SFL First Division: DUNFERMLINE 2 FALKIRK 2: 15/01/00

Just when Dunfermline were looking for a bit of Dutch influence on their promotion bid, former Pars favourite Ivo Den Bieman headed in a 91st minute equaliser to see the Dunfermline players’ win bonus disappear. But this was not an injustice.

Dunfermline did not deserve the three points and had gone two up against the run of play. Two goals up with five minutes to go; they should have been able to secure a victory but Jimmy Calderwood later claimed a lot of the problems were in the players heads with the "fear factor" coming into play.

Still seeking their first points of the millennium, the Pars had a new and fresh look about their starting line up. Having become increasingly reliant on Dick Campbell’s acquisitions - Steve Crawford and Steve Hampshire, Jimmy Calderwood made his first signings at the start of the week in keeper Kris Mampaey and midfielder Ian Ferguson. Chairman John Yorkston was clearly delighted commenting that in the one day “there are few First Division sides who will sign two players with Champions League experience.”

Ian Westwater was dropped to bring in the new keeper. Ian Ferguson took the place of the injured Jamie Dolan. Jason Dair returned to his left back spot, Eddie May was the latest to try to fill the right back role, Chris McGroarty was pushed up into midfield
and Owen Coyle returned between suspensions.
Dunfermline kicked off towards the away support and after just a minute Steve Crawford was found wide on the left and crossed to the far side of the penalty box where an unmarked Steven HAMPSHIRE shot the ball past Hogarth.

The Pars continued to press with Coyle and Crawford much involved. A Stewart Petrie cross floated over Crawford and the surprised Owen Coyle could only head down and wide with only 5 minutes gone. The game then got bogged down in midfield with little to bother either keeper. Den Bieman picked out McDonald after 24 minutes and Belgian keeper Kris Mampaey smothered the danger.

Kevin Christie was yellow carded when he objected to Owen Coyle`s shielding of the ball as he closed in on goal. Andy Tod put a Petrie corner wide and Mampaey had a couple of fisted clearances in the Jim Herriot style but when half time came Falkirk must have felt that they should have more to show for having the majority of the possession.

Five minutes into the second 45 a Skinner free kick almost got through to Andy Tod but then the play switched to the other end. Mampaey showed his first sign of nerves when his hesitancy was nearly punished except the offside flag was up.

Falkirk replaced Colin McDonald with Gareth Hutchison on the hour and although McDonald had severely tested the Dunfermline defence, Hutchison`s speed and ability to cross in dangerous balls created even more of a threat.
Ian Ferguson hung on to the ball until he could find a player to pass to but in the 62nd minute he found himself retreating so much that he lost the ball on the edge of the penalty box and was relieved to see Andy Lawrie`s shot go wide of the target.

Two minutes later Mampaey needed Pip Yeates` attention as he saved with his feet. Things were certainly "backs to the wall" and Calderwood brought on John Potter to re-arrange a back 5 of Dair, Potter, Tod, Skinner and McGroarty. May moved into midfield and things looked extremely shaky until Dunfermline made it 2-0.

The second goal came when a Mampaey throw to Petrie was pushed ahead for McGroarty to run through, round Ivo and bear in on the keeper. Instead of squaring to the awaiting Crawford he tried to score himself. The ball broke off the keeper and eventually the ball ended up with CRAWFORD who made no mistake from six yards.

Petrie won a free kick as he dribbled across the edge of the penalty box and Crawford`s free kick was close but over the top. Eddie May had to come off with what looked like a hamstring injury and David Moss took his place. Moss was involved with a weak clearance as Falkirk continued to press and as the ball fell to McKenzie the Falkirk man hammered the ball into the top right of Mampaey`s net before McGroarty could close him down. A cracker of a goal from 25 yards that was in from the moment it left the players right foot.

Falkirk raised the pace and went for the equaliser. The danger appeared to have been sustained until a last minute opportunity presented by the Referee.

Falkirk were given a last minute corner by Referee Tom Brown - the only person in the ground who thought that the correct decision. As the corner swung in from the left the ball was cleared out to the right where John Henry cut it back for Ivo to head in at the far post.

The players might have "feared" the outcome but the supporters saw it coming for a long time. Falkirk were quicker to the ball, happier on it and more skillful with it. Dunfermline`s new men looked good. Fergie definitely in need of games but at least he tried to pass to his own men - Petrie in particular benefitted from this. Kris Mampaey positively oozed confidence and should help the defence.

The league position continues to gather concern. Raith collected 3 points at the Shyberry and they play their game in hand v Clydebank on Tuesday - win that and they will be on the same points as the Pars. The opportunity to stop Falkirk was lost with this draw and they remain just three points behind Dunfermline.

DUNFERMLINE: (4-4-2) Mampaey; May (Moss 77), Tod, Skinner, Dair; Hampshire, Ferguson, McGroarty, Petrie (Graham 85); Crawford, Coyle (Potter 68).
Scorers: Hampshire (1), Crawford (73)
Yellow Cards: Petrie (late tackle 42), Mampaey (demonstrating to the Ref 91)
Falkirk: Hogarth, Lawrie, Den Bieman, Christie, McQuilken, Nicholls, McKenzie, Henry, Hagen, Crabbe, McDonald (Hutchison 59).
Subs not used: Seaton, McStay.
Referee: T Brown
Attendance: 7233
League Position 2nd (6 points behind St Mirren whose match was frozen off today)
Strip: Home - Black & White

Next match v Ayr United (home)
Bells Scottish First Division Saturday 22nd January 2000

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