Ladbrokes Championship: Dunfermline 1 Dundee United 3: 30/09/17

Dundee United leapfrogged Dunfermline with a 3-1 win that toppled the Fifers off the top of the league to St Mirren`s advantage.

It was the Championship leaders versus the Championship favourites when the Pars welcomed Dundee United to East End Park.

Dunfermline manager Allan Johnston named an unchanged side while his Dundee United counterpart Ray McKinnon was forced into one change due to the loss of Lewis Toshney. Captain Willo Flood came into the side to take over the right back role.

The visitors kicked off attacking the goal at the McCathie Stand end but it was Dunfermline who threatened first forcing a corner within 90 seconds. When Kallum Higginbotham swung that in from the right Lee Ashcroft was penalised for climbing on the back of Jordie Briels.

Unsuccessful attempts to run the play up the park were made by Scott McDonald and then Paul McMullan while in the other half Higginbotham showed clever skills but failed to pick out a team mate.

William Edjengueke headed a Nicky Clark cut back behind to hand the Pars an 18th minute corner but when Higginbotham delivered the hands of Harry Lewis were up to hold.

Dean Shiels, David Hopkirk and Declan McManus were all involved in a 20th minute move that was ended with a Higginbotham effort from 15 yards out that he sent wide right. Next there was a big roar for a piece of close skills from Nat Wedderburn and he duly picked out Higginbotham on the right but his cross went into the hands of Lewis again.

There was a chance in 28 minutes when McManus robbed Mark Durnan of possession on the edge of the box but he drilled his shot low at the keeper. Next minute Clark was cut down by Durnan to earn himself a few words of warning from referee Don Robertson. Higginbotham`s free kick from 40 yards out was aimed at Clark running into the left side of the box but the keeper got to the ball first.

United then had a similar free kick but from the left but the referee blew up their attack as the ball came into the Pars box no doubt for some pushing. McDonald on Shiels earned the Pars the next setpiece and Higginbotham took this one short to Williamson who turned and fired a powerful left footed effort over the crossbar from 25 yards.

The deadlock was to be broken ten minutes from the break. McMullan fed the ball to Jamie Robson overlapping on the left and his cross could only be parried out by Sean Murdoch and Fraser FYVIE was well positioned to fire the loose ball into the Dunfermline net. 0-1

There were several incidences where United players ended up on the deck. Morris was yellow card for his challenge on Fyvie and when Ashcroft brought down McDonald the referee pulled up play as no advantage transpired. The free kick from the right proved fatal for the Pars since when it came over Edenguele nodded it down for McDONALD to stick away from close range. 0-2

The 43rd minute goal could have been joined by a third right on the stroke of half time. United broke and it was three against two but Jason Talbot covered across to put in a crucial tackle on McMullan as he entered the left side of the box. The ball broke right to Billy King whose looping shot was kept out by the crossbar.

The home side had enjoyed marginally more possession in the first half and had forced seven corners to United`s one but it is goals that count and the visitors boasted a two goal advantage.

Half time: Dunfermline 0 Dundee United 2

Callum Smith replaced David Hopkirk for the restart and there was an immediate Dunfermline push after their no doubt heated half time talk. Higginbotham got over a decent cross that Lewis held and there was another corner to the Pars conceded by Robson that his side survived.

At the other end Morris turned the ball behind for a 51st minute corner that altered nothing as McMullan sent his shot over the crossbar. There was head tennis in the United box in 54 minutes after a corner from the left was not cleared by Lewis.

McDonald tumbled 20 yards out as Talbot tackled him and from the free kick James Keatings fired left footed into the Dunfermline wall. But the danger was not cleared however and it ended up on the right where it was cut back by Flood for FYVIE 24 yards out to melt his effort into the top right. 0-3

There was still half an hour to play but the match already looked beyond the Fifers. Aaron Splaine came on for Dean Shiels before Clark claimed his shot from the edge of the box was deflected wide but no corner.

Higginbotham and then Clark headed away from a 69th minute United corner but it looked more likely that the visitors would score. McMullan was denied by a good Murdoch save. Robson made a strong run up the right and was only denied a shot when crowded out.

Callum Smith took the heat the defence for a moment with a shot that was deflected for a corner but it was soon back at the other end with another United corner not tremendously well cleared.

Hope was restored when Callum SMITH headed in a Talbot cross with 13 minutes remaining. Declan McManus did particularly well controlling the ball on the left edge of the United box, feeding back for his full back to cross. 1-3

Higginbotham`s delivery from a setpiece on the left that had earned sub Sam Stanton a quick yellow. Ashcroft met the ball at the far post but could not direct on target.

United remained solid for the final five minutes and four added minutes to successfully see out the match, take three points and place them into second spot in the Championship.

DUNFERMLINE: Sean Murdoch: Ryan Williamson, Callum Morris (c), Lee Ashcroft, Jason Talbot: Kallum Higginbotham, Nat Wedderburn, Dean Shiels (Aaron Splaine 65), David Hopkirk (Callum Smith HT): Declan McManus (Andy Ryan 82), Nicky Clark.
SUBS NOT USED: Lewis Martin, Fraser Aird, Scott Lochhead, Cammy Gill (GK).
SCORERS: Smith (77)
YELLOW CARD: Morris (38), McManus (73), Talbot (90+2)

DUNDEE UNITED: Harry Lewis: Mark Durnan, Willo Flood, William Edjenquele, Jamie Robson: Paul McMullan, Billy King, Jordie Briels, Fraser Fyvie, Scott McDonald (Patrick Nkoyi 90+3), James Keatings (Sam Stanton 77).
SUBS NOT USED: Scott Fraser, Scott Allardyce, Matthew Smith, Jake Davidson, Denez Dogan Mehmet(GK).
SCORERS: Fyvie (35, 59), McDonald (43)
YELLOW CARD: McDonald (41), Briels (57), Stanton (80)

REFEREE: Don Robertson
WEATHER: Sunny 13C

NEXT MATCH: Irn Bru Cup: (away) v Falkirk, Saturday 6th October 2017, kick off 3.00pm at The Falkirk Stadium.

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