SPFL League One: COWDENBEATH 0 DUNFERMLINE 0: 31/10/15
both teams go with same starting eleven and bench as previous week
The Pars returned to Central Park on league business for the first time since February 2013. The last visit was a historic win for the home win, their first at home over their closest neighbours for over 35 years. Given the Blue Brazils success in the First Division Championship play offs in the following games there was be a great desire to kick off another lengthy period of Pars success in Cowdenbeath.
Both managers went with the same starting elevens that had brought them success the previous Saturday, Dunfermline at home against Forfar Athletic and Cowdenbeath away to Stranraer.
2097 fans inside Central Park for this Fife Derby easily exceeded the agggregate of Cowden's five previous home league matches this season and Andy Geggan led the team out to be greeted by a terracing opposite filled with Pars fans.
The Pars kicked off playing into the sun defending the goal at the High Street end. Faissal el Bakhtaoui was fed a good through ball from Michael Moffat but his early cross was blocked for a thrown in deep up the right. The Pars maintained pressure and from a subsequent Lewis Martin throw in, David Hopkirk jinked in from the right forcing a good save from keeper Jamie Sneddon from the low netbound shot.
It was a frantic opening five minutes to this Derby with the ball not being in anyone's possession for very long. Cowdenbeath won the first corner of the game in eight minutes but that was nicely defended. Next Sean Murdoch rose to hold a cross from the left touchline from his namesake Andy Murdoch.
On twelve minutes Greig Spence was able to try a shot from 30 yards that Murdoch held reading the awkward bounce in front of him. At the other end Joe Cardle chipped an effort over the bar from 20 yards.
Three minutes later Cardle's ball from half way sent Moffat into the left side of the Cowden box and he had players to choose from for his cut back. El Bakhtaoui controled, had his initial effort predictably blocked and then tested Sneddon with the follow up.
El Bakhtaoui was robbed by Liam Callaghan as he lined up a 21st minute shot before play was interupted for an injury to Kyle Miller who had come off second best in a 50/50 with Moffat.
Midway through the first half Geggan's ball out right for Moffat created a chance when he flashed the ball to the six yard box. El Bakhtaoui got a touch but the ball escaped outside the left goalpost. There was defending to be done too with Ben Richards-Everton sliding the ball out and Geggan digging in to dispossess his man.
In 27 minutes El Bakhtaoui picked out Cardle on the left and his return looked good for Moffat at the back post but the direction on his header was not so clever. What was to be the Pars only first half corner delivered from the left by Cardle, was powered on target by Marc McAusland but that was cleared at the right post by a defender. In between Geggan was yellow carded for a challenge on Gordon Smith and in 31 minutes Cardle collected one for encroaching on a free kick.
Although the Blue Brazil gave them little time on the ball, Dunfermline looked confident going forward but just couldn't find an opening. Ten minutes from the break Jason Talbot was on the end of a move from Geggan through Moffat but he blasted the opportunity way over the bar.
Smith was then yellow carded for his tackle on Geggan before from a Martin thrown in Hopkirk speedily moved on the ball to Cardle on the left but Sneddon held Joe's quick fired effort.
Cardle conceded a free kick 25 yards out in the final minute of the half causing Dean Brett to complain bitterly to referee Nick Walsh. With all the Dunfermline players back for the setpiece Brett then drove the attempt over the crossbar.
It had been an even first half on possession and corners but the "Townies" had the better chances. Hopkirk's couple and those falling to El Bakhtaoui and Moffat maybe should have created a gap between the sides but they went in at the break all square.
Cowdenbeath 0 Dunfermline 0
Both teams were out early waiting to re-engaged in battle before the match officials appeared. From the restart the pace of play resumed at its hectic style with the Pars again looking the more likely to get the early breakthrough.
There was nothing in the way of goalmouth action and so with the home side coming more into it Allan Johnston introduced Ryan Wallace in 59 minutes for Michael Moffat. An erratic clearance from Richards-Everton allowed Smith a shot from 20 yards that Murdoch dived to his right to hold.
In 63 minutes Smith tricked both Richards-Everton and Talbot to slip into the right side of the box but the danger ceased when the Cowden striker went down too quick in a challenge by Byrne. Hopkirk and El Bakhtaoui were then withdrawn for Mickael Antoine-Curier and Michael Paton to try and alter the way the game was going for the final 25 minutes.
There was still uncomfortably too much play around Murdoch's box while at the other end Sneddon was out of work. In 72 minutes the orange kitted stopper knew little of a Cardle shot from 25 yards out that was deflected narrowly wide for a corner.
Antoine-Curier smashed a 75th minute attempt well wide right but Brett came perilously close to turning in a Spence cross at the near post. The Pars pushed forward and at times all except Murdoch were in the Cowden half. Wallace sent over a 79th minute corner that Richards-Everton headed narrowly over the bar.
Then next minute Wallace was set up from a Cardle pass but pulled his shot wide right. A bit of a let off. Back at the other end Murdoch did really well to stop a low fired rocket from Andy Murdoch but with Ayr United two goals ahead of Stranraer, the time was running out if Dunfermline were going to hold on to the league leaders tag.
there was a rally towards the Cowdenbeath end and the Pars bench were all arms raised when Cardle appeared to be pushed over by Murdoch on the left side of the penalty box in added time. No award.
It was to be the sixth clean sheet in eight games but Cowdenbeath extended their unbeaten home run to five games and frustrated the Pars who had to settle for one point. Quite a transformation in Colin Nish's team who had conceded twelve in two matches against Dunfermline earlier in the season.
COWDENBEATH: Jamie Sneddon; Brad Donaldson, Pat Scullion, Ali El-Zubaidi, Kenny Adamson; Dean Brett, Kyle Miller, Andrew Murdoch, Liam Callaghan, Greig Spence (Craig Johnston 86), Gordon Smith (Robbie Buchanan 71).
SUBS NOT USED: Chris Kane, Mo Yaqub, Declan Hughes, Sam Orrit, Shaun Hunter (GK)
YELLOW CARD: Smith (37), Buchanan (89)
DUNFERMLINE: Sean Murdoch; Lewis Martin, Marc McAusland, Ben Richards-Everton, Jason Talbot; David Hopkirk (Michael Paton 65), Andy Geggan, Shaun Byrne, Joe Cardle, Michael Moffat (Ryan Wallace 59), Faissal El Bakhtaoui (Mickael Antoine-Curier 65)
SUBS NOT USED: Rhys McCabe, Lewis Spence, Shaun Rooney, David Hutton (GK).
YELLOW CARD: Geggan (27), Cardle (31), Wallace (77), Richards-Everton (89)
REFEREE: Nick Walsh
WEATHER: Sunny 16C
NEXT MATCH: Ladbrokes League One: (home) v Peterhead
Saturday 7th November 2015, East End Park, kick off 3.00pm
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