Dunfermline Athletic

Dunfermline 2 Montrose 0

Saturday, 4th Feb 2023

cinch League One: Lewis McCann starts in place of Chris Mochrie. Rhys Breen (39) 1-0: Craig Wighton (63) 2-0:

Dunfermline returned to The KDM Group East End Park for just the second time since 3rd December. Following the 1-1 draw away to Clyde, manager James McPake made one change to his starting eleven bringing in Lewis McCann in preference to Chris Mochrie.

Montrose manager Stewart Petrie made three changes from the side that faced Kelty Hearts the previous week - on loan keeper Ross Sinclair had returned to St Johnstone, there was no Martin Gardyne and Graham Webster was on the bench. That meant starts for Aaron Lennox in goal, Adam MacKinnon and Kerr Waddell.

No doubt drawing on Stewart Petrie’s 296 Dunfermline appearances, Montrose made the home side kick off attacking the McCathie Stand end. Matty Todd forced the first corner of the game in fifth minute and though not directly from it, Joe Chalmers put in a cross that Rhys Breen headed wide left of target.

Montrose striker Rory McAllister next minute headed wide at the other end before a close thing after Lewis Milne created mayhem as Chalmers tried to defend at his left goalpost and McKinnon got in a low ninth minute shot that just cleared the far post.

In just his tenth match of the season Montrose keeper Lennox turned away a very good effort by Todd from 25 yards out and the defence survived the mayhem created from Chalmers corner. The Pars nearly got lucky in 17 minutes when a McCann cross open from the right was directed wildly over his own crossbar by Mark Whatley. The Chalmers corner was headed away but Montrose continually looked a threat and Sean Dillon’s effort from 20 yards out was deflected narrowly wide left.

Chris Hamilton earned a free kick 28 yards out but when Chalmers dispatched that past the five man Montrose wall his attempt was wide right. In his 401st appearance for the Gable Endies skipper Terry Masson was shown yellow for downing Kyle Macdonald 20 yards out but Chalmers’ 34th minute free kick was again to be narrowly wide of goal.

Another two Dunfermline corners followed and at last the 39th minute one brought joy to East End Park. Chalmers centred from the right, Montrose cleared but Aaron Comrie was able to head the ball back into the Montrose box where McCann teed up BREEN for the opener. 1-0

The visitors came very close to notching an equaliser in the second minute of time added on when Deniz Mehmet first saved from McAllister and then saw his follow up run through the six yard box.

Montrose had certainly been robust opponents and had put up a very good first half fight. The Pars had edged them on possession, shots and corners and had that all important one goal lead at the interval.

Half Time: Dunfermline 1 Montrose 0

Montrose came out and attacked the home side with two McCann shots reducing the pressure on Mehmet’s goal. Play was halted after eight second half minutes when Breen went down injured in the Montrose box and despite the physios’ attentions he was unable to continue and was stretchered off.

It was Kevin O’Hara who came on as the 59th minute sub with a reshuffle of the home positions as a result that saw Macdonald deployed deeper,. Dunfermline threatened from the restart with Craig Wighton laying the ball into the path of Todd. He burst into the Montrose box but it was the player and not the ball that ended up in the net as Lennox held.

Next attack made it 2-0. A speedy move down the left saw Todd pass to McCann and his ball to the far post was met by WIGHTON. The 25 year old’s eleventh goal of the season doubled the home advantage.

Montrose made two substitutions before in 70 minutes Blair Lyons hung on to possession to eventually test Mehmet with a low shot from edge of the box. The keeper did well to get down and hold low to his left. At the other end his counterpart got a lucky break to avoid an own goal when he battered the ball on to the back of Dillon and the rebound dropped agonisingly outside his right hand post.

In 79 minutes O’Hara broke into the right side of the Montrose box and laced a super pass square for McCann to finish. Alas he failed to connect. Wighton was next to get a chance but Lennox came out on top.

Despite their deficit Montrose continued to seek an opening and the defence and Mehmet were to the foremost as the 90 minutes and the ten minutes of added time played out.

Hamilton was injured in the seventh minute of time added on and the home side defended ia last chance corner after Chris Mochrie came on as 90+9th sub.

It was a good three points for the Fifers against an opposition that never gave up. The win retained Dunfermline’s five point lead over Falkirk at the top of League One.

DUNFERMLINE: Deniz Mehmet: Aaron Comrie, Kyle Benedictus (c), Rhys Breen (Kevin O’Hara 59): Kyle Macdonald, Chris Hamilton (Chris Mochrie 90+9), Joe Chalmers, Josh Edwards: Matthew Todd: Craig Wighton (Nikolay Todorov 85), Lewis McCann.
SUBS NOT USED: Miller Fenton, Kane Ritchie-Hosler, Sam Young, Andrew Tod, Robbie Mahon, Max Little (GK)
SCORERS: Breen (39), Wighton (63)
YELLOW CARD: Hamilton (90+3)

MONTROSE: Aaron Lennox: Andrew Steeves (c), Matty Allan, Mark Whatley (Craig Johnston 71), Sean Dillon, Kerr Waddell (Graham Webster 65), Lewis Milne (Craig Brown 83), Terry Masson (c) (Liam Callaghan 65), Adam MacKinnon (Paul Watson 83), Blair Lyons, Rory McAllister.
SUBS NOT USED: Matheus Machado, Ross Matthews (GK).
YELLOW CARD: Masson (33), McAllister (90+3)

REFEREE: Alan Muir
WEATHER: Overcast 10°C

NEXT MATCH: cinch League One, (away) v Airdrieonians, Saturday 11th February 2023, kick off 3.00pm at the Excelsior Stadium

50/50 Half time draw: Winning ticket number 26024, Prize amount - £870

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