Dunfermline Athletic

Dunfermline 1 Raith Rovers 2

Tuesday, 2nd Jan 2024

cinch Championship: both sides make two changes. Otoo and Hamilton start. Daniel O’Reilly (11) 0-1: Ben Summers (38) 1-1: Daniel O’Reilly (51) 1-2:

For this New Year derby, the fifth match between the sides this season, both teams made two changes. James McPake brought back in masked man, Chris Hamilton and Ewan Otoo with Michael O’Halloran dropping to the bench and Paul Allan out. Raith Rovers brought back Shaun Byrne and Josh Mullin with former Pars Aidan Connelly and Callum Smith on the subs bench.

It was the first time Raith Rovers had been the first foots since 2013 and a repeat of a win that day courtesy of an Andy Geggan goal, would be very welcome. Raith sat top of the table, Dunfermline fourth as a big holiday crowd welcomed both teams on to the field. Alex Jakubiak took the kick off with Dunfermline attacking the goal in front of the travelling fans.

A move up the left from Edwards, Jakubiak and Wighton lined Joe Chalmers up for the first shot at goal after just 23 seconds. Kevin Dabrowski held the 25 yard shot. The first corner of the match after just two minutes went the Pars way and when Chalmers delivered from the right Hamilton’s attempt sneaked out just beyond the far post. Ben Summers had his fourth minute shot blocked by Daniel O’Reilly but it had been a promising start from the home team.

It might have got even better had Jakubiak’s fifth minute cross across the face of goal been converted but it evaded Wighton and Comrie couldn’t reach it in time. Deniz Mehmet’s first involvement was to cut out a Scott Brown cut back three minutes later.

The Rovers displayed an air of patience but began to get more touches and from an eleventh minute free kick they took the lead. From the left side Mullin played a dangerous ball into the Pars box. Breen and Mehmet could not get the clearance required and Daniel O’REILLY stuck the ball, away. 0-1

Evidence of the passion to get back in the game Comrie received an early yellow card but then Shaun Byrne also collected one two minutes later for his tackle on Summers. Play halted in 19 minutes for treatment for Sam Fisher after a clash with Lewis Vaughan left him with a facial injury. The player who only returned on Saturday would be taken off sitting up on a stretcher after a delay of five minutes. Owen Moffat came on as the first substitute of the day with Otoo moving back into the back three.

Rovers forced two corners on the right after Mehmet had to turn a Mullin shot from a Ross Millen cross around his post. From the second one the ball was headed over the crossbar but Scott Brown made a strong run down the right. Play stayed in the Dunfermline half until Lewis Vaughan on the half hour, fired a low shot that Mehmet held.

Raith pressed high giving the Pars little time to compose themselves on the ball. Hamilton worked his way into the penalty box and Chalmers was happy to concede a corner. The defence cleared but Byrne and then Mullin both had cracks at Mehmet’s goal, the first being blocked, the second sailing over the crossbar. Otoo made a superb last man tackle before Millen tried a shot from 30 yards. Dunfermline really need some respite but the answer came in 38 minutes when a Josh Edwards pass to Chalmers sent Ben SUMMERS waltzing through the middle to smash a low right footed shot left beyond the diving Dabrowski. The on-loan Celt’s first senior goal made it 1-1.

It was 45th minute when Mullin took a corner on the left short to Easton and the ball was played off Vaughan in the box for Mullin to launch a ball towards the top right but Mehmet pulled off a wonderful save to beat the ball away.

Play quickly switched to the other end with Jakubiak forcing a corner that caused mayhem when it land in the six yard box. Jakubiak tried a shot and there were appeals for a penalty that were dismissed. Edwards next broke in from the left and the Rovers defence did really well to prevent that causing them more trouble.

After all the stoppages the first half lasted 53 minutes but the sides would go in on level terms.

Half time: Dunfermline 1 Raith Rovers 1

The second half was only six minutes in when a Mullin corner from the right was powerful headed home by O’REILLY 1-2. Dunfermline again found themselves in the need to come from behind.

Another Rovers corner followed with again Mullin crossing from the right. This time it was Euan Murray who attacked the ball but the defence beat him to it. Dunfermline earned a corner of their own but when Chalmers from the left teed up Moffat to flight the ball towards the far post Dabrowski flew at it to punch it away.

There were Dunfermline appeals for hand ball when Edwards pitched one of his long throws into the opposition box but momentum stayed as Mullin pulled Otoo back resulted in a 62nd free kick. Chalmers delivery was defended out to Otoo who crashed a shot from the edge of the box that was halted by one of several defenders in front of goal.

There were cries of disappointment as Edwards didn’t quite reach an inviting ball to the left post and then Summers prod into the box. An Edwards cross was met by Comrie but the keeper saved as was another shot at an acute angle from Jakubiak. Rovers responded with a fierce effort from Brown blocked for a 68th minute corner but fortunately it was Jakubiak that Mullin found and the threat had gone.

Raith introduced Jamie Gullan for Jack Hamilton and in 72 minutes it was the sub that Rhys Breen injured his knee challenging. He was yellow carded but unable to play on he was subbed by Michael O’Halloran. Taylor Sutherland followed replacing Craig Wighton nine minutes from the end and it was the 18 year old newly recalled from his loan at Bonnyrigg Rose who was denied when Dabrowski smothered a dangerous Edwards cross.

Dunfermline had deserted defending when in 86th minute Vaughan broke down the right and sent a good weighted pass towards Gullan racing down the centre of the park but Chalmers had tracked back and diverted the ball to Mehmet.

Moffat got in behind on the left but his cut back was held by the keeper. A 89th minute Chalmers free kick was defended before Aidan Connelly came on as a 90th minute sub for Vaughan. That brought the number to five of former Pars players battling away for the Rovers.

Dabrowski had to scramble across his goal to keep out a Chalmers shot in the fifth minute of added time. There was to be no equaliser and coupled with Airdrieonians 2-0 win over Inverness Caledonian Thistle the result meant Dunfermline slipped to fifth place.

DUNFERMLINE: Deniz Mehmet, Sam Fisher (Owen Moffat 23), Chris Hamilton (c), Rhys Breen (Michael O’Halloran 74), Aaron Comrie, Ewan Otoo, Joe Chalmers, Ben Summers, Josh Edwards, Craig Wighton (Taylor Sutherland 81), Alex Jakubiak
SUBS NOT USED: Liam Hoggan, Miller Fenton, Jake Sutherland, Harry Sharp (GK), Max Little (GK)
SCORERS: Summers (38)
YELLOW CARD: Comrie (13), Breen (74), Otoo (90+1), Chalmers (90+3)

RAITH ROVERS: Kevin Dabrowski, Ross Millen, Daniel O’Reilly, Euan Murray, Liam Dick, Scott Brown (c) (Ross Matthews 81), Shaun Byrne, Lewis Vaughan, Dylan Easton (Callum Smith 81), Josh Mullin, Jack Hamilton (Jamie Gullan 69).
SUBS NOT USED: Aidan Connelly, Scott McGill, Dylan Corr, Callum Hannah, Andrew McNeil, Robbie Thomson (GK)
SCORERS: O’Reilly (11, 51)
YELLOW CARD: Byrne (17)

REFEREE: Graham Grainger

NEXT MATCH: cinch Championship (away) v Queen`s Park, Friday 5th January 2024, kick off 7.45pm at Hampden Park

The winner(s) for the 50/50 DAFC v Raith Rovers Ticket Number WEB7042

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