SPFL League One: DUNFERMLINE 3 BRECHIN CITY: 05/12/15
Byrne starts in place of Geggan. Faissal El Bakhtaoui (34) 1-0; Michael Paton (42) 2-0; Isaac Layne (66) 2-1; David Hopkirk (70) 3-1
After three consecutive away games the Pars were glad to get back to playing at East End Park. Andy Geggan sat it out as he served his one game suspension for six yellow cards meaning Shaun Byrne returned to the starting eleven.
Brechin City manager Darren Dods made three changes from the team defeated the previous week at Airdrie. Ross Perry, Craig Molloy and Willie Dyer dropped out to make way for Gary Fusco, David Weatherston and Robert Thomson.
The visitors kicked off attacking the goal at the McCathie stand end but were immediately pegged back in their own half. Paul McLean's tackle on Joe Cardle gave the Pars player the opportunity to send in a fourth minute free kick from 23 yards out level with the edge of the penalty box but the chance fell to Ben Richards-Everton and his overhead attempt went over the crossbar.
Michael Paton drove a tenth minute free kick from the right touchline, through the Brechin box and out for a goal kick. Trying to contend with the swirling wind was difficult and a through ball for Faissal El Bakhtaoui raced away from him.
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Byrne got the opportunity to fire a shot on target from Jason Talbot's cut back three minutes later but that was blocked then Moffat's 14th minute effort was turned out for corner by Jonathan Tiffoney.
Joe Cardle was industrious after playing a one two off Byrne and when he eventually got in a delivery El Bakhtaoui's touch took the ball on to the crossbar and over. It was no surprise that the combination of Cardle and EL BAKHTAOUI created the breakthrough in 34 minutes. A good ball out of his own half from Tlabot was moved on down the right channel by Cardle to allow the French Moroccan to run on to the ball and having made ground into the Brechin box slipped the ball under Smith to net at the far post. 1-0
Right away there was another good chance for the home side when Moffat cut in from the left and his lay off to Byrne was then directed on target but blocked out by a defender.
Cardle embarked on yet another penetrating run and when he cut in and shot on the angle from the left Graeme Smith parried the ball away. Unlucky for him Lewis Martin just drilled the ball back towards the far post and Michael PATON was well placed just to stab the ball home and celebrate his first league goal for Dunfermline. 2-0
The second Pars goal came just three minutes from the interval but right on the half time whistle Paton's inswinging corner from the left was caught in the swirling wind and Smith was fortunate to turn the ball on to his crossbar and behind.
The stats indicated only 52% Dunfermline possession but it had felt like much more than that. The Pars had nine shots at goal in the first half, Brechin City none and five corners to the visitors one.
Half Time: Dunfermline 2 Brechin City 0
Brechin did force an early corner in the second half but it was soon back to more Dunfermline pressure. El Bakhtaoui got himself needlessly booked in 51 minutes for chipping the ball over Smith and past the post after the whistle had gone for offside.
Cardle popped a good attempt on target from 30 yards and Smith had to touch the ball over from under his crossbar. At the other end Layne tried one from a similar range but was wide right. Jonathan Tiffoney made Murdoch save at his top right. Brechin did however find the net midway through the half. A free kick from 15 yards inside the Pars half was not properly cleared and the loose ball was headed on target by Dods and although Murdoch did well to stop that he could do nothing to stop LAYNE turning the ball in. 2-1
Manager Allan Johnston made a double substitution four minutes later in 69 minutes. Michael Moffat and Joe Cardle were withdrawn and David Hopkirk and Ryan Wallace were introduced. The Johnston magic worked straight away with HOPKIRK finding the net within a minute. A fine pas from Byrne picked out the sub on the left side of the Brechin box and the pace of the shot defied a sea of legs and the keeper. 3-1
Mickael Antoine-Curier came on for Faissal El Bakhtaoui in 78 minutes but it was Wallace who threatened doing damage not to the net but to the defender who got in the way of his blast.
Hopkirk cleared a Dods shot off the line in added time but there never really looked like being any further scoring at either end.
A good win for the Pars that takes them equal on points with Ayr United but top because of their vastly superior goal difference. Ayr United away next Saturday!
DUNFERMLINE: Sean Murdoch; Lewis Martin, Marc McAusland, Ben Richards-Everton, Jason Talbot; Michael Paton, Shaun Byrne, Josh Falkingham (c), Joe Cardle (David Hopkirk 69); Michael Moffat (Ryan Wallace 69), Faissal El Bakhtaoui (Mickael Antoine-Curier 78).
SUBS NOT USED: Lewis Spence, Shaun Rooney, Rhys McCabe, David Hutton (GK)
SCORERS: El Bakhtaoui (34), Paton (42), Hopkirk (70)
YELLOW CARD: El Bakhtaoui (51)
BRECHIN CITY: Graeme Smith; Paul McLean (c), Darren McCormack, Darren Dods, Jonathan Tiffoney; James Dale, Gary Fusco (Euan Smith 59), Isaac Layne, David Weatherston, Robert Thomson (Dene Shields 74), Andy Jackson (Jamie Montgomery 82).
SUBS NOT USED: Craig Johnston, Patrick O'Neil (GK).
SCORERS: Layne (66)
YELLOW CARD: Dods (83)
REFEREE: Colin Steven
WEATHER: Wet, windy 10C
NEXT MATCH: Labrokes League One (away) v Ayr United. Saturday 12th December 2015, kick off 3.00pm at Somerset Park.
Ladbrokes Championship: v St Mirren, Friday 26th January 2018, kick off 7.45pm