SPL: DUNFERMLINE 1 ST JOHNSTONE 0: 20/03/99
Dunfermline started with Jamie Squires in at right back and Marc Millar switching to left defence. Derek Ferguson was suspended so the midfield was unchanged and David Graham was preferred to Gerry Britton up front.
One of the best chances of the whole game fell to Owen Coyle in the 4th minute but Scotland squad keeper, Alan Main saved the close range shot.
Coyle was again the centre of attention when after ten minutes he deliberately brought the ball down with his hand but unbelievably neither Referee Stuart Dougall or the stand side assistant noticed. St Johnstone had a chance on 16 minutes but John Paul McBride shot over the bar from 20 yards.
David Graham had a 30 yard shot in 25 minutes which travelled low and fast but wide of Main’s right post. Two minutes later McBride had a chip that also went wide at the other end. Scott Thomson next nodded down a Graham cross but there was no one there to smash it goalwards.
Andy Tod and Jamie Squires got caught up as they tried to stop a St Johnstone break into the box and as the ball broke to Nick Dasovic whose shot to the far corner of the goal was kicked off the line by Marc Millar with Lee Butler beaten. Millar then popped up at the other end to crash in a shot as Roddy Grant headed out one of just two Dunfermline corners of the first half. In the 39th minute Stewart Petrie wriggled and turned to breakthrough the centre of the Saints defence but Main easily gathered the ball away from him. Two minutes later Scott Thomson had a 25 yard shot saved by Main. David Graham then shot straight at the keeper having been set up by Scott Thomson.
Andy Tod had to come off a minute before the interval as he was struggling after picking up a knock on his leg. Enter Andy Smith into the midfield with Jamie Squires moving into the centre of defence Scott Thomson moving to left back and Marc Millar back to the right. Barely had the new set up settled in but Roddy Grant got in an effort that went over the crossbar.
It may sound action packed but except for the Millar clearance off the line there was little to raise either fans enthusiasm for the game. Most of the chances were off target and if not seemed to be straight at the goalkeepers.
The second half saw Dunfermline kicking towards their own fans in the Norrie McCathie Stand. Three minutes into the half Owen Coyle was presented with a pass back but he could only hit the ball into the Saintees goalkeeper
Danny Griffin tested Butler on 51 minutes after the ball bobbed about the Pars penalty box. A minute later Andy Smith should have scored from a Stewart Petrie overhead cross. His shot went wide.
But after the hour the game came to life and should have been killed just as quickly. Good work by David Graham put Marc Millar into the penalty box on the right. Millar cut along the bye line until Stewart Petrie found himself in space and the Pars no.6 cut back for PETRIE to slot in his second goal of the season.
Next minute Marc Millar broke fast up the right wing, his cross landed for David Graham but the youngster failed to control it. Owen Coyle was next set up to run at the keeper but John McQuillan handled the through ball while still inside the centre circle and as last man in defence was shown a red card.
St Johnstone through on their substitutes in an effort to get back the goal. Lowndes put a 73rd minute chance over the bar. Then Graham was gifted the ball and again failed to score. Petrie made a break down the left but his cross was too strong and carried out for a goal kick.
In the 81st minute Simao was denied by Marc Millar and as the whistles grew louder for full time Andy Smith almost got on the scoresheet.
The victory was sweet. The second in a row and takes Dunfermline off the foot of the table for the first time since October. With both Dundee sides winning however there’s a lot more to do in this season.
Match sponsors Man of the Match was Scott Thomson, not a bad choice but I think Millar really deserved this accolade in the truest meaning of the phrase.
DUNFERMLINE: Butler, Squires, Tod (Smith 44), Shields, Millar, Thomson, Dair, Dolan, Petrie (Templeman 84); Coyle, Graham (Britton (88)
Subs not used: Westwater, Martin.
Scorers: Petrie (63)
Yellow cards: no Dunfermline
Referee Stuart Dougall (Burnbank)
League position 9th
Next match v Aberdeen (away) Saturday 3rd April 1999
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