Dunfermline Athletic

Dunfermline 5 Queen of the South 0

Saturday, 15th Apr 2023

cinch League One: Wighton comes in for Todorov. Kane Ritchie-Hosler (22) 1-0: Matty Todd (39) 2-0: Craig Wighton (52) 3-0: Craig Wighton (64) 4-0: Kevin O’Hara (78) 5-0:

Dunfermline reserved their best overall home performance of the season for this vital league match. They have had some really good performances away from home but it finally all came together and got the goals in front of their own fans that their play deserved. Champions!

It was a big day in sport with the Grand National and the start of the World Snooker Championships but for the followers of Dunfermline Athletic the major event was the League One match at home to Queen of the South. A win over the Doonhamers would secure the title for the Pars and ensure promotion to the Championship at the first attempt.

James McPake made one change to his starting eleven Nikolay Todorov making way for Craig Wighton fresh after agreeing a new two year contract. Queen of the South manager Marvin Bartley made two changes Connor Murray and Ross Irving coming in for Kieran McKechnie and Lee Connelly.

The players warm up was in bright sunshine and the North West was on song well ahead of kick off. The only potential cloud around was in the shape of the opposition who arrived at the KDM top of the form league and a club undefeated in its last three visits to the stadium.

The teams changed ends before Wighton kicked the game off with the home side attacking the goal in front of the McCathie Stand. It was the home fans cheering loudest in the opening two minutes as first Matty Todd forcing a corner within 40 seconds and then Lewis McCann getting in a shot from a Chris Hamilton cross. Unluckily that went wide left.

An eighth minute delivery to the far post by Hamilton set up Wighton but Kevin Dabrowski got down to turn the ball round his post for a corner on the left. Queens cleared that but they were being put under pressure with runs by Kane Ritchie-Hosler and Todd. The visiting keeper also held a cross from Josh Edwards before the same player forced another corner in 13 minutes.

The keeper held a long throw launched in from the right by Edwards. Queens first attack was then beaten away off the back of Kyle Benedictus and the play resumed towards the bright yellow kitted keeper. It seemed inevitable that the ball would soon end up in the Queens net and it would come after a strong run by Edwards won a 22nd minute corner. Taken short to RITCHIE-HOSLER, the on-loan Ranger advanced in and squeezed the ball in at the near post. 1-0

Joe Chalmers launched a free kick into the box from 28 yards out on the right and the defence held out. Ritchie-Hosler made Dabrowski save again and Wighton’s follow up earned another corner. With in excess of 60% possession Dunfermline were dominating but there was an appeal for a penalty at the other end in 33 minutes when Edwards eased Ruari Paton off crossed ball.

Then Connor Murray issued a warning with a low shot from 25 yards out that whistled narrowly outside Deniz Mehmet’s right hand post. Next Iain Wilson got a shot in from outside the box but the Pars keeper dropped to his right to hold comfortably.

The second Dunfermline goal was scored by TODD six minutes prior to the interval. Ritchie-Hosler played McCann up the right and he outstripped his marker to cut the ball for the 21 year old to net his eleventh goal of the season from right in front of goal. 2-0

Before the half time whistle arrived there was one further chance when an Aaron Comrie cross was headed on to the crossbar by McCann. It had been a tremendous first half for the Fifers.

Half time: Dunfermline 2 Queen of the South 0

The visitors made three substitutions before the second half started - Kieran McKechnie, Harry Cochrane and Lee Connelly entering the fray. First opportunity fell to former Par Iain Wilson and he effort from 25 yards out deflected left for a corner that Mehmet would hold.

Dunfermline’s first chance came from a really intelligent pass from Benedictus that played Todd into the right side of the box but unfortunately his final pass was cut out. The Fifers delayed no longer than the 52nd minute however before they scored goal number three. McCann raced down the left and his pass found a relatively unmarked WIGHTON in front of goal. The keeper got a touch but the ball squirmed in at the left post. 3-0

Chris Mochrie and Paul McGowan were introduced for Matty Todd and Chris Hamilton just 13 minutes into the second half but it was Queens who pushed forward to try and reduce the Pars advantage. McKechnie drove a shot wide right before they were further punished in 64 minutes. Ritchie-Hosler terrorised the left side of the Queens defence and saw the chance to shoot, Dabrowski got a touch on the ball but WIGHTON was at the far post to tap home. 4-0

Kevin O’Hara and Paul Allan were brought on in 66 minutes as Lewis McCann and Joe Chalmers went off. O’Hara had an early effort that cleared the bar before Wilson hit the post at the other end, the ball running off the left upright and across the face of goal before Mehmet could hold.

Wighton was played through on the keeper but Jack Brydon got back to put the Pars striker off enough. Robbie Mahon came on for Kane Ritchie-Hosler who left the field in front of the North West and enjoyed the appreciation shown there and all the way along the front of the McCathie Stand, culminating in a standing ovation from the centre stand.

Goal number five came in 78 minutes after Allan hit the crossbar and O’HARA followed up to net. 5-0. The ecstatic fans were chanting ‘we’re going to win the league’ and by this time no one could doubt that. The party had started and this sparkling performance topped off a great day.

Paton rifled a late chance into Mehmet’s hands and the Pars keeper did really well to blot out a Wilson effort but Queen of the South were not a bad side it was just they met Dunfermline in a game they had every intention of winning.

O’Hara and Edwards almost made it six in 90th and an O’Hara cut back just evaded Man of the Match, Craig Wighton for his hattrick. The final whistle was greeted by a huge cheer with the players bouncing in a group hug.

With a margin of 13 points over Falkirk and 9 league points still to play for the cinch League One title was secured. After 343 days Dunfermline Athletic regain their Championship status. Well done to James McPake, his players and management team.

The cinch Winners 2022/23 board was positioned on the 18 yard line in front of the McCathie Stand before the celebrations continued. Cue Queen - We Are The Champions!

DUNFERMLINE: Deniz Mehmet: Aaron Comrie, Kyle Benedictus (c), Ewan Otoo, Josh Edwards: Chris Hamilton (Paul McGowan 58): Joe Chalmers (Paul Allan 66), Kane Ritchie-Hosler (Robbie Mahon 73): Matty Todd (Chris Mochrie 58): Lewis McCann (Kevin O’Hara 66), Craig Wighton.
SUBS NOT USED: Kyle Macdonald, Nikolay Todorov, Miller Fenton, Max Little (GK).
SCORERS: Ritchie-Hosler (22), Todd (39), Wighton (52, 64), O’Hara (78) 5-0:

QUEEN OF THE SOUTH: Kevin Dabrowski: Jack Brydon, Paul McKay, Euan East (Harry Cochrane HT), Stephen Hendrie: Cammy Logan, Iain Wilson, Connor Murray (Kieran McKechnie HT), Josh Todd (c): Ross Irving (Lee Connelly HT), Ruari Paton.
SUBS NOT USED: David McKay, Ciaran McKenna, Dom McMahon, Stuart Morrison, Ryan Muir, Gordon Botterill (GK).
YELLOW CARD: Hendrie (51), McKechnie (73), Logan (84)

REFEREE: Ross Hardie
WEATHER: Sunny 13°C

NEXT MATCH: cinch League One (away) v Airdrieonians, Saturday 22nd April 2023, kick off 3.00pm at the Excelsior Stadium

50/50 Winning ticket – 41797 Prize fund - £1,000

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