SFL First Division: DUNFERMLINE 1 ST MIRREN 1: 19/02/00
MISSED CHANCES COST PARS DEARLY
So much for the Dutch influence on the Pars through Jimmy Calderwood; it seems it’s Swiss finishing school that should be considered. This was a match in which the Pars were well on top for most of the time, even coasting at some stages. St Mirren had two chances in the 90 minutes and took one. Dunfermline took only one of the ten that came their way and must be annoyed that the win bonus is not to be paid.
Hibs` and Aberdeen`s progress in the Tennents Scottish Cup ensured that this match, postponed from Christmas could be re-arranged for this blank Saturday reserved for Scottish Cup duty. A blank points haul was unthinkable for both sides who started with Saints two points ahead of the Pars at the top of the table.
Manager Calderwood made several changes as is his habit. Most importantly the replacement of Ian Ferguson for Andy Tod as captain, but also the introduction of Steve Hampshire at the expense of Eddie May. With Scott Thomson being given the task of marking Junior Mendes, Chris McGroarty dropped out and Jason Dair re-appeared at the back. Dair had a torrid game against Mendes at Paisley in Dick Campbell`s last game in charge and Dair was also unceremonially withdrawn in the recent match against Clydebank before midway in the first half. Home fans awaited justification of his inclusion but in fairness the man had one of his best games for the club.
St Mirren started into the sun after Captain Ferguson won the toss. Immediately they took the game to Dunfermline. After winning a free kick on the right they had no fewer than six men in the outer left quarter of the penalty box for a first minute free kick. When the ball broke from the Dunfermline defence Stevens Hampshire and Crawford combined to allow Petrie to provide first danger to St Mirren keeper Roy.
After five minutes an Ian Ferguson free kick was head over by Andy Tod but David Moss failed to connect. Two minutes later a Jason Dair cross set up a shot for Crawford but somehow Roy kept the ball out with his defence a shambles.
Roy spilled a Crawford shot in the 13th minute and the keeper had to react fast when a clearance rebounded off Stewart Petrie’s head. Dunfermline had forced two corners in what was a free flowing first thirty minutes before St Mirren eventually won their first of the match. Kris Mampaey was by far the less busy keeper dealing with a solitary weak effort from Mendes.
Petrie lofted in a ball for Lee Bullen but the striker headed wide. Good combining among Moss, Crawford and Hampshire almost ended in Lee Bullen converting a Dair floater.
The match was becoming fairly competitive; the referee Jim Fleming was not handling it well and he had words with Jimmy Nichol for overcriticism of the match officials. After Ian Ferguson got away with a hefty challenge that left Mendes prone, four players were cautioned in the space of five minutes. Petrie was yellow carded for one of his characteristic leggy tackles. Ross and Ferguson had a fracas in which the Pars man clearly hit out at his opponent. Dair was booked as the referee seem to be penalising anything that caused players to lose their footing.
With half time approaching a Stewart Petrie free kick was touched on by Hampshire and Bullen but the St Mirren goal was not to be breached. Just when it looked that the Buddies would hold out till half time Stewart PETRIE produced a 25 yard shot out of nowhere that just sailed past Roy into his net.
Half time was a jovial affair with the home fans content with not just the lead but a much improved and competent performance.
Lee Bullen almost scored at the start of the second half firing wide after Ferguson had threaded the ball through to his unmarked team mate. Scott Walker headed over from a St Mirren corner and a soft Lavety shot went straight to Mampaey.
The referee continued to flash his cards with David Moss seeing yellow for daring to touch the Saints keeper. Lee Bullen burst through on the hour to be tackled by Tommy Turner. The Dunfermline player looked as though he might stay on his feet but when he tumbled to ground Mr Fleming again reached to his pocket and since Turner had been the last defender red was resultant.
Playing against ten men Dunfermline played some smooth passing stuff and dominated for the next 15 minutes. Andy Tod found himself much involved as numerical advantage allowed the Pars to park in the visitors half. Petrie and Ferguson set up Crawford but his shot was saved. Then in the 66th minute Moss and Bullen had shots which the keeper kept out. Crawford crossed for Moss but the big Englishman missed from 6 yards.
With Dunfermline beginning to defend deeper Mendes and Lavety created danger in the 75th with a cross that Iain Nicholson almost met on the far post. This should have served as a warning but five minutes later an identical move allowed Nicholson to beat Petrie’s challenge to score.
In a frantic finale Owen Coyle came on for Steve Hampshire. The sub had two chances in two minutes, the first going high and wide, the second being saved to go for a corner. Dair set up Crawford but he shot wide and Ian Ferguson had his 25 yard effort saved.
Dunfermline had lots of opportunities to kill off ten man St Mirren but now have to regroup for a showdown at St Mirren Park in a fortnight’s time. Scott Thomson did a great marking job, keeping Mendes out of the match. Andy Tod appeared to benefit from being relieved of the captaincy and all in all Dunfermline produced a highly commendable performance. The downside was their lack of goalscoring and the subsequent loss of two points.
DUNFERMLINE: Mampaey; Dair, Tod, Potter, Thomson; Hampshire (Coyle 80), Ferguson, Moss, Petrie; Crawford, Bullen.
Subs not used: McGroarty, Reid.
Scorers: Petrie (45)
Yellow Cards: Petrie (38), Ferguson (41), Dair (43), Moss (52), Crawford (77), Thomson (81)
ST MIRREN: Roy, Nicolson, Bowman, Turner, McLaughlin, Walker, Murray, Ross, Lavety (McGarry 87), Mendes,
Yardley (Rudden 62).
Subs not used: Baltacha
Scorer: Nicholson (80)
Yellow Cards: Walker (25), Ross (41)
Red Card: Turner (60)
Referee J Fleming
League Position 2nd
Strip: Black and White home
Next match v Airdrie (away) League Saturday 26th February 2000
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