SPFL DUNFERMLINE 5 STENHOUSEMUIR 0: 05/03/16
There was an enforced change to the Pars starting line up with Shaun Byrne starting in place of the injured Andy Geggan. The visitors made five changes from the team that drew against Albion Rovers in midweek. Jon Robertson, Kieran Millar, Mark Gilhaney, Colin McMenamin and Jason Scotland made way for Stuart Malcolm, Carlos Manzana-Martinez, Lewis Small, Anthony Marenghi and Alan Cook.
The teams changed ends before kick off and Dunfermline attacked from the start. Michael Moffat was immediately away down the left and his pass cut across the Stenny box only to be cleared by a rather nervy looking Marenghi. A hand ball by Stuart Malcolm gave Dunfermline an opportunity from a seventh minute free kick but Michael Paton's diagonal ball from 30 yards crept outside the right post without any takers.
El Bakhtaoui made the visitor's keeper Colin McCabe dived to his right to hold the Pars top goalscorer's first shot two minutes later. The Pars were well in command but were not getting close enough to McCabe's goal to cause any serious danger. Marenghi collected a fairly needless yellow card for a tug on El Bakhtaoui but the next threat came from Jason Talbot racing in to attempt to head in a Craig Reid cross but the keeper won the race.
In 22 minutes Josh Falkingham released El Bakhtaoui and when he fed the ball out to Joe Cardle Stenny were happy to concede a corner but when Paton sent that in from the left Ciaran Summers met that at the near post to clear.
Dunfermline were then to score twice in the space of three minutes both from free kicks awarded as a result of Byrne being cut down. In 28 minutes Euan Murray halted Byrne's run to give the Pars a free kick 25 yards out. That was thrashed by Talbot but his effort came off the wall and FALKINGHAM was nicely placed on the edge of the box to drill in his third goal of the season. 1-0
Three minutes later Alan Cook was yellow carded as Byrne was again the victim but this time, from possibly 23 yards out, PATON scooped the ball over the wall to find the top left corner of the Warriors net. 2-0
The fans enjoyed the two quick strikes but there was to be no further scoring in the first half. Joe Cardle tested McCabe but the save was too easy for the on loan Celtic keeper. Joe then had another chance that he sent over the bar, fortunately he had been offside anyway.
It was the visitors who almost found the net instead. A bit of a mix up allowed Lewis Small to wriggle in on goal, Murdoch came out and did enough to stop the threat but the ball broke to Carlos Manzana-Martinez who was kept out by the right goalpost.
Half time: Dunfermline 2 Stenhousemuir 0
Dunfermline started the second half strongly, Reid put in an early cross that would have reached El Bakhtaoui in front of goal had Malcolm not dived full length top send the ball behind for a corner. That changed nothing but Moffat came close in 47th minute when his shot cum cross came back out off the right goalpost.
The third Pars goal duly came in 54 minutes and it was a fine finish by EL BAKHTAOUI thrashing the ball into the roof of the net from just twelve yards out. The chance was past through the penalty box from Paton, Cardle and then to Faiss who brought his total for the season to 24. 3-0
Ryan Wallace replaced Michael Moffat for the last half hour and quickly sent a shot just wide left. Cardle required the attention of physio Kenny Murray after a challenge that earned Stephen Stirling a yellow. Then when he returned he was cut down by McCormack earning the Pars a free kick that was defended before Wallace had an effort that McCabe saved and then in 65 minutes Paton sent his chance wide left.
At the other end Stirling tested Murdoch from a 23 yard free kick but the pink kitted keeper dived to his right to keep it out. Dunfermline committed their other two subs with Rhys McCabe and David Hopkirk replacing Josh Falkingham and Faissal El Bakhtaoui.
Murdoch made another fine save in keeping out a Euan Murray header but the newly introduced subs then punished Stenhousemuir on the break. It was a fine ball by McCabe that sent Hopkirk away down the right and his perfect pass in behind Malcolm reached WALLACE for a rudimentary finish. 4-0
In 77 minutes Rhys McCabe's defence splitting pass put Wallace through on goal, he evaded a defender but Colin McCabe caught him and was shown red. Sub keeper Jamie Barclay came off the bench as Cook was withdrawn, and saved WALLACE's initial try but the Pars striker followed up to net his eighth goal of the season. 5-0
The points were well and truly secured and the Pars saw the game out with ease against the ten men. In the third minute of added time Rhys McCabe latched on to a fine pass and got in a good attempt for a sixth but the keeper came off best.
Another resounding win for Allan Johnston's team, coupled with Ayr United losing at Brechin and Peterhead drawing at Albion Rovers, the three points mean that the Pars are now just five wins away from the League One title.
The 50/50 jackpot of £837 was unclaimed - Winning ticket number 34309
DUNFERMLINE: Sean Murdoch; Craig Reid, Brad McKay, Ben Richards-Everton, Jason Talbot; Michael Paton, Shaun Byrne, Josh Falkingham (c)(Rhys McCabe 66), Joe Cardle; Michael Moffat (Ryan Wallace 60), Faissal El Bakhtaoui (David Hopkirk 67).
SUBS NOT USED: Paul Joseph Crossan, Lewis Martin, Shaun Rooney, David Hutton (GK).
SCORERS: Falkingham (28), Paton (31), El Bakhtaoui (54), Wallace (69, 79 pen)
YELLOW CARD: Falkingham (63)
STENHOUSEMUIR: Colin McCabe; Jamie McCormack, Euan Murray, Stuart Malcolm (c), Ross Meechan, Ciaran Summers; Alan Cook (Jamie Barclay (GK) 78), Stephen Stirling, Carlos Mazana-Martinez (Mark Gilhaney 66), Anthony Marenghi (Colin McMenamin 66), Lewis Small.
SUBS NOT USED: Liam McCroarty, Jason Scotland, Kieran Millar, Mark Allan,
YELLOW CARD: Marenghi (13), Cook (30), Stirling (56)
RED CARD: McCabe (77)
REFEREE: Barry Cook
WEATHER: Fine 6C
NEXT MATCH: Ladbrokes League One (home) v Albion Rovers, Tuesday 8th March, kick off 7.45pm at East End Park