Dunfermline Athletic

Dunfermline 0 FC Edinburgh 0

Saturday, 18th Mar 2023

cinch League One: Paul McGowan and Kevin O ‘Hara start in place of Chris Mochrie and Joe Chalmers

It turned out to be a disappointing afternoon with a performance that the manager would define as the poorest of the season so far.

Third placed FC Edinburgh returned to The KDM Group East End Park in the hope of adding to their 45 league points and strengthening their challenge for a play off place for a second successive season. Top of the table Dunfermline wanted to retain their eight point advantage at the top and their 18 game unbeaten home record.

The Dunfermline starting eleven showed two changes from last time out against Falkirk with Paul McGowan given his starting debut and Kevin O’Hara coming in for Chris Mochrie and the injured Joe Chalmers. FC Edinburgh manager Alan Maybury made two changes dropping Kyle Jacobs and Daniel Handling to the bench to bring in Ryan Shanley and former Pars youth, Scott Mercer.

Following a minute’s silence as a mark of respect for 1961 Scottish Cup winner, John Sweeney, who died during the week it was the visitors, in all black kit, who kicked off attacking the goal at the McCathie Stand end. First chance came the Fifers way in third minute when Kyle Macdonald’s cross from the right picked out Matty Todd but his header was directed wide left.

Liam Fontaine collected an early yellow card and from the free kick Rhys Breen curled an effort over the bar from 25 yards out. Unfortunately three minutes later Matty Todd went down had to limp off with an injured thigh and Chris Mochrie entered the frae as an eighth minute sub.

On the quarter hour a McGowan corner from the left was headed down by Kyle Benedictus and Chris Hamilton stabbed a shot on target but keeper Robbie Mutch kept him out. There followed a skilful move from McGowan through Kane Ritchie-Hosler and Macdonald that set up an opportunity for Mochrie in front of goal but his execution let him down.

Edinburgh forced a corner out of Benedictus in 25 minutes after Fontaine pushed forward, picked out John Robertson who then fed the overlapping James Craigen. The former Pars man pinged the ball into the Pars six box only for the home captain to intervene. At the other end there was a refreshingly attacking run from Ritchie-Hosler who had switched from right to left wing. He released a shot from 20 yards out that Mutch stopped and then fell on as it broke forward off his chest.

FC Edinburgh earned a 30th minute corner on the right and when Fontaine connected with the cross beyond the far post the shot rebounded off Wighton.

Josh Edwards was presented with a 36th minute chance 30 yards out and with the crowd imploring him to shoot he drove the ball wide left of target. Another chance came two minutes later after Wighton played Ritchie-Hosler in on the right side of the Edinburgh box but Mutch saved the shot and no one could convert the loose ball.

Played halted five minutes from the interval when Deniz Mehmet came out to hold a through ball and took out Benedictus in the process. After treatment the central defender was able to continue but the half finished with a clean sheet at either end. FC Edinburgh recorded no first half shots and Dunfermline seven but it took a great clearance from Macdonald, scooping the ball over his own crossbar to keep out Callum Crane in time added on.

Half time: Dunfermline 0 FC Edinburgh 0

The manager wrung the changes for the second half starting with Aaron Comrie, Paul Allan and Lewis McCann after withdrawing Kyle Macdonald, Chris Hamilton and Kevin O’Hara. Within two minutes Breen had to be helped off and Ewan Otoo became a 49th minute sub. Before his injury Breen had jarred the nerves with a slack back pass that Innes Murray nearly punished heavily.

A half chance came Wighton’s way and then Mochrie powered a shot over the bar. It just would not go the Pars way. In 59 minutes Ritchie-Hosler took on Kieran Macdonald and cut back an inviting ball from the right byeline but Allan swept the chance over the bar.

Craigen pumped a 65th minute free kick into the Pars box earning a corner on the left that Mehmet held with ease. Next minute McGowan found Ritchie-Hosler on the right but no one could get on his cross. Mochrie was next to have a go but his effort from 12 yards was blocked by a defender. The fans appealed for a spot kick but the claims on the pitch were less vocal.

It was proving to be a frustrating afternoon for the Pars and their fans as the capital side were successfully intercepting too many Dunfermline passes. McGowan was yellow carded in 71st minute and after Robertson going down injured and two subs being put on three minutes were consumed.

Craigen’s rather crude tackle on Mochrie earned the home side a free kick 30 yards out on the left but Allan’s ball into the FC Edinburgh box was cleared amongst further appeals for hand ball. Ritchie-Hosler looked the most likely to break the deadlock and in 78 minutes he again took on MacDonald before getting a shot away that was deflected into Mutch’s custody.

Edwards won an 82nd minute corner on the left but McGowan’s idea to receive it short from Allan failed to come off. Three more minutes passed and Edwards tried a shot from the left that Mutch spilled before pouncing on the ball in front of McCann.

Ritchie-Hosler again in 88 minutes put over a cross that got no takers with that being followed by two Edinburgh players going down with signs of cramp. The introduction of subs Ben Stirling and Kyle Jacobs ate up some more minutes.

In total five minutes of added time were played but the frustrations continued to the bitter end. The fourth clean sheet in a row against Edinburgh but only one point that was one more than second placed Falkirk took from Palmerston.

DUNFERMLINE: Deniz Mehmet: Kyle Macdonald (Aaron Comrie HT), Kyle Benedictus (c), Rhys Breen (Ewan Otoo 49), Josh Edwards: Kane Ritchie-Hosler, Chris Hamilton (Paul Allan HT), Paul McGowan, Matthew Todd (Chris Mochrie 8): Kevin O’Hara (Lewis McCann HT), Craig Wighton.
SUBS NOT USED: Nikolay Todorov, Miller Fenton, Robbie Mahon, Max Little (GK).
YELLOW CARD: McGowan (71)

FC EDINBURGH: Robbie Mutch: James Craigen, Lee Hamilton, Liam Fontaine (Ben Stirling 89, Kieran MacDonald: Scott Mercer, Innes Murray, Calum Crane, Steven Warnock (Daniel Handling 73): Ryan Shanley (Kyle Jacobs 89), John Robertson (Ousman See 73).
SUBS NOT USED: Robbie McIntyre, Elijah Anukam, Sam Ramsbottom (GK).
YELLOW CARD: Fontaine (3)

REFEREE: Peter Stuart
WEATHER: Changeable 12°C

NEXT MATCH: cinch League One (away) v Montrose, Saturday 25th March 2023, 4.00pm kick off at Links Park
50/50 Half Time Draw Winning number 67450 - won £883

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