SPFL Championship: DUNFERMLINE 1 RAITH ROVERS 0: 08/04/17
Dunfermline made one enforced change for the visit of Raith Rovers, Rhys McCabe coming in for the suspended John Herron. For the Rovers manager John Hughes made three changes, Kyle Benedictus, Declan McManus and Ross Callachan making way for Jason Thomson, Rudi Skacel and Daniel Handling.
In search of very necessary points, the Rovers kicked off in fine April sunshine attacking the goal at the McCathie Stand end. It was the Pars who pushed up early but it was fairly open for the first ten minutes. A Kallum Higginbotham cross from the right almost got Paul McMullan a chance but his shot was blocked then Jean Yves-Mvoto headed clear another Higginbotham delivery.
The Pars defence was alert when Ryan Hardie threatened to break through the middle but Callum Morris did a great recovery job. Raith kept up their interest with a Kevin McHattie cross through the six yard box that Hardie just missed to connect as he slid in.
Former Par Jason Thomson was fortunate it was just a yellow that he received for a hefty challenge on Jason Talbot right in front of the North West Stand after quarter of an hour.
Raith`s best chance of the half came in 19th minute when McHattie fired a cross across Murdoch`s goal. Dunfermline showed better build up play and slicker passes. McMullan, Clark and Higginbotham display good control to set up another chance but failed to get a shot away. A low cross from Geggan was cleared by Mvoto and when Moffat blocked a Penska clearance his cut back to Clark was hit high over the bar.
A 28th minute free kick was pumped from the halfway line by Geggan in the direction of Higginbotham but he could prevent it going behind for a bye kick. At the other end Morris cleared a Thomson cross.
Four minutes later after Talbot had made ground down the left, Clark and Moffat exchanged passes on the edge of the Rovers box when Clark shot it was blocked. Then from the right McCabe curled a shot beyond the far post.
Craig Barr defended a 36th minute corner sent in by Higginbotham from the right and when Rovers broke they forced their first corner of the game on the right but Nat Wedderburn blocked Rudi Skacel`s effort.
Geggan cross blocked and then back flicked by Moffat but the defence sent that out for a throw on the left that McCabe through deep towards Lee Ashcroft but he could only head the ball wide. Then a Chris Johnston free kick was missed by Hardie and then headed by Skacel into Sean Murdoch`s hands.
In the final minute of the half a Higginbotham corner was picked by Clark but Mvoto prevented a shot and eventually it was McMullan who got in an attempt but deflected off Thomson for another corner that did not change anything.
Half time: Dunfermline 0 Raith Rovers 0
The second half started well with the Pars being awarded a penalty within three minutes. A Moffat pass let McMullan chase into the Raith box and when he was taken down by Jason Thomson, referee Andrew Dallas pointed to the spot. HIGGINBOTHAM used the same run up as against Hibs the previous week but stuck the ball away to the keeper`s left. 1-0
A 53rd minute shot from Skacel was held by Murdoch diving down to hold at his left post.
Moffat`s run made a 55th minute corner but Mvoto powered that away. McCabe cross from the left met by Geggan but pushed over the bar by Penska. From the corner McCabe got a strike on target but Handling deflected the ball over for another corner.
A Higginbotham free kick from the right was perfect for Moffat but McHattie managed to turn the ball over the bar when a second goal looked more likely. Again the Rovers defended the corner as the travelling support chanted for the introduction of Bobby Barr.
Jordan Thompson sent a half chance over the bar in 62 minutes before the clash of the Jasons earned Talbot a yellow and the Rovers full back a sore head. Dunfermline defended the resultant free kick.
The visitors were looking for a penalty when Jason Thomson went over McMullan`s outstretched leg just inside the box on the right. No penalty, the Pars broke and were unlucky not to net a second. Higginbotham`s cross from deep left was nicely met by Clark but his on target header was held by the keeper.
In 74 minutes Murdoch out fast to deny Hardie and then reverse back to hold Skacel`s chip. Craig Barr made little attempt top play the ball as he earned a yellow card for blocking Moffat`s run. The Pars then created another good opportunity when Higginbotham`s cut back for Clark brought a great save out of Penska.
Six minutes from the end Wedderburn was booked for hand ball 26 yards out and McHattie drove the free kick into the Pars wall. Unluckily Clark then gave away another foul just a yard further out and this one Handling lofted in only for Geggan to clear.
That was really the final chance to rob the Pars of a win and the home side saw the remaining minutes out to take all three points.
DUNFERMLINE: Sean Murdoch: Andy Geggan (c), Callum Morris, Lee Ashcroft, Jason Talbot: Kallum Higginbotham, Nat Wedderburn, Rhys McCabe, Paul McMullan (Joe Cardle 89): Michael Moffat, Nicky Clark.
SUBS NOT USED: Ryan Williamson Michael Paton, Gavin Reilly, Lewis Martin, Lewis Spence, Cammy Gill (GK)
SCORERS: Higginbotham (49 pen.)
YELLOW CARD: Talbot (64), Higginbotham (67), Wedderburn (84)
RAITH ROVERS: Pavol Penska: Jason Thomson, Jean-Yves Mvoto, Craig Barr, Kevin McHattie: Rudi Skacel (Jonathan Court 86), Iain Davidson, Jordan Thompson (Bobby Barr 78), Chris Johnston, Daniel Handling, Ryan Hardie
SUBS NOT USED: Declan McManus, Scott Roberts, David McKay, Conor Brennan (GK).
YELLOW CARD: Thomson (15), Skacel (73), C Barr (75), Davidson (90)
REFEREE: Andrew Dallas
WEATHER: Sunny 15C
NEXT MATCH: Ladbrokes Championship: (away) v Dundee United, Tuesday 11th April 2027, kick off 7.45pm at Tannadice
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