SFL v Ross County


Fixture: Irn Bru SFL Division

Attendance: 1699, Kick Off: 7:45pm.

Referee: Steven MacLean


Dunfermline met Ross County for the second time in a fortnight hoping to improve on the 0-0 scoreline that they achieved at Victoria Park in Jimmy Calderwood`s first match in charge of the former Highland League club. The odds offered by in stadium bookmakers Watsons for original fixture postponed on Saturday 19th February were just 2-1 on for a Pars win but for the Tuesday night game they offered 4-5. Odds for a draw came in from 3-1 to 5-2 so we had to hope that the bookies had misread the Pars chances!

Jim McIntyre made three changes from the starting eleven v Morton on Saturday - Kirk, Cardle and Rutkiewicz returned. Out went Higgins, Clarke and McDougall and Greg Paterson replaced Kyle Allison on the subs bench.  Jimmy Calderwood had Jonathon Flynn back in defence, Jason Marr dropped to the bench ousting former Par Scott Morrison.

The teams changed ends before the Pars kicked off through Buchanan and Kirk and Michael McGovern was the first keeper in action on 60 seconds, clutching Martin Hardie`s header on a Calum Woods free kick.  The visitors were not afraid to take the game to Dunfermline with Steven Milne proving especially tricky down the right; yet all they could manage was an off target attempt from MichaelGardyne.

In 11 minutes Gardyne picked out the ball as it came into the Pars box from deep and his first shot was beaten back by Smith and then his follow up headed away by McCann.  Another County free kick led to a corner on the right but Woods met that and set up a counterattack.  The best that could bring about was a free kick that Rutkiewicz lobbed in for Cardle to centre but McGovern again held comfortably.

A quickly taken free kick as Paul Lawson complained about the punishment for his 23rd minute challenge on Hardie, had the ball swiftly into the opposition box but Cardle lofted the ball.  That allowed the Dingwall side to defend but immediately Lawson blocked a Cardle run and was yellow carded for gesticulating his dissent at another  free kick award, this time 25 yards out. Andy Kirk fired that into the defensive wall but thankfully this got Dunfermline out of their own half and upfield.

Next time County got forward Gardyne lifted a good diagonal ball into the Pars box and Stuart Kettlewell could have done better than send that over the crossbar from eight yards. Dunfermline were beginning to retain plenty of possession but the red shirts ahead of them made it very tough to find a way through.  Kirk gathered the ball on the left to make an opening but fired low into the keeper.

On 35 minutes Andrew Barrowman looked suspiciously offside but fortunately Rutkiewicz was on hand to clear the danger on the edge of the six yard box. Five minutes later a Brittain free kick was falling nicely for Milne on the top of the box but McCann made a timely intervention and just as well. The home fans hopes were then raised as Kirk burst into the left side to belt a shot to the near post but McGovern chested that away.

As half time approached Hardie dispossessed Gary Miller as he drove into the Dunfermline half and the midfielder`s through ball had Kirk scurry away but he chose to pass right to Graham and County got back.  It had been a nervous first half from the Pars and they badly needed a goal to settle down both those on and off the park.

Half Time: Dunfermline 0 Ross County 0

First opportunity of the second half was created by David Graham in 53 minutes running at the opposition before releasing a shot from 20 yards that deflected off Flynn and behind for a corner. Rutkiewicz got close to the cross at the far post but not close enough to get his aim on target.

County continued to bother the Pars, Flynn coming close to connecting with Brittain free kick and then Barrowman heading wide left.  The home team`s response was a wild shot from Graham on the hour. Five minutes later a Brittain pass picked out Barrownan and his 1-2 off Milne looked like putting him in but the offside flag went up,

Just as the game went into its final quarter the visitors took the lead. A fairly simple diagonal ball from Brittain on the left found BARROWMAN`s head 12 yards out on the right side of the Pars penalty box.  Chris Smith came out but didn`t reach the ball in time and the ball travelled agonisingly into the net.

Clarke came on for Buchanan while Calderwood swapped Marr for Milne. A 77th minute free kick by Brittain rattled the advertising board behind Smith`s goal before Steven McDougall was introduced in place of Graham.  The equaliser that Dunfermline sorely sought came from the penalty spot in 81 minutes. Andy KIRK was brought down by Flynn after Clarke had nodded the ball down and referee Steven MacLean pointed to the spot.  Kirkie smashed the penalty past McGovern to give everyone hope for the final nine minutes plus added time.

The goal certainly lifted the Pars and their support.  On 90 minutes Smith booted a long ball up the park, Clarke and Kirk chased and a County defender tumbled but Clarke wellied his shot into the East Stand.  With that went the final chance to take three points.

The 5-2 bet would have been the winner as the game ended all square. One point reduced the gap between Dunfermline and Raith Rovers, both having played 25 games.

DUNFERMLINE: Chris Smith; Calum Woods, Kevin Rutkiewicz, Alex Keddie, Austin McCann (c); David Graham (Steven McDougall 77), Martin Hardie, Gary Mason, Joe Cardle; Liam Buchanan (Pat Clarke 68), Andy Kirk,
SUBS NOT USED: Chris Higgins, Ryan Thomson, Greg Paterson.
YELLOW CARD: Rutkiewicz (16)
SCORER: Kirk (81 pen.)

ROSS COUNTY: Michael McGovern; Gary Miller (Iain Vigurs 88), Scott Boyd, Jonathon Flynn, Marc Fitzpatrick; Steven Milne (Jason Marr 68), Stuart Kettlewell, Richard Brittain (c), Paul Lawson, Martin Gardyne; Andrew Barrowman,
SUBS NOT USED: Garry Wood, Darren Smith, Joe Malin (GK).
YELLOW CARD: Lawson (25)
SCORER: Barrowman (67)


NEXT MATCH: (away) SFL First Division v Falkirk
Saturday 12th March 2011, kick off 3.00pm All Ticket

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