SPFL League One: FORFAR 0 DUNFERMLINE 4: 05/09/15
Pars unchanged; Joe Cardle (4) 0-1; Joe Cardle (45+1) 0-2; Douglas saved penalty (65), Joe Cardle (69) 0-3; Andy Geggan (93) 0-4
Just two and a half weeks had past since the Pars Petrofac Training Cup 3-0 win over Forfar Athletic at Station Park so it was a confident team (and travelling support) that travelled up the A90 to meet the league leaders.
Morning of the match signing Mickaël Antoine-Curier was not yet available due to registration still requiring completion so Dunfermline Athletic were unchanged from the side fielded against Stranraer the previous Saturday.
Manager Dick Campbell had Omar Kader back from Alloa Athletic and Thomas O'Brien returned for Forfar who were without Gavin Swankie through injury.
Faissal El Bakhtaoui and Michael Moffat got the match underway with the visitors attacking the goal at the town end. Forfar's early attack ended with former Par loanee Lewis Allan caught offside when Chris Templeman flicked the ball through to his striking partner.
The Fifers were to score from virtually their first attack in the fourth minute. Michael Paton's first cross was blocked and returned to him. Next time he made ground into the box on the right and his cross was swept past Rab Douglas by Joe CARDLE from eight yards out. 0-1
El Bakhtaoui tried a low curling shot that just escaped to the right of goal. Andy Geggan made Douglas pulled off a fine save in ten minutes when a Cardle free kick from the left was nodded down by Ben Richards-Everton.
Two minutes later El Bakhtaoui delivered an inviting ball into the Forfar box but Josh Falkingham's glancing header went over Douglas' bar. Play continued to be predominantly towards the Forfar goal and on the quarter hour a Cardle cut back saw El Bakhtaoui stroke another shot but outside the far post.
Forfar's first opportunity came on 16 minutes when Allan and Kader failed to turn in a cross from the left. Having had the bulk of the possession Dunfermline tried to make that count for more. Cardle had an effort blocked and Falkingham dispatched the rebound over the bar. Rab Douglas got down well to turn an El Bakhtaoui header around his left hand post.
Templeman got in a shot at the other end and Sean Murdoch fisted that away and Geggan and Martin cleared. A Cardle shot in 25 minutes was deflected over at the end of a fine move from Moffat, chested down by El Bakhtaoui and then switched quickly by Falkingham to the left winger.
Lewis Martin pushed up after receiving a cross field pass from Cardle but his first shot was blocked and his second held by Douglas. Paton was on the end of a 32nd minute pass flicked on to him by El Bakhtaoui but his cross goal shot travelled beyond the far post.
A Cardle free kick from 28 yards out was curled around the four man wall but Travis headed clear. Then Moffat carved out an opportunity to get away a low shot that was deflected for a corner.
It had been a first half that Dunfermline had dominated with Cardle in particular torturing the Forfar defence. It was justice when in the first minute of added time CARDLE launched a shot that was stopped by Douglas but the ball spun over him and dropped over the line. 0-2
Half Time: Forfar Athletic 0 Dunfermline Athletic 2
The home side were clearly sent back out to compete and Allan fired a shot narrowly wide within 11 seconds of the restart. Murdoch held a cross from the left, Allan touched a pass for Danny Denholm to advance down the left but the Pars defence squeezed out Campbell's efforts to deliver the final ball.
Travis collected the first card of the afternoon for impeding Moffat right under referee George Salmond's nose. El Bakhtaoui fired the 52nd minute free kick from 25 yards out around the four man wall but only for Douglas to hold.
The Fifers piled on the pressure with Murdoch well out of his goal to pump a free kick into the Forfar box and despite touches from Moffat and Paton, Douglas was not tested. Geggan made a great run through and Cardle got a netbound shot in that was blocked. On the hour El Bakhtaoui burst into the box only to be thwarted by Douglas. Douglas then held a zipping shot from the French Moroccan and within a minute was again through but it was Travis who dispossessed the Pars top goalscorer when yet again it looked like he could not fail to score.
In 63 minutes El Bakhtaoui got in round the back of the Forfar defence but instead of passing cut inside and shot. The blocked ball caused chaos and in the mayhem Douglas was yellow carded for a push. A penalty was awarded but Cardle's shot low to the left was saved by Douglas.
Joe made up for that just six minutes later. Running on to a El Bakhtaoui pass CARDLE slotted home from 15 yards to complete his hattrick. 0-3
Ryan Wallace and then David Hopkirk were introduced for Paton and Cardle before El Bakhtaoui and Moffat were denied by Douglas in 76 minutes first by an outstretched leg and then a reaction save. Shaun Byrne came on with 12 minutes to go, Josh Falkingham going off.
Dunfermline continued to create golden chances and fail to take them. El Bakhtaoui cut in along the right byeline but when a cut back might have been a good option ran the ball into Douglas.
In 86 minutes Moffat fired the ball into the Forfar net but the flag was already up for offside. Murdoch held a Hodge effort from 25 yards out to give the Loons no consolation goal and at the other end El Bakhtaoui blazed another high over the crossbar.
Hopkirk forced a 91st minute corner that Wallace and Moffat played short but changed nothing. Then in 93 minutes a Wallace shot was turned around his right hand post by Douglas and when Wallace sent that over GEGGAN headed past Douglas to make it four. A fine performance to take three points back to East End Park and to take Dunfermline back to the top of League One.
FORFAR ATHLETIC: Rab Douglas; Andrew Black (Michael Dunlop 66), Thomas O'Brien, Michael Travis, Iain Campbell; Omar Kader (Kerr Hay 66), Derek Young, Bryan Hodge, Danny Denholm; Chris Templeman (Martyn Fotheringham 72), Lewis Allan
SUBS NOT USED: Craig Smith, James Yates, Cameron Clark, Jason King (GK).
YELLOW CARD: Travis (52), Hodge (61), Douglas (63), Fotheringham (79)
DUNFERMLINE: Sean Murdoch; Lewis Martin, Callum Fordyce (c), Ben Richards-Everton, Jason Talbot,; Michael Paton (Ryan Wallace 72), Josh Falkingham (Shaun Byrne 78), Andy Geggan, Joe Cardle (David Hopkirk 74); Michael Moffat, Faissal El Bakhtaoui.
SUBS NOT USED: James Thomas, Shaun Rooney, John Potter, David Hutton (GK).
SCORERS: Cardle (4, 45+1), 69), Geggan (93)
YELLOW CARD: Cardle (69), Richards-Everton (83), Fordyce (88)
REFEREE: George Salmond
WEATHER: Fine 14C
NEXT MATCH: Ladbrokes League One (home) v Ayr United
Saturday 12th September 2015, kick of 3.00pm
Ladbrokes Championship: v St Mirren, Friday 26th January 2018, kick off 7.45pm