Dunfermline Athletic

Falkirk 2 Dunfermline 2

Saturday, 8th Apr 2023

cinch League One: Matty Todd returns. Aidan Nesbitt (8) 1-0: Rumarn Burrell (33) 2-0: Craig Wighton (35) 2-1: Lewis McCann (44) 2-2:

The Pars unbeaten league run extended to nineteen and the point from the Falkirk Stadium meant Dunfermline were eleven points ahead at the top of League One with fifteen points left to play for.

With six league matches remaining Dunfermline travelled to play second placed Falkirk. The home team desperately needed a win to have any hope of stopping their arch rivals winning the league and everyone expected them to put up a fight in this derby match.

Dunfermline’s starting eleven welcomed back Matty Todd after his dead leg injury against FC Edinburgh a fortnight ago. Robbie Mahon was the one who dropped to the subs bench. Maksym Kucheriayvi and Rumarn Burrell came into John McGlynn’s team with Craig McGuffie and Liam Henderson consigned to the bench.

The away stand filled up from well ahead of kick off with the travelling fans basking in the Spring sunshine and the stadium music trying hard to drown out their vociferous support. Craig Wighton kicked the game off with Dunfermline attacking the goal in front of the Falkirk fans.

Kane Ritchie-Hosler started wide left but it was a Joe Chalmers chip in from the left that allowed Lewis McCann the first attempt at goal but Brian Kinnear easily held the fifth minute header. Three minutes later the home side scored the opener when inside the Pars box, Calumn Morrison flicked the ball on for Aidan NESBITT to bury in the left side of the net. 1-0

Next chance came to Gary Oliver but that was deflected behind. Two corners ensued but they failed to deliver although Deniz Mehmet was down to hold a 17th minute shot from Morrison. Falkirk retained a lot of possession and Dunfermline were finding it hard to get out of their own half. There were appeals for a penalty as first Burrell and then Nesbitt went down in the box but nothing was given.

There were jeers when a free kick was awarded 23 yards out midway through the first half but Kucheriayvi fired that on to the roof of the net. A handball decision against Chalmers led to a 27th minute free kick that was pumped into the six yard box by Nesbitt but Mehmet held. Not a lot was going the Pars way and misplaced passes and interceptions were proving costly.

Todd earned the visitors their first corner of the game in 31 minutes but when Chalmers swung the ball over from the right, McCann’s header cleared the bar. At the other end a Kucheriayvi corner sneaked right through the Pars box before another ball was passed into the box from the right. Oliver’s shot was parried by Mehmet but BURRELL finished it off. 2-0

The two goal deficit with ten minutes to the interval looked gloomy but the Fife fans were back on song within two minutes. From the restart every Pars outfield player touched the ball with virtually none for Falkirk, before Craig WIGHTON converted. The striker latched on to a McCann slipped the ball in from the left between the two central defenders - 30 seconds from restart to net! 2-1

The goal lifted Dunfermline and Nesbitt was yellow carded for his attempt to cut down Todd. A Chalmers free kick was headed wide right by Kyle Benedictus but suddenly it was looking much more positive for the league leaders. Things got even better when Todd’s perseverance allowed him, with a fortunate break off Nesbitt to deliver the ball to the feet of Lewis McCANN and from the left corner of the box he slotted home the 44th minute equaliser. 2-2

Before the conclusion of the two minutes added on at the end of the half Todd came extremely close to heading home a Chalmers cross. Quite a stunning end to the first half. Dunfermline would be mighty relieved to go in all square at the break. Falkirk enjoyed 60% possession, were ahead 3-1 on corners but it’s goals that count.

Half time: Falkirk 2 Dunfermline 2

Liam Henderson was the first substitute of the game replacing Leon McCann before the second half got underway. The Bairns started strongly with Morrison sending an effort high in 52 minutes after a good delivery from Blaine Rowe. Next Oliver fouled Edwards and Chalmers was afforded another free kick to fire into the Falkirk box but that was cleared. At the other end Edwards did well to block out Nesbitt right in front of goal.

Dunfermline forced a 59th minute corner after McCann had ran on to a clever Wighton chip. The corner caused mayhem in the six yard box with Ewan Otoo challenging and eventually Wighton forcing the ball towards the goal only for Kinnear to hold while sitting on his goalline. His counterpart, Mehmet made a truly magnificent save from Burrell in 62 minutes but the offside flag had been raised anyway.

Chris Hamilton clipped Kucheriayvi on the edge of the box and Falkirk had an opportunity from a 66th minute free kick but Kucheriayvi smashed his shot into the Pars wall and the danger was over.

There was a bit of a let off in 72 minutes when Oliver and then Kucheriayvi took the ball down the left and his cross sat up for Nesbitt who drove the ball wide right. Nikolay Todorov then replaced Craig Wighton while at the same time Jordan Allan came on for Gary Oliver.

Chris Mochrie came on for Matty Todd and then Paul McGowan for Lewis McCann as the minutes ran down. Dunfermline had some defending to do including from an 89th minute Kai Kennedy corner.

There were fantastic scenes at the final whistle with the players and fans full of joy. The champions title moves ever closer and the Pars extend their undefeated league record in Falkirk to six years.

FALKIRK: Brian Kinnear, Blaine Rowe, Coll Donaldson, Brad McKay, Leon McCann (Liam Henderson HT), Stephen McGinn, Aidan Nesbitt, Calumn Morrison (Kai Kennedy 81), Maksym Kucheriayvi (Matthew Wright 85), Rumarn Burrell (Finn Yeats 85), Gary Oliver (Jordan Allan 73).
SUBS NOT USED: Craig McGuffie, Ryan Williamson, Paul Watson, PJ Morrison (GK).
SCORERS: Nesbitt (8), Burrell (33)
YELLOW CARD: Nesbitt (37), Henderson (89), Watson (90+1)

DUNFERMLINE: Deniz Mehmet: Aaron Comrie, Kyle Benedictus (c), Ewan Otoo, Josh Edwards: Chris Hamilton: Joe Chalmers, Kane Ritchie-Hosler: Matty Todd (Chris Mochrie 79): Craig Wighton (Nikolay Todorov 73), Lewis McCann (Paul McGowan 81).
SUBS NOT USED: Kyle Macdonald, Kevin O’Hara, Paul Allan, Miller Fenton, Robbie Mahon, Max Little (GK).
SCORERS: Wighton (35), McCann (44)
YELLOW CARD: McCann (75), Mackay (90+1)

REFEREE: David Dickinson
WEATHER: Sunny 12°C

NEXT MATCH: cinch League One (away) v Peterhead, Tuesday 11th April 2023 kick off 7.45pm at the Balmoor Stadium.

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