SFL First Division: DUNFERMLINE 1 INVERNESS CT 0: 18/12/99
If you hadn’t witnessed the wins at Ayr and Greenock and turned up at East End Park for this match you may have mistakenly concluded that not a lot had changed. This was a game in which the Pars players matched the weather and froze. The result was achieved two minutes into stoppage time which when St Mirren’s failure to earn a point at home to Ayr is taken into consideration, it is the Pars who are going to enjoy Christmas more and hopefully come out hungry for the points in the top of the table clash in 9 days time.
Calderwood was forced to replace the injured Scott Thomson and shingles suspect Steve Hampshire. Hamish French was the latest to fill the right back spot, John Potter found himself in central midfield, Chris McGroarty continued at left back and as the manager was clearly struggling for numbers David Graham, Colin Nish and transfer listed Jamie Squires were on the bench.
The pitch was in good condition having been covered all week with the hot air balloon; overhead it was clear and bright but for me the late December cold was not to be avoided despite the supplies of Bovril.
Dunfermline played the first half towards the 140 ICT fans in the East Stand and it was they were clearly happier with the first 45 minutes. The Pars players struggled to get a grip of the game; they seemed to be under instruction to play a passing game that they couldn’t achieve. Inverness were made to look good and had complete control of the first 20 minutes.
During the first quarter Dunfermline’s only chance had come in the 13th minute when an Owen Coyle cross into the six yard box got beyond Crawford and Hamish knocked it back for Moss but he was closed down before he could fire in a shot.
Davide Xausa almost scored when his 25 yard shot deflected off Hamish French and Westie just got to grips with it. Next a corner kick brought Westie off his line but he completely mistimed the effort and the ball fell to Bobby Mann who miraculously managed to head wide.
John Potter had a 25 yard pot shot that was nowhere near target. French and Petrie combined well but Stewarty pushed it over the crossbar. On the half hour Paul Sheerin’s shot at goal was dropped by Westie and fortunately he had space to retrieve the ball from behind him. ICT had controlled the midfield but it was the Pars who finished the half stronger. Chris McGroarty crossed from the left and David Moss’ flick on was blasted over the crossbar by Owen Coyle.
Two minutes before half time Justin Skinner took a free kick from the right which David Moss glanced past the far post. This was one of the few out of the many free kicks that Skinner took that found a black and white shirt.
The second half started with Dunfermline in the same tactical mode. Petrie had some success down the left. One of his crosses looked like bearing fruit but for a strong challenge from Tokely which might have earned a penalty. Moss and Petrie combined well to force Calder out of his penalty box but Petrie’s cross was headed wide by Moss with the keeper absent.
On 66 minutes a Petrie corner from the left was cleared as far as Potter, he fed the ball back into the box for Stevie Crawford to rattle the underside of the crossbar. Next minute Xausa was straight through on Westie but shot into his arms.
Brian Reid was withdrawn with 20 minutes remaining, David Graham came on and played wide on the right, Skinner was pushed up into midfield leaving Potter and Tod in the centre of a back four. Within two minutes Andy Tod performed heroics heading a certain goal off the line.
On 76 minutes Stewart Petrie made one of his characteristic runs but his shot was saved by Calder. Two minutes later David Graham got behind the Inverness left flank but Crawford failed to convert a great chance.
Xausa and Teasdale both could have scored before Dunfermline’s final push. It looked as though they would fail to take advantage of events in Paiskley as two chances fell to John Potter but then Owen Coyle crossed for Andy TOD to head in the winner.
This was a real “Get out of Jail Free Card”. Dunfermline had no Monoploy on this match but got the luck that bailed them out.
DUNFERMLINE: Westwater, French, Tod, Skinner, Reid (Graham 70), McGroarty; Moss, Petrie; Crawford, Coyle.
Subs not used: Nish, Squires.
Scorer: Andy Tod (90)
Yellow Cards: no Pars
Inverness CT: Calder, Teasdale, Mann, McCulloch, Hastings, Golabek, Shearer, Christie, Tokely, Xausa (Glancy 89), Wyness (Bavidge 71).
Subs not used: Byers.
Yellow Cards: Christie, Mann, Teasdale.
Referee John Underhill (Edinburgh)
League Position 2nd
Strip: Black & White (home)
Next match v St Mirren (home) League Monday 27th December 1999 3.00pm kick off
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