SPFL League One: ALBION ROVERS 1 DUNFERMLINE 1: 21/11/15
Joe Cardle and Shaun Byrne start in place of Michael Paton and Rhys McCabe. Andy Geggan (15) 0-1; Josh Mullen (20) 1-1
Dunfermline were the visitors to Cliftonhill for the first time since April 1985. Rhys McCabe missed out with a calf injury allowing Shaun Byrne to continue in midfield and Joe Cardle had recovered from his groin strain so Michael Paton dropped to the bench.
Albion Rovers in joint third place but ten points behind their opponents made one change from the side that lost 1-0 to league leaders Ayr United last time out. Josh Mullen started instead of Ally Love. Player manager Darren Young was suspended.
The home side kicked off attacking the goal with terracing behind it. That housed some of the big Pars travelling support. Just on two minutes there was panic in the home defence after Michael Moffat had released Cardle down the left and his diagonal ball was not cleared convincingly when Ryan Wallace headed down the cross. They survived however and were just as relieved four minutes later when Moffat fired an effort narrowly wide left after Cardle had set him up for a shot from the edge of the box.
Two more minutes past and a build up down the left eventually saw Cardle feed the ball into a deeper central area from where Andy Geggan had a crack but the ball sailed over the bar.
Then when Gary Fisher cut down Byrne the Pars were awarded a free kick 40 yards out. The two central defenders went up but the ball was cut out before it reached them and then when returned Marc McAusland was penalised for pushing.
Match Highlights from Pars TV
On the quarter hour Moffat sent the ball out towards the right corner flag from where Wallace did remarkably well to centre but Faissal El Bakhtaoui's shot was deflected behind for a corner. Wallace delivered that from the right and Andy GEGGAN met it with an unstoppable header. 0-1
Things could have got worse for Rovers when Bakhtaoui's shot in 18th minute was deflected past the advancing keeper but stopped on the line by Ross Dunlop.
It had been all Dunfermline but a free kick in 20th minute was to end just over ten and a half hours of league shut out. Fisher directed the ball in from the right and an Albion header in front of Ben Richards-Everton got the ball back to Josh MULLEN who thrashed the ball home on the volley from 18 yards, the ball going in off the underside of the crossbar. 1-1
The Fifers created a good opportunity in 29 minutes when a Lewis Martin ball was caught on the right side of the box by Moffat but he just couldn't get in the killer cross. Andy Barrowman collected the first card of the afternoon for a foul on McAusland and Sean Murdoch took that sending it into the right side of the box for Martin but Rovers defended the threat.
Murdoch did really well to beat away a Barrowman shot from an Albion Rovers corner in 37 minutes but the home side kept trying and a Mullen cross from the right had to be seriously defended. Two Albion free kicks in 44th and 45th did not create any real problems but a corner from the left in the first minute of three added minutes at the first half let in Barrowman for a header that just cleared the bar.
A disappointing first half for the Fifers who after looking like trouncing their hosts up until the equaliser let Albion into the game after conceding the 20th minute goal.
Half Time: Albion Rovers 1 Dunfermline 1
The Pars kicked off towards their own supporters in the second half and El Bakhtaoui was on the end of a Martin cross but looped his 47th minute headed effort to keeper Ross Stewart. Two minutes later a Cardle cross sat up invitingly for Byrne on the edge of the box but Stewart was to hold that.
Two worrying crosses from Albion no.7 Mullen could have caused further damage to the Pars defensive record but they managed to keep the attackers at bay. Encouraged by the home support Barrowman made Richards-Everton belt the ball out of play and then Barra was on the end of a delivery from the right but Murdoch held the striker's attempt.
It was to be the 54th minute before the visitors got another chance; Cardle's cross being met by a Wallace header at the near post but he headed wide left. Back at the other end Barrowman pulled a good opportunity wide left.
Shaun Byrne who had been subject of several robust Albion challenges was then yellow carded for his tackle on Fisher. El Bakhtaoui tried an overhead kick but his shot was well off target before Allan Johnston tried to change things with a double substitution just after the hour. Michael Paton replaced Ryan Wallace and David Hopkirk was introduced in place of Joe Cardle. The substitution might have been a masterstroke but Hopkirk sent an immediate chance narrowly wide left.
A Pars corner midway through the second half started a series of Pars touches that threatened promise but none were to make the important breakthrough. Three minutes later Moffat fought for possession inside the Rovers box and did get away a shot but it travelled across goal and out beyond the right hand post.
Geggan made a strong run in 72 minutes that took him into the left side of the opposition box but Stewart held the Pars skipper's well struck shot. Pressure was building and Stewart was called into making an excellent save when Martin launched a shot from 20 yards.
Paton and Byrne combined to set up Martin on the overlap but the cross was easy meat for Stewart. Hopkirk burst up the right but failed to get in the cross before eventually Albion dispossessed him. Paton next played in an early ball for El Bakhtaoui but his header again looped to the keeper.
Try as they did Dunfermline just could not find the route to goal. In a break from resolute defending the Lanarkshire side were taken back upfield in 88th minute and substitute Ally Love hung on to possession long enough to belt a good shot on target that Murdoch had to show his class to keep out.
Before the match came to an end Geggan was yellow carded for a tough challenge with Ross Davidson. His sixth of the season and no doubt a suspension looms.
Ayr increased their lead at the top with a 3-0 win over ten man Airdrieonians at Somerset Park.
ALBION ROVERS: Ross Stewart; Alan Reid, Michael Dunlop, Ross Dunlop, Kyle Turnbull; Mark Ferry (Ally Love 65), Gary Fisher, Ross Davidson, Paul Willis (Ricardo Talu 90), Josh Mullin, Andy Barrowman.
SUBS NOT USED: Scott McBride, Callum McRobbie, Daniel Terry (GK).
SCORERS: Mullen (20)
YELLOW CARD: Barrowman (33)
DUNFERMLINE: Sean Murdoch; Lewis Martin, Marc McAusland, Ben Richards-Everton, Jason Talbot; Ryan Wallace (Michael Paton 61), Shaun Byrne, Andy Geggan (Josh Falkingham 91), Joe Cardle (David Hopkirk 61), Michael Moffat, Faissal El Bakhtaoui.
SUBS NOT USED: Lewis Spence, Shaun Rooney, Mickaël Antoine-Curier, David Hutton (GK).
SCORERS: Geggan (15)
YELLOW CARD: Byrne (58), Geggan (90)
REFEREE: Alan Muir
WEATHER: Overcast 3C
NEXT MATCH: William Hill Scottish Cup (away) v Ayr United, Saturday 28th November 2015, kick off 3.00pm
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