Dunfermline Athletic 4 - 0 DumbartonAuthor: Alistair Campbell Date: Sunday, 25th Nov 2012
Dunfermline dominated this game and eventually got the goals they deserved. After containing the Pars for half an hour, Dumbarton failed to pick up Falkingham’s run and the diminutive midfielder nodded home the opener. Soon after the same player’s run and cross prompted an own goal. The points were secured when Wallace slotted home a penalty midway through the second half before Cardle capped a fine performance with the best goal of the game on 90 minutes.
After the off-field financial shenanigans, it was good to see some football, but not before carefully leaving my season ticket at home, being stung several times by bucket wielding volunteers (all in a good cause) and having an unexpected opportunity to do some Christmas shopping by purchasing a DVD. I’m sure my mother will enjoys seeing Martin Hardie’s free-kick over and over again.
Pre-match there were doubts over several players, prompting all sorts of speculation as to who could or would play where, and which youngster would be drafted into the first eleven. In the end, Thomson, Geggan and McMillan were all fit to start, and Kirk in for Barrowman was the only change as the Pars went with their regular 4-4-2 with Gallacher in goals, a defence of Geggan at right back, Dowie, Morris and McMillan, a midfield of Falkingham, Thomson, Husband and Cardle wide on the left, and a front pairing of Kirk and Wallace. No place for Whittle this week on the bench this week with Byrne making a welcome appearance, alongside Barrowman, Dargo and the perennial Potter and Hrivnak.
As for Dumbarton – new manager Ian Murray made several changes, meaning Stephen McDougall had to be satisfied with only a squad place. Mark Gilhaney started, and Jim Lister, a late arrival to the pro game, would lead the line.
The Pars took the kick-off, but started slowly, despite enjoying the bulk of possession. To begin with they seemed overly reluctant to have a shot or even cross the ball into the area, preferring to work the ball from flank to flank and back again, as the Sons defended in numbers.
The Pars won their first corner in 8 minutes, Falkingham taking a sore one as Lithgow shoulder charged him into the advertising hoarding, and eventually tried their first shot two minutes later, Wallace getting some room on the left but he hit straight at Grindlay.
The Pars became slightly more direct, Husband pinging a couple of balls into the channel for Wallace to chase – the first Creaney dealt with no bother at all, but the second a minute later saw Wallace outpace the left back before an absolutely woeful sclaff ensued, which provided the 65 Dumbarton fans with some amusement. Their team had also begun to make an impression in the Pars half of the field, although it had taken them nearly half an hour to do so. Falkingham was a little slow to track Creaney’s run, before running into Lamont, conceding a free-kick which Lister headed past. Then Dowie was booked for his third climbing offence, Thomson was slow to pick up his man from the free-kick and Gallacher had to tip Lithgow’s close range header over the top.
The Pars were becoming a little frustrated, with an unfeasible number of off-side decisions thwarting many attacks. At one stage they had no fewer than 3 players flagged simultaneously. However, the Pars got the goal their possession, if not their chances, deserved. The Sons were up the park, and Morris thought about passing back to his keeper, before opting for the safer hoof to the centre-circle. Kirk made up some ground to just about win the header, and the Pars came forward, played the ball to Wallace on the left who turned back 35 yards from goal before crossing to the far post where Falkingham had timed his run and sent a controlled header past Grindlay. 1-0 Pars.
Six minutes later we had another, although this wasn’t immediately obvious to everyone in the ground. Husband again chipped the ball down the right and Creaney mistimed his leap, allowing Falkingham to nod the ball forward and chase after it. Josh got to the byeline and his low cross was diverted beyond his keeper and in at the far post by Lithgow. Graham looked like he had just about kept it out but with the linesman haring towards the half-way line the goal was given. 2-0 Pars.
It had looked as if Kirk had had a chance to make sure but for some reason let the ball take its course. A minute later and he had a chance to score on his own account, when Thomson’s persistence had not only won the ball, but gave him space to send Kirk through the inside left-channel but Andy’s drive just shaved the right-hand post.
The Sons had a couple of chances late in the half, Gilhaney getting beyond McMillan, with the skipper also being slow to react when Gallacher could only palm away the cross, but the Pars went in at the break with a comfortable lead.
Half-time: Pars 2 Sons 0
The interval saw the crossbar challenge won for the first time, when Ciaran Reid played his joker on the form of Scott Gray from the under 20s, whose first effort dipped at the right moment. Some of the senior players have showed their ability with the concept at half-time kickarounds (as you might expect from professional footballers) with Kirk the most proficient in my view. However, Andy was soon back on the pitch and nearly in amongst the goals as the Pars came out the blocks fast. Within 2 minutes the Pars were on the attack as Wallace slipped, Husband slipped the ball to Cardle on the left, but Grinday blocked and Kirk swung and missed at the rebound.