SPL v Aberdeen
DUNFERMLINE 2 ABERDEEN 1 Date: 12/02/05
Fixture: BOS SPL Premier League Attendance: 5579
Kick Off: 15:00 Referee: Dougie McDonald
Weather: Dry 5C
There will be no sweeter a victory this season than the one registered over Aberdeen on an extremely cold February Saturday at East End Park. After Billy Mehmet shot the Pars into a 53rd minute lead Aberdeen equalised twenty minutes later through Zander Diamond. Simon Donnelly introduced as a 75th minute sub for Mehmet slotted in the winner with just seven minutes remaining. The final whistle was celebrated loudly by the very happy home support and equally delighted players. Barry Nicholson in particular showing his elation with the result as Jimmy Calderwood and his troops trudged back to the undercroft.
After three appearances as substitute, Ian Campbell made his first start for the Pars. Andrius Skerla had a bug and Scott Wilson was out injured meaning Tod and Thomson formed the central defence. Darren Young dropped to the bench and Billy Mehmet returned to the starting eleven. Aberdeen were without Russell Anderson.
The Pars lost the toss and having been forced to change ends, kicked off towards the McCathie Stand. The action was immediately in front of the Dunfermline faithful and with just 38 seconds on the clock Noel Hunt failed to get the Fifers off to the perfect start. Nice play from Nicholson on the right permitted him time to deliver a good ball into the box that took a deflection off a Dons defender. Jesper Christiansen got his knee to it but that made the chance more difficult for Hunt as he headed the ball at the keeper.
Billy Mehmet (left) and Ian Campbell (right)
With a fourth minute free kick Campbell picked out Andy Tod but his effort was deflected into the McCathie Stand to give the Fifers the first corner of the match. Campbell`s corner from the right was headed on by Scott Thomson only for Jamie Winter to head off the line. Diamond cut out a good ball in from the right by Ross after the youngster had started the run and played a neat exchange with Jesper Christiansen.
The visitors had been right out of it but after ten minutes they had their first real push capitalising on a break down the left from John Stewart that was lobbed over the penalty box for Clark on the right. Clark switched the ball back to Michael Hart before sending the return into the centre of the Pars penalty box where fortunately Darren Mackie fouled Tod in his challenge for the cross.
A scuffed cross in the 12th from former Par Richie Byrne was touched through from Stewart to Mackie and Derek Stillie had to make his first meaningful save of the game. The ball went behind for a corner that Stillie punched to safety. The Dons forced another save out of the blue shirted Pars stopper two minutes later when a Kevin McNaughton burst released a shot that went wickedly off Lee Makel.
On the quarter hour Mason and Hunt sprang a break down the left flank. The Aberdeen defender`s ball inside to his keeper from the left byeline was too far in front of Ryan Esson and as Christiansen and Byrne collided Gary Mason got in a shot that was blocked. Ian Campbell launched a high ball into the Aberdeen box that Esson spilled in his challenge with Christiansen.
Aberdeen then came close again at the midway point of the first half. Ross`s tackle on Stewart earned the Dons a free kick 25 yards out on the left side. Ross himself cut out the delivery but the ball broke to Winter who shot in a good effort that even with a deflection Stillie had to touch over the crossbar.
Two more corners ensued after Winter`s shot was deflected wide and then Tod headed behind. Finally Stewart had a glancing header that went over the crossbar.
Nothing else came close until the 32nd minute when Thomson fed Mehmet a pass that he sent wide right for Christiansen. The Dane`s snapshot rattled the crossbar and raised the home support`s hopes. Dunfermline were getting plenty of possession and they built up a move that eventually Scott Thomson square to Tod for him to prod forward to Barry Nicholson. His ball from the front edge of the centre circle sent Lee Makel in on goal but the green shirted Esson was quickly out to extinguish the danger.
In the 40th minute Makel picked out Ross in the Dons box and a corner was won on the right. Ian Campbell sent over a ball that flashed through the six yard box with Esson flapping at it. The Pars fifth corner three minutes later let in Thomson for a header that Esson held. As the half time break loomed Christiansen tried a shot that Esson turned around his left hand post for another corner. This time Winter cleared but only as far as Makel who headed back on goal but failed to reach the net.
The second half began with yet another early chance for the home side. In the 47th minute Mehmet started a move that Nicholson left for Christiansen to play in Ross who in turn found Mehmet. The striker tried a diagonal shot from the edge of the box that went just a yard wide of the left post.
