SPFL League One: DUNFERMLINE 4 FORFAR ATHLETIC 0: 24/10/15
Dunfermline make one change for the visit of Forfar - El Bakhtaoui in for Paton. David Hopkirk (8) 1-0; Joe Cardle (63) 2-0; Ryan Wallace (75) 3-0; Ryan Wallace (84) 4-0
After two Saturday's away from home, the Pars returned to East End Park for the visit of Dick Campbell's Forfar Athletic. The visitors were in search of a first win in five games but were without Michael Dunlop, Michael Travis, Danny Denholm and Lewis Allan. Former Par Derek Young returned against a Dunfermline starting eleven that showed one change from the previous Saturday evening fixture at Stranraer, Faissal El Bakhtaoui coming in for Michael Paton.
Forfar kicked off attacking the McCathie Stand end but for the first four minutes the Pars pummelled the visitors' goal. Having won a corner within twenty seconds Joe Cardle's delivery was fisted away from Andy Geggan by Rab Douglas. A free kick followed on the right and when El Bakhtaoui melted a shot from 20 yards, Douglas was beaten but Iain Campbell cleared off the line.
Forfar paid dearly for trying to push up when on eight minutes Michael Moffat broke away on the counter. Prodding the ball into the right side of the box, he could have shot but instead drew the keeper and slipped the ball to his left for David HOPKIRK to net unchallenged. 1-0
Douglas had to hold a long range on-target lob from Geggan in 14th minute before Campbell was handed the chance from a 35 yard free kick but his shot was well wide and still Sean Murdoch had only byekicks to take.
Shaun Byrne required the attentions of physio Kenny Murray in 18 minutes after going down after making a challenge but he was fit to return. Forfar's Scott Martin forced his side's first corner in 22 minutes and when Campbell sent that over from the right Chris Templeman's header at the back post was well kept out by Sean Murdoch.
Cardle had a run at the Forfar defence that took him to the right side of their box but when he crossed the ball was easily cleared. Murdoch was back in action with a good diving clearance to fist away a Martyn Fotheringham cross.
On 31 minutes Fotheringham repeated a cross that this time caused Murdoch more difficulties due to the aerial presence of Templeman but between him and his defence the ball was cleared. A 34th minute Cardle corner from the right was again punched clear by Douglas but El Bakhtaoui was again waiting thirty yards out for just that kind of opportunity but he smashed the effort over the crossbar.
El Bakhtaoui turned provider in the next minute and his delivery to the back post looked the business but Cardle could not control. The next chance was an even better one with Hopkirk squaring for Moffat in front of goal but he failed to get a connection.
Two defensive failings gave Forfar opportunities before the break. First Murdoch had to to out sharpish to deal with a McAusland backpass and take the ball at the feet of Templeman and then when McAusland passed to Gavin Swankie a cross was headed wide by Templeman.
The stats for the first half showed Forfar with 56% possession so possibly just as well they made nothing of that. The better chances were Dunfermline's and they maybe should have scored at least one more.
Half Time: Dunfermline 1 Forfar Athletic 0
The second half started with Martin Scott being shown the first yellow card of the game for going through Jason Talbot. When play resumed tenacity by Cardle played in El Bakhtaoui but his shot from the edge of the box was blocked.
Forfar picked up possession again and Swankie drove in a shot for Murdoch to save much to the frustration of the home fans.
Thankfully the Pars came forward again with Moffat providing Cardle with the chance to shoot but that was blocked by O'Brien. Martin ran in from the right and his shot was deflected and El Bakhtaoui's efforts to turned the ball in were kept out by keeper and defender. Then a Hopkirk pass attempted to put Talbot was just too strong for the fiull back to catch.
As the hour mark passed it was all Dunfermline and a Talbot cross was just too high for Moffat to head home. El Bakhtaoui showed fantastic skills to skin his marker deep inside the Forfar box but chose a shot when a pass might have paid better dividend.
The second Pars goal duly arrived in 63 minutes when Rab Douglas failed to hold a Geggan cross from the right and unintentionally set up CARDLE for the simplest of finishes. 2-0
Cardle was through again only minutes later but his shot ran narrowly outside the far post. A double substitution for Dunfermline in 69th minute saw the withdrawal of Faissal El Bakhtaoui and Michael Moffat to refresh the attack with Ryan Wallace and Mickael Antoine-Curier.
It was Hopkirk who was to test Douglas next but his 71st minute shot went straight at the big green keeper. The two subs then combined to make Douglas save a Antoine-Curier after the big striker had got up to a Wallace cross.
The third Dunfermline goal was not far away and was duly delivered with 15 minutes to go. Byrne slipped the ball to WALLACE and he couldn't believe the space and time he got to pick his spot. 3-0
When Hopkirk was fouled on the edge of the Forfar box Wallace was given the chance from the free kick but hit the wrong side of the roof of the net. Hopkirk made Douglas beat away a fierce shot at his left hand post before in 84th minute the Pars got a fourth. WALLACE received a pass in from the left and despatched the ball into the left side of the net from 25 yards out. 4-0
The result was probably better than the performance but three points kept the Fifers top of the league, still one clear of Ayr United who were 1-0 winners at Stenhousemuir.
DUNFERMLINE: Sean Murdoch; Lewis Martin, Marc McAusland, Ben Richards-Everton, Jason Talbot; David Hopkirk, Andy Geggan, Shaun Byrne, Joe Cardle (Michael Paton 76), Michael Moffat (Mickael Antoine-Curier 69), Faissal El Bakhtaoui (Ryan Wallace 74).
SUBS NOT USED: Rhys McCabe, Lewis Spence, Shaun Rooney, David Hutton (GK).
SCORERS: Hopkirk (8), Cardle (63), Wallace (75, 84)
FORFAR ATHLETIC: Rab Douglas; Andrew Black (Michael Kennedy 64), Thomas O'Brien, Iain Campbell, Mark Baxter; Martyn Fotheringham, Scott Martin, Derek Young (Kerr Hay 68), Bryan Hodge; Chris Templeman (Craig Smith 80), Gavin Swankie (c).
SUBS NOT USED: Kevin Nicol, Jack Neave, Frankie Devine, Jason King(GK).
YELLOW CARD: Martin (46), Black (60), Fotheringham (74)
REFEREE: Stephen Finnie
WEATHER: Overcast 9C
NEXT MATCH: Ladbrokes League One (away) v Cowdenbeath, Saturday 31st October 2015, kick off 3.00pm at Central Park.
Ladbrokes Championship: v Falkirk, Saturday 2nd January 2018, kick off 3.00pm