SPFL League One: PETERHEAD 1 DUNFERMLINE 1: 04/04/15
Michael Moffat and Allan Smith start upfront. Lewis Martin replaces Stuart Urquhart. Moffat (18) 0-1; Andy Rodgers (78) 1-1;
It was seventh v sixth at Balmoor when Peterhead hosted the Pars for the second time this season. With both teams equal on 44 points, just five behind the final play off place and, given the previous history in the three matches so far, this always promised to be a contest.
John Potter made three changes from the side that started against Morton. Lewis Martin returned from international duty so Stuart Urquhart dropped to the bench and Kyle McAusland was pushed up into midfield.
After scoring twice for the Under 20s at Dingwall on Tuesday, Allan Smith returned to the side and he was paired with Michael Moffat. Andy Barrowman and Faissal El Bakhtaoui found themselves on the bench.
Peterhead also made three changes with Andy Rodgers, David Cox and Ross Smith making way for the return of Gary McDonald, Nicky Reily and their top goalscorer Rory McAllister.
Moffat and Smith got the game underway attacking the goal at the north end of the ground. The visitors enjoyed the majority of the early play although Peterhead were giving them very little time to be comfortable on the ball. A McAusland header back into the Blues' box offered an early chance but neither Geggan nor Hopkirk could get a shot in.
Dunfermline forced the first corner of the afternoon but when Hopkirk eventually played that over from the left it was easily cleared. The first sub of the match was required after just ten minutes, Jamie Stevenson going off and David Cox coming on.
On the quarter hour Smith intercepted a clearance and Josh Falkingham accepted the lay off. With few options in the box the Pars captain tried a shot from 20 yards that only just cleared the crossbar. A Peterhead corner two minutes later was headed clear by McAusland and next Gregor Buchanan headed away the return.
When the ball returned to the other end Hopkirk's cross was defended out for Ross Millen to lob back in. It was 18th minute when he picked out Michael MOFFAT on the left side of the box and his header beyond keeper Graeme Smith went in off the right goalpost. It was just Michael's sixth goal for the Pars but it could prove very important. 0-1
Both teams continued to fight for everything and Cox wass warned for his challenge on Whittle and Buchanan shown the first yellow card on 25 minutes for his tackle on Nicky Riley. Dunfermline however looked the more composed and when they got forward it took some dogged defending to keep them away from Smith's goal.
In 31 minutes Ryan Scuilly went out bravely to hold a cross cum shot from the right with McAllister possibly hurting himself more than the keeper in the save. McAusland had a shot from 25 yards but it lacked power and trundled wide left. Back at the other end Kevin Dzierzawski shot wildly wide right but then a Cammy Kerr effort from the edge of box won a corner on the left. Martin headed that clear and then McDonald was blown up for bowling into Scully after he had held the follow up cross.
Then eight minutes from half time, the Pars created a great chance when Hopkirk in behind the defence on its right side. His delivery was behind the strikers but McAusland got in a shot that Smith held.
Whittle was next to provide a good delivery but again no one could capitalise on the opportunity. Peterhead's threats were coming from long balls towards the Pars penalty box but the defence were coming out on top of that assisted by a few illicit challenges that referee Nick Walsh picked up.
It had been a good first half from the Fifers. There had been more long balls but Dunfermline who had shown good appetite and desire, deserved to be ahead at the break.
Half time: Peterhead 0 Dunfermline 1
First attempt of the second half took six minutes to come and it was a drive from sub Cox, 25 yards out that deflected for Scully to save. Dzierzawski put through a ball that Whittle slipped at going to control but the ball skimmed on through for a goal kick.
Steve Noble's 55th minute cross was tipped over for a Peterhead corner and when thatr came in the ball was put behind again,. In the process Ryan Scully and Scott Ross clashed. The physios came on for both players. The Pars keeper appeared to sustain a bleeding nose and there was a lengthy stoppage. Ross was allowed back on before the corner was taken and when it was McDonald's chip across goal resulted in a good old stramash that the Pars thankfully survived.
in 61 minutes Andy Rodgers replaced Nicky Riley. Dunfermline were needing a respite but the home side were not for allowing that. Further pressure was sustained but Scully had to pull off a fine save as Noble got through into the left side of the box. A corner ensued and the over anxious Peterhead attack was penalised for pushing.
Scully held a Jamie Redman header from a free kick played in from deep left before the Peterhead man was subbed. The Pars first sub of the game was Ryan Thomson who replaced Kyle McAusland in 71 minutes and for a spell Dunfermline took play back into the Peterhead half. Thomson headed away a Ryan Strachan free kick but in the next move Noble got in behind the visitors' defence and Andy RODGERS was well placed to crash the ball home from eight yards. 1-1
With ten minutes remaining there was no doubt that it was the Blues who had their tails up and the home crowd urged them on. Whittle collected a yellow card when he stopped Rodgers threatening burst through but the Pars box was under siege. Faissal El Bakhtaoui and Andy Barrowman came on to freshen up the attack but they barely saw the ball as play continued towards Scully's goal.
McAllister was caught offside in 88 and next minute the keeper was out sharpish to sweep the ball away from the Peterhead number nine 30 yards out. A throw into the Pars box came up and off Millen's hand before the Pars forced a corner but there was to be no added time hero even after a Barrowman cross in 93 minutes was met by a Geggan header at the near post only to go behind.
Yet another 1-1 draw between these teams. Coupled with the news that Brechin City had taken three points at Greenock it seemed that there was little for either club to be happy about.
PETERHEAD: Graeme Smith; Cammy Kerr, Scott Ross, Gary McDonald, Steven Noble (c); Kevin Dzierzawski, James Redman (Jordan Brown, 70), Ryan Strachan, Nicky Riley (Andy Rodgers 61), Rory McAllister, Jamie Stevenson (David Cox 11).
SUBS NOT USED: Paul Jarvie (GK), Ross Smith, Reece Donaldson, Dean Cowie
SCORERS: Rodgers (77)
YELLOW CARD: Strachan (79)
DUNFERMLINE: Ryan Scully; Ross Millen, Gregor Buchanan, Lewis Martin, Alex Whittle; Andy Geggan, Josh Falkingham (c), Kyle McAusland (Ryan Thomson 71), David Hopkirk; Allan Smith (Faissal El Bakhtaoui 81), Michael Moffat (Andy Barrowman 81)
SUBS NOT USED: Stuart Urquhart, Lewis Spence, Shaun Byrne, Jamie Wilson (GK)
SCORERS: Moffat (18)
YELLOW CARD: Buchanan (25), Whittle (80)
REFEREE: Nick Walsh
WEATHER: Overcast damp 9C
NEXT MATCH: SPFL League One (home) v Stranraer
Saturday 11th April 2015, kick off 3.00pm
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