SPL v Hibs

DUNFERMLINE 2 HIBS 3 Date: 14/01/12

Attendance: 6780, Kick Off: 3:00pm.

Referee: Alan Muir

This was a match┬ in which┬ Dunfermline sorely needed to break their home duck with a victory that would take them above┬ their opponents in the SPL table.┬ Dunfermline had┬ won two and drawn one of their last three games against Hibs but prior to that the Edinburgh side had a five year unbeaten run at East End Park.

Jim McIntyre brought in his new on loan signing from Preston North End, goalie Iain Turner and the only other change from the side that started at Inverness the previous Saturday was Gary Mason in place of Paul Burns who was injured at the end of training on Friday.┬ Hibs had Sean O`Hanlon out suspended and Daniel Galbraith dropped to the bench. For the visitors David Stephens and Isaiah Osbourne came into the side that won at Cowdenbeath last Saturday.

Dunfermline kicked off attacking the goal in front of the East Stand but it was the new signing who was first into serious action holding a Leigh Griffiths shot on the break after just 35 seconds. At the other end a Martin Hardie free kick from 27 yards out went narrowly wide in fifth minute and then Andy Kirk was caught offside as Dunfermline tried to go forward again.

Iain Turner did really well again on 10 minutes to save at his near post after Ivan Sproule made the chance on the left side of the Pars box, slipping the ball to his right for Callum Booth to thrash on target from 16 yards. Then in 14 minutes a Joe Cardle free kick from over on the left flank was flighted in perfectly for Andy KIRK to rise above defenders Michael Hart and Paul Hanlon to head past Mark Brown.

Hibs attempts to take anything from three successive Griffiths corners from the right in 20 minutes came to nothing. Next Osbourne flattened Andy Barrowman 28 yards out and from the free kick Hardie tried a curling shot that cleared the five man wall but was turned around his left hand post for a corner. The Fifers managed to maintain some pressure on their opponents but were contained.

Down on the right, David Graham took a neat touch to get around Booth but his pass for Barrowman on the top of the D was intercepted. At┬ the other end Sproule and Hardie were yellow carded when some pushing and shoving handed Hibs a free kick on the left 30 yards out. Booth floated in the free kick but Stephens failed to get the crucial touch as the defence let the ball straight through and out on the right side.

There were chances for the Pars as Graham and Cardle pumped balls into the Hibs box but were nearly caught out on the half hour when Alex Keddie failed to cut out a cross field pass for Eoin Doyle but the Irishman`s cross cum shot dropped behind the goal.

The Pars defence were soaking up some good Hibs pressure until in 33 minutes Leigh GRIFFITHS drilled in a low shot from the right side of the box that gave Turner no chance as it was buried in the far corner. It had looked like the defence had weathered the storm when Osbourne was blocked on the edge of the box but the returned ball caught the defence as they tried to regroup. 1-1

Kirk was sent down the right five minutes later but disappointed with a cut bck that landed in the sidenetting.┬ A corner was then won on the right and Cardle picked out Keddie who headed down for Graham to┬ snap a shot but he smashed it wide right under pressure from Osbourne.

Hanlon`s challenge on Barrowman earned another free kick 30 yards out but his third attempt of the afternoon failed to hit the target with the ball going out wide left. There was time for another Hibs attack and that terminated with Sproule hitting a good opportunity narrowly wide left.

It had been an end to end first half in this basement battle┬ and at the break it was all square but the Fifers could possibly feel slightly more optimistic because they had created the better of the first half chances.

Half Time: Dunfermline 1 Hibernian 1

Keddie was alert as Griffiths threatened after only 15 seconds of the second half and then Turner was out well to fist away the cross eight yards out. Dunfermline countered with Graham creating for Barrowman and Kirk too looked like he was in on goal at one stage.

Cardle then showed ambition with a typical run on the left but sent his effort wide right. Next Graham swung a ball to the left but Joe was offside. Hardie put an end to a Sproule run down the left and then Turner came out of his goal to confidently clutch a David Wotherspoon free kick. Sproule continued to menace and it was fortunate that his pass for Doyle went behind the striker.

