Pre Season Friendly: Dunfermline 0 Hibernian 4: 06/07/17
It had been less than ten weeks since the final home match of last season but the East End Park playing surface was in prime condition for the first home friendly. Kevin Brunton and his team at Greentech are credited for the transformation along with the groundstaff Kevin and Willie.
There is plenty to look forward to this season and it was good to welcome newly promoted Hibernian back to East End Park. Sean Murdoch was back between the sticks having recovered from his back spasm and Jean-Yves M`Voto started instead of Joe Cardle as the management tried something different with the formation.
Hibs started 34 year old Jermaine Pennant, formerly with Arsenal and Liverpool, as a trialist while new signing Simon Murray was on the bench.
The home side kicked off attacking the goal in front of the travelling support. It took over five minutes before either side got near goal. Kallum Higginbotham started the move from wide right lacing a ball through to David Hopkirk from halfway. Hoppy touched it on for Nicky Clark to play back into his path and the shot from 20 yards out escaped narrowly past the left upright.
Dunfermline continued to impress with an 11th minute move when Aaron Splaine fed the overlapping Ryan Williamson and despite beating his man on the byeline he could not get enough on his cutback to cause any danger to the visitors.
Hibs completely wasted a corner five minutes later overhitting the cross after Callum Morris was forced to head a Danny Swanson delivery behind. When play switched to the other end Lewis Martin swung over a good ball from the left touchline and Hopkirk rose to meet it up directed the ball wide left.
When they got their chance the Premiership showed how to finish. In 24 minutes Swanson laid the ball off to Calum Craine out on the left and SWANSON received the cut back to slot the ball in low just inside the far post to open the scoring. 0-1
Clark had the first opportunity to grab a goal back but he flicked his header narrowly wide left. Then on the half hour a Higginbotham corner from the left led to a throw in on the right and when Splaine got in the cross he was unlucky to see the ball travel through the box and behind for a goal kick.
There were a couple of further chances for the Pars before half time. In 40 minutes Hopkirk found himself through on goal but Marciano got lucky keeping the striker out with his shoulder. M`Voto headed over when Higginbotham fired over the next free kick and the Hibs keeper`s luck kept up when he dropped Higgy`s next delivery. Ashcroft considered himself very unfortunate to be penalised as he stuck the ball in the net.
There was still time for Splaine to be yellow carded for a somewhat overenthusiatic tackle from behind. Pennant rattled the crossbar from the resultant free kick 25 yards out.
Half time: Dunfermline 0 Hibernian 1
Michael Paton replaced Aaron Splaine before the second half resumed and Joe Cardle came on for David Hopkirk after he had taken a clatter in 53 minutes. Hibs had made seven substitutions at the break and it was John McGinn who was first to make his presence felt with a fiercely driven shot from 25 yards out that was successfully blocked out by the Pars defence.
PENNANT`s final blow before his 59th minute substitution was to force the ball into the Pars net from a well placed McGinn cross over from the left. 0-2
The Pars went back to 4-4-2 as a Trialist replaced Lee Ashcroft and at the midpoint of the second half it took headers from Williamson and then Morris to keep Hibs out at a corner.
The score crept up as Pennant`s replacement Martin BOYLE accepted another good McGinn placement and slipped in goal number three from an acute angle. 0-3
Fraser Murray fired wide in 73 minutes but just three minutes later Oli SHAW made scoring look easy as he headed home a McMinn cut back. 0-4
With six minutes remaining, Scott Lochhead came on for Nat Wedderburn and he got in the first Pars shot on target for some time but despite the power the visitors defence blocked the effort.
The final whistle was relief in the end since this was a poor game from a Dunfermline point of view. Hibs limited the Pars chances and when John McGinn came on in the second half there no answer to his team undoubted ability.
DUNFERMLINE: Sean Murdoch: Callum Morris, Jean-Yves M`Voto, Lee Ashcroft (Trialist no. 16 63): Ryan Williamson, Nat Wedderburn (Scott Lochhead 84), Aaron Splaine (Michael Paton HT), Lewis Martin (Conner Duthie 81): Kallum Higginbotham (Trialist no. 17 69): Nicky Clark (Callum Smith 78), David Hopkirk (Joe Cardle 53)
SUBS NOT USED: Cammy Gill, Brandon Luke, Paul Allan, Stuart Morrison, Trialist no.16, Trialist no. 25
YELLOW CARD: Splaine (45)
HIBERNIAN: Ofir Marciano (Ross Laidlaw HT): David Gray, Ryan Porteous, Liam Fontaine (Darren McGregor HT), Marvin Bartley (Lewis Stevenson HT), Trialist (Martin Boyle 59), Dylan McGeouch (John McGinn HT), Danny Swanson ( Scott Martin HT), Brian Graham (Fraser Murray HT), Calum Craine (Simon Murray HT), Olly Shaw
SUBS NOT USED:
SCORERS: Swanson (24), Trialist (58), Boyle (71), Shaw (76)
YELLOW CARD: Martin (85)
REFEREE: Kevin Clancy
WEATHER: Overcast 17C
NEXT MATCH: Pre-Season Friendly (away) v Raith Rovers, Monday 10th July 2017 kick off 7.45pm at Starks Park
Ladbrokes Championship: v Livingston, Saturday 21st October 2017, kick off 3.00pm