SPL v Hearts
DUNFERMLINE 1 HEARTS 1 Date: 05/03/05
Fixture: BOS SPL Premier League, Attendance: 5934
Kick Off: 15:00, Referee: Charlie Richmond
Weather: Bright, Rain and Hail at times 8C
This turned out to be a very entertaining game; one that the Pars maybe should have had finished early in the second half but the Jambos were permitted the chance to get even. Scott Wilson headed Dunfermline into a 32nd minute lead but the big defender`s influence on the result was not over. A fiercely disputed decision against him awarded the visitors a 62nd minute penalty and neither side could notch a winner.
For the visit of fifth placed Hearts Dunfermline were forced to make one change from the side that lined up on Wednesday night against Motherwell. Scott Thomson`s injured toe keeps him out meaning his midweek replacement 19 year-old Ian Campbell is brought in for only his second SPL start.
Andy Tod led out the Pars and Hearts kicked off without their suspended Saulius Mikoliunas and perhaps more significantly without Steven Pressley. Deividas Cesnauauskis showed great pace to get himself into position wide right from which he punched the ball along the Dunfermline six yard box where fortunately Dennis Wyness could not get a touch on.
The Jambos kept up the early pressure when Paul Hartley swung in a free kick from the left that Derek Stillie punched away. The Pars made a few trips up in front of the sun kissed East Stand but keeper Craig Gordon had no problems arriving early to smother the over struck passes. The visitors began to dominate but failed to penetrate the Pars defence. Indeed it was the home side that got closer to scoring; a nice ball from Simon Donnelly out to Jesper Christiansen was pushed into the Hearts box where an offside Hristov stuck the ball wide of the right post.
This brought the Pars to life however Christiansen earning a corner on the left that Makel sent over in the direction of Tod. Hearts failed to clear and Donnelly was given space to feed a good ball through to Gjorgi Hristov forcing Gordon to save. Within a minute Donnelly tested the orange shirted Hearts stopper yet again with an angle shot from 15 yards. Then a Darren Young ball from the right was flicked on by a Hearts defender to drop at the feet of Scott Wilson. The big defender took a touch and then rattled the bar with a venomous shot but offside flag had already been raised.
Dunfermline were certainly in the driving seat at the midway point of the first 45 with Donnelly and Young looking particularly alert. Young Greg Ross was getting forward and enjoying exchanges with Hristov. There were strong appeals for a penalty when Campbell burst into the left side of the visitors and the ball appeared to be handled by Andy Webster. Charlie Richmond signed that it was Webster`s body that had stopped the ball.
Three corners followed in quick succession. Campbell`s from the right was deflected out for Makel to try another from the left and when Campbell was given the opportunity from the right his ball was met inside the six yard box by Scott WILSON and his header came down off the crossbar to the delight of the home fans. The 32nd minute goal was no less than the Pars deserved.
It would have been an injustice had Hearts quickly squashed the Pars lead but just two minutes later Lee Miller`s 25 yard strike from the right side needed an international class save from Derek Stillie to keep the Pars ahead.
Donnelly sent Darren Young up the right and Webster conceded yet another corner - the sixth of the match - with only six minutes to half time. Toddy was penalised for his attempts to reach Campbell`s cross.
The home support were on their feet when Christiansen`s tackle on Cesnauskis brought an over reaction from the Lithuanian who rotated in making a real feast of the challenge. Hearts were awarded the free kick but their player was shown a yellow card.
At the interval Derek Young came on for Gjorgi Hristov and the sub should have made an early impression on the scoreline. Just 40 seconds in the second half Christiansen was picked out on the left side of the Hearts box and his ball across the front of goal looked easier to convert than miss but unfortunately Derek Young just couldn`t do the damage. Next Makel`s cross from Derek Young at the far post was defended only as far as Darren Young and he brought a fantastic save out of Gordon from his 25 yards shot.
There was only 48 minutes on the clock when Christiansen got another cross into the six yard box from close quarters and this time Donnelly was too far ahead and not close enough to Gary Mason to knock the ball home. Lee Makel sent a corner in from the left that Tod got his head to but the resting place was on the roof of the net.
