Dunfermline Athletic

Dunfermline Athletic 1 - 2 Ross County

Author: Stephen Taylor Date: Saturday, 21st Feb 2009

The Pars suffered what could be a mortal blow to their promotion aspirations with a weak, insipid performance which was made even worse with the crowd witnessing a masterclass by former Par,Craig Brewster, showing up the lack of quality in this Pars lineup.

It was back to league duty after a good win in the Cup during the week. Scott Thomson was out injured and that allowed Calum Woods to return to the side. It was also good to see Craig Brewster still playing at 42 years old and every Pars fans was probably hoping his old legs were now past it!

The Pars lined up with Gallacher in goals, with Woods, Shields, Wilson and McCann the back four. Greg Ross was playing the central holding role in front of the defence with Bell, Phinn and Holmes making up the midfield quartet. Rory Loy partnered Graham Bayne up front.

The overhead conditions were going to be a factor in this game with a strong wind blowing from the town end and was pushing the Pars towards the Halbeath end.

Nicky Phinn was breaking from his own half when Brittain chopped him down with a cynical challenge that merited a yellow card in the first couple of minutes.

It was Phinn that got in the first effort on goal in 5 minutes with a shot that just dipped over the bar after some good play on the right from Shields and Woods. That looked promising but it was about as good as it was going to get for the Pars. The next 15 minutes was turgid. The bal was bouncing all over the place with the Pars unable to keep possession. Loy and Bayne could not hold the ball and there was a complete lack of creativity. Ross County were pressing well and not giving any Pars player time on the ball but sadly the Pars were not doing the same to County.

Brewster was showing all his cunning holding the ball up well despite the close attentions of Wilson and Shields and he managed to make good passes and layoffs. Brewster won a corner in 19 minutes which was eventually cleared.

Back up the other end a good low cross by Holmes was turned out for a Pars corner by Watt. Goalkeeper Soutar flapped at the resulting cross but the Pars could not make it count.

Back up the other end a good low cross by Holmes was turned out for a Pars corner by Watt. Goalkeeper Soutar flapped at the resulting cross but the Pars could not make it count.

The Pars were continually giving the ball away and Woods got caught in possession in 24 minutes allowing County to break with Craig hitting a poor shot well wide when he had time to do better.

Ozzie McCann put over a great ball from the left in 34 minutes that allowed Phinn a good header that just went over.

Just as the half time break was approaching Ross County took the lead with an excellent finish by Brewster as the Pars defence stood and watched him. Half time 0-1.

The Pars came out and started th second half with a bit more urgency. Nicky Phinn headed a ball off the bar from a great cross by Woods in 46 minutes. The initial promise, however, did not last long as the Pars fell back into the same level of performance as the first half. The ball was constantly being lifted forward to Bayne who had not won a header all afternoon at that point. The forwards could not hold the ball up and there was a worrying lack of urgency about the Pars play while Ross County worked away looking much stronger than the home side.

Just when it looked as if the Pars were never going to get back into the match a great header by Bayne from a Holmes corner in 60 minutes. Game on or so it should have been but the goal did not change the pattern of the match. By this stage Loy had been replaced by Graham and Ross by Kirk but to no obvious effect. Indeed, it only took 7 minutes for Ross County to take the lead once again. A lowish cross cut back from the left should have been taken by Gallacher but he slipped and Higgins dived in to head home for the killer blow.



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