Ladbrokes Championship: Arbroath 1 Dunfermline 0: 31/08/19
It was a very windy afternoon in Arbroath for the Pars first league match at Gayfield for five years. Dick Campbell named an unchanged side from the one victorious at Alloa the previous week while Stevie Crawford made three changes to the Dunfermline starting eleven. Kyle Turner, Danny Devine and Lewis McCann started meaning Stuart Morrison and Andy Ryan were on the bench and Ryan Dow was out with an injury that he picked up in training.
Half an hour before kick off referee Steven Kirkland took a close look at how far Dunfermline could kick high clearances into the strong wind. He appeared comfortable with what he saw though clearly the tactic from the back would be better to avoid lofting the ball into the air.
The teams changed ends after the toss and it was the home side who were to play into the wind in the first half. Turner got the match underway and both teams tested out the chance conditions. Josh Coley made a strong run to be stopped eventually by James Murphy’s tackle but it was Arbroath who brought to first save of the day when in seven minutes David Gold slide the ball left for Bobby Linn to crash on target but Ryan Scully made a good block and the ball came back off the post.
Two minutes later McCann got to grips with a high Darren Jamieson clearance and slipped the ball up the left for Lewis Martin to take to the left byeline and a corner resulted. Turner’s first was headed out by Thomas O’Brien and the second sailed over beyond the far post.
The home fans applauded Colin Hamilton as he made a timely 12th minute tackle on Coley before Jason Thomson’s challenge on Tom Beadling gave the Fifers a chance from a free kick 35 yards out. Kevin Nisbet hit a strong shot that deflected behind off the four man wall.
Next Nisbet had a pop from the left corner of the penalty box but he could not keep his effort low enough. Then Turner took the ball forward from halfway and created a chance to shoot from 20 yards out but the left footed shot lacked pace and Jamieson dropped to his right to hold.
Scully held a cross from Michael McKenna and then had to come for another delivery that hung up in the wind. The wind was certainly a key factor but it was looking just as tricky to defend with it on your back.
Dunfermline were finding it tough to get into shooting positions and their final passes were going astray but McCann really got hold of a 37th minute shot that curled just outside the right upright.
A misunderstanding between Scully and Paton handed the chance from their first corner but when sent over from the left McCann headed clear. It had been a first half where there had been very little to shout about. The stats showed 57% possession for the Red Lichties but they had managed only one shot. Dunfermline had managed four but only one on target.
Half time: Arbroath 0 Dunfermline 0
Luke Donnelly replaced the already yellow carded, Greig Spence upfront for Arbroath before the second 45 got going. The sub was to make an immediate impact finding the net after five minutes with his first significant touch of his game. The goal came from a break out of his own half by Linn and his pass to DONNELLY on the right allowed the sub to coolly net with a low shot to the near post from 20 yards. 1-0
In 54 minutes Devine picked out Nisbet on the left side of the Arbroath box but unfortunately the former Raith striker just could not control. Three minutes later Jamieson miscued a clearance and Turner tried to chip in from 25 yards out but the keeper got back to hold the on target effort.
Arbroath’s James Murphy tried a snapshot from a quickly taken free kick 40 yards out but Scully held and then Linn hit a shot high and wide left from 30 yards out on the left side. With 65 minutes gone Stevie Crawford has to do something to alter things and he chose to introduce Harry Cochrane for Josh Coley.
Eleven minutes later and no better off Gabby McGill replaced Tom Beadling. Lewis McCann followed in 83 minutes with Andy Ryan thrown on to try and salvage a point.
Unfortunately it still looked more likely that Arbroath would score the next goal. From the left side, Linn had an effort from outside the box that fell wide right, Scully gathered a shot from sub Josh Campbell and there were claims for a penalty as Cochrane brushed off Campbell on the top of the box.
With five minutes remaining Ryan won a free kick around 30 yards out but when Paton took the setpiece it reached Ryan but he was robbed of possession before any damage could be done.
A poor clearance set up Arbroath skipper Whatley but Scully redeemed himself with a save.
Last chance came from a corner on the right in fourth minute of added time but when Turner delivered Nisbet met at the near post but could not get enough direction on his header and the ball was sent wide right.
Really Dunfermline did not test the Arbroath defence nearly enough, they did not capitalise on the strong first half wind on their backs and they only managed two shots on target, both from Turner that were easily kept out by Jamieson. It was the first league defeat at Gayfield since January 1984.
ARBROATH: Darren Jamieson: Jason Thomson, Ricky Little, Thomas O`Brien, Colin Hamilton: David Gold (Josh Campbell 78), James Murphy, Mark Whatley (c), Michael McKenna, Bobby Linn (Omar Kader 90), Greig Spence (Luke Donnelly HT).
SUBS NOT USED: Steven Doris, Robert Wilson, Ben Stirling, Derek Gaston (GK).
SCORERS: Donnelly (50)
YELLOW CARD: Spence (21), Whatley (90+1)
DUNFERMLINE: Ryan Scully: Aaron Comrie, Lee Ashcroft, Danny Devine, Lewis Martin: Josh Coley (Harry Cochrane 65), Paul Paton (c), Tom Beadling (Gabby McGill 76), Lewis McCann (Andy Ryan 83): Kyle Turner: Kevin Nisbet, .
SUBS NOT USED: Stuart Morrison, Matthew Todd, Josh Edwards, Cammy Gill (GK)
YELLOW CARD: Devine (24)
REFEREE: Steven Kirkland
WEATHER: Sunny 18C very windy
NEXT MATCH: Tunnock’s Caramel Wafer Cup: (home) v Alloa Athletic, Saturday 7th September 2019, 3.00pm kick off at East End Park.