SPL v St Johnstone


Attendance: 3466, Kick Off: 3.00pm.

Referee: George Salmond

Jim McIntyre¬ made one change from¬ the same eleven that started the previous Saturday against Inverness Caley Thistle - Andy Dowie for Andy Barrowman.¬ St Johnstone made three changes - Liam Craig, David McCracken and Carl Finnigan coming into the side that lost 2-0 to Rangers.

The hosts kicked off and within two minutes Cillian Sheridan got in a low drive at Gallacher from the edge of the box. The Pars first attempt was from a Joe Cardle free kick but Andy Kirk`s header sent the ball wide. An eighth minute free kick from Liam Craig on the right was directed past Gallacher by¬ Finnigan but since he used a hand instead of his head he earned a yellow card.

St Johnstone had more of the ball getting it down and using Murray Davidson but Cardle intercepted the ball to Mackay. An overstruck passback handed a 14th minute corner on the left but Mackay`s cross was headed clear by Dowie. Next a Cardle run lifted the travelling supports hopes.¬ He picked out Hardie on the far side, Thomson ran wide stretching the defence but Hardie`s cross met no takers.

Back at the other end a corner from the right was headed forceably on target by David McCracken but Paul Gallacher beat the ball away. The Pars took the ball back upfield with Paul Burns sending a diagonal cross into the box but again no Dunfermline player on the end of it. On 24 minutes Cardle delivered another great ball from his right foot but keeper Peter Enckelman held.

Five minutes later a Mackay throw in from the right corner flag was picked out by Finnigan and he spun and shot narrowly wide and high but it was a good chance. Craig turned Burns shot behind for a corner on the right and Cardle took it short accepting the ball back from Paul Burns.¬ Joe switched it deep for Jason Thomson who drilled the ball low and hard into the box. The ball was heading out beyond the left goalpost but the predator that is Andy KIRK turned the ball in for his third of the SPL season. 1-0 Dunfermline.

The Pars pushed for another but Cardle pumped his free kick too far and Kirk was caught offside again. Saints won a corner in 41 minutes but after Gallacher`s punch out the defence mopped up. Davidson sent Sheridan away down the left but the offside flag was up.

A good first half for the Fifers who for the second week running went in with a 1-0 lead.

Half Time: St Johnstone 0 Dunfermline 1

The Pars got the second half underway but Davidson was first to threaten the scoreline heading over from close in on 47 minutes. The Saints player went through Kirk in the next minute and saw yellow for a crude tackle. Thomson was fed the ball from the free kick and Hardie rose in the six yard box to try a header but he was off target wide of the right goalpost.

Thomson sent over another great ball in 51 minutes but the bright green kitted keeper held as St Johnstone began to look rather ragged. Haber was offside as he turned the ball into Gallacher`s hands.¬ Francisco Sandaza replaced Finnigan just eleven minutes into the second half as Derek McInnes tried to change Saints fortunes.

Dunfermline forced two corners in 59 minutes, Keddie`s challenge sent behind at the first and then Hardie heading narrowly wide of the right post at the subsequent one.¬ Drama then at the other end as St Johnstone sub Sandaza waltzed around opponents as he burst into the Pars box on the right.¬ As he passed Potter he came down as contact was made with Potter`s outstretched leg and the referee pointed to the spot. Having considered Thomson was not a covering last man, George Salmond sent off John Potter.¬ Liam Craig took the ball off Sandaza and then sent the¬ penalty kick¬ to Gallacher`s left and in a¬ carbon copy¬ of the penalty save against St Mirren, the Pars keeper pushed it away.

Dowie dropped into the back four beside Alex Keddie while at the midway stage of the half David Graham and Steven McDougall replaced Joe Cardle and Andy Kirk.¬ David Robertson came on for Haber and immediately glanced a header on Craig`s corner.¬ He came¬ close but slipping wide left. The ball was played around the Pars box as the Perth club enjoyed plenty possession but Gallacher held everything that came his way.

Eight minutes from the end Sandaza made another good chance laying the ball off for Davidson to head on target but Gallacher saved again. McDougall tried to give the defence a rest but with three men around him it was hard to keep possession. Davidson was blocked by Keddie to hand Saints a free kick 25 yards out but Craig continued his luckless day driving the ball over Gallacher`s bar.

St Johnstone`s last home league win over Dunfermline remains 16th November 1996. They have yet to score an SPL goal this season and as a consequence of Andy Kirk`s 31st minute goal, Dunfermline registered their first SPL win and go fourth in the league. A good result and a fine performance by the ten men to see out the final 30 plus three added minutes.

ST JOHNSTONE: Peter Enckelman,¬ David MacKay, Frazer Wright,¬ David McCracken, Liam Craig; Marcus Haber (David Robertson 72), Jody Morris (c), Murray Davidson, Kevin Moon; Cillian Sheridan (Francisco Sandaza 56), Carl Finnigan,
SUBS NOT USED: Alan Mannus (GK), Steven Anderson, Stevie May, Liam Caddis, Ricky McIntosh
YELLOW CARD:¬ Finnigan (8), Davidson (48)

DUNFERMLINE: Paul Gallacher, Jason Thomson, John Potter, Alex Keddie, Austin McCann (c); Andy Dowie, Gary Mason; Paul Burns,¬ Martin Hardie,Joe Cardle (Steven McDougall 68);¬ Andy Kirk (David Graham 68).
SUBS NOT USED: Chris Smith (GK), Ryan Thomson, Paul Willis, Paddy Boyle, Kerr Young.
SCORER: Kirk (31)
YELLOW CARD: Dowie (43), Hardie (71)
RED CARD: Potter (61).

REFEREE: George Salmond
WEATHER: Overcast 16C

NEXT MATCH: (away) SPL v Dundee United
Saturday 20th August 2011, kick off 3.00pm

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