Osbourne`s long run from his own half was punctuated by a powerful shot that Turner pushed round his left hand post. Hibs kept coming but the corner, a free kick and then a Griffiths shot on target was held by Turner. Garry O`Connor was introduced in preference for Wotherspoon.

Cardle pushed up the left but Graham`s touch back from the right was too far back however Hardie tried a shot but that was blocked. Ryan Thomson was the Pars first sub replacing Gary Mason. Osbourne caused more worries taking the ball down the right to cross for Sproule at the far side of the six yard box but thankfully Turner held.

There was a late call on Barrowman for offside as Cardle tried to send the striker away. Liam Buchanan and Paul Willis were the double substitutes in 71 minutes but Booth stifled Willis` first surging run and next Cardle tested Brown at his near post and Hibs broke again.

The Edinburgh side advanced down the left through Booth.┬ The defender was allowed to travel┬ deep into the Pars half┬ and his pass into the penalty box was touched on by Griffiths to O`CONNOR on the right side and the striker smashed the ball into the net again with Turner having no chance. 1-2 with quarter of an hour remaining.

Facing a four point gap┬ opening at the foot of the table the Pars pushed for the equaliser. An 81st minute a Cardle corner picked out Hardie unmarked at the back post but Michael Hart cleared the big man`s header off the line.┬ Then a 82nd minute free kick that pushed everyone forward caused mayhem in the Hibs box, Keddie had a swish┬ and in the melee to clear, the ball broke to Willis who threaded a fine ball into the path of BUCHANAN who thrashed the ball into the net. 2-2.

The game was tied for less than a minute Hibs taking the initiative from a throw in on the left and finding GRIFFITHS who burst into the box and tucked the ball under Turner to re-establish their lead. There was a┬ good chance then for┬ Barrowman after Brown failed to hold from Cardle but Stephens belted that away as the Pars striker slid in.

O`Connor was booked for diving when falling over Potter in the final minute and Hibs boss Fenlon received a lecture from referee Alan Muir before the electronic board went up to show four minutes of added time. In 94th minute Stephens bundled Buchanan over but there was to be no last gasp chance for Hardie to save the day from a 22 yards free kick instead the referee plumped for a bewildering bounced ball decision.

A good performance but not the result that the Pars were looking for. Still no home win and the fans were left to further puzzle where league points were going to come from.

DUNFERMLINE:┬ Iain Turner; Andy Dowie, John Potter, Alex Keddie, Paddy Boyle; David Graham (Paul Willis 71),,Gary Mason (c) (Ryan Thomson 65), Martin Hardie,Joe Cardle; Andy Kirk (Liam Buchanan 71), Andy Barrowman
SUBS NOT USED: Chris Smith (GK), Kevin Rutkiewicz, Steven McDougall, Shaun Byrne
SCORER: Kirk (14), Buchanan (82)
YELLOW CARD: Hardie (26), Potter (76)

HIBERNIAN: Mark Brown; Callum Booth, Paul Hanlon, David Stephens, Michael Hart; Lewis Stevenson, Isiah Osbourne┬ (Daniel Galbraith, 87), Ivan Sproule (c), David Wotherspoon (Garry O`Connor 61), Leigh Grifiths, Eoin Doyle (George Francomb,68)
SUBS NOT USED: Graham Stack (GK), Richard Towell, Scott Smith, Samuel Stanton.
YELLOW CARD: Sproule (26), Osbourne (45+1), Griffiths (85), O`Connor (90)
SCORER: Griffiths (33), O`Connor (75), Griffiths (82)

WEATHER:┬ Overcast 6┬║C

Winning number in 50/50 prize draw - 54036 - wins £743

NEXT MATCH: (home) William Hill Scottish Cup Fourth Round Replay
v Inverness Caley Thistle, Wednesday 18th January 2012, kick off 7.45pm

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