SPFL League One: FORFAR ATHLETIC 1 DUNFERMLINE 0: 21/02/15
Forfar Athletic had Gavin Malin missing as he served a suspension for his red card the previous Saturday against Airdrieonians. That made way for former Par Stephen Husband to return to the side. Dale Hilson became a father on the morning of the game but he too returned to Dick Campbell's team.
John Potter made three changes to the team that defeated Stenhousemuir the previous Saturday. Lewis Martin, David Hopkirk and Michael Moffat made room for Paul George to start and two who had done well in the Under 20s - Stuart Urquhart and Faissal El Bakhtaoui - both started.
The game kicked off with the Pars in their home strip but with red socks attacking the goal at the town end. Given that it was third v fourth both sides started cautiously. Both Iain Campbell and Stephen Husband conceded free kicks before Ryan Scully was called upon to come out for a ball clipped over Urquhart by Hilson.
In the first ten minutes several Pars through balls into the right wing area were overhit and went for bye kicks but the pace of the game was fast and there was little time given to anyone on the ball.
There was stalemate until 15th minute when George cut in from the right and his dangerous cross was flicked on for Alex Whittle to crash a shot on target from 15 yards but Rab Douglas pulled off the first save of the match to deny him. A good long throw in from the right by Andy Geggan failed to find a Pars man.
After Gavin Swankie had earned a 19th minute corner, Darren Dods header was cleared off the line by Whittle. Then at the other end El Bakhtaoui should have provided the opener. He beat off his marker drew the keeper but then from an acute angle on the left hit the sidenetting when a cut back might have worked much better for the awaiting Barrowman and George.
On 26 minutes George took the ball from El Bakhtaoui and drove a shot at goal from 20 yards that the defence blocked. Three minutes later Falkingham picked out Whittle who cut in from the left before hitting a shot just over the crossbar.
Another Forfar corner was earned when Omar Kader's progress on goal was thwarted and happily the Fifers defended this one better than the previous one from the left. Husband and Hilson tried to break through on their right but the defence snuffed them out.
Forfar produced a couple of chances, the first a long ball through the middle that Hilson failed to convert and then from a free kick when Stuart Malcolm headed wide left.
A Pars corner in 36th minute was headed away by Malcolm and Husband sped away, getting the break of the ball off Falkingham to win a corner on the right. The Loons did no better with theirs and play swiftly switched to the other end with El Bakhtaoui's cross disappointingly failing to find the advancing McAusland or Falkingham.
An injury to Whittle meant Jim Paterson came on against the club he left in January to join Dunfermline. Derek Young and Josh Falkingham were shown yellow cards for an exchange before Scully held Templeman's knock down from a Kader cross.
In added time at the end of the half, Spence had an opportunity whipped off his toe by Young and the resultant corner changed nothing. The Pars had a slight edge in terms of first half possession but at the interval neither side deserved to be behind. Forfar had two shots to the Pars four and they had five corners to the visitors four.
Forfar Athletic 0 Dunfermline 0
First chance of the second half fell to Swankie within two minutes but Scully's diving save turned the ball around his left hand post for a corner. For the Pars McAusland tried a 28 yard shot that just cleared the crossbar.
Falkingham swung the ball away over to the left for Paterson to return but El Bakhtaoui could only force a corner. There were to be two corners from the right with McAusland firing back the cleared ball for Douglas to hold.
The Fifers looked like they had got lucky in 58 minutes when Templeman's lay off to Hilson was kept out by the right goalpost. The ball was only cleared as far as HUSBAND and he netted from 35 yards out, no celebration from him as the ball hit the top right of the Pars net but plenty from the home support. 1-0
New signing Lewis Allan was introduced and George withdrawn but it was Forfar who were nearly to snatch the second goal of the game. El Bakhtaoui was far too casual and allowed Hilson possession on the left. When the Forfar no.11 cut the ball back Kader sent the chance over the crossbar.
Allan came close in 69 minutes when the ball sneaked through to him but Douglas edged the ball round his right hand post. Another change saw Michael Moffat replace El Bakhtaoui. Swankie tested Scully with another good connection while at the other end Allan came close to heading in Geggan's cross.
Then in 78 minutes with Dunfermline desperately trying to find a route through a ten man Forfar defence, Paterson's cross was met by the head of Falkingham but his attempt went wide right. Spence had a shot blocked and as the minutes slipped away Spence sent an inviting ball through the Forfar six yard box but to no avail.
The home side mopped up the Dunfermline pressure which was intense. Templeman had a shot on the counter but was high and wide. In the end Husband's magnificent strike separated the sides and it was back down the A90 with no points.
FORFAR ATHLETIC: Rab Douglas, Michael Travis, Stuart Malcolm, Darren Dods, Iain Campbell; Derek Young, Stephen Husband, Omar Kader (Danny Denholm 79); Dale Hilson (Martyn Fotheringham 85), Chris Templeman, Gavin Swankie (c).
SUBS NOT USED: James Dale, Aaron James, Andrew Steeves, Mark Baxter, Ross Salmon (GK).
SCORERS: Husband (58)
YELLOW CARD: Young (43), Campbell (72)
DUNFERMLINE: Ryan Scully: Andy Geggan, Gregor Buchanan, Stuart Urquhart, Alex Whittle (Jim Paterson 40); Paul George (Lewis Allan 61), Josh Falkingham (c), Kyle McAusland, Lewis Spence; Andy Barrowman, Faissal El Bakhtaoui (Michael Moffat 70)
SUBS NOT USED: Shaun Byrne, Ross Millen, David Hopkirk, Ryan Goodfellow (GK).
YELLOW CARD: Falkingham (43), Paterson (51)
REFEREE: Mat Northcroft
WEATHER: Fine 7C
NEXT MATCH: SPFL League One (home) v Brechin City
Tuesday 24th February 2015, kick off 7:45pm
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