SPL v Rangers


Attendance: 47305, Kick Off: 3:00pm.

Referee: Steve Conroy

The Pars travelled west to face the Scottish Champions on their own patch and they were hoping to do better than on their last visit.¬ That was in last season`s Co-operative Insurance Cup and although the visitors scored twice they did manage to lose seven!

This time Jim McIntyre was forced into changes since Paul Burns had joined the neverending¬ injury list meaning Martin Hardie started in midfield - his first start since August.Joe Cardle came in for Andy Kirk who warmed the bench.

Rangers made three changes from the side that lost to Kilmarnock: Kyle Bartley, Gregg Wylde and Norwegian Thomas Bendiksen were preferred to Lee McCulloch, Kyle Lafferty and Ross Perry.¬ There was a West of Scotland monsoon pre match but the pitch looked good after spiking right up to kick off.

Dunfermline lined up 4-2-3-1 with Hardie and Mason in front of a back four, Willis, Graham and Cardle in front of them and Barrowman up front on his own. Rangers kicked off and although David Graham was allowed an early foray into the Rangers half, Sone Aluko making his Ibrox debut sped down the right to cross for Nikica Jelavic to turn the ball over the crossbar after only 33 seconds.

The home side kept up the pressure and Paul Gallacher was called upon to clear a few awkward pass backs. On seven minutes two drives at goal were struck against defenders.¬ Rangers won a corner on the right¬ in ninth minute but Dorin Goian headed wide at the far post. Bendiksen picked out Jelavic next and he headed past the same side.

Another corner two minutes later found Edu at the far post but he was penalised for his challenge. The defence continued to be battered but survived thanks to a brave Potter block and a wayward Edu shot.

Allan McGregor was called upon to save from Barrowman in 17 minutes¬ had he failed to take it, it¬ would have been a blunder.¬ Back to the other end and Gallacher kept Aluko out at the left hand post.¬ There were then loud penalty appeals when Hardie brushed Aluko off the ball after he had rounded Paddy Boyle. Referee Steve Conroy waved play on.

On 21 minutes Rangers went ahead with a tragic own goal.¬ Rangers were pressing when on his own line Gallacher was forced to kick a Potter pass back, he cleared it on to¬ Alex KEDDIE¬ and the ball trundled back towards goal to enter it at the right post.

The Gers lead doubled in 29 minutes when Nikica JELAVIC scored from the spot.¬ Gallacher went the right way but was well beaten by the pace.¬ The penalty had been given for Hardie`s¬ touch on Aluko on the right side of the box. It is doubtful whether there was actually any contact but the penalty was given.

Two minutes later Joe CARDLE scored his second goal in as many games at Ibrox when he received a long diagonal pass from Hardie, twisted and turned his route through the right side of the Gers defence to drill the ball low past McGregor at his near post.¬ There was a deathly silence apart from the 200 strong Pars support in the north west corner. 2-1.

Paul Willis brought McGregor into action again five minutes later when his cross to the six yard line eluded Barrowman and the keeper gathered. The Pars defence got a bit of a breather but Broadfoot`s dangerous cross in 39 minutes could have been worse news had his attack been present.

As half time approached the pressure that had come from Rangers in the opening 25 minutes wained and Willis managed another cross into the Gers box. The home side got deeper but were still dangerous from there when Wylde raced up the right only for Hardie to take it away.

Half Time: Rangers 2 Dunfermline 1

The rain pelted down for the restart but Cardle popped a shot wide right from 25 yards within 50 seconds. Bartley blazed a good chance over the bar in 49 minutes but won a corner? Rangers turned on the pressure yet again and there was a sustained offensive in the Dunfermline half without getting the ball close enough to goal to shoot.

The Pars were allowed to enjoy some possession and on 57 minutes Cardle won a corner on the left but that was only played back all the way to Gallacher!¬ Kyle Lafferty came on for Bendiksen but again Cardle won the ball on the right but Hardie blasted high and wide with a first time effort.

Gallacher kept out Jelavic on the hour to concede a corner that led to another. The Pars continued to frustrate Rangers and Barrowman then had a good chance two minutes later when another Cardle delivery picked out a player at the back post. The Ibrox crowd were growing increasingly impatient with their team.

Ryan Thomson replaced the exhausted Cardle as the game entered its final quarter. Boyle had to head behind for a corner in 71 minutes after Lafferty and Jelavic had played a neat one two.¬ Three minutes later Lafferty made Gallacher pull off another fine save. Pat Clarke became the second Pars sub used in 75 minutes when he was introduced for Hardie.

Ten minutes from the end Goian was yellow carded when he upended Willis, Andy Kirk came on for Barrowman before Clarke fired the free kick low into the box where Mason picked up the break of the ball to drive wide right.

Aluko curled an 85th minute effort wide left but really Rangers had failed to trouble Gallacher much in the second half. Jelavic failed to get in a shot when in front of goal next minute then Davis rocketed a free kick over the bar.

An 88th minute Pars corner saw all 11 Rangers players pulled back into their own box but when Willis` cross came in from the right, Keddie`s header sailed over the crossbar. The added two minutes at the end changed nothing and the Pars had lost out to an own goal and a soft penalty.¬ A good performance by the Fifers but no points to show for it.¬ It was the Rangers fans who were booing at the end.

RANGERS: Allan McGregor;¬ Steven Whittaker, Dorin Goian, Kyle Bartley,¬ Kirk Broadfoot, Steven Davis (c), Maurice Edu; Thomas Bendiksen (Kyle Lafferty 58), Gregg Wylde, Nikica Jelavic, Sone Aluko
SUBS NOT USED: Neil Alexander, Alejandro Bedoya, Lee McCulloch, Ross Perry,¬ Juan Manuel Ortiz, Kane Hemmings.
SCORERS: Keddie (og 21), Jelavic (29 pen.)
YELLOW CARD: Goian (80)

DUNFERMLINE: Paul Gallacher, Andy Dowie, John Potter, Alex Keddie; Paul Willis, Gary Mason (c), Martin Hardie (Pat Clarke 75), David Graham, Joe Cardle (Ryan Thomson 68), Paddy Boyle; Andy Barrowman (Andy Kirk 81).
SUBS NOT USED: Chris Smith (GK),¬ Liam Buchanan, Shaun Byrne, Scott Campbell,
SCORER: Cardle (31)
YELLOW CARD: Thomson (84)

WEATHER:¬ Rain,¬ heavy at times¬ 6C

NEXT MATCH: (home) SPL v Kilmarnock
Saturday 10th December 2011. kick off 3.00pm