Dunfermline Athletic

FC Edinburgh 0 Dunfermline 1

Saturday, 7th Jan 2023

cinch League One: Lewis McCann, Chris Hamilton and Kyle Macdonald start. Craig Wighton (20) 0-1:

Just one goal was enough for the Pars to leave the capital with three points but this was a special performance to, for the third time this season, keep out the free scoring opposition.

For their first match of 2023 league leaders Dunfermline Athletic crossed the Forth to take on their closest rivals, FC Edinburgh. The second placed side were seeking the three points that would put them in pole position.

James McPake made three changes from the side that started at Kelty on Christmas Eve - Lewis McCann, Chris Hamilton and Kyle Macdonald taking the places of Rhys Breen, Chris Mochrie and Kane Ritchie-Hosler. The away bench welcomed back Kevin O’Hara from injury and Miller Fenton from his loan spell at Berwick Rangers.

FC Edinburgh boss, Alan Maybury made one change from the one that won 5-3 at Airdrie on Monday with Ouzy See starting in preference to John Robertson.

Craig Wighton kicked off with the visitors attacking the goal at the city end and within two minutes Matty Todd had headed on to the crossbar. Next minute Josh Edwards sent an inviting ball into the six yard box that McCann narrowly failed to connect with.

James Craigen created the early threat for the home side with a cross that was directed well wide left and then a wild shot that soared high towards Portobello. A 13th minute foul on Ryan Shanley earned Sam Fisher the first yellow card of the afternoon and Edinburgh a free kick on the left edge of the Pars penalty box. When that came over a Kyle Benedictus clearance on the left edge of the six yard box rebounded back off Liam Fontaine and Aaron Comrie had to make a hasty goalline clearance.

Deniz Mehmet held a fairly tame Shanley cross but his quick release with a throw up the right allowed a great run up the wing by Macdonald, evading challenges on his way to set up WIGHTON who coolly slotted a low 20th minute shot past keeper Robbie Mutch. 0-1

Six minutes later McCann retained possession in the centre circle and made ground to feed Edwards on the left. His cross was headed on target by Todd but didn’t have enough on it to beat the keeper. Next Mutch denied Hamilton with a shot from close range with McCann providing the chance.

When Dunfermline went forward Wighton had options on the edge of the box but it was an Edwards cross that led to a fierce effort from Hamilton in 37 minutes but the shot escaped wide left. Edinburgh’s main threat was coming from Craigen crosses from the right that thankfully were not finding a white shirt.

Three minutes from the interval Benedictus headed wide a free kick from Joe Chalmers. Then Edwards found Todd unmarked on the left and his cross seeking Wighton was swept behind for a corner. Edinburgh defended that but still Chalmers got in a 30 yard effort that Mutch had to hold.

Just one goal separated the teams at the break but most would feel that the Fifers with nine shots to the home sides four - all off target, should have had a more comfortable lead.

Half time: FC Edinburgh 0 Dunfermline 1

The hosts started the second half with renewed resolve and initially forced Dunfermline back, Innes Murray creating a 53rd minute opportunity for Danny Handling but fortunately Deniz Mehmet held the net bound header.

Dunfermline’s first attempt of the half came three minutes later after Macdonald on the right received a Hamilton pass and centred for McCann but the keeper held with ease. Fisher then got his head to a long throw in by Edwards but the ball cleared the crossbar.

Both sides made their first substitutions in 63 minutes Chris Mochrie coming on for Craig Wighton and Emmanuel Johnson for Edinburgh’s See. The Pars sub was immediately presented with a great scoring opportunity from Todd’s cut back from the left but Fontaine made a telling block. Five minutes on and Mochrie set up Macdonald for a shot that Mutch turned into his sidenetting for a corner. Edwards was then unlucky not to get on the end of Chalmers delivery.

In 69 minutes Hamilton teed up Macdonald but Mutch held the low driven shot and then as the Fifers piled on the pressure Macdonald sent an effort from the edge of the box over the Edinburgh crossbar. The home side brought on former Raith man, Kieran MacDonald for Shanley and the sub was lined up for a free shot at goal after a surging run from Murray but Mehmet pulled off a great save to deny what looked like being a certain equaliser.

In 81 minutes there were strong appeals for a penalty after Edwards cross hit a hand but referee Stewart Luke pointed for corner. In the end that was academic. The Pars saw out the final minutes and the three added on to take the three points. The gap between Dunfermline and FC Edinburgh is four points but the capital side have played two more matches.

FC EDINBURGH: Robbie Mutch: James Craigen, Jack Brydon, Liam Fontaine (c), Robbie McIntyre, Innes Murray, Kyle Jacobs, Calum Crane, Danny Handling, Ryan Shanley (Kieran MacDonald 75), Ouzy See (Emmanuel Johnson 63)
SUBS NOT USED: John Robertson, Lee Hamilton, Callum Tapping, Sam Ramsbottom (GK)
YELLOW CARD: Shanley (23), Jacobs (45+1)

DUNFERMLINE: Deniz Mehmet: Sam Fisher, Kyle Benedictus (c), Aaron Comrie: Kyle Macdonald, Chris Hamilton, Joe Chalmers, Josh Edwards: Matthew Todd: Craig Wighton (Chris Mochrie 63), Lewis McCann (Nikolay Todorov 87)
SUBS NOT USED: Kevin O’Hara, Miller Fenton, Kane Ritchie-Hosler, Sam Young, Robbie Mahon, Max Little (GK)
SCORERS: Wighton (20)
YELLOW CARD: Fisher (13)

REFEREE: Stewart Luke

NEXT MATCH: SPFL Trust Trophy (away) v Dundee, Tuesday 10th January 2023 kick off 7.45pm at Kilmac Stadium Dens Park

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