SPFL League One: DUNFERMLINE 0 RANGERS 4: Date 30/12/13
Rangers returned to East End Park on league business for the first time since February 2012. After 24 hours of heavy rain the pitch was bearing up reasonably well. Prior to kick off the presence of the Sky tv cameras, a full Press Box and the anticipation of seeing over 10,000 fans inside the stadium again made the occasion.
Jim Jefferies was without Ryan Thomson who was suffering from a virus so Jordan Moore started upfront for the Pars. That was the only change from the eleven that started at Gayfield a week past Saturday. From the team that drew at home on Boxing Day to Stranraer, Rangers dropped Arnold Peralta and Lewis MacLeod to the bench and brought in Fraser Aird and Steven Smith.
Rangers kicked off through Jon Daly and Nicky Clark attacking the goal at the McCathie Stand end. It was Clark who created the first danger in second minute beating off the challenge of Kerr Young only to be blocked by Lewis Martin. Two minutes later Moore burst through the Rangers defence but Sebastien Faure got back to stop the shot.
On five minutes Rangers were presented with a golden chance when Martin's headed clearance 35 yards out went straight to Daly who then looped his header over the home defence for Smith to home in on Ryan Scully's goal. Fortunately his attempt from the edge of the box slipped narrowly wide of the right post.
Ryan Williamson was fed a pass on the right edge of the box and his cross into the danger area was cleared by Faure. An injury to Young who needed treatment from physio Kenny Murray but he was fine to continue. The match was maintaining a frantic pace and the reaction of both sets of supporters was creating a cup tie atmosphere.
Shaun Byrne was the next to require Kenny Murray as the match stopped again in 13th minute. When Ian Black sent in the free kick Bilel Mohsni chased the defended ball like a man possessed. The defence survived and it was Rangers Cammy Bell who got a save to make as Moore ran on to a Falkingham pass but Faure closed him down and his hurried shot was easily held.
A clever ball from Stephen Husband earned the Pars an 18th minute corner and when Alex Whittle sent that over from the right Husband was unlucky to see Bell stop his back header at the near post. Next minute another corner was won by Williamson but this time Whittle's delivery was poor. Dunfermline did manage to test Bell when Ryan Wallace drilled a shot on target.
On 21 minutes Falkingham was bundled off the ball by Nicky Law and Husband lobbed in a cross that Andy Geggan met but powered wide right. Things had been going well for the Fifers but in 22 minutes Fraser AIRD was allowed to take a Law pass, embark on a run and when he reached the Pars box he released a low left footed shot that beat Scully to his left. 0-1
Dunfermline came back at their opponents and Mohsni closed out Moore. Bell was then forced into rushing to clear a Lee McCulloch back pass and Moore caused him to find touch 25 yards out. Byrne controlled the ball looking for an opening but it was Husband's sweeping delivery that got Wallace in on the left, unfortunately he could not net.
Rangers look comfortable with their lead and as half time approached Dunfermline found themselves playing the ball for spells between half way and midway into the Rangers half. A push by Martin gave Rangers a free kick in a central position and when Black pumped that into the box Daly returned the ball across the face of goal. No takers for that chance but then when Lee Wallace made the break on the left side of the box, Daly was able to pick his spot. Fortunately Scully pulled off a tremendous save to keep the score at 0-1.
Just before half time Daly took a tumble in the box as Whittle backed in to him and then Black got another chance to go for goal after Clark went down rather easily in Young's challenge and won a free kick 30 yards out. The free kick was sent over the bar Right on the half time whistle it looked like the scorer of the first Rangers goal would score again but after Scully had failed to hold Clark's shot Aird's follow up was cleared off the line by Martin.
Half Time: Dunfermline 0 Rangers 1
Rangers picked up the pace right from the restart with Martin called upon to intercept a good cross into the Pars box from Aird. Mohsni collected an early yellow for a shove on Moore but Husband's long range free kick was not on target.
Aird forced a corner off Whittle in 51 minutes and Rangers doubled their lead when Daly got his head to the cross from the right and Nicky CLARK, on the goalline turned the ball past Scully. The fight went on however and Geggan and Aird were shown yellow for being over-enthusiastic.
On the hour Husband made a good break from the right touchline on halfway and fell on the edge of the box raising appeals for a free kick but referee Craig Charleston didn't agree. The Pars continued to push up though. Byrne battled to get over a cross and Whittle won a corner on the left. It was defended out to Falkingham but he crashed his effort from 25 yards wide left.
Daly drove the ball through the Pars six yard box and it was fortunate no one was available to convert. Lewis MacLeod had replaced Steven Smith and it was the sub who took advantage of a poor pass from Young to Williamson in 70 minutes that set up LAW for the third. 0-3
Next Black had a shot deflected behind for a corner and Dunfermline had more to defend. Scully held a Foster drive, Martin did really well to deny substitute Crawford and Whittle put in a good tackle to prevent a follow up.
Six minutes from time Whittle whipped over a corner from the right but that was defended as was Moore's next. Scully then fisted away a fierce MacLeod attempt before at the other end Bell had to show his skills to keep out Moore who had twisted a route through on the left side of the Rangers box.
Williamson had gone down on the Pars 18 yard line in his block on MacLeod's shot and after the attentions of physio Kenny Murray to the seventeen year old's left ankle, a stretcher had to be called upon to take him off. Seventeen year old Lewis Spence was the final Pars sub in what was then the 89th minute.
The Gers were to grab a fourth in the second minute of added time. The ball was swung in from the right and when it was not properly cleared Robbie CRAWFORD was on hand to smash the ball past Scully from 15 yards. 0-4
DUNFERMLINE: Ryan Scully; Ryan Williamson (Lewis Spence 89), Kerr Young, Lewis Martin, Alex Whittle; Shaun Byrne (Allan Smith 77), Stephen Husband, Josh Falkingham (c), Andy Geggan; Ryan Wallace, Jordan Moore,.
SUBS NOT USED: Craig Dargo, Faissal El Bakhtaoui, Chris Kane, Ross Drummond, Ryan Goodfellow (GK).
YELLOW CARD: Falkingham (29), Young (41), Geggan (58)
RANGERS: Cammy Bell; Sebastien Faure, Lee McCulloch (c), Bilel Mohsni, Lee Wallace; Ian Black (Robbie Crawford 78), Fraser Aird, Nicky Law, Steven Smith (Lewis MacLeod 57); Nicky Clark (Richard Foster 69), Jon Daly:
SUBS NOT USED: Steve Simonsen (GK), Dean Shiels, Arnold Peralta, Emilson Cribari.
SCORERS: Aird (22), Clark (51), Law (70), Crawford (92)
YELLOW CARD: Mohsni (49), Aird (58).
REFEREE: Craig Charleston
WEATHER: Fair 7C
NEXT MATCH: SPFL League One (away) v Stenhousemuir
Thursday 2nd January 2014, kick off 3.00pm