The Pars Are Wighton The MoneyDate: Thursday, 3rd Nov 2022
It was the second Fife Derby of the league campaign at KDM Group East End Park on Saturday, as Dunfermline Athletic took on Kelty Hearts in SPFL cinch League One.
James McPake`s side were looking to bounce back following their first defeat within the division this term the previous weekend, away to Montrose, while John Potter`s men were looking to carry on their good run of form, which latterly saw them defeat Falkirk by 3 goals to 2 at The Falkirk Stadium 7 days prior.
As you could imagine, it was the visitors who started the brighter as confidence flowed through their veins; a neutral not knowing which team was which and only going on the league table would certainly not have identified the Pars to be wearing Black & White early on.
Alfie Agyeman hit the bar with a looping header from a Cammy Logan cross: the ball bounced down just ahead of the gaol-line before landing at the feet of Jamie Barjonas but he was squeezed out enough to put his shot wide. A real let off for the league leaders.
But, as the game approached the half-way mark of the first-half, Rhys Breen played a long pass with his left-foot which seemed to deceive Logan in the Kelty defence – Craig Wighton was quickly onto the loose ball inside the area and calmly cut it back for Nikolay Todorov to finish off the move with a sweeping first-time left-footed effort for the big Bulgarian`s 6th goal of the season.
On Halloween weekend, the hosts hoped they`d been spooked enough by The Maroon Machine and would kick on from taking the lead, and despite coming close through a Todorov header at the back-post following a good cross from Chris Mochrie on the left, which Darren Jamieson parried wide for a corner, the visitors clearly hadn`t read the script...
Athletic managed to snuff out the initial moves by Kelty with play-makers Nicky Low, Michael Tidser and Kallum Higginbotham struggling to find that defence-splitting pass or that extra yard needed for a shot, but Potter`s men kept on persevering and when the ball finally fell to Darren Lyon, he had created enough space to have a shot at goal: on his weaker left-foot, he curled the ball home into the top right-hand corner of Deniz Mehmet`s net, leaving the Pars #1 with absolutely no chance.
A goal of the highest quality; despite disappointingly putting Dunfermline back on to level terms, sometimes you just got to stand and applaud a fantastic strike and goal at times!
McPake was hoping for better and he got that at the start of the second-half. An early strike, described as one of the best well-worked goals seen in many years in West Fife by many Athletic supporters, Mochrie turned his man before driving in-field – the on-loan Dundee United winger had a lot of space and could`ve been attempted to have a dig at goal himself, but instead slipped in Aaron Comrie down the right and the full-back`s fine run and cross was tucked away by Wighton: the free flowing move was testament to the work being done on the Training Pitch in Rosyth by McPake, Dave Mackay and the rest of the coaching staff.
Highlights Kelty Hearts
Substitute Kyle Macdonald saw Jamieson make a good save soon after before Wighton had the chance to double his afternoon`s tally, but once again the goalkeeper stood strong and kept Kelty in the contest.
Former Pars Joe Cardle and Lewis Martin entered the field of play to rapturous applause from all 4 stands within KDM Group East End Park and their fresh legs, alongside the other subs brought on by the visitors, gave Kelty Hearts new impetus going into the final stages, Cardle played a nice one-two in the box but Sam Fisher blocked his effort within the 6-yard box before Cardle caused problems again as he danced down the right-hand side before swinging in a teasing delivery to fellow former Athletic attacker Higginbotham; he looked certain to score, only 2-3 yards out, but somehow nodded the ball over the bar with the whole goal at his mercy.
It was another fright for the Pars.
Mehmet was called into action late on, following a scramble in the box, a snap-shot by Higginbotham was expertly tipped round the post by the former West Ham United youth: the shot came in from around 10-yards out, through a ruck of bodies, so it was a terrific, reflex, save by the goalkeeper – who has played every competitive minute so far this campaign.
The Pars were able to hold on for 3 vital points and increase their lead at the top of the table. McPake`s men now sit 3 points ahead of FC Edinburgh, who drew 1-1 away to Peterhead, while Falkirk bounced back with a 3-1 win over Queen of the South in Dumfries, to remain 4 points off the summit.
It is the Bairns who are next up: Saturday`s opposition provides a different kind of rivalry to that of Kelty, but the game will be equally as intense, nervous, competitive and hard-fought as last weekend`s encounter against our West Fife rivals. John McGlynn will know nothing is won or lost on Saturday no matter the result, but he will be desperate to make sure his side don`t fall 7 points behind the Pars with just more than a third of the term already completed.
After a slow start to the season, Falkirk have started to pick up decent form and their results and performances are beginning to show of a side who were tipped by many to win the league in Season 2022/2023, even on DAFC.net`s Prediction League!!
Falkirk Highlights in September
A draw may be a result which is acceptable for the visitors this weekend, but the packed away end will be hoping to gain the bragging rights on Bonfire Night, following a 1-1 draw between the two Club`s during the first quarter of the campaign.