SPL v Rangers
DUNFERMLINE 1 RANGERS 4 Date: 11/02/12
Attendance: 7464, Kick Off: 12:00pm.
Referee: Brian Winter
It was a still cold February morning that welcomed the teams and their supporters to East End Park for the noon kick off in the SPL against Rangers. Dunfermline made one enforced change from the team that drew with Kilmarnock.¬ On loan Kyle Hutton was not allowed to play against his parent club meaning Gary Mason came in to that midfield role.¬ Chris Smith continued in goal as Iain Turner was still out with the back spasm that he sustained in the warm up for Tuesday night`s match.
For Rangers Ally McCoist made one change from the side knocked out of the Scottish Cup the previous weekend when Lee McCulloch was preferred to Mervan Celik. McCulloch came in as striker, returning to a position that kicked his career off at Cumbernauld United.
The sun came out as the tannoy played `The Final Countdown`.¬ Sammy and the ballboys did their pre match routine before Gary Mason and Steven Davis led out the teams.
The visitors kicked off and attacked Dunfermline from the start with Davis driving into the Pars box within 40 seconds.¬ He checked back and fortunately the move lost momentum. Sone Aluko got a `warm` welcome from the home support as he got some early involvement but the defence was the equal to Rangers first efforts.
At the other end Andy Kirk was denied a shot by the alert Gers defence and a Liam Buchanan run was also closed down. In eight minutes Chris Smith came out to the edge of his box to grab a long ball that was directed for McCulloch to chase. The away team forced a corner but Aluko`s delivery was poor and Burns defended with Kirk clearing the follow up.
McCulloch and Healy maintained the pressure on the home defence but it remained good.¬ Kyle Bartley won a corner on the right and a second ensued where Carlos Bocanegra met Aluko`s ball to the far post but again the defence did its job.
In 14th minute Dunfermline had a great chance to take the lead.¬ David Graham intercepted a pass from Davis to Bartley and broke from inside his own half. Kirk was an option but Graham took on the defence before powering a shot that beat Allan McGregor but came booming back off the right goalpost. Kirk followed up but McGregor recovered to block the strikers shot and then Buchanan appeared to be chopped down as he attempted to net.¬ No penalty despite loud appeals.
With the next Pars attack justice was done as Paddy Boyle`s cross from the left flank went through the six yard box for KIRK to slot home. Sixteen minutes gone 1-0 to the Pars.
Rangers responded with Papac heading a good chance over the crossbar. Then in 24 minutes they got the equaliser through David HEALY. The problem came after Aluko sped away down the right. Edu got involved in the box and it looked like Alex Keddie`s tackle was going to do the job but the ball broke unluckily to the Irishman who slotted the ball into the far side of the net. 1-1
Four minutes later McCulloch played Davis in on the left side of the box but the corner of the woodwork was all that he could hit. Papac then looked dangerous but was closed out for a corner that caused no problems with the ball being headed over the bar. In 32 minutes Davis broke and from his threaded ball it looked as though McCulloch would convert but Jordan McMillan slid in to thwart the shot.
The Rangers goal had placed them back in the ascendancy. They looked dangerous with every break¬ and they certainly put the Pars under siege when they went forward. Aluko won a free kick on the right¬ in 36 minutes but resolute defending kept the Gers out. Play was almost entirely in the Pars half and Macca`s men just couldn`t get a grip on possession.
A goal was almost inevitable and it came from a disputed¬ Davis` free kick in 39 minutes.¬ The delivery to the left side of the box¬ was headed back across goal by Bocanegra for McCULLOCH to crash home his first Rangers goal for over a year.
It had been a frantic first half but it was the visitors who were by far the happier at the break. Dunfermline got the first goal that they craved, could have had a penalty but then were over run with the magnitude of the Rangers attack.
