Player DeparturesDate: Saturday, 4th Jun 2022
Dunfermline Athletic Football Club last week released the list of players leaving East End Park this summer. We take a look back at those who will not be returning to West Fife next term.
Firstly, having chosen to leave of his own accord, fans favourite Dom Thomas has been announced as a Queen`s Park player for next campaign. The winger – who won the Centenary Club Lifeline Player of the Season and Goal of the Season awards for 2021-2022, made 69 appearances for the Pars since joining in the Winter Transfer Window of 2020.
That season was cut-short due to the Coronavirus Pandemic, but the Killie loanee made his move to Athletic permanent that summer. Thomas scored 7 goals during his time in Black & White and will be a player who will be missed out on the field of play due to the flair and trickery he brought to the side.
A number of loan players are also returning to their Parent Clubs this summer:
Bobby Kamwa joined in the January Transfer Window on-loan from English Premier League sdie Leeds United. An injury-ravaged spell saw the youngster only make 7 appearances for DAFC, all coming off the bench.
The attacker was unable to get himself onto the goal-sheet either. Also leaving is Liam Polworth, who returns to Kilmarnock. The Ayrshire side have went up to the SPFL Cinch Premiership and Polworth will be hoping to play a part at Rugby Park next term. However, his time at East End Park looks to be at an end, following a Temporary Transfer at the end of February.
The #39 made 11 appearances in total, but wasn`t able to find the back of the net during his spell in West Fife.
Polish Under-21 Internationalist, Jakub Stolarczyk has also returned South. His loan-spell from Leicester City has came to an end following the Football Club`s relegation to SPFL Cinch League One. The shot-stopper impressed during his few month stay in Scotland, with a string of incredible saves being amassed by the goalkeeper.
His display away to Kilmarnock was one of the best goalkeeping performances you`ll ever likely see at this level, with Stolarczyk undeserving to be on a losing side, following a 2-0 win for the hosts. The Leicester loanee played 13 times for John Hughes`s men, achieving 3 clean-sheets. Coll Donaldson also impressed during his loan-spell at East End Park, arriving as the 2nd January addition of 2022.
The Ross County centre-back was happy to drop a level to get game-time on a regular basis and he certainly done that, amassing 18 appearances and scoring twice. His strike against Hamilton Academical was nominated for Goal of the Season and showed a different side to Donaldson`s game, as the defender jinked and weaved up the park, before firing the ball home to put the Pars in front on an afternoon of drama, with the game ending 2-2 in controversial fashion.
And finally for the loan players, Efe Ambrose; a player who came to the Club with so much pedigree and experience from St Johnstone. The Nigerian was either faultless or at fault in most matches and unfortunately, it seems like his time at East End Park will be remembered for all of the wrong reasons. The centre-back made 14 appearances for Athletic, with his last action in the colours of Black & White being decisive in Dunfermline`s relegation. He took out Simon Murray to concede a free-kick but was also sent-off for the foul, leaving the Pars down to 10-men. A late Simon Murray goal sealed the fate for John Hughes`s side.
Numerous contracted players have been told they will not receive an extension, also -
Leon Jones departs having only played 2 matches for the Football Club. The defender arrived from the United States of America in the summer of 2021 but had no luck on his side. When he eventually got his chance, his initial `debut` ended after 11 minutes due to a power failure at Stark`s Park in the opening Fife Derby of the term, with the match being abandoned. His official debut came away to Ayr United in 3-1 defeat before many months of watching from the sidelines.
Near the end of the campaign, Jones was gifted a start away to Partick Thistle, but it eneded in defeat again, this time 1-0. Also leaving is Reece Cole – another who struggled with injuries during his 12 months in West Fife. The English midfielder only managed to amass 12 appearances in all competitions, scoring once. However, the goal he did score, against Ayr United, will live long in the memory in a day in which the Pars fought back against the Honest Men o get the most unlikely of victories.
The set-piece specialist lived up to his name with a great right-footed effort to equalise during the 2-1 match. Steven Lawless was a free agent when John Hughes arrived in November and was quick to be snapped up by the then manager as his first signing as DAFC boss. The experienced winger was given the Captain`s Armband during the campaign as Graham Dorrans struggled for fitness, with the former Motherwell wide-man making 20 appearances in total, scoring 3 times – two of which were penalties.
Fans Favourite, Dan Pybus, has also been let go, with the #16 – who picked up the Managers Player of the Year award and the Players` Player of the Year award – being one of the few out of contract players expected to remain at East End Park next season.
But the former Sunderland Youth is now on the lookout for his next Club, having made 38 appearances this campaign, scoring once, away to his former side Queen of the South. Long-Standing DAFC players Ryan Dow and Lewis Martin have also left. Dow began his Pars career as he aimed to go on, scoring on his debut against St Mirren in the BetFred Cup, with the winger instantly showing his quality to the East End Park faithful.
A bad injury saw Dow battle back to full fitness over many months, making 81 appearances overall for Athletic under 3 different managers, scoring 11 times. Martin was the longest-serving player within the squad; a new contract would`ve taken the utility man to 10 years in the first-team at East End Park. But James McPake has chosen to let the 26-year-old go after 171 appearances for the Football Club over his 9 seasons.
A lot of injuries and illnesses have kept Martin off the pitch, but he always returned stronger than ever before to prove himself as a valuable squad member once again. Martin scored 5 goals for the Black & White, his most famous is likely against his boyhood Club Rangers, but his most memorable will likely be against Annan Athletic in the League Cup with the `ring-a-ring-a-rosies` corner routine paying off to allow Martin to net his first senior goal.
We wish all players leaving this summer all the best for the future.