Dunfermline Athletic

Dunfermline 1 Arbroath 1

Saturday, 17th Feb 2024

cinch Championship: Chris Kane started. Malachi Fagan-Walcott (18) 1-0: Thomas O’Brien (51) 1-1:

Despite scoring the all important first goal, Dunfermline conceded early in the second half and in a tremendous push towards the end couldn’t find a winner.

A week after Jim McIntyre watched Dunfermline defeated by Queen’s Park, the former Dunfermline player and manager returned with his Arbroath team. It was ninth v tenth and with 14 league games to play, a win would be critical for both team’s seasons.

Manager James McPake gave a starting debut to midweek signing, Chris Kane and Malachi Fagan-Walcott returns as Paul Allan and Joe Chalmers are placed on the bench.

McIntyre’s Arbroath team saw only six survivors from the starting eleven that lost last time out at Morton. In that three week gap Joaõ Baldé has left to join East Kilbride but Macca started 21 year-old defender Connor Teale, signed 10 days previously on a 6-month loan agreement from EFL League 1 side Fleetwood Town. Back into the team after serving suspension came captain Thomas O’Brien and there were starts for Jess Norey, Craig Slater and former Par Ryan Dow.

Arbroath kicked off attacking the goal at the McCathie Stand end. Both sides had a chance within the opening ten minutes. After Lewis McCann cut back to Josh Edwards his cross found Kane in from of goal but the visitors closed him down before he could fire in a shot. Then at the other end Fagan-Walcott was forced to concede an eighth minute corner in denying Leighton McIntosh a shot. The Red Lichties forced the first corner of the afternoon but the Pats defence easily dealt with that.

An 18th minute free kick just inside the visitors half brought about the opening goal and Dunfermline taking an important lead. First Ewan Otoo went to take it but then he left it for Edwards as Malachi Fagan-Walcott was sent forward. Edwards delivery bounced in the Arbroath box before being met by FAGAN-WALCOTT who had broken into the penalty box, his header sailed beyond Max Boruc to find the left side of the net. 1-0

There was a huge let off for Arbroath next minute when an Aaron Comrie pass sent Michael O’Halloran in on goal. The keeper slipped and the chance opened up but the Pars player’s shot hit the outstretched keeper. Arbroath responded but the Dunfermline defence held firm albeit not with the greatest of comfort at times.

Ben Summers fizzed the ball across the face of Boruc’s goal and four minutes later in 31st minute an Edwards cross found the head of Otoo but his effort from ten yards out was held by the keeper. Boruc turned a McCann drive out for a corner on the left but Summers cross was held by Boruc.

Next Otoo, running on to a Summers pass, forced a corner on the left. This one was not cleanly delivered and Benjamin got in to hit the loose ball but he dispatched it well over the bar.

Arbroath pinned Dunfermline back into their own half as the 45 minute mark passed but O’Halloran made a break and his cross had to be defended but the home side would go in with their one goal advantage.

Half time: Dunfermline 1 Arbroath 0

Both teams made half time substitutions one for Dunfermline and three for Arbroath. Paul Allan replaced Xavier Benjamin as Chris Hamilton dropped back into the back four. Arbroath withdrew Jess Norey, Mark Stowe and Leighton McIntosh to bring on Innes Murray, Adam McKinnon and Kyle Robinson.

Kane had a couple of early opportunities from deliveries from the right, his first he was shut out and the second went wide right with the fans in the McCathie make loud claims for a corner that did not follow. Deniz Mehmet held from a free kick on the left as the attention switched to the other end. Then sub Murray travelled across the top of the Pars box to lay a chance off to Dow. His effort was deflected behind for a corner on the left. When Robinson crossed O’BRIEN rose above everyone to power his header past Mehmet. 1-1

Boruc held an effort from the right from Kane before on the hour Brad Holmes replaced Ben Summers. When O’Halloran’s pass sent Holmes up the right Boruc came out of his area to clear. The ball fell to Kane 35 yards out and he lobbed the ball towards the open goal but unluckily his attempt landed on the roof of the net.

Next it was the sidenetting that was hit when Comrie cut the ball back for an O’Halloran shot. The home fans rallied and almost had something to celebrate when Fagan-Walcott threaded the ball into the left side of the box for Otoo. The keeper pulled off a good save but the offside flag had been raised.

With quarter of an hour remaining a long throw from the right executed by Edwards was met by McCann but he could only force a corner. The corner created danger but O’Halloran could not get in a telling shot. The game was being taken to Arbroath by now and the home fans were encouraging their side forward.

Slater held back Kane and the Fifers were awarded an 81st minute free kick on the left but Edwards cross was defended. Fagan-Walcott blocked an on-target shot from Robinson and then the Pars defender headed away an 85th minute Arbroath free kick.

The visiting fans expectations rose as their team earned two corners in the space of a minute with Hamilton heading the second narrowly wide left. Holmes shot at the other end was blocked and Allan was charged with sending over a corner from the right that Fagan-Walcott sent over.

The last eight minutes of the game were frantic. Arbroath came close to scoring when Slater’s 90th minute shot was only half stopped by Mehmet and Gold’s follow up was kept out. After that there were several Dunfermline chances as they pushed for the winner. Otoo headed an Allan cross wide in 92 and next minute Edwards long throw was defended.

In the fifth minute of time added Comrie’s ball for Otoo on the left side was headed down to Holmes but his effort was deflected behind for a corner on the left. Allan sent the ball in from the left, Kane headed on to the far post and in a crowded six yard box, Arbroath scrambled away Chris Hamilton’s follow up. Then in 97 minutes Allan sent over another corner that Otoo and Fagan-Walcott came close to converting but it just wasn’t to be.

The draw meant that Dunfermline remain ninth and that victory remains elusive. Arbroath remain six points behind the Fifers though they have a match in hand.

DUNFERMLINE: Deniz Mehmet, Aaron Comrie, Xavier Benjamin (Paul Allan HT), Malachi Fagan-Walcott, Josh Edwards, Chris Hamilton (c), Ewan Otoo, Ben Summers (Brad Holmes 60), Michael O’Halloran, Chris Kane, Lewis McCann
SUBS NOT USED: Joe Chalmers, Owen Moffat, Miller Fenton, Taylor Sutherland, Sam Young, Max Little (GK)
SCORERS: Fagan-Walcott (18)
YELLOW CARD: Benjamin (21), O’Halloran (26), Kane (62), McCann (72)

ARBROATH: Maksymilian Boruc, Scott Stewart, Connor Teale, Thomas O’Brien (c), Colin Hamilton (Gordon Walker 90+4), Ryan Dow, Craig Slater, Jess Norey (Adam Mackinnon HT ( Jay Bird 90+7),, Mark Stowe (Kyle Robinson HT), David Gold, Leighton McIntosh (Innes Murray HT).
SUBS NOT USED: Kenan Dünnwald-Turan, Darren Lyon, Derek Gaston (GK)
SCORERS: O’Brien (51)
YELLOW CARD: Norey (27), O’Brien (34), Hamilton (90+1)

REFEREE: Craig Napier
WEATHER: Rain 10°C

NEXT MATCH: cinch Championship: (away) v Partick Thistle, Friday 23rd February 2024, kick off 7.45pm at the Wyre Stadium at Firhill.

The winner(s) for the 50/50 DAFC v Arbroath was Ian Baker, Ticket Number WEB5716

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