SPL v Livingston
LIVINGSTON 2 DUNFERMLINE 0 Date: 16/10/04
Fixture: BOS SPL Premier League
Attendance: 3016 Kick Off: 15:00
Referee: D McDonald Weather: Overcast 8C
Dunfermline travelled to Almondvale looking for their first ever SPL win there. For lucky omens we needed look no further than the Forth Road Bridge road works being cancelled allowing a trouble free trip to West Lothian but a poor performance meant that the Pars never looked like re-writing the record books and Livvy followed their point at Tynecastle with three at home. This opened up a three point gap for them over the Fifers.
An own goal in the 4th minute when David McNamee`s cross was deflected into his own net by the unlucky Scott Wilson and a peach of a goal by 17 year-old Robert Snodgrass in the 41st finished off any hopes of a triumphant return to his old employers for David Hay and the former Livvy coaches.
Simon Donnelly starting his first match up front for the Pars kicked off towards the McArthur Glen (South) Stand but it was Derek Stillie who was the first keeper involved. Play had gone only just over four minutes when a free kick was awarded against Andrius Skerla. It was stroked wide from ex Par Jason Dair to McNamee. The Livingston no.2 on the right side of the Pars penalty box, beat off Craig Brewster`s challenge as he took the ball to the byeline. Craig Easton apparently called for a drive across goal and the shout proved fruitful as the low ball was deflected into the roof of his own net off Scott WILSON`s thigh. There was very little that Stillie could do in the circumstances.
Three minutes later, Dair played Lovell into a good position and his drive was deflected off Skerla for a corner. From that the ball bobbled about the Dunfermline penalty box in a most uncomfortable way. Snodgrass had a snap shot as the ball broke back off a defender and Stillie superbly touched the ball over the top.
In the 14th minute a McNamee throw in was returned to him by Dair and the defence wavered with Skerla playing the ball off Dempsey to concede a corner. That one from the right was headed over the crossbar by Oscar Rubio. Dunfermline`s response was a neat ball from Donnelly to Butler but his shot was blocked. Then Dair`s challenge on Butler led to a 17th minute free kick 35yards out but Scott Thomson walloped that into the five man wall. Greg Shields was yellow carded two minutes later for his tackle on Jim Hamilton but the visitors kept going forward with Donnelly feeding the ball wide to Butler. He sent over a left footed cross that Brewster headed wide.
Livingston came very close to increasing their lead in the 21st minute when following Butler`s challenge on McNamee, Livvy`s free kick from the right allowed Hamilton a header on target that Stillie saved and then saved again from Lovell`s follow up. Lovell was given a second chance but remarkably the ball ended up on the roof of the net.
Butler was providing most of the Dunfermline penetration and in the 24th minute his ball to Donnelly was nicely dummied by Donnelly to Nicholson but only a corner could be won. That unfortunately went clear through everyone to no effect. Emmanuel Dorado`s tackle on Gary Dempsey on the halfway line led the introduction of Gary Mason. The Irish midfielder was carried off with nasty looking ankle injury.
Livvy captain Stuart Lovell put in a low drive from 30 yards wide right and then Snodgrass, having linked well with Craig Easton shot over the top from the same distance. Respite came with a neat interchange between Butler and Brewster but Scott Thomson belted the shot high over the crossbar. The 40th minute kick out from Derek Stillie was as good a shot at target as Dunfermline had so far managed even though he was also wide of the target.
Livingston had been passing the ball about the better and finding their men, whereas Dunfermline were not. They certainly looked the more likely to score and Robert SNODGRASS, making his home debut, received a pass from McNamee to curl a superb shot into the mid-left of the Pars net from the edge of the box. Roddy McKenzie in the Livingston goal had two saves to make before half time, although both were fairly easy for the former Hearts stopper. Brewster flicked on a Butler free kick in the 43rd minute and then headed a long ball from Shields, neither of which managed to make an impression on the score sheet.
The second half continued much the same as the first with Stillie again being first into action deflecting Snodgrass`s 48th minute shot behind for a corner. Simon Donnelly did put the ball in the net but the offside flag had been raised. The half was 10 minutes old when Thomson`s through ball to Butler was played by Brewster into the path of Darren Young but his shot was blocked. Darren was then substituted by his brother Derek as the management team tried something different.
Derek Young switched a Skerla pass to Butler but Donnelly was wide right when he got on to the Irishman`s cross. In the 70th minute Shields picked out Donnelly who in turn fed Young a ball that he squared across the box for Butler. Butler checked back and shot, but unfortunately over the crossbar. Three minutes later Wilson pushing up chased onto a ball to feed Brewster. The move led to Young having a shot at target, but again too high.
The 74th minute substitution of Andy Tod for Donnelly brought loud boos of discontent from the travelling support. Toddy immediately won a corner on the left off McNamee but McKenzie fisted away Butler`s delivery. Amid chants of "Can we play you every week" from the Livvy support, Toddy almost provided the most appropriate silencer. Andy started a move through Brewster to Butler and almost got on the end of the chipped cross to the far post, but alas he missed it.
Dunfermline continued to have the territorial advantage but never really looked likely to score. Tod headed a Butler corner kick at McKenzie and then a header from Tod put Brewster through but his shot was saved by the keeper. Shields headed over the crossbar but even with two minutes of added time, there was no way through the Livingston defence.
The Pars have yet to score away from home this season. Simon Donnelly was given his first opportunity to fill the vacancy created by the departure of Stevie Crawford, and although he played well he was given too little supply with which to make his mark. Butler and Stillie were the only Pars players given pass marks by Davie Hay and the team traipsed off just as disappointed as their fans were with the match.
Robert Snodgrass was first spotted by Tony Fitzpatrick for Livvy but the youngster richly deserved his Man of the Match award.