Christiansen was deemed to be offside as he ran back not interfering with play as Makel lifted the ball through for Mehmet. Nicholson next beat off McNaughton and released a good early ball that Diamond reached ahead of Mehmet. Right away however Aberdeen conceded a free kick on the half way line for a challenge on Andy Tod. Toddy flicked on from the free kick to find Billy MEHMET. He controlled the ball before sending it dipping passed Esson from 15 yards.
McGuire is floored by Mehmet`s strike
Sheer delight as the Pars go one up
The Pars were delighted to get ahead and with the confidence high they were yet again denied by the Main Stand side Assistant Referee as Mehmet was adjudged offside as Nicholson put through a finely weighted ball that would have given the Republic of Ireland U21 internationalist a chance of his second.
Aberdeen were not out of it and Stewart was fed an opportunity to get a shot on target, receiving a Winter pass to fire in on goal. The ball bobbled out of Stillie`s arms for a corner. Stewart found Byrne from that and another corner followed as Hunt headed behind. Next time Stillie held Chris Clark`s delivery.
Christiansen evaded the attentions of Diamond in the 65th minute but could only earn a corner off Heikkinen. Esson held Campbell`s corner and Aberdeen went up the park to be given a soft corner as Greg Ross appeared to play the ball behind off Darren Mackie. Justice was done when Phil McGuire headed the cross over the bar.
As could be expected from a Calderwood team one behind midway through the second half everybody pushed up. Derek Adams fired a 25 yard free kick into the five man Pars wall. Then a Scott Morrison free kick was held by Stillie as all but Esson were in the Pars third of the pitch.
The Pars caused Aberdeen problems on the counterattack; Campbell picking out Christiansen who the sent Mehmet away down the right where he beat off Byrne and was only stopped by the fast arrival of Morrison. Disaster struck however in the 73rd minute. Clark`s shot from 25 yards went for a corner and when Morrison sent that in from the left there was one almighty fight for the ball with firstly Heikkinen and then DIAMOND getting a touch as the Pars tried to defend the corner. The young defender turned in the ball from six yards for the equaliser.
Simon Donnelly came on for Mehmet but it was more Aberdeen when the ball broke off the heel of Makel. Stewart swept it to Adams who found McGuire nicely placed on the right. Ross was forced to concede another corner from the Dons no.2`s cross. Tod did the same from that before Stillie held from the next. Adams teed up Morrison in the 80th minute but Stillie saved well.
Having been flagged offside so often in the second half it was a break when the flag stayed down three minutes later. Scott Thomson`s header from the half way line dropped to DONNELLY. He took the break off Byrne`s head to advance on goal and shoot from ten yards. Esson managed to stop the shot but the Pars substitute, playing in just his fourth match since scoring against Aberdeen in November, pounced and slot home the winner.
Richie Byrne failed to stop Simon Donnelly`s winner
Aberdeen tried their best to retrieve the situation but when a Kevin McNaughton shot from a Morrison free kick was driven narrowly wide of the left post all hope of preventing a Pars victory disappeared. The final whistle brought jubilation both on and off the park. A great result from a team that out fought the fifth place team in the SPL. With Livingston allowing Dundee United their first away win in this season`s SPL suddenly instead of looking lower to see the challenge Dunfermline can look forward to the next two SPL matches against teams in sixth and seventh place.
Jesper Christiansen was awarded the Man of the Match award but Andy Tod and Scott Thomson were huge in defence and Barry Nicholson made a big contribution to the team`s success. A very good debut from the next generation Campbell who is an excellent placer of the ball. What a difference a win makes. The season might still have something to come for Davie Hay`s men.
As for Aberdeen - no wins since the 4th December, eight games without a win and poor old Ryan Esson eight matches and no victories. The shine might just be coming off the two Jimmies halos with just two points from the the last possible 24.
Dunfermline Squad: Stillie; Ross, Tod, Thomson, Campbell; Nicholson, Makel, Mason, Hunt (Darren Young 81); Christiansen (Hristov 81), Mehmet (Donnelly 75)
This picture sums up the day. Pleasure for the Pars, dejection for the Dons
Dunfermline Subs: Langfield, McKeown, C Wilson, Scullion
Dunfermline Strip: Home White and Black, Black Shorts and Socks
Dunfermline Goal Scorers: Mehmet (53), Donnelly (83)
Dunfermline : Nicholson (86)
Aberdeen Squad: Esson; Hart ((McGuire 10 (Craig 87)), Diamond, Heikkinen, Byrne; Adams, Winter (Morrison 63), McNaughton, Clark; Mackie, Stewart.
Aberdeen Subs: Blanchard, M Paatelainen, Kristjansson, Muirhead
Aberdeen Goal Scorers: Diamond (73)