Dunfermline Athletic

Dunfermline 2 Falkirk 0

Tuesday, 7th Mar 2023

cinch League One: Kyle Macdonald and Josh Edwards in for Aaron Comrie and Ewan Otoo. Rhys Breen (67) 1-0: Matty Todd (75) 2-0:

It was maybe just three points but a really big result in front of the biggest crowd for a home match since December 2013.

It was first v second when Dunfermline faced Falkirk in this fixture which was originally schedule for 2nd January but frozen off by a cold blast that day. The cold weather returned for this fixture but the undersoil heating was the first winner of the evening.

James McPake made two changes in his line up. Josh Edwards had recovered from a knock, started Kyle Macdonald, Ewan Otoo was on the bench and injury kept out Aaron Comrie. The 20 year old Ukrainian Maksym Kucheriavyi for Liam Henderson was the only change in John McGlynn’s Falkirk starting eleven.

With the match being a sell out the stadium filled up from early on creating a great atmosphere ahead of kick off. The teams can out to a huge welcome from their fans before Craig Wighton kicked off with his side attacking the goal in front of the travelling support.

A second minute foul on Gary Oliver handed Falkirk the first free kick of the evening and from 35 yards out Kai Kennedy launched the ball into the Pars box but it was smartly headed away. Deniz Mehmet was the first keeper to have to save an on-target effort when Oliver headed a cross into his arms.

Falkirk had the first corner of the match in nine minutes but Kucheriavyi‘s low delivery was easily defended. The match was being played at pace and neither team were being allowed anytime on the ball. Dunfermline pushed forward on the quarter hour when Kane Ritchie-Hosler beat two men on the half way line and made a great break to find Wighton on the edge of the box. He was closed down and it was Macdonald who got in the shot that was blocked and then Chris Hamilton’s return was headed away.

Mehmet was quick to react to a weak pass back from Rhys Breen and the keeper held a 23rd minute corner conceded after Kennedy had burst into left side of the box and slid the ball through the six yard box. Kucheriavyi’s inswinger was dangerous but Mehmet came out on top.

Leon McCann cut down Hamilton 40 yards out on the right and the Pars vice captain required the physios attentions. The Joe Chalmers free kick was not lobbed into the opposition box as anticipated but the target was Ritchie-Hosler. His attempt to find a team mate in the box was thwarted by two red shirts. Better news was Hamilton’s return to restore the Pars to eleven men.

In 34 minutes a Calumn Morrison cross from the right evaded players on both sides before it looked like reaching McCann on the left but Ritchie-Hosler put paid to that with a very timely and important interception in front of goal.

Five minutes from the interval Kyle Benedictus was forced into conceding a corner on the right. Kucheriavyi’s delivery was threatening but the home defence cleared. Next Kennedy made a run infield that saw off Macdonald and then Hamilton but his shot from the edge of the box was fired wide.

In the first minute of time added on, a fine move from Mochrie playing a one two off Todd set up the on-loan Dundee United youngster for a crack at goal from 25 yards out but unluckily the left goalpost kept him out.

It felt like Falkirk had more than the 42% first half possession the stats showed, and only two shots each of which only one, from the opposition, was on target.

Half time: Dunfermline 0 Falkirk 0

No half time changes as both sides recommenced battle attacking goals immediately in front of their own fans. Very quickly Chalmers swung the ball over from the left touchline and from the resultant corner Macdonald got the knock down but he blasted over the Falkirk bar from close in.

Then in 49 minutes the home fans were up on their feet as Ritchie-Hosler set up Todd but his well struck right footed shot was equally well saved by Brian Kinnear. Kevin O’Hara was the first substitute to be used when he replaced Chris Mochrie just eight minutes into the second half.

Todd then won the ball to tee up Hamilton and his shot was deflected for a 58th minute corner on the right. Chalmers again with the setplay, the attackers failed to connect but the defended ball broke to Todd who fired a low shot on target that Birrell took at his second attempt. A double substitution followed for the Bairns - Stephen McGinn and Gary Oliver making way for Liam Henderson and Rumarn Burrell.

Play became a bit more open with Falkirk temporarily forcing Dunfermline back but Todd made a great run up the left after controlling the ball on his chest and evading challenges to get into a position to send the ball low on target but again Birrell pulled off a fine save and turned the ball around his post for a corner on the right.

Chalmers delivery from the right was right on top of the keeper but BREEN was able to rise and powerfully head the ball over the line. 1-0

The celebration in front of the North West that was as exuberant as you’d expect, heralded a further onslaught on the Falkirk goal. Todd made the chance for Wighton just four minutes later but the no.9’s shot skiffed wide left off the left upright. Reward for TODD was just four more minutes away. Harassed by Macdonald, Morrison put his keeper under pressure with a pass back that he tried to clear. Wighton charged down the keeper’s kick and Ritchie-Hosler headed on for his teammate to stick low inside the right post. Matty’s tenth goal of the season made it 2-0.

Mehmet still had a role to play coming out to save at the feet of sub Rumarn Burrell 16 yards out. The Fifers continued to press and the visitors had their work cut out containing their opponents who sucked along with their happily enthusiastic fans, were on fire.

Falkirk had a short late flurry but that was dampened down with more Pars attacks and a Paul McGowan corner. Lewis McCann had an opportunity and Chalmers two bites, the first blocked and the next narrowly wide.

There are still nine league matches to play but by the scenes at the end you’d have believed it was all over. Certainly by the chants from the North West, they believe it is. There was a distinct contrast in the East Stand which emptied long before the end of the five added minutes. Dunfermline’s sparkling second half performance earned them the result, opening up an eight point advantage over Falkirk.

DUNFERMLINE: Deniz Mehmet: Kyle Macdonald, Kyle Benedictus (c), Rhys Breen, Josh Edwards: Kane Ritchie-Hosler (Paul McGowan 85), Chris Hamilton, Joe Chalmers, Matthew Todd, Chris Mochrie (Kevin O’Hara 53): Craig Wighton (Lewis McCann 76)
SUBS NOT USED: Nikolay Todorov, Ewan Otoo, Paul Allan, Miller Fenton, Robbie Mahon, Max Little (GK).
SCORERS: Breen (67), Todd (75)
YELLOW CARD: Edwards (51), Hamilton (67)

FALKIRK: Brian Kinnear: Blaine Rowe, Sean Mackie, Coll Donaldson, Leon McCann: Stephen McGinn (Liam Henderson 59), Maksym Kucheriavyi (Matthew Wright 72), Kai Kennedy (Craig McGuffie 72) Aidan Nesbitt: Calumn Morrison, Gary Oliver (Rumarn Burrell 59)
SUBS NOT USED: Jordan Allan, Ryan Williamson, Finn Yeats, Brad McKay, PJ Morrison (GK).
YELLOW CARD: Mackie (83)

REFEREE: Euan Anderson
WEATHER: Fine 0°C
ATTENDANCE 9530

NEXT MATCH: cinch League One (away) v Peterhead, Saturday 11th March 2023, kick off 3.00pm kick off at Balmoor Stadium

50/50 Half Time draw: Winning ticket number – 67882 Prize fund - £1,000


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