SFL v Ross County


Fixture: Irn Bru SFL Division

Attendance: 2198, Kick Off: 7:45pm.

Referee: Mat Northcroft

The 22nd match of this First Division campaign for the Pars but only the second game against Ross County.  Jim McIntyre made three changes from that started against Falkirk: Ryan Thomson, Martin Hardie and Pat Clarke replaced Nick Phinn, Joe Cardle and Liam Buchanan. Ross County made four from the side that drew with Stirling Albion last time out - Gary Miller, Scott Morrison, Andrew Barrowman and Iain Vigurs coming in to take the place of Jason Marr, Mark Corcoran, Steven Milne and Garry Wood.

A mild Tuesday night at Victoria Park marked the first game in charge of the former Highland League club for ex Pars boss, Jimmy Calderwood. Andy K irk and Pat Clarke got the game underway with the visitors defending the goal at the Football Academy end but within the first minute an injury to Stuart Kettlewell halted play. The former Clyde man was able to continue after receiving treatment.

A foul on Kirk as he received a Calum Woods pass resulted in the first free kick of the night and Clarke flighted that in from the right towards the far post but Michael McGovern held Kevin Rutkiewicz`s downward header.  Chris Smith was then quickly out to grab the ball away from Barrowman as the central defence were caught out.

A Vigurs free kick in eight minutes was then sent through the Pars box without creating any danger whatsoever. Marc Fitzpatrick halted the run of David Graham as he tried to go through the right channel and the free kick forced the first corner of the game but Rutkiewicz`s header from Graham`s corner was headed away by a County defender.

In 19th minute another Fitzpatrick challenge on Clarke handed the Fifers another free kick that Clarke pumped into the home box but McGovern held Hardie`s flick on. Scott Morrison sent a County free kick into the Pars box three minutes later for Barrowman, with his back to goal, to send Boyd`s head on wide and high of target.

The Pars kept possession trying to find that elusive opening and were awarded another free kick when Vigurs fouled Thomson.  Clarke sent in a great ball from 35 yards out that Kirk connected well with, but the ball rocketed over the crossbar.  After pressing hard the guests almost got caught out when Vigurs broke at speed, finding Michael Gardyne wide right and in a swift interchange the ball was back into the penalty spot where Woods pulled off a great tackle to save the day.

Graham was yellow carded for tracking back and then chopping down Gary Miller 30 yards out but Ross County failed to create any danger from the setpiece. In 35 minutes Graham had a surging run from his own half but hung on to possession too long and was plundered on the edge of the opposition box.

The 80 Pars fans in the stadium broke into rare applause as Kirk latched on to a Hardie through ball and hammered the ball low into the left sidenetting. Another free kick in 41 minutes when Kettlewell downed Hardie, was taken by the new man but the five man wall on 16 yards did its job. Clarke blasted an effort over the top and the game wore towards the break with Dunfermline still well in command. In 45th minute Keddie thwarted a stong Barrowman run and the teams went in all square.

Half Time: Ross County 0 Dunfermline 0

Dunfermline started the first half strongly but soon County won a corner and followed that with Gary Miller trying to beat the entire defence.  All that came from it was a long range shot from Richard Brittain that Smith held easily. At the other end Hardie tried a 30 yard attempt that sadly went nearer the corner flag than the goal.

In 51 minutes a Graham pass for Clarke on the edge of the box was sent behind. Clarke`s corner dropped to the feet of Keddie and his first time effort was blocked by Fitzpatrick on six yards. Then in 54 minutes a Hardie cross was headed out by Scott Boyd and Graham blasted a good shot narrowly wide right.

There were appeals for a County penalty when Barrowman`s ball hit the chest of Rutkiewicz and then it was back to the other end. Graham crossed a fine ball in from the left and with the County defence struggling to get to the ball, Kirk hit a shot at McGovern. Another Clarke corner was driven straight at McGovern but the Pars were looking even more promising. Thomson whacked a snap at McGovern from 27 yards but again the keeper came out on top.

On the hour Gary Mason`s free kick nearly put Hardie in with a header but the offside flag had been raised anyhow. Liam Buchanan replaced Ryan Thomson six minutes later as the Fifers went 4-4-2. Another good move with Hardie timing a fine pass into the path of McCann as he sped towards the byeline produced more danger but McGovern rose high to hold.

Hardie accepted a Buchanan knock down after Graham had won the ball in the air in midfield but the shot went the same way as the others into the hands with the gloves.  Graham sent a low shot in that McGovern had to dive to hold and next sub Steven McDougall laid off a great chance in 74 minutes for Kirk on the right side of the box but his shot screamed out having crossed the face of the goal.

The home fans hopes were raised on 80 minutes when Steven Milne`s shot was deflected behind for a corner in front of them but the setpiece was cleared. Up until then the somewhat flatulent Staggies had huffed and puffed but the Dingwall crowd encouraged them into a final drive to score.

Miller accepted a cut back in 87 minutes that was deflected agonisingly, slowly for corner on the right. Milne threatened to break through the centre of the visitors defence but ended up booked for diving. There was time for two more balls to be pumped into the Ross County box but JC`s first game in charge was to earn him one point.

ROSS COUNTY: Michael McGovern; Gary Miller, Scott Boyd, Scott Morrison, Jonathan Flynn; Martin Gardyne (Steven Milne HT), Richard Brittain (c), Marc Fitzpatrick, Stuart Kettlewell, Iain Vigurs (Paul Di Giacomo 64), Andrew Barrowman (Garry Wood 78),
SUBS NOT USED: Paul Lawson, Joe Malin (GK)
YELLOW CARD: Milne (90)

DUNFERMLINE: Chris Smith; Calum Woods, Kevin Rutkiewicz (Neil McGregor 81), Alex Keddie, Austin McCann (c); Pat Clarke (Steven McDougall 70), Ryan Thomson (Liam Buchanan 66), Martin Hardie, Gary Mason, David Graham; Andy Kirk.
SUBS NOT USED: Alex Burke, Kyle Allison.
YELLOW CARD: Graham (33), Woods (86)


NEXT MATCH: SFL First Division (away) v Queen of the South
Saturday 26th February 2010, kick off 7:45pm

Sammy says thanks very much for visiting our web site where we have lots of news for young Pars fans.