From the fixture list it had looked a long time ago that this match might seal the relegation fight with Dunfermline supporters hoping that it would be Dundee who would to sent back to where they’d come from.

But events of previous weeks meant that Dundee were looking to secure 5th spot in the league and the Pars were there to cling to the mathematical possibility of avoiding relegation. Just as well however that we had already conceded our fate because on this performance there is no way that Dunfermline could have saved their skins at Dens Park.

On entering the squeaky old stand confirmation of Dundee’s ambition (and our ultimate demotion) was evident by the demolished east and west terracings. No pile drivers or large cranes but enough machinery and earth movements to suggest that Dundee will have a SPL-worthy stadium at some time towards the end of summer although one wag in the stand cast doubt on the pace of the rebuilding programme when the ball went behind the goal into the building site in the second half.

Dunfermline were without Jamie Dolan through suspension and injuries to Marc Millar and Jason Dair allowed Gavin Johnson to return at left back and George Shaw to start against his former employers. The teams emerged from the corner in front of the away support and there was much encouragement from the travelling support. Let’s hope Dick Campbell enjoyed the reserved applause as he walked out to the dug out because opinion was soon to turn against him.
Dundee were the livelier team and maybe it was because they had better players that we looked mediocre. Midfield was a shambles with Dunfermline being caught in possession too often and passes going astray. The attack was blunted as Smith and Irvine stifled the “threat” of Andy Smith and Owen Coyle. Too many of Andy Smith’s lay offs back to midfield went straight to blue shirts. Dunfermline had no shots on target all first half with two chances falling to Coyle but the “striker” could not bother the keeper.
It was inevitable that Dundee would score and they duly obliged mid way through the first half. A Maddison corner from the right was met by Brian Irvine’s head to open the scoring. The Athletic defence seemed to be there in numbers but no one seemed to challenge Irvine’s airspace.
The Pars plodded through the rest of the half as it seemed the clock had stopped and the interval would never come. The Dunfermline players had certainly looked down and out and the fans were less than appreciative of their lacklustre efforts.
Consensus at the break amongst the Pars supporters milling about in the dungeons of the Dundee dog stadium was that they had witnessed yet another “worst 45 minutes of the season”.

The teams re-emerged for the second 45, the dug outs filled up with subs and physios and Jocky Scott then got the vocal public acclamation of his masturbatory habits. All this allowed Dick Campbell to quietly retake his dugout position almost without notice.

Everything looked rosy when Scott Thomson’s drive found the inside of the side netting after 5 second half munites. Strangely Andy Smith was visibly upset by Thomson’s efforts and blatantly avoided congratulating Thomson choosing instead to make his way back to the centre circle.

From the restart Dundee took the ball up the left avoiding a high Greg Shields tackle for Boyack to meet the cross in solitude at the edge of the box and pick his spot behind a helpless Butler. This was Dunfermline at their usual inattentive best.

Falconer headed in number three and with almost half an hour to go the Pars were beaten. Huxford had come close when Coyle laid the ball into his path and Shaw had hit the crossbar.

By this time Campbell was very aware of the comments clearly being articulated from the Pars fans. He was needing to win votes and tried to appease by removing Owen Coyle and replacing him with David Graham. Little did Coyle understand that the cheers and clapping were not for his display but for Campbell’s decision to replace him.

Gerry Britton was also subject of fan’s chants so Campbell took off Smith to bring on Britton. Nothing changed however the best effort being when George Shaw hit a David Graham cross just wide of Douglas’ right hand post eight minutes from time.

The final whistle was a relief and Dick Campbell trotted off in Jocky Scott and Jimmy Bone’s slipstream. The manager was astute enough to know if he left on his own the fans would have registered distinct disapproval of his position. Surprisingly the Pars fans were good humoured in the face of adversity with chants of bring on the Rovers, we f*** hate Falkirk and Que Sera Sera were going to Caley T Que Sera Sera.

Half filled pies and no hot chocolate typified the second rate facilities which Stephens whack with ease. Dundee fielded a stupid cat faced fat bear that make Sammy look like Mr Universe. But what the home side had served up on the park was certainly better than anything Dunfermline could offer. Dunfermline should release ALL the players who are out of contract and completely re-build in an effort to do the East End bounce back to the SPL.

DUNFERMLINE: Butler, Shields, Tod, Ireland, Johnson, Shaw, Huxford, Thomson, Petrie (McGroarty 66); Smith (Britton 77), Coyle (Graham 66).
Subs not used: Westwater, Squires
Scorer: Thomson 50
Yellow Card: Ireland (27)

Referee H Dallas (Motherwell)
Attendance: 4179
League Position 10th and relegated
Next match v Motherwell (home) Sunday 23rd May 1999

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