SFL First Division: FALKIRK 1 DUNFERMLINE 1: 25/03/00

Dunfermline are the only team to score in the league against Falkirk this year. But just as back on the 15th January a late Falkirk reply stole full points away from the Pars.

New signing Michael Doesburg came into the side at right back, Scott Thomson switched to left back; Ian Ferguson returned to midfield after injury and up front Lee Bullen suffered for last week’s misses in being replaced by Owen Coyle. The team lined up in a 3-5-2 formation with Justin Skinner playing alongside John Potter and Andy Tod at the back.

No John Henry for Falkirk as they kicked off towards the Pars supporters. Doesburg was immediately involved and delivered a good ball to Owen Coyle wide right. Nothing came of the early attack but this was typical of the first quarter of the game as Dunfermline went at Falkirk.

Stewart Petrie’s 2nd minute corner supplied the ammo for Scott Thomson to have the first shot at goal but it went wide. Doesburg worked well on the right to cross four minutes later but Petrie failed to connect. Another corner and Andy Tod’s header provided John Potter the opportunity to shoot. His chance was not as good as Coyle’s in the 9th minute.

A David Moss header was saved by Hogarth and Owen Coyle shot across goal and out on the left when it must have been easier to score.

Five minutes later Ian Ferguson showed skill and class as he set up Petrie but Christie’s strong tackle put the ball into the crowd. Two minutes later a Scott Thomson corner was nodded down by Tod and Stevie Crawford went really close as another corner was conceded.

The Fifers had plenty chances in the opening quarter but failed to take any of them; Falkirk too had their moments but Dunfermline had the balance of the first half play.
A fair number of the home team’s chances seem to come off the Dunfermline defenders. On 38 minutes the ball broke off Andy Tod and Gareth Hutchison bore in on goal. As the ball was headed about the penalty box Mampaey eventually scooped up the ball.

Hutchison and McAllister combined to set up Scott Crabbe but the striker’s effort went over the crossbar. Dunfermline’s last chance of the first half came when Ferguson found Doesburg but the keeper came out well to collect the cross.

Falkirk started the second half with more purpose with the action continuing in front of the home support at the far end.

An Ian Ferguson interception found Petrie and his lofty ball could not be converted by Owen Coyle. Hutchison was yellow carded for a tackle on Skinner as the game went into a physical spell that Dunfermline rode best.

Kris Mampaey saved well from Nicholls as the Falkirk man played a 1-2 with McKenzie. There was certainly much more urgency in the home side’s play and a doubtful offside decision in the 57th minute was obviously wrong as the fans in the antique stand reacted unusually strongly. Next McQuilkan found McAllister and his shot was saved by Mampaey.

Tackles were crunching now and as Tod and Doesburg sandwiched a Falkirk man a free kick was won wide on the right. Stewart Petrie took the set piece and David MOSS rose above Ivo and his defence to head the opener after 66 minutes.

Falkirk reacted to the set back and Christie’s header immediately had Mampaey in action. John Potter was forced to concede a free kick on the edge of the penalty area and the Pars defence eventually cleared the danger that resulted. Falkirk won another two potentially damaging free kicks but the defence held out.

Lee Bullen came on for Coyle at a corner with 15 minutes left. The ball failed to reach the sub as he waited at the far post for his first touch but the weak cross fell to Ian Ferguson whose shot was cleared off Ivo Den Bieman.

With ten minutes left Kris Mampaey took a good catch from a corner from the right and booted the ball the length of the park. Stevie Crawford crossed it from the bye line and Lee Bullen’s attempt to place the shot was soft enough to be saved by Hogarth.

Two other half chance landed for Bullen as first Petrie laid one off for him and then he was off balance as he shot in a through ball.

This failure to kill the game off was to prove costly.

Two minutes from time Kevin Christie headed in the equaliser from a Crabbe corner on the left. The Pars defender on the far post was marked absent as Falkirk claimed a point.

So Dunfermline failed to go above Falkirk who remain one point ahead, five points behind St Mirren who were held to a goalless draw by Clydebank at Cappielow. Maybe because Referee Bobby Orr forced the Saints to play in Morton’s yellow away strip, the league leaders look any thing but that against the struggling Bankies. Reports from the tail of the bank suggest that the Championship is probably within the reach of any of the top three clubs.

Dunfermline seem to have solved the right back vacancy created by Greg Shields’ departure. Doesburg fitted in well. Moss had one of his best games for Dunfermline and Crawford although drawn back too often posed a constant threat.

Falkirk had gone 713 minutes with a clean sheet before David Moss headed Dunfermline into a second half lead. Alex Totten’s played well and will continue to compete despite their likely exclusion from the SPL because of their totally inadequate “stadium” provision.

DUNFERMLINE: Mampaey; Doesburg, Tod, Potter, Thomson; Skinner, Ferguson, Moss, Petrie; Crawford, Coyle (Bullen 75).
Subs not used: May and Dolan
Scorer: Moss (66)
Yellow Cards: Crawford (82)

Falkirk: Hogarth, Lawrie, Den Bieman, Christie, McQuilken, Nicholls, McAllister (Morris 77), McKenzie, Crabbe, Hutchison, Hagen.
Subs not used: Seaton and Sinclair
Scorers: Christie (88)
Yellow Card: Hutchison (48)

Referee I Emslie (Portlethen)
Attendance 5242
League Position 3rd
Strip: Yellow away
Weather: Sunny intervals with rain threatening, cool, virtually no wind



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