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| Dunfermline Athletic 1 East Fife 2|
By Alistair Campbell - Sun, 23rd Mar 2014
Photos by Neil Farrell & Calum Farrell
The Pars continue to limp towards the finishing line with an insipid performance in the latest Fife Derby. After an excellent opening goal, finished by Shankland, the Pars had the lead only to concede a daft penalty, ably scored by Buchanan, before a rare Scully mistake allowed the visitors to take all three points.
1 v 2
Buchanan (56, pen)
Ref: Euan Anderson
Crowd: 2858 Position: 2nd
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After a relatively poor run, the Pars were hoping to get back on track with a victory over a team they had already beaten twice this year, although curiously, an outfit they had not beaten at East End Park in the league since 1978. Danny Grainger was suspended after his red card at Ibrox so Alex Whittle got a chance to redeem himself by playing the more familiar position of left back. There were other changes – Williamson came in at right-back, Byrne started on the right of midfield and there was the welcome return of Wallace in attacking role. Scully too was passed fit despite dislocating a toe at Rangers, so the Pars lined up with Scully, a back four of Williamson, Morris, Page and Whittle, a midfield of Byrne, Husband, Geggan and Forbes, and a strike pairing of Wallace and Shankland. With Falkingham down with tonsillitis, there was promotion to the bench for Lewis Spence, and he took his place alongside Thomson, Smith, El Bakhtaoui, Martin, Millen and of course Goodfellow.
As for the visitors, they had a more circumspect line-up with Liam Buchanan leading the line on his own, but had Stephen Hughes, who had played at a much higher level, in midfield, Kevin Rutkiewicz organising things at the back, and Greg Paterson in goals.
|Alex Whittle v Nathan Austin.|
Ryan Wallace v Kevin Rutkiewicz.
East Fife kicked off and caused an early alarm when Austin outpaced Whittle down the right but Page was back to defend. Page was next seen at the other end of the pitch in the 6th minutes, when, supplementing the attack, he stepped inside and hit a well-struck shot from 20 yards, but it was straight at Paterson.
There was extra focus on Scully to see how he was coping with his toe-injury. For the most part he didn’t seem troubled but in the 10th minute he made a bit of a mess of things, when a poor pass out was behind Morris; Callum returned the ball, Scully fluffed his clearance 30 yards to Austin, and seemed a little slow to get down to the subsequent shot which came back off his left hand post; Morris was there to sweep up.
|Stephen Hughes sees this effort blocked by Alex Whittle.|
The Pars were doing their best to give East Fife a boost – Page misjudged the bounce of the ball, but again Morris was around to nod back to Scully, before Forbes misplaced a pass allowing Hughes a chance to shoot from distance, but he couldn’t find the target.
However, midway through the half, the Pars took the lead with a goal of simplicity yet quality. It started from the back, when Scully passed out to Morris. He played it to Byrne in midfield who let it run before making space to play the ball inside the full-back for Williamson to run on to and square to the near-post for Shankland to knock home.
Dunfermline Athletic 1 East Fife 0
|Ryan Williamson sets up the first goal of the game.|
Lawrence Shankland celebrates his goal with Stephen Husband.
The Pars seemed to relax a bit, and started to see more of the play, although Page was slightly fortunate not to be penalised when Buchanan’s shot appeared to come off his hands 25 yards from goal. Husband and Forbes had a couple of shots from distance before the Pars won a corner on the right and Page was unlucky to see his net-bound header cleared off the line by Buchanan. The ball was only half cleared, and Wallace, after suffering a complete air-shot, regained the ball and cut inside onto his right, only to drive over the top.
There were slight concerns when Scully suddenly went down injured six minute before the break –he seemed in a bit of bother, but possibly he just needed to get some strapping adjusted, as he seemed to be fine to play on, and overall, the Pars seemed to be in reasonable shape at the break.
Half time: Pars 1 Fife 0
|Ross Forbes v Scott Durie.|
Ball is cleared off the line by Liam Buchanan!
Although Goodfellow didn’t feature in the half-time kickabout, there were no changes to personnel at the break. However, it was East Fife who made a swift start, sweeping the ball from left to right to allow Durie to send in a cross-cum-shot that Scully dived full length to punch out to the edge of the “D” – a strange looking save, but effective as the follow-up shot was blocked by Page and Morris. The Pars continued on the back foot with Buchanan giving Morris some problems, before Forbes got booked for a trip 20 yards from goal as East Fife tried to profit from a poor Scully clearance. The resultant free-kick hit the wall and looked like looping over a rather flat-footed keeper, only for Scully to stretch and tip over the bar.
