SPFL League One: STRANRAER 5 DUNFERMLINE 1: 28/02/15
Facing three league matches in eight days this was a good opportunity for the Pars to get their promotion hopes back on track. The team travelled to Stranraer in knowledge that the previous two trips to the south west corner had seen them return undefeated. A repeat of the win in August would be just the tonic but unfortunately after having a man sent off the chances of that necessary win wre virtually eliminated.
John Potter's team showed three changes from the one that started against Brechin City on Tuesday night. In came Lewis Martin, Andy Geggan and Andy Barrowman to take the places of Jim Paterson, Shaun Byrne and Michael Moffat.
From the Stranraer side that lost to Morton last time out, Stevie Aitken brought back Craig Malcolm meaning Jon McShane dropped to the bench. Having changed ends, the home side kicked off defending the goal at the town end.
Lewis Allan clipped the ball over his defender in fourth minute to create the first opportunity but keeper David Mitchell won the race to the ball and the striker's chance was ended. Two minutes later the Blues had an even better chance when Jamie Longworth got the better of Gregor Buchanan out on the right touchline. The 27 year old's cut back was perfect for Grant Gallagher but he could not top off his 200 appearances for the club with the opening goal. His shot from twelve yards was skied over the crossbar.
Ryan Scully held a speculative shot from Longworth but next the striker got the better of Ryan Williamson and this time when the tenth minute cross came over GALLAGHER made no mistake in netting this time. 1-0
Dunfermline forced a corner but a Stranraer beat Geggan and Buchanan to the ball as David Hopkirk sent that in from the left. Hopkirk sent over another cross but Mitchell beat Barrowman to it. At the other end Longworth created further difficulties breaking to shoot wide right.
Stranraer pushed up with Longworth getting more room. Chris Aitken pumped the ball into the Pars box and Steven Bell thumped the defended ball wide left. Hopkirk produced some good close control to beat off Craig Pettigrew's attentions but his delivery into the six yard box was too close top the red shirted keeper.
When Barrowman was fouled by Scott Robertson, Kyle McAusland was able to lob the free kick into the right side of the box where GEGGAN rose to head the ball in at the left goalpost. Things looked better but changed drastically when Buchanan was alleged to have stamped on Longworth. The referee took no immediate action but his assistant advised him of what he saw and with a pat on referee Kevin Graham's back instigated the 29th minute red card.
Geggan took the captain's armband before Willie Gibson drove the free kick from 28 yards into the Pars wall. Play continued around the Pars box however and when Chris SMITH got the chance to shoot from 25 yards out the ball beat Scully to restore the home side's lead just two minutes after the Fifers had been reduced to ten men. 2-1
Stranraer were to claim a third goal one minute before the break. GIBSON cut in from the left into a central area, playing the ball off Longworth before firing it into the bottom right of the Pars net from 20 yards. 3-1
From the restart Dunfermline created an opportunity for Allan but his shot from the left side of the box was saved at his right hand post by Mitchell. Stranraer went in to great praise from the home fans.
Stranraer 3 Dunfermline 1
As the torrential rain continued a roller was used to soak up the area in front of the main stand but as the teams emerged there was a as considerable amount of surface water on the pitch.
Dunfermline kicked off and were positive from the off but it was Stranraer who got the first chance of the half when Gallagher slid in to get on the end of a Pettigrew cross but Scully dealt easily with that. Unfortunately his defence was slipping all over the place in 49 minutes when Gallagher got in on the right. His shot on the angle was pushed upwards by Scully but LONGWORTH got to the ball first to stab the ball home. 4-1
Josh Falkingham and Michael Moffat replaced Ryan Williamson and Andy Barrowman and the Pars pushed up. Allan hit the post on the hour with a left footed shot from the left side of the box and Stranraer cleared for a corner at which McAusland's drive was deflected for another corner on the right.
Allan had another shot blocked by Frank McKeown while at the other end Longworth popped his shot narrowly wide right.
Gibson was the spare man as the home side broke again but Geggan got back to block the 30 year old former Par's shot with his rump. Malcolm sent a shot wide left as the home support willed him a goal but that was his last chance as he immediately got subbed by former Dumbarton striker Jon McShane.
The visitors did not give up but got few breaks off the increasingly muddy pitch. When one did come their way Allan gathered at the left corner flag and beat his man before finding Moffat in the box but he hammered his shot outside the near post.
In the final ten minutes the wind and rain got even more tricky, the pitch was becoming a bog and the result had been beyond doubt for some time. A fifth Stranraer goal was to come from a Gallagher cross from the right for sub McSHANE to turn in at the far post. 5-1
In 88 minutes Pettigrew was forward to try a shot but that was defended for Stranraer's first corner of the game. It had been a miserable match for the Pars in hellish weather on a very difficult pitch.
STRANRAER: David Mitchell; Craig Pettigrew, Frank McKeown, Scott Robertson, Jackson Longridge; Willie Gibson, Chris Aitken (Sean Winter 86), Steven Bell, Grant Gallagher; Jamie Longworth (Stephen Stirling 78), Craig Malcolm (Jon McShane 71).
SUBS NOT USED: Barry Russell, Scott Rumsby, Daniel Tobin (GK)
SCORERS: Gallagher (10), Aitken (32), Gibson (44), Longworth (49), McShane (83)
YELLOW CARD: Bell (38)
DUNFERMLINE: Ryan Scully: Ryan Williamson (Josh Falkingham 58) Gregor Buchanan (c), Lewis Martin, Stuart Urquhart; Andy Geggan, Kyle McAusland, Ryan Thomson, David Hopkirk (Lewis Spence 52); Lewis Allan, Andy Barrowman (Michael Moffat 58).
SUBS NOT USED: Paul George, Jim Paterson, Allan Smith, Ryan Goodfellow (GK)
SCORERS: Geggan (26)
YELLOW CARD: Geggan (37), Falkingham (67)
RED CARD: Buchanan (29)
REFEREE: Kevin Graham.
WEATHER: Wet, Windy 7C
NEXT MATCH: SPFL League One (away) v Brechin City
Tuesday 3rd March 2015, 7.45pm
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