Ladbrokes Championship: Dunfermline 2 Arbroath 0: 29/10/19

Stevie Crawford was hoping that his side could follow up their first league home win against Ayr United with a win over the League One champions, Arbroath. With former Pars boss Dick Campbell at the helm the Gayfield club had made a good start to their Championship campaign taking 14 points from the first ten fixtures and arrived at East End Park on the back of wins over Morton and Partick Thistle.

There were two changes to the home side, Ryan Scully and Kevin Nisbet started in place of Cammy Gill and Harry Cochrane. Sixteen year old full back Miller Fenton was on the bench.

Arbroath made three changes from the team that won at Partick on Saturday, Mark Whatley, David Gold and Scott Stewart dropped out and in their places Michael McKenna, Josh Campbell and James Murphy.

The visitors kicked off attacking the goal at the McCathie Stand end but it was the first forward move from Dunfermline that created an early chance. Greg Kiltie played three ball to Nisbet then on to Ryan Dow whose low ball into the six yard box was attacked by Andy Ryan but he did not connect and required treatment as he injured his arm as defenders slid in after him.

The Fifers took the game to Arbroath and Colin Hamilton headed away a cross from the left before Bobby Linn accepted a Miko Virtanen pass but the cross from left was easily held by Scully. The keeper then had another easy take when former Par, Jason Thomson headed a soft header on target.

A clumsy tackle by Hamilton on Dow handed the Pars a 14th minute free kick but Paul Paton’s efforts to pick out Lee Ashcroft on the edge of the box were thwarted as McKenna won the header.

Physio Kevin Bain was back on the park three minutes later when Scully and Turner collided as the Pars keeper saved another Linn cross. When play resumed Kiltie was tumbled by Virtanen in the centre circle much to the displeasure of the home support.

Tempers rose even higher at the midpoint of the half when Thomas O’Brien challenged Ashcroft on the left wing and referee John McKendrick showed both a yellow card.

Play stopped again in 27th minute when a high kick from Virtanen caught Paton and for the second home game running had to leave the field to stem blood on face. While the Pars were down to ten men Virtanen drove a low shot well wide left.

When play switched to the other end it was an impressive pass from Kiltie to Dow on the right that was sent invitingly along the six yard box but the Arbroath defence cut out ahead of Nisbet. Virtanen then collected a yellow for his treatment of Kiltie out on the left side but when Turner delivered the free kick O’Brien rose above everyone else to head clear.

When Ryan drove forward in 37th minute Kiltie was the one who latched on to the ball 25 yards out but his shot was deflected behind for a corner on the right that deployed three opponents in clearing.

As Virtanen and Nisbet rithed about after a coming together Turner was presented with an opportunity in the centre forward’s position but he was unable to get the shot in before being closed out.

The half time stats would show possession even at 50/50, shots 2 apiece, on target none, corners 2-1 in the home side’s favour but Arbroath had committed ten fouls to the Pars three.

Half time: Dunfermline 0 Arbroath 0

Derek Gaston was relieved to hold a Nisbet shot within two minutes of the restart. Kiltie’s cross from the right evaded Ryan but his co-striker got the connection but it was not to be for the opener.

A lofted Dow cross was headed behind by Thomson for a 51st minute corner but when Turner delivered Arbroath survived Ryan’s attempt and then Paton followed up but he sent his shot over the crossbar.

Comrie’s cross from the right three minutes later found Kiltie on the left side in an offside position, maybe just as well as he cutled the ball outside the far post. The Kilmarnock player was definitely legal when Ryan next played a low ball in towards the near post but Kiltie slipped as he tried to shoot and the chance was gone.

Then in 59 minutes came the breakthrough. A long pass out of his own half but Paton allowed Andy Ryan to create the opening taking the ball in on the right side of the Arbroath box and his but back to the top of it was a case of Dunfermline must score. NISBET was the player who was presented with the chance and he bulged the left side of the net having sent Gaston the wrong way. 1-0

Arbroath’s efforts to get back onto the game looked dangerous when Thomson sent his 64th minute cross into the box and the defence tried various headed clearances but still Linn got a shot in but shot weakly wide.

A double substitution for the Red Lichties then saw them introduce Greig Spence and Steven Doris upfront. Miko Virtanen and Luke Donnelly made way for them.

Edwards won a 72nd minute corner and when Turner tried to find Ryan at the far post there were loud appeals for a penalty as the Pars player appeared to be pulled back. In amidst the appeals Paton smashed the ball at goal but Gaston saved.

Ryan had a good opportunity but Gaston pulled off another good save. That was the last of Andy Ryan as he was replaced by Tom Beadling with fifteen minutes to go. A Paton pass then set up NISBET, virtually in the same place from where he scored the first and with plenty time as the defenders claimed for offside he picked his spot in the bottom right and the lead was doubled. 2-0

Nisbet had a chance for his hattrick but blasted over and should have had a chance from an 83rd minute penalty but the referee did not see the blatant push on the back of Kiltie and that opportunity didn`t come either.

In the first minute of time added on Nisbet had a good shot blocked by a defender diving in and then Turner fired the loose ball at Gaston who kept it out at his right hand post.

Three points and a shut out was a satisfactory outcome, a result that lifts Dunfermline to sixth level on points with Queen of the South and Morton, one behind Arbroath.

DUNFERMLINE: Ryan Scully: Aaron Comrie, Lee Ashcroft, Lewis Martin, Josh Edwards: Ryan Dow (Harry Cochrane 87), Paul Paton (c), Kyle Turner, Greg Kiltie, Kevin Nisbet (Gabby McGill 90+3) Andy Ryan (Tom Beadling 75).
SUBS NOT USED: Danny Devine, Josh Coley, Miller Fenton, Cammy Gill (GK)
SCORERS: Nisbet (59, 78)
YELLOW CARD: Ashcroft (22)

ARBROATH: Derek Gaston: Jason Thomson (Ben Stirling 76), Ricky Little, Thomas O`Brien, Colin Hamilton: Michael McKenna, James Murphy, Miko Virtanen (Steven Doris 66), Bobby Linn, Josh Campbell: Luke Donnelly (Greig Spence 66).
SUBS NOT USED: Mark Whatley, David Gold, Omar Kader, Darren Jamieson (GK)
YELLOW CARD: O’Brien (22), Virtanen (32), Thomson (75), McKenna (84)

REFEREE: John McKendrick

NEXT MATCH: Ladbrokes Championship: (home) v Queen of the South, Saturday 2nd November 2019, kick off 3.00pm at East End Park

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