SFL First Division: CLYDEBANK 1 DUNFERMLINE 3: 05/02/00
Bullen bullet If there had been a hotline to the Pars complaints department it would have melted within the first hour of this match. The travelling “support” were at their moaning best as promotion contenders struggled against the no hopers who are Clydebank. “We’ve gotta watch this Calderwood” and “We’re paying for you lot to go to the ballroom tonight” were interpersed with verbal abuse directed at least half of the yellow strips.
Not that the criticism was unwarranted. This was a pretty awful performance only saved by a purple patch midway through the second half. Out of the starting line up went Reid, Dolan, McGroarty, Graham and Hampshire, the last three making up the bench and in came David Moss, Eddie May, John Potter along with new signings Lee Bullen and Stevie Crawford.
Dunfermline made a positive start playing from east to west, looking up for the game. In the 1st minute Ferguson found May on the right and almost provided the opener when his cross was met by Moss. Next minute a free kick from Ferguson was played into the penalty box to Crawford who tapped it back to May whose shot from 18 yards just went wide.
After ten minutes a Clydebank shot at Mampaey was quickly booted up to the other end of the park by the Belgian keeper and both Bullen and Crawford were beaten to the ball by the Bankies keeper Colin Scott. Then David Moss cut into the penalty box from the left and lined up a shot for Stevie Crawford but yet again Scott saved.
Jason Dair was having a torrid time against Greg Miller and he was turned outside in on 17 minutes. The Bankies man got down the right and fired over a cross that Andy Tod headed straight into his own net. He seemed totally on his own and his action a bit unnecessary with no apparent danger.
Calderwood immediately reacted replacing Dair with McGroarty and that certainly looked an improvement but elsewhere Dunfermline’s efforts looked slow and pathetic. In the whole of the rest of the first half there were only three shots at goal. On the half hour Ian Ferguson tested Colin Scott, then Andy Tod had an effort that trundled past the post and ten minutes before half time John Potter’s 25 yard drive was held by the keeper.
One of the critics in from the stand hoped that the first half was not going to be our good half. It looked as it might have been until the 52nd minute when Crawford and Petrie combined to eventually provide a shot straight at the keeper. Derek McWilliams was then lucky to escape with a telling off when he blatantly kicked John Potter. The spineless ref bottled a decision and then proceeded to yellow card first offenders Ferguson and Thomson.
The injustice of the second card seemed to rile the players and immediately hit back with determination that brought a goal.
Stevie Crawford found Moss who with uncharacteristic speed switched the ball to Lee Bullen. The new man drove into the penalty box to blast the ball high for a goal scoring debut for the Pars.
Ian Ferguson had another shot at goal then only three minutes after opening the scoring Dunfermline went into the lead. Fergie found David Graham wide on the right and the substitute crossed for Stevie Crawford to turn into the goal.
Pars “fans” were back on song forgetting the first 60 minutes. News of St Mirren’s demise raised the spirits and suddenly Cappielow looked rosy.
To finish it off Lee Bullen was sent down the left and cut the ball back from the byeline to see Crawford make it 3-1.
A satisfactory result, three points won but a mediocre performance. It would appear that it will take several good matches from Bullen and Crawford to keep Dunfermline’s SPL hopes alive.
Team selection seems to be extremely fluid. Certainly it was right to bring in the new signings; Brian Reid was dropped for being at fault at Easter Road as too probably the case with Jamie Dolan. It was proved long ago that Jason Dair is not a left back so who knows why Chris McGroarty was left out in favour of Dair. The manager appeared to acknowledge his mistake with the early substitution. Then there is the inclusion of David Moss. Although the player had a part in two of the goals his contribution during the rest of the match was limited. His lack of pace must put his place in doubt. David Graham came on and gave the team pace and penetration down the right hand side.
So many changes suggest that Calderwood and Nicholl do not know what their best team is. Chris Templeman was injured in training and as Jimmy Calderwood gets an opportunity to view the reserves again in midweek others like Steven Boyle will surely come into contention.
DUNFERMLINE: (4-4-2) Mampaey; Thomson, Potter, Tod, Dair (McGroarty 20); May (Graham 65), Ferguson, Moss, Petrie (Hampshire 80); Crawford, Bullen
Scorers: Bullen (67) Crawford (70, 90)
Yellow Cards Ferguson (60), Thomson (66), Crawford (80).
Referee D Somers (Paisley probably)
Strip: Away Yellow
Weather: mild, rain in the second half
League position 2nd level on points with St Mirren who have a two goal advantage and a match in hand over the Pars
Next Match (home) v Morton Saturday 12th February 2000
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