SPL v Kilmarnock
KILMARNOCK 0 DUNFERMLINE 3 Date: 21/01/12
Attendance: 4016, Kick Off: 3:00pm.
Referee: Willie Collum
Dunfermline took the M77 to Kilmarnock, where they hadn`t won a league match since 1992, in the continuing search for league points. Iain Turner returned in goals, Martin Hardie dropped out to make way for new signing Mark Kerr. Gary Mason and Liam Buchanan started meaning Ryan Thomson and Andy Kirk were on the bench. For Kilmarnock Englishman Ben Gordon came in place of Rory McKeown.
The sparse travelling support were bathed in sunshine as they welcomed the teams, led out by Mason in their away strips but there was a strong wind blowing into their faces that would no doubt have a bearing on the quality of the game.
Dunfermline kicked off and immediately it looked like the pitch would be something to overcome for both sides. Broken drainage in the centre of the park made it evident that the pitch would be slippy and break up.
First danger created was in sixth minute when Cardle and Graham combined to play Joe in on the left but Zdenek Kroca put an end to that. Then two minutes later Buchanan broke away one on one on the keeper after Paddy Boyle had put a ball over the top but Kroca made a great job of sliding in to take the ball off the Pars striker on the edge of the box.
The visitors had started the game better than their hosts and Buchanan had another good chance when a chip forward from Kerr put him through on the keeper but he went round him to the right but ran the ball out.
At the other end Gordon was supplied with a ball that let him shoot right footed for the far corner but it cleared the bar. A Keddie punt forward looked far too strong in 14th minute but the wind held the ball up and Barrowman set up Cardle for a shot from 20 yards but his right footed effort just cleared the bar.
Killie won a free kick when Kerr, wearing the no.2 shirt, was penalised for his challenge on Liam Kelly but the free kick from 40 yards out was not something Kilmarnock could use to their advantage. Paul Heffernan threatened as he tried to chest down the ball on the edge of the box but Keddie mopped up.
As the game reached the midway point of the first half the KIlmarnock fans were venting their growing frustrations. Rightly so when Buchanan was allowed to steal the ball and break down the left with the defence in his slipstream. Unfortunately Liam`s cross was overhit and Barrowman could not meet it on the six yard line.
Kilmarnock were awarded a 29th minute free kick when Garry Hay was taken down by David Graham but Dean Shiels delivery was headed well wide left by Heffernan. Next it was a Dunfermline free kick on the left side just six yards from the byeline but Cardle`s delivery could not find Rutkiewicz, Keddie or Dowie who all came up.
In 38 minutes Kelly conceded a free kick ten yards inside his own half. Cardle sent the ball into the opposition box where Buchanan took the better of Pascali. This time he got a shot in but Cammy Bell was well out to block the shot.
Dunfermline capitalised on a Kilmarnock mistake when Mahamadou Sissoko completely missed the ball. Buchanan broke and this time squared for Barrowman on the edge of the box and Andy BARROWMAN crashed the ball home. 42 minutes gone 0-1.
Kilmarnock came right back at Dunfermline with Shiels producing a powerful shot thatt Turner did really well to save. From the corner a Kelly shot was headed off the line by Mason and then there was a Hay shot that was turned over the bar by the Pars keeper. Phew!
1-0 up at the break for the third game running but maybe this time it can turn into a win.
Half Time: Kilmarnock 0 Dunfermline 1
Dunfermline came out in the second half and forced an early free kick that Cardle floated in from the left to the far post but Bell fisted away and the ball sprung away out on the right. Buchanan and Barrowman got themselves in good positions but could not inflict any more damage. One Kilmarnock shot in 48 minutes was sent over the bar into the empty seats in the stand behind the goal.
Kilmarnock did not appear to deal well with the wind that was coming towards them and they introduced James Dayton and David Mendes Silva for Hay and Kelly. It was the Pars though that should have scored. Buchanan was given space on the right, Kroca slipped and the Pars man advanced before picking out his co-striker Barrowman at the near post but he sent the ball right of the post.
At the other end Keddie produced a fantastic tackle to nick the ball off the boot of Harkins as he lined up to finish a good chance. Reward came quickly after that when Buchanan took advantage of Kroca`s misjudgement on the right. The defender was trying to usher the ball out but Buchanan tapped the ball back into the space to the right of goal.
There was still the execution to be made but CARDLE did really well to tuck the chance away low into the far corner of the net. 0-2 after 60 minutes.
Gordon created danger with an early cross from the left that Dayton met with his head but he headed wide left from ten yards. At the other end Barrowman had a good chance for the third but the defender cleared in the goalmouth after the keeper failed to take the shot.
It was end to end stuff but the Pars were putting in a great performance and deservedly kept the Ayrshire outfit at bay. Fowler intercepted a Buchanan pass to make the break up the right and Dayton tried to break their duck but there was some fine resolute Pars defending to keep them out. Eventually Fowler blasted a shot that was deflected allowing Turner to hold.
A 71st minute free kick 30 yards out was sent from an angle on the left bouncing at Turner; he held safely. Dunfermline continued to do a good job on stifling Kilmarnock`s advances and in 75 minutes Cardle almost scored the third after Buchanan and Barrowman worked well to carve out the chance on the right side of the penalty box. Only a fine save by Bell prevented the lead being extended.
On 77 minutes Kerr was in possession and he cleverly sized up his options before releasing Barrowman up the right wing. The striker had Buchanan and Cardle waiting in the box but Fowler got between them and headed over his own crossbar. Yet another good opportunity.
Andy Kirk replaced Barrowman with ten minutes to go but it was Kilmarnock who might have got the boost. Heffernan made his way into the Pars penalty area from the right and Boyle appeared to push the Killie man to his left. He went down but neither referee Willie Collum nor his assistant who was well placed felt like awarding Kilmarnock a penalty.
Dunfermline got some luck in 84 minutes when Dayton`s cross from the right byeline beat Turner but the ball rebounded back and out off Keddie. Then on 87 minutes Liam BUCHANAN had the simplest of chances from 18 yards after Kirk did all the setting up. 0-3.
Martin Hardie immediately replaced the goalscorer and although Kilmarnock had a chance from a Harkins free kick in the final minute and a late corner the game was seen out. It was the Pars fans who were left singing to the end as the home support exited in their numbers.
The first win since beating Hibs on 5th November was well earned and it was very clear that this team is willing to battle against relegation. Just as good news was a 3-2 St Johnstone win at Easter Road. Dunfermline lie 12th just one point behind Hibs.
KILMARNOCK: Cameron Bell; Mahamadou Sissoko, Ben Gordon, James Fowler, Garry Hay (James Dayton56), Zdenek Kroca, Gary Harkins, Liam Kelly (David Mendes Silva 56), Manuel Pascali, Dean Shiels, Paul Heffernan
SUBS NOT USED: Danny Racchi, Michael Nelson, Kyle Letheren, Rory McKeown, Matthew Kennedy.
DUNFERMLINE: Iain Turner; Andy Dowie, Kevin Rutkiewicz, Alex Keddie, Paddy Boyle; David Graham, Mark Kerr (Ryan Thomson 93), Gary Mason (c), Joe Cardle; Liam Buchanan (Martin Hardie 88), Andy Barrowman (Andy Kirk 80).
SUBS NOT USED: Chris Smith (GK), John Potter, Shaun Byrne, Kerr Young.
SCORER: Barrowman (42), Cardle (60), Buchanan (87)
WEATHER: Wet and Windy, Sunny intervals 7C