Livingston 4 - 2 Dunfermline AthleticAuthor: Alistair Campbell Date: Tuesday, 10th Mar 2009
How Dunfermline managed to lose this game, and by 4 goals to 2, is somewhat bewildering. After playing some of their best football of the season they trailed at the interval to Livi’s only effort of the half; they score 2 fantastic goals in the second half, yet concede another 3. As they say, football is a funny game, but not many will be laughing in Fife.
With Woods suspended and Bayne’s head full of stitches there were 2 changes to Saturday’s starting eleven with returns for Thomson and the cup-tied Graham; Kevin Harper survived the warm-up intact and took a place on the bench. Thus the Pars line up was Gallacher, Thomson, Shields, Wilson and McCann; a mid-field 5 of, reading from the right, Bell, Phinn, Glass, Burke and Graham, and Mole leading the line alone.
After a minute’s applause in memory of Mary Leishman, the Pars kicked off towards the shopping centre end, and it was pretty much one way traffic in that direction. An early chance, where Bell found space in the box, drawing a save from ex-Par Roddy MacKenzie despite scuffing his shot, set the tone for the half. Graham sclaffed wildly past in 12 minutes, before doing much better 6 minutes later after Mole’s intelligent header from a McCann forward pass set him up, but MacKenzie again saved.
Greg Shields of all people popped up on the Livi bye-line in 19 minutes but there were no takers for his drive across the face of goal and Nipper Thomson sent a free-kick from 25 yards out narrowly past the upright as the Pars continued to dominate. Livi’s front line of the enormous Armand One and the nippy Leigh Griffiths had caused a couple of problems but it was still a surprise when Livi took the lead with their only shot of the half in 23 minutes. Griffiths won the ball on the left, his aimless centre was picked up by Tony McParland whose shot from 20 yards took a slight deflection and flew into the net, beating Gallacher to his right.
Although clearly stunned by this set-back, the Pars were soon back in the offensive. A nice, patient passage of possession football culminated with Glass launching a shot from 30 yards over the top, Jamie Mole found the target in 32 minutes but didn’t trouble MacKenzie, then a neat inside ball from Burke found Phinn charging into the box, but the keeper was out smartly to save at the mid-fielder’s feet. Glass had another turn and shot, as did Graham in stoppage time, although his effort was meat and drink for MacKenzie.
Half-time: Livi 1 Pars 0
There were no changes at half time, and the Pars soon picked up where they had left off, passing to feet and creating a succession of chances. After Burke came close with a cross-cum-shot, Bell put in a good ball from the left (where he had stayed temporarily after receiving treatment on the touchline) which Phinn couldn’t get on the end of, before Graham set up Phinn for another go, the latter’s header drifting agonisingly past the back post.
However, a minute later the Pars got the equaliser their play had deserved. Stephen Glass swept the ball across the pitch to the left wing from where Graham’s inch-perfect cross picked put Bell whose volley from 8 yards nearly burst the net. One all.
Equality was only maintained for 9 minutes. After Gallacher had made his only save of the game from an innocuous effort from Hamill, Davidson was allowed too much time at the edge of the box to bring the ball down, then find the bottom right-hand corner of the net. 2-1 Livi.