Champions Again Ole OleDate: Wednesday, 19th Apr 2023
Match-Day 33 in SPFL cinch League One lived up to it`s billing if you were a Pars fan, as Dunfermline Athletic confirmed their immediate return to the Championship with an emphatic win over Queen of the South.
It was a “5-star performance on a 5-star afternoon” for DAFC, according to the ParsTV commentary team and it is hard to disagree with those sentiments! The sun shone for the majority of the day over KDM Group East End Park, as James McPake`s men made their most impressive home performance of the season, to clinch the League One title in style.
To quote Rylan Clark – the celebrity ambassador of the SPFL sponsors cinch – Athletic “absolutely cinched it” with only one defeat in 33 league matches just one of many impressive stats over the course of the campaign. The weekend`s victory was the largest at home this season.
The 5-goal scoring spree started on the 22nd minute, when Kane Ritchie-Hosler took a short corner, playing a one-two with Joe Chalmers, before firing the ball home at the near post of Kevin Dabrowski, from a tight angle. The ground erupted as a feeling of positive momentum was building with promotion so close now for the Pars.
They knew a victory would seal their fate, no matter what the Falkirk scoreline was against Airdrieonians. A second-goal would give the Doonhamers a lot to do in the second-half, with the West Fifers yet to lose a home match this term in any competition. And that cushion was duly delivered six minutes before the break, as Ritchie-Hosler set Lewis McCann free down the right-flank before he cut the ball back for the on-rushing Matty Todd who fired it home at the first time of asking in front of a packed Norrie McCathie Stand.
Highlights: Dunfermline Athletic 5-0 Queen of the South
Marvin Bartley`s side would be determined to spoil any promotion party the Pars had planned and looked for some early second-half nerves from Dunfermline, but on a warm day within the City, it was the Athletic players who showed cool heads, dealing with the pressure magnificently. Just seven minutes into the second period and they got their third goal of the match, which would all but guarantee the 3 points staying at KDM Group East End Park, now.
McCann was once again set free, this time down the left-hand side and as he drove into the space vacated by the visiting defence, he picked his head up and slid an inch-perfect pass across the box to the back post for the Football Club`s top goalscorer in Season 2022-2023 Craig Wighton to add to his tally, making it 17 for the campaign as he shot trickled in, going under the body of the despairing Dabrowski.
Wighton wasn`t finished there however, as he grabbed his second of the afternoon and Dunfermline`s fourth of the match from very close range, as he tapped into an empty net, at the back post, following a Ritchie-Hosler shot which once again squirmed out of the grasp of the on-loan Hibs shot-stopper Dabrowski. The party had well and truly started in West Fife now...
Full-Time Celebrations – Dunfermline Athletic are Champions of SPFL cinch League One
McPake made numerous substitutions throughout the second-half, giving some key players a rest while also providing a platform to his fringe players to show what they could do. All 5 subs permitted were used by the management team and this just emphasises the strength and depth within the squad considering the plethora of experienced and talented individuals coming off the bench throughout the 90 minutes. One of those players was Kevin O`Hara...
...and the striker would finish off the 5-star afternoon and performance with a fifth goal, only his third of a frustrating, injury plagued, season. Another player who was out for a significant amount of time was Paul Allan and it was he who came oh so close to finding the net for #5 just seconds earlier as his terrific strike crashed off the bar; O`Hara anticipated the ball coming back down off the crossbar and he was in the right place at the right time to put the cherry on top of the cake on a sweet afternoon for Dunfermline Athletic.
But, the hard work won`t stop, with 3 matches left in the term. Airdrieonians away this weekend is the first of those and McPake and Assistant Manager Dave Mackay are determined to ensure that the season doesn`t peter out for the Pars...
All the Post-Match Interviews following Saturday`s success !