In the 51st minute a Darren Young / Mason sandwich on Lee Miller won Hearts a free kick just 21 yards out. Hartley rattled it into the wall and Donnelly survived harsh claims that he had used a hand to stop the ball. Gordon was out to deny Donnelly and then play was back at the other end for Wyness to turn a Cesnauskis cross past the left post. As the hail came came pelting down and Dunfermline failed to weather the storm. Wilson was deemed to pull down Miller in the centre of the box as the Hearts striker was expecting a free header and Referee Richmond pointed to the spot. To no avail a furious Scott Wilson was yellow carded for his protestations apparently fuelled by Miller`s admission to him that it wasn`t a penalty!
Paul HARTLEY took the penalty kick sending it righted into the bottom left with Derek Stillie being sent the wrong way. Dunfermline were desperately unlucky to be back on level terms since their play was worthy of better. One minute later Christiansen headed a Ross cross wide left but the goal gave Hearts and their, up until now, quiet fans a lift.
The Pars successfully defended a couple of corners and free kicks before Christiansen yet again got in a useful ball from the left allowing Mason a header at goal from six yards but Gordon saved. The game was much more open now as play swung from end to end. Stillie made a bit of a monkey of clearing a Hearts corner from the left and when Darren Young struck the ball at McFarlane`s feet Wyness ended up with a shot that good fortune kept out.
The Fifers were almost caught on the counterattack as they pushed up in an attempt to get a second. Hartley fed Cesnauskis on the right and the no.48 darted in from the wing to put in a shot that Mason turned behind for a corner. The Pars survived the Lithuanian`s delivery but in the 82nd minute he then launched a run from the right that he eventually he touched back for McAllister to drive in. Stillie did well to stop but as the ball broke forward it looked like Miller would net until somehow Scott Wilson hooked the ball away to the right.
The Edinburgh team continued to threaten with Iain Campbell clearing off the line and substitute Mark Burchill firing at goal but Wilson managed to head out left for a corner to the visitors. Stillie tried another fisted clearance from this corner that McAllister picked up to rifle back at goal. Another corner resulted as the ball was deflected behind and Wyness should have done better when McAllister sent the ball in from the right.
Both sides continued to get chances; Christiansen`s dangerous lob in from the right was held by Craig Gordon and Stillie held a Miller effort. Barry Nicholson had been left on the subs bench because he had not fully recovered from his midweek gastric illness but he came on for Lee Makel six minutes from the end. Barry might have been an immediate hero after Ian Campbell`s free kick rebounded off the Hearts wall for the Pars sub to fire over the crossbar in the 89th minute.
Still play raged from end to end, Burchill sent a shot wide before most of the home support thought that the Pars captain had won the day. Nicholson picked out Christiansen and his inviting ball to the far post was headed in by big Andy. Alas there was to be no happy ending since the far side linesman`s flag had been raised from an early stage.
In the circumstances a one one scoreline was a great disappointment from a game in which Hearts can have few complaints about the officials` decisions. At least the Pars players can hold their heads up in the knowledge that they tried their very best, created many more chances than they have on many occasions and gave their supporters much more optimism for the remainder of the season. Andy Tod played a real captain`s role, the two young defenders Ross and Campbell impressed and Simon Donnelly possibly hads his best match yet in the Pars colours.Dunfermline Squad: Stillie; Ross, Tod, Wilson, Campbell; Makel (Nicholson 84), Darren Young, Mason, Donnelly; Hristov (Derek Young HT), Christiansen
Dunfermline Subs: Langfield, McKeown, C Wilson, Scullion
Dunfermline Strip: Home White and Black
Dunfermline Goal Scorers: Wilson (32)
Dunfermline Yellow Card: Wilson (61)
Hearts Squad: Gordon; Neilson (McFarlane HT), Webster, Berra, Wallace; Cesnauskis, Hartley, McAllister, Hamill (Burchill 72); Miller, Wyness
Hearts Subs not used: Moilanen, Kizys, McKenna, Simmons, Weir.
Hearts Goal Scorers: Hartley (62)
Hearts Yellow Card: Cesnauskis (42)