Dunfermline Athletic 1
Author: Alistair Campbell Date: Saturday, 30th Aug 2008
Three players injured on Tuesday and 1 suspended from Saturday meant 4 enforced changes - Nipper came back into the heart of defence alongside Scott Wilson but there was a unfamiliar look to the mid-field, with Bell and Wiles starting for the first time, the latter on the right, and Bamba again providing the selectorial surprise being given a central berth. Burke was again on the left. Goalkeeper Gallacher, full backs Woods and McCann, and strikers Kirk and Bayne were there as expected.
The Pars started as if the midfield had never met each other before, let alone played together with Bamba playing a couple of loose passes - from one interception Griffiths had the ball in the net, but the offside flag was already up - not for the first time.
Burke won the Pars first (and only) corner of the half in 6 minutes when his cross was deflected over the bye-line but it came to naught
Quinn had a chance for Livi in 16 minutes after the Pars mid-field collectively had difficulty deciding who should be picking up whom, but shot over, and Kirk, who seems unafraid to have a pop given half a chance, fired wide at the other end.
Livi nearly took the lead in 25 minutes when Gallacher’s strong hands palmed MacKay’s 12 yard shot round the post as Thomson had blocked Davidson’s effort and 2 minutes later the the off-side trap was sprung but Gallacher was alert to Griffiths haring through and was out quickly to send the ball into the main stand.
Both sides finished the half strongly - in their best move of the half, Woods, Bell and Kirk combined to set up Burke but the left-midfielder was leaning back as he hit his right foot drive over the bar in 39 minutes and almost immediately at the other end Griffiths turned Wilson but sent his shot wide from a narrow angle.
Thomson was next to be undone by the green-booted Livi number 9 when he was nut-megged a minute later, before a Woods breenging run was capped by a fine pass to find McCann in space. However, Martini in the visitors’ goal was neither shaken not stirred by the left-back’s cross, gathering comfortably.
With 3 minutes to go, Livi took the lead in controversial circumstances; with Griffiths in a suspiciously offside position Davidson got free - as the Pars defence hesitated and with only the keeper to beat he cut the ball back from the corner of the 6 yard box to Griffiths and the division’s leading scorer shot thought Gallacher’s legs into the net. 1-0 Livi, Gall being as upset as I’ve ever seen him, chasing the officials 30 yards from his goal to proffer an opinion on the matter, a conversation he was still keen to have when the half time whistle went soon after. There was still time for Bayne to get booked for a foul then narrowly avoid a second yellow when clattering McPake
On balance of play Livi just about deserved the half-time lead and it was the officials who were booed off the park
Half Time - Pars 0 -1 Livi
Into the second half and no changes in personnel; Kirk over-ran the ball in 50 minutes when put through in yards of space, and a minute later, when McCann was slow out to defend a corner McParland’s cross provided Griffiths with a free header which he put over.
The Pars levelled the scores in 53 minutes - a poor defensive header went skywards and keeper Martini flapped it clear; Wilson was first to the ball 40 yards out, fed it to Bamba who swept it to Wiles on the right touchline. The winger sent in an inch-perfect cross and the merest touch from Kirk’s head was enough to send the ball into the rigging for the equaliser.