SFL First Division: DUNFERMLINE 1 MORTON 1: 12/02/00

With a white pitch and the snow falling heavily at 2.45pm it looked unlikely that we would be seeing any football at all at East End Park. The combination of some hard work from the ground staff, pressure being exerted pitch-side by Pars chairman John Yorkston and sympathetic referee Martin Clark eventually added up to the game being given the go-ahead 15 minutes late helped by the fact that somebody produced an orange ball.

Dunfermline’s team showed only one change from the side that took the field against Clydebank at Cappielow last week with Chris McGroarty coming in at left-back for Jason Dair ( the change which had been made after only 20 minutes last week in any event. ) Somewhat surprisingly Eddie May and David Moss both held on to their midfield berths and David Graham, Owen Coyle and Dair filled the bench.

The Pars started the stronger side with Ferguson releasing Bullen after only 6 minutes but the big striker’s effort was well saved by Maxwell low to his left and in 12 minutes Crawford failed to find the target after some good work by McGroarty.

The Greenock side took the lead against the run of play after 17 minutes. Some sloppy defending failed to clear a free kick taken from the right and Earnshaw was left with all the time in the world to prod home via Mampaey’s left-hand post from 8 yards.

Things could have become worse for the Fifers when the same player had an opportunity to double his side’s lead shortly afterwards but fortunately this effort went just the other side of the same post.

The Pars drew level in 35 minutes. Some great work by Crawford on the by-line saw Andy Tod beaten to the cross by a Morton defender who headed the ball over his own crossbar from only a yard out. From the resulting Petrie corner however Lee Bullen headed powerfully past Maxwell to score on his home debut.

This brought Dunfermline right back into the game and May went close with a shot in 40 minutes.

A half-time score of 1-1 was probably just about fair, although Dunfermline had had the balance of play. With the news that St Mirren were ahead at Love Street against Inverness meant that better was probably required in the second half if they were to be faced with equal points next Saturday.

Sadly the better did not materialise.

Whilst Dunfermline again had by far the bulk of the possession the cutting edge was missing. Crawford shot wide in 50 minutes and Bullen put through the same player 2 minutes later but the resulting effort was ‘powder-puff’.

David Graham replaced the ineffective May after 67 minutes as the Pars attempted to add more width to their play but sadly he never really got into the game.

Ian Ferguson, by now playing rather deeper than some of the home fans might have wanted, was booked for the second game in a row after 67 minutes and as time was beginning to run out for the Pars, Coyle replaced the woeful Petrie with 13 minutes remaining.

Bullen almost spoiled an impressive personal performance with a reckless kick at an opponent with less than 10 minutes remaining. He survived with a yellow card and was immediately replaced by Dair, but on another day with a different referee he could well have seen red.

Morton had a chance to steal all 3 points when their centre-forward shot just wide from 20 yards with 5 minutes to go and in the very last minute Stevie Crawford was straight through at the other end but shot straight at Maxwell.

So 2 points dropped and a win against St Mirren next week is now a must.

On the bright side of things Lee Bullen appears to have a presence and commitment up front which has been required for some time, Scott Thomson looks to be settling in to the right-back role and the much-criticised David Moss had what was undoubtedly his best game for the Pars.

On the darker side the central defence still doesn’t look as comfortable as it should, Eddie May should not be playing in midfield if at all and Petrie needs a rest.

Dunfermline Athletic: Mampaey; Thomson, Tod, Potter, McGroarty: May (Graham 67), Moss, Ferguson, Petrie (Coyle 77); Crawford, Bullen (Dair 84).
Pars Scorer; Bullen (34)
Pars Yellow Cards; Ferguson (69), Bullen (82)
Referee; Martin Clark (Edinburgh)
Attendance; 4289
League Postion 2nd (2 points behind St Mirren)

Next Match; St Mirren (Home) Saturday 19 February 2000 @ 3.00pm

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