The Pars were struggling to get into the game, although Forbes set Wallace clear down the left, but as he waited for reinforcements to arrive, Ryan allowed the ball to slip out for a goal-kick. Perhaps coincidentally, that was his last contribution as Smith soon replaced him.
|Alex Whittle v Scott Durie.|
East Fife continued the offensive, Page clearing a ball that looked to be Scully’s to concede a corner, which was defended, but the visitors soon had the ball back in the area, but with Buchanan heading away from goal. Page was smart enough not to dive in, but Whittle stuck in a foot, was done by Buchanan’s brief burst of pace, and tripped the former Par to concede a soft penalty. Buchanan took the kick himself, his slow run up prompting Scully to dive almost before the kick was taken, allowing Liam to roll the ball into the other side of the net.
Dunfermline Athletic 1 East Fife 1
The visitors were emboldened by this upturn in fortune, Buchanan again getting past Morris but was crowded out before tempers frayed following a firm tackle by Barr on Geggan that seemed initially to be ignored by the referee, but Geggan reacted before Liam Buchanan came charging in. It took several seconds, and a couple of yellow cards to calm things down, before the ref decided to award East Fife a free-kick that he hadn’t given in the first place
Spence came on for Forbes who had disappointed to say the least, taking up position in the middle of the park and although it was a while before he saw the ball, his simple pass set Williamson away on one of his trademark runs that had been sadly rare – beating two defenders and cutting back but Geggan was blocked in the act of shooting, and although the ball broke to Whittle, a corner was the best the Pars could do. Husband’s ball picked out Page, but his shot was cleared off the line and Husband’s follow-up went into the side netting.
Worse was to follow – Johnson went down the left, managed to get a cross in which Scully dropped, Hughes hit it goalwards and Austin poked home from virtually on the line.
Dunfermline Athletic 1 East Fife 2
Suddenly it was a long way back. Thomson came on for Shankland, and East Fife made two late substitutions too as they ran down the clock. Having struggled to get out of 2nd gear all game it was no surprise the Pars looked unable to raise their game at this late stage. East Fife won a late corner, where they tried to keep the ball, but Husband stepped in, won the ball and sprinted down the line to find Thomson who released Smith but the best he could do was win a corner
Everyone bar Scully came forward, but a poor kick which didn’t beat the first man saw O’ Neill break, however Morris managed to catch him and get goal-side to thwart that threat, but the referee, having found 5 minutes stoppage time from somewhere couldn’t find any more and brought proceedings to a close.
Final Score: Dunfermline Athletic 1 East Fife 2
We got what we deserved, which was nothing. This was like a return to the bad old days of last season, with the Pars seemingly not fully interested at times. Play was disjointed and lacked cohesion and urgency. Of course, this could all have been brushed over had either of Page’s efforts managed to get over the line, or Wallace scored when he had the chance. However, not a lot was created in the second half; Forbes showed perhaps whilst he is no longer playing at a higher level, Byrne faded out of the game again, and Smith seemed to lack sharpness. There weren’t many positives, although Shankland got the goal he needed. Not many candidates for man of the match and tempting although it was to give the nod to Falkingham, I’ll opt, with a lack of conviction perhaps redolent of the team as a whole, for Geggan. Time for the manager to earn his corn and stop the rot for next week.
DAFC.net Man Of The Match: Andrew Geggan
|Choose your Man Of The Match
| Dunfermline_Athletic: Ryan Scully, Ryan Williamson, Alex Whittle, Jonathan Page, Callum Morris, Andy Geggan, Shaun Byrne, Stephen Husband, Lawrence Shankland (Ryan Thomson 83), Ross Forbes (Lewis Spence 72), Ryan Wallace (Allan Smith 52)
| Subs (not used): Faissal El Bahktaoui, Lewis Martin, Ross Millen, Ryan Goodfellow
| East_Fife: Greg Paterson, Scott Durie, Craig Johnstone, Kevin Rutkiewicz, Steven Campbell, Stephen O`Neill, Nathan Austin, Lewis Barr, Liam Buchanan (Bruce Inkango, 79), (Kevin Smith (Ryan Stewart 92), Stephen Hughes (Jonathan Stewart 88)|
| Subs (not used): Connor Shaw, Gary Thom, Liam Wooley, Marc McKenzie
| Shots on||4 ||3 |
| Shots off||5 ||4 |
| Corners||3 ||6 |
| Offside||0 ||1 |
| Fouls conceded||13 ||13 |
| Possession|| || |