SPFL League One: DUNFERMLINE 0 AIRDRIEONIANS 0: 29/01/16
Friday night football came to East End Park and it was the first competitive home match on a Friday for as long as anyone could recall. The Pars were without Joe Cardle meaning David Hopkirk started. The bench contained two 17 year olds in PJ Crossan and new signing Evan Horne alongside comparative veteran John Potter.
For the visitors Eddie Wolecki Black made five changes. Neil Parry returned between the sticks, and in off the bench came Kieran MacDonald, Jamie Bain and Liam Watt. David Cox was also available so he started and the five dropping out were all named as substitutes.
Airdrieonians kicked off after a one minute silence in memory of former Pars cup winner Davie Thomson who sadly passed away on Thursday. Sean Murdoch had to come off his line after only 17 seconds to gather a speculative through ball and the Diamonds' keeper was also involved early touching a Michael Moffat shot away just 50 seconds later. Shaun Rooney met a headed clearance but thrashed his shot over the bar.
Watt had a good opportunity for Airdrieonians but drove his attempt at the defender. Then after Hopkirk had pulled back Bain, a ninth minute free kick 24 yards out was fired wildly into the McCathie Stand by MacDonald.
Michael Paton failed to get elevation on his 12th minute free kick from 40 yards out and no danger materialised. There was better from his 14th minute left footed cross from the right that was just headed away from Hopkirk at the far post. Ben Richards-Everton attacked the corner but couldn't get direction on his header. Another corner followed and although Airdrie cleared the low delivery Faissal El Bakhtaoui smacked a shot on target from 20 yards that unfortunately got blocked by Ferguson.
No goals but the Lanarkshire club's defence began to experience the kind of pressure that has brought success for the Pars this season. A fine pass from McKay sent Moffat away up the right but with four defenders to his left he opted for the shot that was intercepted by one of them to concede another corner. Yet again this failed to create any real danger.
A 24th minute corner was defended back out to Paton who took it and as he threatened to walk the ball into the net weaving his way through the defence yet another and then another corner transpired. On 26 minutes El Bakhtaoui tried to launch a rocket from a 27 yard free kick but the wall did its job.
Dunfermline at this stage were all over Airdrieonians but the route to goal was proving difficult to find. Then on the half hour and totally against the run of play Airdrie scored the opener. A simple ball from the left side of the box was perfect for BAIN to turn past Murdoch from five yards out. 0-1
Hopkirk tried two efforts, one from the edge of the box and another from an acute angle on the left both went to Parry. It was 40th minute before the Fifers worried Parry again. A free kick was awarded when Josh Falkingham was dumped 27 yards out but Paton's great effort sailed just wide of Parry's left hand post.
Just one minute from the break El Bakhtaoui went on a fine penetrating run down the right to cut back for Moffat but his shot from eight yards was going wide left and was cleared by the defence. The half ended with Moffat being denied at the near post. It was a half that Dunfermline dominated but had nothing to show for it.
Half time: Dunfermline 0 Airdrieonians 1
The Pars kicked the second half off and Jason Talbot found himself yellow carded within 22 seconds for a tackle he left his leg in. There was a half chance for Geggan after Richards-Everton got a knock down but the angle was too tight. Immediately after that Paton's break down the right was just right for a delivery aimed at El Bakhtaoui in centre of goal but his header was mistimed and Parry gathered.
In 54 minutes Watt played the ball off Lister for Bain to launch a shot from 25 yards out but it ended up in the stand beside the 100 or so travelling supporters. Dunfermline tried again Falkingham spread a pass left to Hopkirk but frustratingly he got dispossessed. There were a few misplaced passes that did not help any and the home support got increasingly agitated with Airdrie's time wasting activities.
El Bakhtaoui tried to take on the opposition defence single handed but was brought down by Marc Fitzpatrick earning the Airdrie captain a booking and the Pars a 30 yard free kick. This time Geggan crashed a shot that was deflected off the defensive wall only for Parry to hold at the right post.
Geggan to Hopkirk but he fired wildly high much to the derision of the home fans. With 67 minutes gone Chris O'Neill replaced MacDonald and that absorbed more time. Geggan blocked a Watt shot before it was back up the park but against nine defenders Dunfermline found themselves with plenty possession in the opposition half but unable to breakthrough.
Ryan Wallace replaced Hopkirk for the final twenty minutes it was the same story of blocked play and incomplete passes. Shaun Byrne was introduced for Josh Falkingham and in 79 minutes Wallace collected a crossfield pass from Rooney to try and pick out Paton in front of goal but his well struck attempt was blocked.
An 82nd minute corner raised the Pars hopes, Byrne got a challenge in at the cross but the ball was touched away from him only for Richards-Everton to loft the ball over the bar from 20 yards out. It was Airdrie who came closest to the second goal of the evening taking advantage of the gusty wind to send Cox in on Murdoch but the keeper was solid and made the save look easy.
Dunfermline had the ball bouncing about the Airdrie box with both Byrne and McCabe close to good connections. Then Paton won a free kick level with the 18 yard line on the right but Airdrie mopped up Geggan's header and Wallace thumped an opportunity high over the top.
An 88th minute corner was nervously conceded but that was defended out and McCabe smashed the second chance over the bar.
There was five added minutes but although Dunfermline did their best it was not enough to get even an equaliser.
DUNFERMLINE: Sean Murdoch; Shaun Rooney (Rhys McCabe 81), Brad McKay, Ben Richards-Everton, Jason Talbot; Michael Paton, Andy Geggan (c), Josh Falkingham (Shaun Byrne 75), David Hopkirk (Ryan Wallace 70); Michael Moffat, Faissal El Bakhtaoui.
SUBS NOT USED: John Potter, Paul Joseph Crossan, Evan Horne, David Hutton (GK)
YELLOW CARD: Talbot (46)
AIRDRIEONIANS: Neil Parry; David Ferguson, Sean Crighton, Alan Lithgow, Kieran MacDonald; Jamie Bain, Marc Fitzpatrick (c), Hugo Faria (Scott Stewart 94), Liam Watt, Jim Lister (Dylan Mackin 77), David Cox
SUBS NOT USED: Chris O'Neill, Adam Brown, Bryan Prunty, Nicky Cadden, Rohan Ferguson (GK).
SCORERS: Bain (30)
YELLOW CARD: Faria (49), Fitzpatrick (62)
REFEREE: Don Robertson
WEATHER: Windy, damp 6ºC
NEXT MATCH: Ladbrokes League One: Saturday 6th February 2016 (away) v Stenhousemuir, kick off 3.00pm at Ochilview Park