SPL v Aberdeen
ABERDEEN 1 DUNFERMLINE 0 Date: 26/08/06
Fixture: BOS SPL Premier League
Attendance: 9889 Kick Off: 15:00
Referee: Eddie Smith, Weather: Sunny Intervals 17ºC
Aaron Labonte replaced Calum Woods who joined the list of injured after Tuesday night`s CIS Insurance Cup tie at Ayr. Otherwise the team was unchanged with Dorus de Vries retaining his place in the only position that Leishman had a selection choice to make.
Jimmy Calderwood made six changes from the team that had a black night at Firhill where Queens Park knocked them out of the cup on penalties. The only ex Pars to start were Langfield and Nicholson as the two Jimmies promised an attacking match with a bold 2-3-5 formation!
Aberdeen kicked off defending the goal at the Richard Donald Stand end and Jamie Langfield was tested within 50 seconds by Owen Morrison with a low shot from 20 yards. As Aberdeen won their first corner of the match after two minutes Greg Ross went down holding his shin on the right. He was able to continue and was back to see John Stewart head the setpiece over the crossbar.
Labonte did well to prevent Nicholson`s shot, pouncing fast to clear and then Mason mopped up a Diamond cross as Aberdeen pressed. De Vries was also called into action but Daal`s header lacked force.
In 13th minute Jamie McCunnie`s sweep in from the right was held by Langfield and his lengthy clearance came off the back of Darren Mackie as he turned. The 24 year old Dons striker latched on to the ball and tried to ease past Labonte in the penalty box. Referee Eddie Smith held out his arm and the home fans thought a penalty had been given but their joy was short lived when the all turquoise official clarified that it was a goal kick he had signalled. The right decision since the defender took the ball and Mackie merely fell over.
Two more corners were despatched over the bar by Anderson and then Diamond. The Pars were content to defend with nine players strung out across their own final third. Toddy ploughed the proverbial lone furrow upfront and on the half hour got around Andrew Considine but the captain, who originally joined the club as a striker from Kelty Hearts, could not produce power or accuracy in his shot that trundled wide right.
Bamba`s bacon was saved by Scott Wilson after Stewart raced through the centre in 32nd minute. Wilson`s tackle just ten yards out was superbly timed and the Pars fans could breath again. Just five minutes later Bamba was light with his pass back on the right and fortunately de Vries was quickly out to blast the ball upfield. Indecision between Langfield and his defence as Tod tried to get on the end of de Vries` clearance led to a sequence of three Dunfermline corners none of which troubled Langfield.
As the interval approached Aberdeen had a further sortie deep into enemy territory with the closest a Severin shot at the end of a period of pressure. Play continued in the direction of de Vries who was pressed into punching several balls and then delighted to see Dyron Daal fail miserably in 43 minutes when presented with a sitter just 8 yards out.
Half Time: Aberdeen 0 Dunfermline 0
Mason got the second half underway playing the ball back for Young to belt up the left in the direction of Tod but the Dons defence read that easily. Aberdeen went forward with Foster and Stewart involved in the move that fed Severin but Wilson was fast in to blocked.
The match that thus far had been fairly quiet erupted in the 49th minute. Wilson turned back the ball to de Vries but the keeper after tapping the ball out to around 12 yards out on the left side of his box picked up the ball. The Dutch keeper thought that the back pass had come off an Aberdeen leg. An indirect free kick was awarded and as the Dons players tried to grab the ball and a full scale melee resulted with a huddle of about a dozen players becoming physical with fists and tempers flying.
After Wilson and Tod were called over to the ref and the Assistant Referee to discuss the fracas the set piece was taken. Nicholson touched the ball back to Chris Clark but the Pars runners were out to stop the shot. The home fans got behind their side urging them to go for the kill but the Dunfermline defence survived.
Morrison then created the visitor`s first real goal opportunity in 57 minutes lobbing over the ball from the left touchline into the six yard area where Young flicked on with a header that Langfield held dropping to his left. At the other end de Vries had to do the same to hold a Mackie effort from the edge of the box.
Gary Dempsey, who had been introduced for Stewart, broke through the middle but his shooting chance was closed out as was Nicholson`s when he was presented with the lay off. Dunfermline then lost Scott Wilson with a hamstring injury, Iain Campbell came on with Labonte moving into central defence. Within a minute however disaster struck!
A high ball in from the left side from Chris Clark was left by Labonte in the centre of the box but before Campbell behind him could clear Scott SEVERIN headed passed de Vries from six yards. A second goal almost came immediately after but Dorus de Vries pulled off a fine save to stop a powerful shot.
Eight minutes from full time Diamond was yellow carded for a tackle on the left and from the free kick Owen Morrison swung in a useful ball into the centre of the Dons penalty box. Tod and Smith nodded on and Gary Mason drove the ball on target but luck was out as Bamba deflected the shot over the Aberdeen crossbar. The equaliser was not to come despite a push near the end.
Leishman had ten first team players out yet the side put up great resistance to Aberdeen. Apart from the goal it was a good defensive performance with the loss of Wilson probably costing Dunfermline the game. Andy Tod worked really hard but there was no doubt on this showing that strikers are desperately needed at East End Park.
Aberdeen FC subsequently thanked Dunfermline fans for observing the minute`s silence before the kick off in this match, for their two employees Assistant Operations Manager Peter Simpson and Commercial Department`s Sandy Finnie who died in the week running up to this fixture.