SFL v Falkirk

DUNFERMLINE 1 FALKIRK 1 Date: 15/02/11

Fixture: Irn Bru SFL Division

Attendance: 5082, Kick Off: 3:00pm.

Referee: Anthony Law

The Bairns from Falkirk were the visitors as second took on third. Dunfermline were unchanged from the sixteen at Central Park on Cowdenbeath. Falkirk made three changes Ross Perry, Marc Millar, Pedro Moutinho and dropping out for Brian McLean, Mark Stewart and Stewart Murdoch.

Rain pelted down as Nick Phinn and Andy Kirk took the kick off for the Pars attacking the goal at the east end of the ground. The visitors forced an early corner and referee Anthony Law had to separate the players as 16 of them jousted for position all in the extreme right of the six yard box. When the ball was sent over from the left it was overhit and nothing to worry about.

In seven minutes Jack Compton got in the first shot of the night but his orange boot planted the ball in the sidenetting. Next another Falkirk corner was only half cleared and on the turn McLean sent a shot on to the right upright. Falkirk kept up their momentum with Ryan Flynn testing Smith in 14 minutes but the keeper held as he dropped to his left.

Dunfermline`s first corner in 15 minutes was delivered by Joe Cardle but the ref blew up for overenthusiastic attacking as the ball came in from the left. Kirk forced another corner, this time on the right, Buchanan connected well with a powerful header but glanced this one wide left.

On 26 minute Kallum Higginbotham flighted a free kick into the Pars six yard box and caused mayhem until it was hoofed clear by the Pars defence. Smith `saved` a Woods pass back bringing vain claims for a pass back from the vociferous travelling support. Cardle`s ball from a central area to Woods on the right raised hopes at the other end but his cross in was far too near Olejnik.

In 33 minutes perseverance from Marc Twaddle got the ball in from the left and Higginbotham fortunately took far too long with his aim and the Pars defence prevented his shot 16 yards out. Dunfermline went foward again but Cardle`s cut back deep in the Falkirk box was to no one and then Buchanan had a shot that lacked potency. Kirk was played through the middle but shot at Olejnik from 15 yards.

Cardle`s 39th minute corner was punched away and Phinn and Graham had follow ups blocked. The ball spun in the air, Olejnik failed to take it but his defender did the job for him. At the other end Higginbotham got behind the back four but his cut back was cleared and then Ryan Flynn delivered from the other side but overhit his ball through the six yard box.

As half time approached it was the Falkirk support who had been noisier but the home fans who had portrayed an air of frustration for most of the half were stirred by the late pressure. An added time corner kick was held by Smith and then a Dunfermline one in third added minute was headed clear and so it remained goalless at the break.

Half Time: Dunfermline 0 Falkirk 0

Buchanan had the first chance of the second half lifting his effort after just 80 seconds on to the wrong side of the roof of the net. Kirk then drove a shot at a defender before Falkirk broke and threatened but failed to tax the keeper.

Mason headed a Higginbotham cross behind to give Falkirk a 52nd minute corner. Kirk cleared that as he headed for the advertising boards but the Bairns continued to press with Murdoch`s cross ending up giving Smith a save to make. Phinn teed up Kirk two minutes later and there were strong appeals for a penalty but not given.

Steven McDougall replaced Joe Cardle just ten minutes into the second 45. Woods won a 59th minute corner on the right but the low delivery from the Pars sub was easily dealt with. Graham collected a caution as he went down too easily in Anthony Law`s eyes as McLean halted his progress through the centre.

Dunfermline`s best effort thus far came in 65 minutes when McDougall intercepted a Falkirk clearance and Kirk sped off to whizz a low shot narrowly outside the left goalpost. Phinn despatched a free kick from the left corner of the penalty box over the crossbar when the referee who had been up until then as popular as Craig Revel Horwood, gave the Pars a rare decision.

Martin Hardie was the Pars second sub of the night taking over from Phinn in midfield with 20 minutes remaining. In 76 minutes a long kick out from Smith was headed on by Graham, the central defender slipped up under pressure from Buchanan and Graham latched on to the chance but the keeper blocked and Buchanan`s follow up was cleared off the line by O`Brien.

Woods was yellow carded two minutes later and Pedro Moutinho was brought on for the set piece. His low drive from 30 yards out could not be held by Smith and in a goalmouth scramble Tam SCOBBIE forced the ball over the line.

A 83rd minute McDougall corner was driven at goal by Kirk and blocked, then Hardie headed the follow up at the keeper. East End Park was about to explode however. McDougall forced the ball wide right to Graham in 85 minutes and this time Andy KIRK forced the ball home at the right post to set up a humdinger of a final five minutes.

We had maybe waited an hour and a quarter for this match to boil up but it was now a cauldron. Moutinho was charged with a 90th minute corner and Smith pulled off the save of the night to turn Murdoch`s header on to the top of the net. The Bairns kept winning the ball back as the game entered added on time.

Quite an ending, Dunfermline were denied the win that would have taken them to the top of the table but more important perhaps the gap between these Fifers and Falkirk remains five points albeit with the Pars having played one more match.

DUNFERMLINE: Chris Smith; Calum Woods, Kevin Rutkiewicz, Alex Keddie, Austin McCann (c); David Graham, Nick Phinn (Martin Hardie 70), Gary Mason, Joe Cardle (Steven McDougall 55); Andy Kirk, Liam Buchanan.
SUBS: Neil McGregor, Alex Burke, Kyle Allison.
YELLOW CARD: Graham (61), Woods (77), Buchanan (88)
SCORER: Kirk (85)

FALKIRK; Robert Olejnik, Keiran Duffy, Brian McLean, Thomas Scobbie, Mark Twaddle; Jack Compton (Kallum Higginbotham 12). Stewart Murdoch, Burton O`Brien, Ryan Flynn, Mark Stewart (Pedro Moutinho 78), Carl Finnigan,
SUBS: Ross Perry, Chris Mitchell, Jamie Barclay (GK)
YELLOW CARD: Olejnik (11)
SCORER: Scobbie (78)


NEXT MATCH: SFL First Division v Ross County
Saturday 19th February 2011, kick off 3:00pm

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