Dunfermline Athletic 1 - 0 Partick ThistleAuthor: Jason Barber Date: Saturday, 29th Sep 2007
Some people in the 4,351 crowd may well have thought that had this game taken place in their back garden, they`d have been better off shutting the curtains. However, for as poor a match as it was, Dunfermline finally got back to winning ways picking up only their second win of the league season, eight matches into the campaign.
Stephen Kenny again had to shuffle his starting line up after the woeful performance against Clyde last Saturday, and the much improved turn out against Hearts which ultimately ended in an extra time defeat on Tuesday evening.
After the 2-1 defeat at Clyde which many people have perceived to be perhaps the worst Dunfermline performance in years, Aaron Labonte, Bobby Ryan and Owen Morrison were missing from the starting line up. Paul Gallacher continued in goals, whilst he had the reassuring return of Scott Wilson alongside Sol Bamba as the centre half pairing. Darren Young continued as an "emergency" right back given the continued lengthy injury list within the defensive ranks, and fellow midfielder Stephen Glass was a similar stop gap on the opposite flank.
Nicky Phinn has long been a supporter`s favourite in midfield, and his fine return from injury against Hearts continued as he made his first SFL start of the season. Stephen Simmons joined him in the centre of the park, with Tam McManus carrying on the "emergency" out of position theme wide right. Captain Stevie Crawford completed the midfield quarter.
Jim Hamilton and Mark Burchill were the front pairing, with Burchill looking to continue his fine run of five goals in his four previous consecutive appearances.
A reasonably uneventful start to the game saw neither side create any goalscoring chances of note, which was a sign of things to come. However, a fantastic moment of brilliance from that man in form, Mark Burchill, saw him quite nonchalently shrug off Partick`s defence and very nearly tuck the ball home after only nine minutes of the game. A top class goal which took Burchill`s personal tally to seven goals in only six starts so far this season, a fantastic return given his well documented (and ongoing) injury problems.
Dunfermline were buoyed by the goal and continued to play with a rather fluid and slick possession game for the rest of the first half. Partick offered little in return as The Pars showed glimpes at long last of what they were capable of. Jim Hamilton had the best of the chances on the half hour mark and will be disappointed by not having scored a second. Stevie Crawford was at the heart of many moves as he continued his rather effortless transition from centre forward to midfield playmaker.
The half time whistle arrived with the Pars well deserving of their 1-0 lead, with slight nagging doubts perhaps as to why the goal had not been added to given the domination Dunfermline enjoyed during the first half.
Dunfermline`s injury plague which has affected every single team selection so far this season continued yet again during the break. Both Darren Young and Mark Burchill (who missed training earlier in the week having reported ill with flu) failed to re-appear and the changes were made.
Club captain Scott Thomson made his own return from injury, having suffered a torn muscle against St. Johnstone in the last home match. Nipper slotted into the unusual right back spot in place of Young, whilst Iain Williamson replaced Burchill up front.
Partick`s own substitutions gave them the impetus however, and Dunfermline found themselves on the back foot far more often than they had in the first period.
Both sides slogged it out without really creating anything of note, both Paul Gallacher and Craig Hinchcliffe were rarely troubled as half chances went wide or over the bar when defences were actually breached.
As the match wore on, it became clear that goals were not going to be the order of the day. Dunfermline defended free kicks with eleven men behind the ball, whilst Partick rather bizarrely decided to keep not only Hinchcliffe, but three outfield players behind the ball whenever they were presented with a free kick anywhere on the park.