Ladbrokes Championship: Dunfermline 2 Dumbarton 2: 25/11/17

Following Tuesday night`s 1-1 draw at home to Morton, manager Allan Johnston made two changes for the visit of Dumbarton. Kallum Higginbotham returned having served his one match suspension meaning Joe Cardle dropped to the bench. Callum Smith came in to take the place of the unlucky Andy Ryan who injured his ankle in training.

Dumbarton manager Stevie Aitken also made two changes, the two 19 year olds Chris McLaughlin and Greg Morrison coming in to replace Dougie Hill and Alistair Roy. The Pars had scored eighteen goals in the last five matches against Dumbarton so despite the freezing temperature there was hope that some Pars goals would warm the home support.

The visitors kicked off attacking the goal at the McCathie Stand end but it was their keeper Scott Gallagher who had the first save to make, holding a Fraser Aird shot from 35 yards after just one minute. Three minutes later the home defence cleared the first corner of the afternoon but there was a spell where the Pars found themselves playing in their own half.

Nicky Clark broke down the right but the defence blocked his cross before Higginbotham had an opportunity from a free kick 30 yards out but his low effort travelled wide left. Smith then came close to opening the scoring connecting with a Ryan Williamson cross but seeing his net bound shot deflected wide by Sam Wardrop. Lee Ashcroft attacked the delivery from the corner but failed to get the connection to turn the ball home.

McLaughlin`s 13th minute free kick was headed behind for another Dumbarton corner but Tom Walsh`s cross was easily cleared.

The Fifers attempted to go forward but Smith was tackled on the edge of the box and both Higginbotham and Williamson lost possession deep in the opposition half. Dean Shiels picked out Williamson who chipped the ball to the back post but just over the leaping Smith.

A stray pass set up Clark but he overhit his effort to send away Smith. Then in 28 minutes Higginbotham sent Williamson away on a powerful run and he did really well showing total focus in getting far enough up to place an inviting ball into the box. Unfortunately when that was played along the top of the Sons` box there was no one to take the opportunity.

Next an Aird cross brought Scott Gallagher out to punch the ball away from the challenge of Smith. Kyle Hutton raced away having won possession off Higginbotham and he picked out Mark Stewart on the left wing. The former Raith Rovers striker then slipped the ball to Walsh who tried a ball to the far post that the defence mopped up.

Higginbotham delivered another corner from the right that Ashcroft headed down but with back to goal Smith was prevented from spinning to finish. The ball broke to Aird who drove off target from 25 yards. A further opportunity from a Higginbotham free kick was all too easily defended.

Stewart hit a Dumbarton chance into the stand from 15 yards out but despite lots of possession Dunfermline were not finding it easy to break down the stubborn Dumbarton defence.

Stuart Carswell cut down Shiels to earn the Pars a 45th minute free kick on the left edge of box. That only resulted in a corner as the keeper punched the ball behind but that was not to change anything. The teams went in with no goals from either side.

Half time: Dunfermline 0 Dumbarton 0

Sean Murdoch was the first keeper deployed in the second half palming away a Walsh cross. Higginbotham at the other end sent over a good ball that appeared to surprise Smith at the far post and the defence cleared. Then in the fifth mince of the half, Dumbarton went ahead. WALSH gathered the ball 25 yards out and sent it into the bottom right of the Pars goal 0-1

Joe Cardle and Michael Paton came on as 55th minute subs for Kallum Higginbotham and Dean Shiels and within a minute the teams were back level. It was skipper Callum MORRIS who was to find the net with a shot from the centre of the Dumbarton box, scoring as a result of a delivery in from a setpiece on the left. 1-1

The match had needed to open up and the goals were just what was required from the fans perspective. Williamson made a fantastic last gasp tackle to steal the ball away from Stewart and then at the other end Smith headed the ball back in front of goal as Gallagher opted to leave the lofted ball to his left post. Unluckily it was a red shirt that was first to the ball.

Dmitris FROXYLIAS was the first Dumbarton sub in 66 minutes and it took the Cypriot just two minutes to find the net. He made his chance from the right side curling in a wonderful strike from 25 yards out. 1-2

Declan McManus was introduced for Fraser Aird with 19 minutes remaining and there was immediately a chance for Clark but that just couldn`t be taken. Christian Nade had replaced Calum Gallagher and he forced a 79th minute free kick to be conceded on the left edge of the Pars box but with a crowded six yard box, Walsh placed the ball on the roof of the net.

Cardle forced a corner off Carswell on the right but Dumbarton defended that. Paton had a pass into the box intercepted, then he had a shot blocked and a Talbot setpiece delivery was all too easily defended.

The clock was running away from Dunfermline but in 89th minute the ball was forced into the right side of the box and Cardle and Smith were well positioned to strike. The 18 year old striker thrashed the ball in on the angle, the keeper blocked, Cardle couldn`t get a connection but Williamson crossed for CLARK to head home. 2-2

The equaliser was very welcome but that was to be the end to the scoring. A second successive draw at home was hardly what was wanted but in the circumstances a point was possibly as good as it could get. Dumbarton gaffer Stevie Aitken would say that it felt like a defeat.
DUNFERMLINE: Sean Murdoch: Ryan Williamson, Callum Morris (c), Lee Ashcroft, Jason Talbot: Kallum Higginbotham (Joe Cardle 55), Nat Wedderburn, Dean Shiels (Michael Paton 55), Fraser Aird (Declan McManus 71): Callum Smith, Nicky Clark.
SUBS NOT USED: Lewis Martin, Jean-Yves M`Voto, Cammy Gill (GK).
SCORERS: Morris (56), Clark (89)
YELLOW CARD: Talbot (90+4)

DUMBARTON: Scott Gallagher: Sam Wardrop, Craig Barr, Andy Dowie (c), Chris McLaughlin: Calum Gallagher (Christian Nade 74), Kyle Hutton, Stuart Carswell, Tom Walsh (Chris Johnston 84), Mark Stewart, Greg Morrison (Dmitris Froxylias 66).
SUBS NOT USED: Dougie Hill, Alastair Roy, Kyle Prior, Jamie Ewings (GK).
SCORERS: Walsh (50), Froxylias (68)
YELLOW CARD: Morrison (37), Hutton (39), Wardrop (46), Nade (90), Gallagher (90+2)

REFEREE: Nick Walsh

NEXT MATCH: Ladbrokes Championship: (away) v Dundee United, Saturday 2nd December, kick off 3.00pm at Tannadice