Dunfermline Athletic 3 Raith Rovers 1Author: Alistair Campbell Date: Saturday, 1st Sep 2012
Paul Gallacher’s early penalty save inspired the Pars to a home league win over their oldest rivals. After Gall had flung himself to his right to save Brian Graham’s 17th minute penalty, goals from Wallace and Falkingham had the Pars ahead at the break. Graham pulled one back with a diving header but Barrowman finished off a fine move to clinch the victory.
The Pars strengthened their line-up following the mid-week win over Montrose. Back into the squad came Kirk, Potter as defensive cover and Cardle, the last making the starting line-up instead of the injured Whittle. Otherwise Jim Jefferies kept faith with his League Cup squad, Callum Morris retaining his place alongside Andy Dowie in the heart of defence. Gallacher was in goals, the full-backs were captain Jordan McMillan and Stephen Jordan and centre-midfield was Husband and Geggan, with Falkingham as an attacking but right-sided midfielder. Barrowman and Wallace continued their promising partnership up front.
As well as Kirk and Potter, and number 2 keeper Hrivnak, the bench contained the experienced Craig Dargo and Chris Kane.
Rovers had also come off the back of a very impressive midweek performance and were largely unchanged. Former Par Jason Thomson started on the right of the back 4, with Pat Clarke wide left of a midfield five but with the responsibility of helping out sole striker, and suddenly prolific goalscorer, Brian Graham. Allan Walker, usually impressive against the Pars was in the heart of midfield with Joe Hamill, and it looked as if Stuart Anderson was going to sit just in front of his defence.
The Pars kicked off and again we had a first-minute incident – Josh Falkingham slid in appallingly late on Eddie Malone, and was well worth a yellow card, possibly being saved from a red by the game’s infancy.
The Pars were the first to threaten, in 6 minutes when Wallace did well to turn his man before sending Barrowman clear in the left-hand channel, but McGurn was equal to the left-foot shot. After Raith had a half-chance from a corner, Grant Anderson firing over from the edge of the box, the Pars put together a number of decent moves. In 12 minutes they expertly turned defence into attack – Husband’s hooked pass being controlled by McMillan before the captain fired one up the line for Wallace to run onto, before picking out Cardle with a deep cross. However, after bringing the ball down on his chest, Joe was crowded out.
Soon after, McMillan outpaced Malone putting the ball one side and running round the other, but his cross was too deep to cause any problems. The Pars also threatened from the other side, Cardle and Jordan exchanging passes, this time Husband managed a shot after the cross was half-cleared but couldn’t trouble McGurn.
So a positive start for the Pars , but all the good work was nearly undone when Morris was guilty of trying to play too much football at the wrong end of the pitch – taking the ball back to the corner flag, beating his man and then trying to dribble forward. Inevitably he was caught in possession, and equally inevitably Dowie conceded a penalty when be brought down Grant Anderson. It had all the hallmarks of a spot-kick concession, one centre-back finding himself out of position (albeit through no fault of his own) and lunging in, but I thought he got some of the ball. No matter, it was Calum Murray’s opinion which counted, but after Clarke offered the ball to Graham, the former Morton man shot too close to Gallacher and he brought off a fine safe.
A huge let-off for the Pars, and the yellow-booted Morris in particular, and they nearly took further advantage when Barrowman turned and fed Wallace, but he put in one too many step-overs and couldn’t find anyone with his cut-back. But the goal was not long delayed – a long ball over the top saw Wallace easily brush aside Wilson (possibly with the help of a discreet shove) and drill home from the edge of the box. 1-0
The Pars soon scored a second. Falkingham had gone down injured and after McMillan had kicked the ball out of play, Raith returned it to Gallacher. His clearance wasn’t dealt with and ball found its way to Cardle on the left, he crossed and Falkingham timed his run to perfection to head home
Jason Thomson got a well-deserved yellow card for nearly halving Cardle, and Falkingham hit the deck in mysterious circumstances, requiring both lengthy treatment to a facial injury and a new (numberless) unbloodied strip – Malone pled innocence and Murray didn’t see anything.
Dunfermline had chances for a third before the break – Cardle picked the ball up in a central position and stung McGurn’s hands with a long-range shot, and Joe had another chance, getting on the end of a cross that Falkingham had speared in to the back-post but McGurn was alert and smothered low to his right.
Half-time: Pars 2 Rovers 0
As expected, Raith manager Grant Murray brought himself on in place of the unfortunate Wilson who was having a ‘mare, and the visitors upped a gear as they tried to get back into the game, Malone driving in an early effort which Gallacher couldn’t hold first time.
However, the Pars soon continued where they had left off, Barrowman’s flicks and Wallace’s movement providing a constant headache for the Rovers’ defence. The latter nearly scored a third when McMillan sped down the right and centred, Wallace managing to get the shot away despite having his back to goal, but his effort just cleared the bar. So it was a surprise when the next goal went Raith’s way. Cardle was penalised for a very soft foul (if that) in front of the away dug-out. Walker swung the ball in and Graham’s diving header found the bottom corner. 2-1