SPL v Livingston
DUNFERMLINE 0 LIVINGSTON 1
Fixture: BOS SPL Premier League
Kick Off: 15:00
Referee: Kenny Clark
Weather: Dry 2C
After fielding a winning side last time out against Hibs in the CIS Insurance Cup, Dunfermline made two changes for this important SPL meeting with Livi. Scott Wilson recovered from his pelvic injury to replace Aaron Labonte in defence and Derek Young came in for the not fully fit Mark Burchill. The visitors changed their winning formula too with Paul Dalglish and Ramon Pereira starting in place of Robert Snodgrass and James McPake.
Following drawn matches between these sides Dunfermline kicked off seeking their first win over Livi since the second day of 2003 and it was the Pars who created the first chance of the match when in fourth minute Yannick Zambernardi lofted over a cross from the left touchline that Craig Wilson turned into the six yard box but the all red figure of Ludovic Roy was out quick to grab the ball in front of Derek Young.
Three minutes later Dunfermline came even closer to scoring when a Zambernardi shot from 40 yards sailed over the stationary Livi keeper and came back off the crossbar. Craig Wilson followed up but there was no joy as the defence got back to clear.
Yannick Zambernardi takes on Livi`s Neil Barrett
Next it was Livi`s turn to hit the crossbar when Jason Dair found himself free in midfield and advanced to pick his spot from 30 yards. Fortunately his sights were too high and the Pars were forced to defend the first of two quick corners. Their best effort came when Dalglish shrugged off Zambernardi to rifle a shot at McGregor. The Lions briefly threatened to take a grip of the game as McGregor had to come out of his box to stop another Dalglish run through the middle.
Andy Tod`s 17th minute ball to Greg Ross set up an attack that Derek Young might have done better with but the Livi defence were alert to the danger. Moments later a great Mason run down the right wing was punctuated with a driving shot from the boot of Iain Campbell that Roy touched spectacularly over the bar.
Pressure remained in front of the East Stand, populated by 1000 young Pars supporters when a free kick on the top of the D was shot narrowly wide by Campbell. When Noel Hunt pinched possession on the edge of the centre circle his run and then lay off put Greg Ross in for a shot from the right side of the penalty box that Ludovic Roy saved with his right foot. With thirty minutes gone the match was shaping up well for the Fifers and the route to the net was the only piece missing in the jigsaw.
Iain Campbell (left) and Derek Young (right)
A Craig Wilson cross into the top of the Livingston`s penalty box was left by Young for Campbell but he misjudged the position of a defender behind him and the chance was thwarted. Nine minutes from the interval Ross`s pass into the box set up Derek Young but he was wide with his strike and relieved to see the yellow and orange offside flag raised anyway.
Andy Tod was on the end of an Iain Campbell free kick but Kenny Clark deemed the Pars centre his challenged to be too enthusiastic and blew up against him. Keeper Allan McGregor required treatment after Paul Tierney`s attempt to get on to a cross involved stamping into the challenge. Barring an Allan walker shot that was wide left, the half fizzled out with three added minutes as both sets of fans quietened down and started to filter towards the Stephens kiosks for a warm drink and welcoming steak bridie.
Dunfermline Athletic 0 Livingston 0
The next 45 minutes were going to be important and both teams started brightly; Pereira bursting into the right side of the box to be edged out by Tod, Hunt teasing Brittain at the other end before crossing a useful ball and then play switching back swiftly with Paul Dalglish shooting at McGregor. With only five minutes gone Greg Ross just missed out on a Derek Young cut back and the visiting fans in the North East Stand were cheering until they realised that Dalglish`s hooked shot had hit the outside of the sidenetting.
Noel Hunt (left) and Andy Tod (right) try to get the better of Harald Pinxten
Greg Shields waited patiently to take a throw in on the right side 12 yards from the corner flag until he picked out Hunt and the Irishman`s flick into the six yard box was met by the in-rushing Craig Wilson. His header was forceful enough to hit the net but a timely interception denied the youngster his first SPL goal. With the visitors pegged back Dunfermline looked the most likely to score but in 61 minutes a wonder strike from Paul DALGLISH from all of 40 yards soared into the Pars net and they were in serious trouble.
Greg Ross lunges in to try and lift the Pars off 12th place in the SPL
Three minutes later Ross was presented a great opportunity to strike right back when Hunt again provided fodder from the right side of the box but the youngster scooped the chance away to the left. Mark Burchill was brought on for Zambernardi and then Liam Horsted for Craig Wilson as Dunfermline tried to lift themselves off the foot of the table. Horsted nearly paid immediate dividend as he drove a ball into the goalmouth only for it to be deflected away. Dunfermline were chasing the game, and chasing hard as Livi were content to see time lapse.
There was controversy when Burchill`s challenge on Roy took the keeper out of the box while still clutching the ball but the decision went against the Pars sub. The decibels were even louder in 80 minutes as Greg Strong earned himself a yellow card as he downed Hunt on the right edge of the box. Iain Campbell`s free kick went through the box and out off the back of Horsted.
Livi lived really dangerously as the Fifers went for the equaliser. Burchill`s pass to Hunt on the right was drilled through the six yard box yet with three white shirts desperately trying in vain to get a touch. Horsted was next to set up equaliser potential picking out Burchill 15 yards out but his touch back to Hunt allowed Livi to blocked the eventful shot.
The visitors took the heat off their defence by playing out the three added minutes primarily in the Dunfermline half. McGregor had to save from Barrett before Kenny Clark brought proceedings to an end.
Not the result Jim Leishman and his team were looking for. Joy for Paul Lambert with Livingston`s first win at East End Park in over four years. Another energetic performance from the Pars who looked the better team but it is goals that count and it ended up a seventh consecutive SPL defeat for the home side.
Dunfermline Squad: Allan McGregor; Greg Shields, Andy Tod, Scott Wilson, Yannick Zambernardi (Mark Burchill 71); Craig Wilson (Liam Horsted 73), Greg Ross, Gary Mason, Iain Campbell; Noel Hunt, Derek Young
The end of the match, but hopefully not the end of the world!
Dunfermline Subs: Bryn Halliwell, Jamie McCunnie, Bartosz Tarachulski, Aaron Labonte, John Dunn
Dunfermline Strip: Home White and Black
Livingston Squad: Ludovic Roy, Dave MacKay, Harald Pixten (Emmanuel Dorado 78), Greg Strong, Paul Tierney; Richard Brittain, Neil Barrett, Allan Walker, Jason Dair; Paul Dalglish (Robert Snodgrass 73), Ramon Pereira (James McPake 52)
Livingston Subs: Roddy McKenzie, Martin Scott, Gary Miller, Gabor Vincze
Livingston Goal Scorers: Dalglish (61)
Livingston Yellow Card : Strong (80)