SPFL League One: DUNFERMLINE 1 FORFAR ATHLETIC 3: 25/0415

Dunfermline 1 Forfar Athletic 3
Saturday, 25th Apr 2015

Williamson, O'Kane, Falkingham and El Bakhtaoui start in place of Millen, Buchanan, Thomson and Smith. Martyn Fotheringham (9) 0-1; Chris Templeton (19) 0-2; Dale Hilson (36) 0-3; El Bakhtaoui (77) 1-3

The last home game of the 2014-2015 season brought title chasers Forfar Athletic to East End Park searching for their first win in Dunfermline since September 1983. John Potter promised changes and he was forced into one - Ross Millen was suspended so Ryan Williamson filled the right back role. Declan O'Kane, Josh Falkingham and Faissal El Bakhtaoui started in place of Gregor Buchanan, Ryan Thomson and Allan Smith. Lewis Spence was sidelined with a knee injury and David Hopkirk was missing through illness.

Forfar Athletic boss Dick Campbell made several changes too. Stuart Malcolm came in for Iain Campbell, Stephen Husband and Danny Denholm returned in place of Omar Kader and Derek Young. Ahead of kick off there were lengthy queues of away fans waiting to get into the South West Stand reflecting the importance of the match to the Loons.

An injury to his back in warm up meant keeper Ryan Scully was denied his 87 appearance for the Pars and 18 year old Jamie Wilson came in for his senior debut. The Pars keeper was given early touches twice coming out of his box to clear in the opening four minutes and then dropping to his knees to save a Chris Templeman shot to his near post.

In ninth minute Martyn FOTHERINGHAM shot a 30 yard free kick in at the right post as everyone waited for a lob in towards the bunched players in the box. The expertly placed shot that bent on, would probably even have severely tested first choice keeper Scully. 0-1

Fotheringham was not as lucky with a long range effort just after his strike and after a spell where the opposition seemed to win everything the Pars won two corners on the quarter hour mark. The best chance came from the first effort after Falkingham picked out Shaun Byrne who then found the head of Michael Moffat six yards out and the ball was deflected behind.

In 17 minutes Wilson dived low to his left to keep out a Templeton header but the Angus side continued to shoot on sight to keep the pressure on the young keeper. Two minutes later a solo run from former Par Chris TEMPLETON rounded both Wilson and O'Kane and the ball was in the Pars net for a second time. 0-2

A 26th minute Forfar corner from the right was forceably headed clear by Williamson and then another just a minute later was cleared by the combined efforts of Andy Geggan and El Bakhtaoui.

Rab Douglas made a save to deny EL Bakhtaoui as the striker nipped in to try and scoop the ball over the large keeper. A Falkingham free kick from the left touchline was powered away by the Forfar defence. Husband blocked a Whittle cross and when the ball was centred El Bakhtaoui, under pressure from Malcolm sliced his shot wide right.

Ten minutes from the break Finn Graham pushed Templeton on the right side of the box and referee Gavin Duncan had no hesitation in pointing to the penalty spot. The Pars player was shown yellow before Dale HILSON stepped up to stroke the ball into the bottom left with Wilson given no chance. 0-3

Falkingham fought hard to get in a cross from the left but he was forced to cut the ball back for the unmarked Geggan who tried a shot from 25 yards that was blocked. El Bakhtaoui was next to pop a shot on target from outside the Forfar box but Douglas was well down to his left to keep his goal intact.

Half time: Dunfermline 0 Forfar Athletic 3

Forfar got the second half underway playing into the sun but it was Geggan got in the first attempt of the half after just 40 seconds, forcing Douglas to save his 30 yard strike. A minute later the keepoer failed to take out El Bakhtaoui's flick on and was saved embarrassment as Darren Dods swept the netbound ball away at the left upright.

A 50th minute free kick was launched on target by Falkingham but Douglas held. Next Moffat slipped the ball through the Forfar box but no one could get the touch required to register the Fifers first goal of the season against Forfar.

Three minutes later Geggan produced a good weighted ball for Whittle to run on to on the left but his cross was held by Douglas. In 57 minute Falkingham drove the ball across the Forfar box from the right and El Bakhtaoui made a spectacular attempt from 12 yards but Douglas pulled off an equally impressive save.

Dunfermline continued to push up with Whittle getting in a shot and Williamson getting in behind sub Omar Kader to send the ball through the six yard box. Fotheringham cut down Falkkingham and was shown a 66th minute yellow card which probably prompted his manager to replace him with Gavin Malin two minutes later. At the same time Ryan Thomson came on to replace Shaun Byrne.

Wilson was having nothing to do this half and when he cleared a pass back to him upfield the ball was quickly played on to EL BAKHTAOUI who placed the ball passed Douglas and in at the left goalpost. 1-3

The Pars continmued to push, Whittle had a good shot tipped over the crossbar and from the resultant corner Martin had his shot blocked, Moffat followed up with the same effect and O'Kane smashed an effort off the crossbar. In the same action, Moffat's drive was blocked by Thomson in an offside position.

As the match entered its final five minutes Forfar looked more and more nervous. The Pars pushed up sensing that one more goal could easily be followed by another. El Bakhtaoui and Moffat troubled the defence again but Douglas saved.

Williamson swung the ball across the opposition box and two more corners followed for the Pars. Falkingham played Williamson in for another attempt to pick out his strikers and yet another Pars corner was won.

If it hadn't been for that horrid opening 35 minutes and the Pars had played the whole match like they did the second half then there might not have been a happy trip back up the A90 for the Forfar fans.

Good luck to Dick Campbell's team whether they can clinch promotion in their final match at home to Ayr United or in the Championship play offs.
DUNFERMLINE: Jamie Wilson; Ryan Williamson, Declan O'Kane, Lewis Martin, Alex Whittle; Finn Graham, Shaun Byrne (Ryan Thomson 68), A Geggan, Josh Falkingham (c); Faissal El Bakhtaoui, Michael Moffat.
SUBS NOT USED: Gregor Buchanan, Kyle McAusland, Allan Smith, James Thomas, Scott Mercer, Cammy Gill (GK).
SCORERS: El Bakhtaoui (77)
YELLOW CARD: Graham (35), Martin (78)

FORFAR ATHLETIC: Rab Douglas; Michael Dunlop, Michael Travis, Darren Dods, Stuart Malcolm; Danny Denholm (Omar Kader 62), Stephen Husband, Martyn Fotheringham (Gavin Malin 68), Dale Hilson; Gavin Swankie (Craig Smith 74), Chris Templeman.
SUBS NOT USED: Michael Kennedy, Cameron Clark, Kerr Hay, Jason King (GK)
SCORERS: Fotheringham (9), Templeton (19), Hilson (36 pen.)
YELLOW CARD: Fotheringham (66), Malcolm (75)

REFEREE: Gavin Duncan.
WEATHER: Sunny 14C
ATTENDANCE 2262

NEXT MATCH: SPFL League One (away) v Airdrieonians; Saturday 2nd May 2015, kick off 3.00pm at Excelsior Stadium.

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Betfred Cup v Peterhead: Saturday 22nd July 2017, kick off 3.00pm