SPFL League One: FORFAR ATHLETIC 2 DUNFERMLINE 4: 26/12/15
Forfar's all weather pitch easily withstood the Boxing Day monsoon that had caused several matches across Scotland to be postponed. Allan Johnston made two changes for the match. For the second week running a sub who came on to score the winning goal was rewarded with a starting place. This time it was Shaun Rooney who was rewarded, Andy Geggan moved into midfield and Joe Cardle returned in place of David Hopkirk. That meant that Shaun Byrne also found himself on the subs bench.
Forfar's newly appointed manager, Gary Bollan made two changes to the side that drew with Albion Rovers. Darren Hill was in goal following the departure of Rab Douglas and Kerr Hay was preferred to Andrew Black.
The teams changed ends before the hosts kicked off and immediately forced a free kick some 27 yards out. Iain Campbell curled a left footed effort around the Pars wall and it was the right goalpost that denied Forfar the opener with just under 60 seconds gone. Rooney then headed the loose ball away but it was quite a let off for the Fifers.
In seventh minute it was Forfar's turn to be saved by the woodwork. Cardle did the hard work laying the ball off for Rooney whose blast rebounded back off the far post.
It was five minutes later when Faissal El Bakhtaoui dispossessed an opponent to send Michael Moffat towards go and when he slipped the ball left for Cardle the Pars no.11 had his shot blocked. Two minutes later Cardle got to the byeline to cut back to the unmarked Michael Paton but his effort from 15 yards was also blocked. Next Cardle collected from a Paton corner on the left but drove his effort into the sidenetting at the near post.
Dunfermline were to take the lead in 18th minute when Faissal EL BAKHTAOUI latched on to a really slack ball from centre back Rose. The Pars player took his chance with a finely placed shot just inside the right post for the opener. 0-1
Cardle complained when he was upended in the box by Martyn Fotheringham and was not awarded a penalty but Moffat struck the loose ball but failed to find the net. Forfar responded and took play to the Pars. Kerr Hay was stopped from sending in a cross by Talbot after the right winger had taken advantage of a Ben Richards-Everton clearance that cannoned forward off Martin. Then a combination of Richards-Everton and McAusland kept the ball out as Forfar successfully got a cross into the Pars six yard box.
Campbell had another opportunity from a 37th minute free kick but this time Moffat took the string out of it before Murdoch held under his bar. Murdoch was not given the opportunity to save from a Travis cross in 40 minutes. Rooney was adjudged to have pushed Denholm as he rose to meet the cross and Forfar were awarded a penalty kick. Iain CAMPBELL stepped up and netted off the right goalpost. 1-1
So it ended level when the half came to an end but Dunfermline had had many more shots at goal than their oppponents and made the better passing moves. With 53% first half possession in the first half with two corners to Forfar's one. The Fifers just need to take advantage of their supriority in the second half.
Half time: Forfar Athletic 1 Dunfermline Athletic 1
The rain continued to pelt down on Station Park as the second half got underway. A 48th minute free kick 35 yards out was awarded after El Bakhtaoui was crowded out and when Falkingham drove a low effort at goal Hill spilled the ball out and the Pars were denied a penalty when Nicol appeared to cut down Rooney in the six yard box.
A Pars goal was only a minute away. Rooney got to the byeline and his cross was defended out by Nichol only as far as to EL BAKHTAOUI 22 yards out and he sent an unstoppable shot into the top right corner of the Forfar net. 1-2
Dunfermline looked much comfortable with the lead. McAusland and Rooney were forward for a free kick in from the left and the town defence was kept busy as Cardle and Paton piled in cross after cross. El Bakhtaoui then flicked the ball over the defence to send CARDLE in for the Pars third. Finding himself through on Darren Hill he chipped the Forfar keeper to net impressively. His celebratrion was equally good as high fived the entire front row of the stand on his way back to half way. 1-3
Falkingham was unsuccessful with a 35 yard free kick and Martyn Fotheringham blasted a good chance over the bar from the edge of the six yard box before Allan Johnston introduced David Hopkirk and Ryan Wallace for the final quarter of the match. Michaels Moffat and Paton were the players taken off.
Wallace forced Hodge into conceding a 71st corner and Hill took Richards-Everton's header at his second attempt. Play switched to the other end and the big centre half looked to have got away with a desperately short pass back, covering back to take the ball first in tackling Swankie. A corner on the right was the reward much to Swankie's discontent but when that setpiece came in TRAVIS was able to rise and head home. 2-3
McAusland headed wide from a corner won by Wallace before a defence splitting pass from Falkingham sent WALLACE through on goal. Evading the offside trap the Pars sub drew Hill and slotted home from an angle from the right for the 79th minute fourth. 2-4
Talbot sent a cross through the six yard box, there were two further corners from the right and a powerful effort from 28 yards by Cardle that Hill did really well to keep out. Hill turned a good attempt from Wallace out for another corner.
The home fans were making their way home having conceded defeat long before Referee john McKendrick brought the soggy match to an end. A good result for Dunfermline, three important points, another feast of goals against Forfar and still six points clear of second placed Ayr United.
FORFAR ATHLETIC: Darren Hill; Michael Travis, Kevin Nicoll, Michael Rose, Iain Campbell; Martyn Fotheringham, Kerr Hay (Derek Young 57), Bryan Hodge (Craig Smith 85), Danny Denholm; Scott Martin, Gavin Swankie.
SUBS NOT USED: Andrew Black, Chris Templeman, Michael Kennedy, Dayle Robertson, Jason King (GK)
SCORERS: Campbell (41 pen.), Travis (73)
YELLOW CARD: Martin (29), Travis (35)
DUNFERMLINE: Sean Murdoch; Shaun Rooney, Marc McAusland, Ben Richards-Everton, Jason Talbot; Michael Paton (David Hopkirk 67), Andy Geggan(c), Josh Falkingham, Joe Cardle; Michael Moffat (Ryan Wallace 67), Faissal El Bakhtaoui.
SUBS NOT USED: Shaun Byrne, Mickael Antoine-Curier, Rhys McCabe, Paul Joseph Crossan, David Hutton (GK).
SCORERS: El Bakhtaoui (18, 49), Cardle (60), Wallace (79)
YELLOW CARD: Talbot (20), Rooney (40)
REFEREE: John McKendrick
WEATHER: Heavy rain 6C
NEXT MATCH: Ladbrokes League One: (home) v Cowdenbeath, Saturday 2nd January 2016, 3.00pm kick off at East End Park.