SPFL League One: DUNFERMLINE 3 STRANRAER 1: 29/08/15
Same Pars starting eleven. El Bakhtaoui (13) 1-0; Talbot (22) 2-0; Geggan (51) 3-0; Longworth (56) 3-1
For the visit of Stranraer Allan Johnston went with the same starting eleven that was successful against Dundee in the Scottish League Cup in midweek. Intrigue was created with the naming of two trialists on the Pars bench. One was Shaun Rooney, the other we will wait on the manager to name.
Disappointingly Ryan Thomson was not fit and so there were just two former Pars players up against Dunfermline. Steven Bell and Andy Stirling lined up for Stranraer who made two changes from the side that played so well against Hibs. Into their starting eleven came keeper David McGurn and Chris Aitken in midfield.
Stranraer have made the play offs for the last two seasons and last year they had the best defensive record in League One. They have been a big obstacle for Dunfermline of late with the win over them in April their first in five meetings. It was the visitors who kicked off attacking the goal at the McCathie Stand end.
Craig Malcolm was warned by referee Mat Northcroft for his late tackle on Josh Falkingham after just two minutes. Stranraer enjoyed far possession in the opening ten minutes than they had possibly anticipated with Malcolm and Mark McGuigan, wide right, creating some work for the home defence.
First excitement at the Stranraer end came in tenth minute when Michael Moffat got in a shot from the edge of the box but David McGurn was able to pick up the shot that was heading wide left.
A Falkingham barge on Malcolm earned the visitors a free kick 25 yards out but fortunately former Killie player Paul Cairney swept his effort past the five man wall and beyond the left goalpost.
The Pars were to take the lead in 13 minutes and no surprise it was Faissal EL BAKHTAOUI on the end of a Michael Paton ball in from the right and the French Moroccan met it on the volley to find the net to the right of the keeper. 1-0
Dunfermline kept up the pressure with a corner and by keeping play in the Stranraer half but they did force a 21st minute corner that Sean Murdoch came out to clutch cleanly. Back up to the other end and everybody was looking twice as Jason TALBOT turned up in an most unlikely position at the back post to head home a good Joe Cardle delivery from the left. 2-0
Jamie Longworth replaced Paul Cairney in 26 minutes as Stranraer tried to get back into the match. Talbot was shown the first yellow card of the afternoon for an unnecessarily strong challenge on McGuigan before Cardle made a run that he ended with a shot that was deflected for a corner on the left.
That changed nothing but the Pars held possession deep in the Stranraer half until Moffat won a 32nd minute corner on the right. Again the blue team headed clear. The referee had a few words with Falkingham and Andy Geggan and Chris Aitken continued a war of words before centre back Lee Mair was shown a 35th minute yellow card for dumping El Bakhtaoui right in front of the Pars dugout.
Moffat blocked away a visitors corner and then Paton an ensuing one. El Bakhtaoui showed off some ball trickery on halfway before bursting forward only to be taken down from behind by Scott Robertson. The Stranraer full back earned himself a 38th minute yellow card and Faiss continued after treatment from physio Kenny Murray.
There was a wee fright in 44 minutes when Stirling got in a cross from the left and Bell ran in to glance his header wide of the near post. The Pars then required Murdoch to hold a rather weak Stirling shot. Nevertheless it had been a good first 45 from the Pars who thoroughly deserved their two goal lead at the break. 55% possession to Stranraer's 45%.
Half time: Dunfermline 2 Stranraer 0
There were no half time substitutions and Aitken tested Murdoch just 45 seconds into the second half but the keeper held the effort from 20 yards out. The Galloway side was to go further behind in 51 minutes after El Bakhtaoui had done well on the left to tee up Cardle for a shot that McGurn could only turn away to GEGGAN and he made no mistake, thrashing the ball home from ten yards. 3-0
The lead was reduced to two again however just five minutes later. Former Partick Thistle player, Dale Keenan had only just replaced Scott Robertson when he was involved in a move up the left that sent in a ball that LONGWORTH converted with style. 3-1
The second Pars substitution of the match saw Lewis Martin go off to make way for trialist Shaun Rooney at right back. Murdoch held a cross from an Aitken free kick after Falkingham in 70 minutes had been shown the Pars fourth yellow card of the afternoon.
A 73rd minute corner from the right let Paton and Geggan exchange passes and Paton's well connected shot was parried away by the former Raith Rovers keeper. Shaun Byrne was the last Pars sub with Cardle withdrawn.
Geggan drove through the middle and released a pass left for Paton but McGurn held at his near post. Wallace fired an 83rd minute free kick beyond the far post and then presented with a good opportunity just a minute later shot straight at McGurn.
The Fifers had the game won but still collected a further yellow card for skipper Callum Fordyce. With such a tight squad these might become significant when suspensions need to be served.
DUNFERMLINE: Sean Murdoch; Lewis Martin (Trialist 61), Callum Fordyce (c), Ben Richards-Everton, Jason Talbot,; Michael Paton, Josh Falkingham, Andy Geggan, Joe Cardle (Shaun Byrne 73); Michael Moffat (Ryan Wallace 55), Faissal El Bakhtaoui.
SUBS NOT USED: David Hopkirk, James Thomas, Trialist, David Hutton (GK)
SCORERS: El Bakhtaoui (13), Talbot (22), Geggan (51), Falkingham (70), Fordyce (88)
YELLOW CARD: Talbot (29), Wallace (57), Falkingham (70), Fordyce (87)
STRANRAER: David McGurn; Scott Robertson (Dale Keenan 55), Scott Rumsby, Lee Mair, Craig Pettigrew; Mark McGuigan, Steven Bell, Chris Aitken, Andy Stirling (Peter McGill 81), Paul Cairney (Jamie Longworth 26), Craig Malcolm.
SUBS NOT USED: Sam McCloskey, Liam Rowan, Max Currie (GK)
SCORERS: Longworth (56)
YELLOW CARD: Mair (35), Robertson (38), Bell (66)
REFEREE: Mat Northcott
WEATHER: Bright 17C
NEXT MATCH: Ladbrokes League One (away) v Forfar Athletic. Saturday 5th September 2015, 3.00pm kick off at Station Park.
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