Half time; Dunfermline 1 Rangers 2
The Pars kicked the second half off and were pushing forward when Davis broke and the first attempt on goal resulted but fortunately the ball went over the top. At the other end Graham made ground to the edge of the penalty box but his cut back was just behind the two Pars strikers. Boyle got in on the left side of the Rangers box but Aluko tracked back to stop the cross.
A Rangers corner in 52 minutes was headed clear from the edge of the six yard box and play stopped as Keddie and Bocanegra required treatment. On the resumption Graham created more problems for Bartley and he was able to stab the ball to his¬ left¬ for Boyle to get a shot on target but McGregor held at his near post.
In 57 minutes Chris Smith collected after a Papac cross was blocked by Rutkewicz as McCulloch threatened.¬ Next Buchanan¬ was fouled 25 yards out and the Pars were awarded a free kick in a central position. Burns shielded the ball before Kirk fired the ball over the Rangers defensive wall but his dipping shot cleared the crossbar.
A good ball in 61 minutes by Burns over the top of the defence almost put Kirk in but Goian was all over him and despite the cries from the crowd no free kick was given. ¬ Mervan Celik and Kirk Broadfoot were introduced by McCoist in a tactical double substitution that meant Bartley and Healy were withdrawn.
Mark Kerr limped off with an ankle injury and next minute the 65th,¬ Jim McIntyre was forced into making his first sub with Martin Hardie coming on.¬ Pressure only intensified as Rangers piled forward and McMillan made a crucial block as Wallace powered in a shot.
On 70 minutes Sone ALUKO made it 3-1 for Rangers. A dipping possibly swerving shot from 25 yards was smashed past Smith after a good build up involving McCulloch and Mervan.
Dunfermline almost struck back right away when Keddie met a corner from the right but the ball was cleared off the line at the left post by Aluko. Ryan Thomson replaced Liam Buchanan and then Joe Cardle¬ for Gary Mason.
It was Rangers who nearly got the immediate reaction but Smith was out really well to mop up after his central defenders were in all sorts of trouble as¬ Mervan pressurised.
In 80th minute Hardie played in Kirk but Wallace did well to steal the ball away as the striker might have been in on goal.¬ Salim KERKAR came on in 84th minute and scored within¬ a minute of his introduction.¬ This fourth¬ Rangers goal came¬ after a Davis cross from the right was met by Mervan but his diving header was well saved by Smith¬ however the Rangers sub followed up to slot the ball low into the far side of the Pars goal.
It might have got worse but in 89 minutes Smith kept out a thundering shot from Davis.¬ It had been a comfortable afternoon for the Ibrox side, their fans ended chanting `Super Ally`¬ but Dunfermline were left still in search of their first home win of the season.
DUNFERMLINE Chris Smith; Jordan McMillan, Kevin Rutkiewicz, Alex Keddie, Paddy Boyle; Paul Burns, Mark Kerr (Martin Hardie 65), Gary Mason (c) (Joe Cardle 76), David Graham, Liam Buchanan (Ryan Thomson 74), Andy Kirk
SUBS NOT USED: Ryan Goodfellow (GK), Andy Dowie, Shaun Byrne, Paul Willis,
SCORER: Kirk (16)
YELLOW CARD: Keddie (83), Cardle (93)
RANGERS: Allan McGregor; Kyle Bartley (Kirk Broadfoot 64), Carlos Bocanegra, Dorin Goian, Lee Wallace; Sone Aluko, Steven Davis (c), Sasa Papac (Salim Kerkar 84), Maurice Edu, David Healy (Mervan Celik 64), Lee McCulloch,
SUBS NOT USED: Neil Alexander, Gregg Wylde, Matt McKay, Kane Hemmings
SCORER: Healy (24), McCulloch (39), Aluko (70), Kerkar (85)
YELLOW CARD: Davis (63)
WEATHER: Overcast 4C
50 / 50 DRAW: Winning ticket was 57591 worth ¬£603.
NEXT MATCH: (home) SPL v Inverness Caley Thistle
Saturday 18th February 2012, kick off 3.00pm