his 13th goal of the season.

Five minutes from the break Gibson burst upfield and set up a fine ball for Clarke but his shot was stopped by Reidford.¬ Stirling then tested the Pars defence after Austin McCann`s slip on half way had let Andy Gibson advance up the right.¬ Bell conceded a free kick, earning a yellow card for his tug on Kane but Jonathan Brown sent the chance over the crossbar from 25 yards.

Stirling at times had put up a spirited performance but for lengthy periods of the first half Dunfermline had enjoyed the bulk of the possession, they had taken their chances and deservedly led at the interval.

Half Time: Dunfermline 2 Stirling Albion 0

Having lost goals in 48th minure of their previous two games, Macca`s men started the second half well with a Gibson corner in the third minute touched over the bar after a strong header by Higgins. Ryan Borris was handed a free kick 25 yards out after Brown had fallen over Bell but the attempt sailed wide of Smith`s left hand post.

Woods made a good diagonal run in 53 minutes linking with Graham before chipping over a neat left footed delivery that Bell and Kirk just couldn`t finish.

Clarke was next to worry the visiting defence punctuating his run down the left with a shot that rebounded back off Corrigan and Graham whacked the loose ball over the crossbar from 15 yards.¬ Steven McDougall replaced Clarke in 61 minutes¬ but it was Kirk who tested Reidford right away with the orange shirted keeper turning the ball around his right hand post.

Higgins did well at another inswinging corner from the left but his header evaded the strikers and Stirling lived through the danger. Their sub Sylviano Comvalius went in strongly as Chris Smith came out for a through ball and sub keeper Kyle Allison had to replace the big man who left the field with a mouth injury. For Allison this was his first competitive appearance for Dunfermline.

Higgins was yellow carded as Heeking took a tumble but the free kick failed to trouble the defence.¬ The Binos grabbed a period of good possession and Smith was caught offside as he attempted to get his head on a Borris cross.¬ Then it was McCann`s back that charged down a powerful Robertson shot.

Out on the left wing Davie Graham was injured in 75 minutes and Joe Cardle replaced him as Stirling¬ introduced their sub trialist - ex Dundee Paul McHale.¬ From the free kick for the tackle on Graham, Gibson picked out Kirk but Reidford did well to hold the header from six yards.

Reidford stood no chance when Calum WOODS pulled out one of his speciality goals.¬ He cut in from the right and deceived McHale on the edge of the box to put the ball on to his left foot and drive a low shot in at the near post.

Five minutes later Cardle sped in from the left but his shot was blocked and Reidford saved Gibson`s follow up.¬ Bell received a Cardle pass to blast a 30 yard effort at Reidford.¬ At the other end Smith saw his attempt go over off the crossbar and Woods delivered another good ball into the Stirling six yard box for Reidford to steal away from the inrushing Kirk.

Another Pars chance escaped outside the Stirling left upright as the game was played out with the result in no doubt.

DUNFERMLINE: Chris Smith (Kyle Allison 69); Calum Woods, Andy Dowie, Chris Higgins, Austin McCann (c); Wullie Gibson, Steven Bell, Gary Mason, David Graham (Joe Cardle 76); Andy Kirk, Pat Clarke (Steven McDougall 61).
SUBS NOT USED: Alex Keddie, Ryan Thomson
SCORER: Gibson (18), Kirk (30), Woods (80)
YELLOW CARD: Bell (43), Higgins (69)

STIRLING ALBION: Callum Reidford; Brian Allison, Scott Buist, Martyn Corrigan, Jonathon Brown; John Kane (Sylviano Comvalius 56), Andy Gibson Trialist 75), Scott Robertson, Ryan Borris, Jerome Heeking, Gordon Smith
SUBS: Scott Christie,Michael Mullen, Josh Flood.
YELLOW CARD: Smith (83)

WEATHER: Sunny 11C

NEXT MATCH: (away) SFL First Division v Morton
Saturday 6th November 2010, kick off 3:00pm

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