SPL v Rangers
DUNFERMLINE 0 RANGERS 4 Date: 24/09/11
Attendance: 7577, Kick Off: 12.45pm.
Referee: Iain Brines
Jim McIntyre started wih Andy Barrowman meaning leading goalscorer, Andy Kirk was relegated to the bench - the only change from the selection against Hibs. From their midweek team at Falkirk, Rangers brought in Allan McGregor, Maurice Edu, Steven Naismith and Nikica Jelavic. Out went Neil Alexander, David Healy, Lee McCulloch and Alejandro Bedoya.
The sun came out to welcome the teams on to a very fine looking East End Park surface. It was Rangers first visit since January 2007 and they had sold out their end of the stadium. Unfortunately with the match live on television the home end was less well populated as Paul Burns and Andy Barrowman got the game underway at 12.45pm.
Dunfermline started really promisingly keeping possession but the visitors tried to get their game going with Kyle Lafferty looking the early threat. The Pars seemed to settle into the match well with some good passing and confident defending but the opposition were beginning to see a bit more of the ball.
A free kick conceded by Alex Keddie in eight minutes allowed Gregg Wylde a pop at goal from 28 yards out but Paul Gallacher turned the fierce on target shot around his left hand post for a corner on the right. Steven Davis delivered the corner to the six yard box where Carlos BOCANEGRA met the ball and powered a header into the right side of Gallacher`s net.
Wylde was wide left to cross a dangerous ball into the Pars box but Naismith directed his header into the keeper`s hands. At the other end it was 13th minute when Joe Cardle swung over a ball that evaded three Pars men in front of goal. There was another chance for Dunfermline in the next minute when Jason Thomson was able to cut the ball back for Ryan Thomson 15 yards out but his attempt to deflect the ball on for Barrowman was thwarted by a Rangers interception.
In 17 minutes Rangers increased their lead when Jelavic jinked his way through the centre and as he looked to go for the shot, slipped the ball right to EDU who finished clinically to give Gallacher no chance. 0-2.
Five minutes later Jason Thomson and Gary Mason clashed as they squeezed out Sasa Papac but the break found Wylde and Keddie had to slide in to concede another corner. The defence survived that but were put under continued pressure with another corner conceded as Lafferty posed the danger on the right of the six yard box.
Corners continued in front of the McCathie Stand and the home side were finding it hard to get out of their own half but there was hope in 28 minutes when a Mason cross was headed on by Barrowman and McGregor tipped the effort over his crossbar for a corner to the Pars down on the right.
Pip Yeates was called on as Dorin Goian required treatment after his challenge on Barrowman and the full back was stretchered off. When Cardle played the ball short for the corner there were 15 players in the Rangers box and most of them in the six yard box. It was Jason Thomson who centred but the ball was low and easily cleared. Pip`s powers were obviously super talented as Goian rose from the touchline to re-join the action.
Ten minutes from the break, David Graham`s misguided pass put his defence under pressure and he dived in to give away another free kick. Wylde pumped another decent ball into the box but Gallacher was out to collect. The Pars then had two bites at chances on goal. First Dowie fed Burns and his strike was turned away by McGregor and then Thomson returned the ball into the box for Mason to lay the ball off to Burns and again the midfielder`s shot was saved and a corner ensued. This time Keddie got a header in but was high of the bar.
On 40 minutes Wylde robbed possession off Graham to break. He picked out Jelavic on the far right and his cross was headed outside the near post by Davis. Gallacher then pulled off a good save as Wylde hit on a counterattack and dived on the ball as it skidded under him towards the net. Graham almost capitalised on a Bocanegra mistake but Papac squashed the chance with alert cover. After two added minutes half time arrived with Dunfermline still down and the reflections over the hot refreshments were could Dunfermline come back from two goals down for the second week running?
Half Time: Dunfermline 0 Rangers 2
The Pars were out early for the restart but Rangers forced their sixth corner kick of the game within 25 seconds. They attacked it seriously but a free kick was given the Pars way as Bocanegra was forced down. First half stats revealed Dunfermline had only 31% possession but there were early indications that the half time team talk had encouraged them to gain more of the ball.
A 49th minute Cardle corner was cleared and the follow up only yielded a bye kick. Just when it looked like Dunfermline might make a game of it the Ibrox side struck again. Sub Ortiz sent Davis away and his speedy break set him up for a fine pass to NAISMITH on the left side of the penalty box and he stuck it past Gallacher to make it 0-3.
This was not the start Dunfermline wanted and it looked bleak when Wylde sped down the left to flash the ball across the face of goal. Ortiz gathered and cut the ball back but the defence cleared. With 12 minutes of the second half gone Andy Kirk replaced Ryan Thomson but still the SPL champions drove at Dunfermline.
Whittaker made a strong run from halfway and was allowed a shot that travelled narrowly wide left. At the other end sub Paul Willis fed Burns and the ball was switched by Barrowman for Graham to test McGregor. Rangers swept back up the field and Alex Keddie collected his second yellow card of the season as he handed Rangers a free kick 30 yards out. Jelavic`s shot was heading for the top corner but Gallacher pulled off a fine save.
Naismith almost got the fourth on 70 minutes but 16 yards out Keddie and McCann did enough to stop a release at goal. A Rangers corner three minutes later saw Davis` cross headed beyond the left post. Alejandro Bedoya then replaced Wylde, as a result Goian was pushed forward on the left side and nearly struck gold with his first real attack but his shot was blocked by Jelavic in an offside position.
A 79th minute free kick was disputed by Papac and before it was taken Liam Buchanan replaced Andy Barrowman. Willis crossed but Goian got the all important touch and then after Graham was fouled on the left, Willis followed that up with another free kick from the other side. Rangers then broke and scored their fourth. Papac played the ball out of defence to Davis and again showed fantastic pace gaining great ground to pick out Jelavic who unselfishly cut back for NAISMITH to stroke the ball home. 0-4
The away support went into party mode with chants of "Super Ally" and a rendition of Happy Birthday to you for the birthday boy`s 49th anniversary. Gallacher pulled off a fantastic save from a 28 yard Davis free kick in 89th minute to ensure the scoreline would not alter.
The birthday blues were all for Dunfermline who failed to compete and were pleased in the end to hear Referee Iain Brines final whistle.
DUNFERMLINE: Paul Gallacher, Jason Thomson, Andy Dowie, Alex Keddie, Austin McCa n (c); David Graham, Paul Burns, Ryan Thomson (Andy Kirk 57), Gary Mason, Joe Cardle (Paul Willis 65); Andy Barrowman (Liam Buchanan 80).
SUBS NOT USED: Chris Smith (GK), John Potter, Shaun Byrne, Paddy Boyle
YELLOW CARD: Keddie (67)
RANGERS: Allan McGregor; Steven Whittaker, Dorin Goian, Carlos Bocanegra, Sas Papac, Steven Naismith, Maurice Edu, Steven Davis, Gregg Wylde (Alejandro Bedoya 74); Kyle Lafferty (Palazon Juanma Ortiz, HT), Nikica Jelavic (David Healy 84)..
SUBS NOT USED: Neil Alexander, Kirk Broadfoot, Ross Perry, Rhys McCabe..
SCORER: Bocanegra (9), Edu (17), Naismith (51, 81)
WEATHER: Dry 18C
NEXT MATCH: (away) SPL v Aberdeen
Friday 30th September 2011, kick off 7.45pm