SFL First Division: DUNFERMLINE 0 RAITH ROVERS 2: 18/03/00

The demise of Rover`s been the headlines of the week but Dunfermline could not take over from where BMW left off. Revenge for the Ne`erday reversal was denied by a barrowload of misses.

With Ian Ferguson failing a fitness test Justin Skinner found himself in centre midfield otherwise Manager Calderwood started with the same team that won at Paisley last time out. Raith were without Marvyn Andrews who was on international duty with Trinidad and Tobago. Craig Dargo and Alex Burns returned after suspension.

Scott Thomson was captain for the day in the absence of Ian Ferguson. The players emerged from the "tunnel" at the south end of the Norrie McCathie Stand where the new changing rooms are now in use and Dunfermline kicked off five minutes late towards the Raith support in the East stand.

David Moss was straight into the thick of it in the opening minutes with a shot blocked by Van de Kamp and then just a thin touch to a Scott Thomson cross that went wide. Kris Mampaey was quick out to a corner and then saved from Alex Burns.

On the 9th minute Scott Thomson`s 30 yard shot was touched over by Van De Kamp. John Potter headed the subsequent Stewart Petrie corner wide when it looked easier to score.

Five minutes later Didier Agathe ran through the home defence and David Moss made a timely tackle to put the ball behind for a corner. Opinel’s cross was palmed away by Mampaey. Burns turned the ball out to Agathe and the Pars were fortunate no one was on the end of his cross from the right.

Seventeen minutes had gone when a Stewart Petrie overhead kick from his own half sent Lee Bullen up the left wing. Bullen`s cross was struck by Steve Hampshire whose effort looked more like another cross and went wide left for a goal kick.

Stevie Crawford was next to send over a ball from the right but the ball was badly weighted for both the awaiting Pars; Moss and Bullen. The chances continued at both ends with Owusu, on loan from Wimbledon, forcing an acrobatic save from Mampaey. A minute later luck stayed with Dunfermline as Owusu failed to connect with Agathe`s cross after good work by Javier.

Goalless at half time then with the Rovers certainly the better team of the half. Jamie Dolan got a great reception at half time when making the 50-50 draw. "Get your boots on Jamie" was hurled with much amusement.

Hopes that we might have seen the best of Raith in the first 45 were dashed when in the opening minute of the second they should have scored. Agathe burst up the right after Petrie lost possession to Raith. His cross was goalbound until it hit off Dargo’s feet and the striker then turned the ball into the sidenetting.

Eddie May came on for Dair in the 53rd minute. Midway through the first half Scott Thomson was clearly heard to shout to the bench “Jason’s struggling”. The assumption had to be that he was find Agathe impossible. Anyhow May did tighten things up as Thomson moved to left back.

Crawford worked hard to win the ball out wide on the right but Bullen shot the teed shot high over the crossbar. A similar fate met with a Petrie effort when Crawford laid off a Bullen cross.

Javier made a hash of a clearance that allowed Bullen to cross from the right but Moss’s poor 59th minute attempt went straight to Guido. Five minutes later Lee Bullen was straight through with just the keeper to beat but failed. Next Hamish sent the ball wide right to Crawford who returned it perfectly for the Silver Fox but he too missed an absolute sitter.

The warnings were there for Dunfermline when Burns had the ball in the net in the 66th minute and we were fortunate to have it disallowed for a high foot on Hamish French’s challenge.

Steve Hampshire had a cross tipped behind and two corners followed which saw David Moss head against the crossbar and Andy Tod head wide.

Moss headed down for Lee Bullen in the 72nd minute but the scoreline remained blank. Dargo rolled a great chance wide of Mampaey’s left hand post while at the other end Hampshire and Bullen couldn’t get on the end of a Crawford cross.

French was harshly penalised for a clearance on 77 and from the free kick Browne stole in to score with his foot. Andy Tod’s challenge was brushed off and Kris Mampaey seem deceived. A goal from nothing but a lesson in how to find the net.

Next minute Dargo scored with a fluke. Out left a few yards wide of the corner of the penalty box the Raith man lofted over a speculative lob and low and behold it landed in the net. Realising the miracle the Kirkcaldy punters went delirious. The fan who ran on the pitch was lifted and Martin Clark had to receive treatment having got caught up in the skirmish. It appears that the celebrating Raith fans raised his hands in tribute and the ref got poked in the eye.

Pars were dead and buried. Coyle came on for Hampshire but nothing else of note happened.

Oh how we missed Fergie. The main reason for the defeat, however, must be because Raith totally negated the threat from Stevie Crawford. Of the umpteen chances that came Dunfermline’s way none fell to the top striker. Full marks to Raith for that. The other Dunfermline players challenged to see who could have the most serious miss.

For the fourth time this season Raith`s speed to the ball and penetration completely outplayed the Pars. The Pars lacked the bite that won them the points at Love Street and Raith who lost to Clydebank less than a fortnight ago made us look poor.

St Mirren took advantage of an understrength Morton side down to 10 men, to win at Cappielow. Falkirk continued their consistent form trouncing Airdrie 8-0 after Airdrie had McCann sent off in the third minute and Sandison red carded in the second half when 5 down. Livingston with Leish in charge for the day lost 4-1 at Inverness. With Dunfermline at Brockville next Saturday it will be a struggle to win the points on this showing.

DUNFERMLINE: Mampaey; Thomson, Tod, Potter, Dair (May 53); Hampshire (Coyle 77), Skinner (French 46), Moss, Petrie; Crawford, Bullen.

RAITH ROVERS: Van de Kamp, McEwan, McCulloch, Browne, Opinel; Agathe, Javier (S Tosh 87), Burns, Stein;
Dargo, Owusu (P Tosh 75)
Sub not used Gaughan
Scorers: Browne (77), Dargo (78)

Yellow Cards: Skinner (36)
Referee M Clark (Edinburgh)
Attendance 6694
League Position 3rd
Strip: Black and White home
Weather: Bright sunshine, remaining cool, virtually no wind



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