SPFL League One: AIRDRIEONIANS 0 DUNFERMLINE 2: 14/11/15
Two changes for Pars - Ryan Wallace and Michael Moffat in for Antoine-Curier and Joe Cardle. Michael Moffat (7) 0-1; Shaun Byrne (54) 0-2
Dunfermline were visitors to the Excelsior Stadium for the first time this season. They were up against an Airdrieonians side that they had only beaten once in the last seven meetings but the home side's win at Forfar the previous Saturday was just their second in seven.
Ryan Wallace and Michael Moffat returned to take the place of Mickaël Antoine-Curier and the injured Joe Cardle. Airdrieonians boss Gary Bollan also made two changes from the side he last started - Jamie Bain and Scott Smith replaced Caolin McAleer and Bryan Prunty.
After a minute's silence in respect of those killed and injured in the previous night's atrocities in Paris it was the Fifers in their purple strip who kicked off attacking the goal to the left as viewed from the main stand.
Play halted after just two minutes when Liam Watt needed the physio's treatment and when play restarted Rhys McCabe turned the ball into the Airdrie box but it was to be an easy take for keeper Neil Parry.
Dunfermline were to take the lead in seven minutes. Firstly a long pass out of defence by Marc McAusland was trapped by Faissal El Bakhtaoui, Wallace took the short pass and centred from the right. McCabe flicked the ball left with his header and MOFFAT dived in to head the Pars into the lead. 0-1
The Diamonds created a great chance for an equaliser just five minutes later. A Nicky Cadden cross from the left had the Pars defenders stretching, David Cox failed to take the opportunity when the ball came closest and then Bain too failed to get the necessary touch before the ball slipped out beyond the far post.
Another opportunity was set up when Wallace fed a Paton pass on to El Bakhtaoui but the defence anticipated his shot on the turn and blocked that easily. At the other end Cadden again caused the danger but Ben Richards-Everton read the pass to Cox and intercepted it well.
Paton's 21st minute shot from outside the box was powerful headed away by Alan Lithgow. Dunfermline were enjoying plently of possession but with Airdrie pulling back everyone except Cox it was proving tough to break down the barrier. A crossfield pass by Jason Talbot was returned first time by Wallace on the right byeline and El Bakhtaoui tried a clever flick from 15 yards out that travelled out just beyond the left goalpost.
A loose clearance from left back David van Zanten teed up Wallace for a shot from 25 yards out but it was wide left. The Pars man was next yellow carded for a tackle on LIam Watt.
A Wallace cross was headed behind to hand the Pars a 37th minute corner on the left but the home side defended that. The same happened three minutes later when Moffat's through ball for Faiss was blocked for a corner on the right. Paton had a long range attempt before referee Brian Colvin brought the half to an end.
Half time reflections had to be that Dunfermline should maybe have been further ahead. They had enjoyed 59% possession but had only got in four shots on goal. The hosts in contrast had no shots at goal and had not even a corner to their credit.
Half time: Airdrieonians 0 Dunfermline 1
Shaun Byrne took over from Rhys McCabe in midfield for the second half and really the Pars just took over from where they left off. A 47th minute chance came from a El Bakhtaoui flick on but Moffat swept the awkwardly falling ball wide left. Three minutes later Wallace sent in a corner from the right and Geggan was unlucky not to head home but he was put off by a defender leaning in to him.
Wallace produced a cross into the box in the attack a minute later but Parry held at his near post. Then in 54 minutes BYRNE played a superb one two off Wallace to his right and sent the ball past Parry for 2-0.
Airdie's response was to substitute striker Scott Smith with George Hunter, the last player to score against Dunfermline on 26th September. On the hour Talbot and Bain clashed on the left just inside the Pars and it looked as though the Pars man had been knocked out but after attention and possibly a little stunned he continued. It might just have been the way he fell.
A 64th minute free kick on the right edge of the Airdrie box was scooped intoi the six yard box but the defence cleared just in front of McAusland who was attacking the ball strongly. Back at the other end Cox got away a shot but his sights were too far right and then the home side threatened again but Geggan put in a great block on Watt's drive.
Airdrie were then twice caught out on the break and firstly Wallace had his shot saved by Parry and in the next El Bakhtaoui hit his cross behind the posts.
As the rain came down play slowed down a bit and became disjointed. Cadden who had been Airdrie's best player, sent a 25 yard shot narrowly wide in 78 minutes. Then two minutes later they won a free kick 20 yards out near the left touchline and it required a diving header from McAusland to keep the Diamonds out. Murdoch came out and held from the resultant corner.
An 82nd minute Wallace corner was then deflected off a defender as Moffat got his head to it at the near post but when a bye kick was given there were plenty of jeers from the 528 strong travelling support.
Another corner three minutes later almost produced a third Dunfermline goal. Wallace took it quickly to the unmarked Byrne on the corner of the box and his shot was tipped over by Parry. Three more Dunfermline corners kept pressure on Parry's goal. Moffat ended his promising run with a wayward shot and was denied a free kick on the edge of the box in the last action of the game that nonetheless was to end with a comfortable Pars victory.
Congratulations to the team for their sixth successive league shut out, 612 league minutes without conceding a goal. The three points keep the Pars one point behind leaders Ayr United and now ten points clear of Airdrieonians in third place.
AIRDRIEONIANS: Neil Parry; Chris O'Neil, Sean Crighton, Alan Lithgow, David Van Zanten; Jamie Bain (Taylor Morgan 88), Marc Fitzpatrick (c)(Scott Stewart 86), Liam Watt, Nicky Cadden, Scott Smith (George Hunter, 57), David Cox.
SUBS NOT USED: Caolin McAleer, Jordan Morton, Kevin McBride, Rohan Ferguson (GK)
DUNFERMLINE: Sean Murdoch; Lewis Martin, Marc McAusland, Ben Richards-Everton, Jason Talbot; Michael Paton ,Andy Geggan, Rhys McCabe (Shaun Byrne HT), Ryan Wallace, Michael Moffat, Faissal El Bakhtaoui.
SUBS NOT USED: Lewis Spence, David Hopkirk, Josh Falkingham, Shaun Rooney, Mickaël Antoine-Curier, David Hutton (GK).
SCORERS: Moffat (7), Byrne (54)
YELLOW CARD: Wallace (33), Geggan (39), Martin (93)
REFEREE: Brian Colvin
WEATHER: Wet 6C
NEXT MATCH: Ladbrokes League One: (away) v Albion Rovers, Saturday 21st November 2015. Kick off 3.00pm at Cliftonhill
Ladbrokes Championship: v Brechin City, Saturday 23rd December 2017, kick off 3.00pm