SFL First Division: RAITH ROVERS 2 DUNFERMLINE 2: Date: 18/09/99

Dunfermline welcomed the first local derby with Raith with the expectation that the four straight wins in a row two seasons ago could be converted into a famous five. Pars supporters entered Starks Park with various printed versions of the number 5 on cards tucked under their arms.

Following last week`s disappointing performance against St Mirren the team was up for the meeting with Kirkcaldy`s best. On both sides there was much rivalry as John McVeigh locked horns with his former colleague, Dick Campbell. Jimmy Nicholl returned to Starks Park for the first time since his hasty departure and on the pitch former Par Guido Van der Kamp was playing against former Rovers Thomson and Dair.

Dunfermline started playing towards their supporters in the very full North Stand. It wasn`t long before the travelling support were celebrating. Only seven minutes gone and the referee who was pernickity all day called play back to give the Pars a free kick wide on the right. Stewart Petrie`s cross found Brian Reid but he was challenged by the keeper and the ball went left. Andy Smith quickly fired the ball back in and REID scored yet another goal with his feet.

Moss came close in the 11th minute with a headed effort and 6 minutes later a lay off from owen Coyle allowed David Moss a shot from 25 yards which was saved.

Ten minutes later a corner from the left was aimed at Reid but fell to Tod at the edge of the box. almost in slow motion Toddy lined up the shot as the Raith defence closed in on him. His shot (on target) hit the back of Owen Coyle and Raith breathed again.

Raith were not totally out of it with Stein frequently causing bother. In the 39th minute he got round Dair to cross to Craig Dargo whose shot was saved by Ian Westwater. Three minutes from half time it was Westie to the rescue again as Kenny Black`s long range effort was heading into the Pars goal right top corner.

Half time gave time to reflect that although the Pars were ahead and had the better of the first half, Raith were still only one behind and Dunfermline might yet rue the squandered chances.

Bad news at the start of the second 45 was that Raith removed their black triallist Berthe from Hearts and brought on Steve Tosh.

From the kick off Dunfermline tried for a quick goal with Moss and Smith lining up wide right and the ball going straight to Jamie Dolan from the kick off to try something. That did not work but seconds later Stewart Petrie picked up a pass wide left beat two players and ended up touching the ball to Jason Dair on the right wing. Dair put the ball through to Scott Thomson whose cross found Andy SMITH. 2-0 up and 44 minutes to go.

Pars support was ecstatic and when Scott Thomson fired over three minutes later they considered it a luxury they could afford. Next a Petrie cross found Moss but his effort was blocked as was Scott Thomson`s follow up.

Things were looking rosy and as I stuck into my late delivered half time pie (not bad either) disaster struck. No I didn`t find anything in the pie but Dargo found the Pars net. There had been signs of weakness as Tosh seemed to put McGroarty in his pocket. A move down the Rovers right split the defence and allowed a cross to Stein on the far side of the box and his centre was turned in by Craig Dargo from inside the six yard box. 58 minutes on the clock and suddenly things were going wrong.

Tosh found Dargo again but Westie saved brilliantly. Stewart Petrie crossed in the 69th but Andy Smith`s challenge was put behind for a corner. Brian Reid met the corner kick but his header went over the crossbar.

Raith won a number of corner kicks and the Pars completely ignored Alex Burns who hung back to meet the corners at the edge of the penalty box. Eventually with nine minutes remaining the same ploy resulted in a cross that went beyond the six yard box. Agathe ran left to cross back in and despite Brian Reid`s attentions the cross was delivered and Dargo again scored.

David Moss had a close in chance in the dying seconds which Guido saved but a victory would have been theft. For long periods of the second half Raith were the better footballing team. With Tosh and Dargo, Burns and Stein, and the big Agathe their attack was dangerous skillful, fast and accurate. Dunfermline could only counter using slow and deliberate build up. Their defence looked slow and unsettled with the Raith pace.

In the post match interview Dick Campbell blamed his players for being unprofessional while rubbing in that they had gone 17 games without defeat. He was critical that we allowed Raith to dictate the pace of the game but in reality Dunfermline had no one who could counter this. Asked if there would be new faces at East End Park this coming week he suggested that the only new faces would be from his existing squad into his first team selection.

John McVeigh`s viewpoint was that his side "warranted a win". He felt that Dunfermline`s only threat came from the odd breakaway and high balls into the penalty box.

This was not a clever Pars performance. Doubts are beginning to be raised over the Thirtysomething team that is being pitched forward. Dick Campbell put great play on his opportunity to youth that he displayed last season. This season he has turned this on its head, introducing older players, sending young Steven Boyle on loan to Brechin, Chris Templeman to Dumbarton where he scores three in his first game and ignoring David Graham.

DUNFERMLINE: Ian Westwater. Jason Dair, Andy Tod, Brian Reid, Chris McGroarty. Scott Thomson (Hamish French 77), Jamie Dolan, David Moss, Stewart Petrie. Andy Smith, Owen Coyle.
SUBS NOT USED: Richard Huxford, Colin Nish.
SCORERS: Reid (7), Smith (46).
YELLOW CARDS: Tod (24), Coyle (72).
REFEREE: B Orr (Kilbarchan)

Next match v Ayr United (home) Bells First Division Saturday 25th September 1999

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