Dunfermline Athletic

Pars Penalty Pain

Date: Wednesday, 22nd Feb 2023

Match-Day 24 for Dunfermline Athletic saw them face off against Airdrieonians for the second time within a week, this time at KDM Group East End Park.

It was Match-Day 25 for the Diamonds, who would have been looking for revenge following their dramatic 4-3 loss to the Pars just seven days prior.

Highlights: Airdrieonians 3-4 Dunfermline Athletic

Assistant Manager, Dave Mackay spoke to the Press ahead of this coming Saturday`s match and emphasised how important it was for those in Black & White to regain the levels and standards they had set throughout the campaign, after a lacklustre display against Rhys McCabe`s men the previous Saturday.

Dave Mackay`s preview prior to Saturdays home game against Airdrieonians.

With 38 minutes on the clock, Ben Stanway – on-loan from Partick Thistle – swept home a flowing move down the right-flank which saw Cammy Ballantyne deliver a low-ball that was knocked past Mehmet in the Athletic net. McCabe`s side would then dominate the rest of the half without converting any more chances, as boos rang out at the interval towards James McPake`s side.

No changes were made at the break as Dunfermline looked to once again comeback to claim something from the match – which could be vital come the end of the term following second-placed Falkirk`s win over Alloa Athletic on Saturday. But McPake and Mackay were once again decisive in their actions, replacing Robbie Mahon with Lewis McCann just 10 minutes into the second-half before Joe Chalmers and Nikolay Todorov entered the fray for Chris Hamilton and Matty Todd ten minutes later.

And it was the latter two who came on to make the biggest impact. Todorov had struck the inside of the post with a header just moments after coming on, with the ball agonisingly spinning back into the arm`s of Josh Rae, but the goalkeeper wasn`t to foil him with 17 minutes to go. Chris Mochrie laid off a short corner to Chalmers who played in a first-time left-footed cross to the near post which the big Bulgarian headed home before a melee erupted in the goal-mouth as the Pars tried to get the bacll back to get the game restarted quickly.

Highlights: Dunfermline Athletic 1-1 Airdrieonians

The momentum had now swung fully to the hosts and the crowd at KDM Group East End Park encouraged their team on to try find another late, dramatic, winner. And drama is certainly what they got... McCann burst down the left but seemed to show too much of the ball to Ballantyne who tried to knock it back to Rae, but Craig Wighton was alert and anticipated the loose ball as he dashed onto it, being taken out in the process by the goalkeeper. Referee Ross Hardie was straight to his top pocket to send off the shot-stopper with just 6 minutes to go plus injury-time.

On to the field came substitute goalie David Hutton, with Airdrieonians now down to 10 men. The ex-Athletic keeper hasn`t played a lot this season but instantly became a Diamond amongst the visiting supporters as he dived to his right-hand side, saving Benedictus` penalty-kick to keep the score-line level at one goal apiece. Despite continued pressure by McPake`s men, McCabe`s side would leave West Fife with a point to the frustration and disappointment of the hosts. However, in the context of the full 90 minutes, DAFC gaffer McPake felt a draw was a fair reflection on proceedings.

Manager James McPake discusses the 1-1 draw with ParsTV

Paul McGowan has joined on-loan from Dundee in the days following the match, with the 35-year-old central-midfielder looking to add his quality but also his experience to the side over the final dozen games of the campaign.

That starts this weekend away to Queen of the South, while third-placed Airdrieonians take on Dunfermline`s title-rivals, Falkirk. There are many twists and turns to go yet, as it looks set to be a nail-biting finish to the SPFL cinch League One term. The season`s conclusion remains in Dunfermline Athletic`s hands, but focus is only and fully upon the challenge of the Doonhamers this weekend.

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