Dunfermline Athletic

Dunfermline Athletic 0 Morton 1

Author: Alistair Campbell Date: Saturday, 22nd Nov 2008

A poor, poor game with Eric Paartalu’s 24th minute strike being the difference between the sides. Up against a big defence and in the absence of Harper and Wiles the Pars failed to play much cohesive football and struggled to create chances. It seems that every time there is an initiative to boost crowds the Pars come up with a performance that is not so much X factor as X-rated.

With Wilson suspended and Muirhead injured, Phinn was dropped to the bench as McIntyre made 3 changes from last week’s starting eleven. Greg Shields came into the heart of defence, Ozzie McCann regained his left back position and Steven Bell came into midfield. Thus the Pars eleven which took the field in their black and white stripes was Gallacher in goal, Ross at right back, Shields, Thomson and McCann; Woods on the right of midfield, Burke on the left with Bell and Glass, captaining the side, in the middle, and Kirk and Bayne, back amongst the goals last week, up front.

No sign of Williamson on the bench, or, to begin with, of Dearden, as the Pars boss named himself, Paul Willis, Graeme Holmes and Nick Phinn alongside substitute keeper Reidford.

Morton took the kick off in their all yellow strips, as the home side sought to change their luck by opting to shoot towards the Norrie McCathie end.

After an early Morton corner which led to a foul on Gallacher , most of the interest was on events off the park. In the North West stand by the half-way line about 70 fans were determined to stand and were engaged in a battle of wills with the stewards and police. Meanwhile Stuart Dearden suddenly appeared in front of the tunnel doing stretching exercises and it became apparent that there had been a late change to the substitutes. The speculation was that McIntyre had injured himself in the warm-up and so it proved.

On the park it was mostly Morton with the visitors using their height and the long throws of Eric Paaratalu to cause problems to the Pars rearguard. However, in 17 minutes a poor clearance from the home defence was hooked back into play by Bell, and the midfielder broke forward as the ball was returned. An ambitious pass down the channel was read by two defenders, but the ball bagatelled off one as the other cleared and Dunfermline had their first corner. Wood took the kick long and deep where Glass tried to place a header in the top right hand corner of the goal but Cuthbert palmed the ball behind and then comfortably gathered the ball when the ball was played back in after the second corner.

Five minutes later Shimmin was penalised for foot up just inside his own half. From the resultant free kick Bayne won the header but his attempt looped onto the top of the net. That was as close as Dunfermline would come in the first half.

In 24 minutes Morton scored the only goal of the game. Glass was penalised for a challenge near the half-way line. Although the player slipped upon taking the free kick, the ball was not cleared properly and Paartalu found enough space to drill a low shot from 25 yards just inside Gallacher’s right hand post. A fine finish, quite out of character with the rest of the game. 1-0 Morton.

The scorer had another effort just after the half-hour mark but this was no-where near being on target and the Pars made a positional change, swapping Ross and Woods. The former nearly found Kirk in 42 minutes but his pass was just a little firm. Bayne had a half-chance just before half time, but couldn’t dig the ball out from under his feet or trouble Cuthbert.

Half Time: Pars 0 `Ton 1

There were no changes at half time, and Glass had an early right foot effort which was easily pouched by the visiting keeper. The Pars’ skipper appeared to go one better in 53 minutes when he curled a beautiful shot into the top left hand corner but his joy was predictably short lived as referee McCurry had already whistled after a barge. Immediately after Graeme Holmes came on to make his home debut in the centre of the park, replacing Burke. Glass moved left to accommodate this.

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