Dunfermline Athletic

Kelty Hearts 1 Dunfermline 2

Saturday, 24th Dec 2022

cinch League One: Aaron Comrie, Kane Ritchie-Hosker and Chris Mochrie return. Alfredo Agyeman (60) 1-0: Tom O’Ware (og 67) 1-1: Lewis McCann (86) 1-2:

A headed winner by comeback kid, Lewis McCann, four minutes from full time won the three points for the league leaders and ensured Pars fans throughout the world could have a very Merry Christmas.

Dunfermline returned to New Central Park on Christmas Eve to meet Kelty Hearts for the third time this season. It was the Pars 18th fixture of the league campaign that saw Kelty sit 8th and their visitors four points clear at the top of League One.

There were three changes in the Dunfermline starting line up from that which lined up against Arbroath but it was the same starting eleven as faced Queen of the South, that lined up against Kelty Hearts. There was the welcome sight of Lewis McCann on the Pars bench.

John Potter made two changes from the side that won in Dumfries the previous Saturday with Joe Cardle and Nathan Austin starting in place of Cammy Logan and Nicky Low. Kallum Higginbotham and Lewis Martin brought the complement of former Pars in the opposition team up to three.

It was a fine December day with next to no wind as the teams warmed up and the ground filled up for this West Fife derby. The visitors were kitted out in their third strip and the home side wore their alternative blue strip in support of Shelter Scotland No Home Strip Day.

Dunfermline kicked off attacking the goal at the home end and within 30 seconds Josh Edwards was presented with an opportunity to launch a throw in into the Kelty six yard box bit Tom O’Ware was first to get his head to it.

On three minutes Joe Chalmers delivered a corner in from the right and Kyle Benedictus got his head to it but his effort went over off the crossbar. Five minutes on Matty Todd exchanged passes with Edwards to advance up the left and then find Mochrie on the edge of the box but his effort was blocked. Next a soaring run by Todd was closed out by O’Ware inside the Kelty box.

Edwards made Darren Jamieson save in 12th minute after a long ball from Sam Fisher found Craig Wighton who switched the ball left for the opening. Wighton then created an opportunity for himself but drove his shot over the crossbar.

Kelty’s first testing of Deniz Mehmet came in 24th minute when Michael Tidser picked out Austin on the right side of the box and the keeper turned his shot away for a corner on the right. Kelty pressed from that but the home defence cleared. A second Kelty corner two minutes later was over hit but the home side kept play in the visitors’ half with several good completed passes.

Fisher blocked an on target shot from Cardle that earned the Hearts a corner on the left. When that came in O’Ware headed goalwards and there were claims that the ball had crossed the line before it was cleared but the claims fell on deaf ears. Breen headed away an Agyeman cross as Kelty continued to make life difficult for the Pars.

Ritchie-Hosler got deep into the right side of the Kelty box but his 38th minute cut back was cut out by Martin before it reached Wighton. Benedictus had a somewhat wild attempt on goal and Edwards pinged a ball through the Kelty box to no effect. The teams would go in all square.

Half time: Kelty Hearts 0 Dunfermline 0

The floodlights came on and the sun came out as the second half got underway. Kelty forced a 52nd minute corner on the right that Martin headed wide before Lewis McCann was introduced in place of Chris Mochrie. The Pars player clashed heads with Reis Peggie within two minutes. Play was halted and treatment given before both players were able to return.

The officials were certainly agitating the away support with a doubtful offside decision against Ritchie-Hosler and overlooking a hefty challenge on McCann. Even greater disappointment followed however on the hour when Kelty went ahead with Alfredo Agyeman netting with a low shot. It was Lyon who started the move on the right, feeding Agyeman who played the ball off Barjonas before setting up Cardle for a shot. His effort was blocked by Fisher but AGYEMAN collected the loose ball to score just inside the left post. 1-0

In 66 minutes James McPake made three substitutions Nikolay Todorov, Chris Hamilton and Kyle Macdonald replacing Kane Ritchie-Hosler, Joe Chalmers and Rhys Breen. Within a minute the Pars were back on level terms. Edwards’ diagonal ball in from the left midway inside the Kelty half took a touch off O’WARE as he attempted to clear and the ball ended up in the net. 1-1

Kelty brought on substitutes in two separate breaks and there were disruptions caused by players going down. Dunfermline’s play in contrast fully focused on getting the winner. Sub Dougie Hill dragged down Todd on the edge of the box and his 80th minute free kick was palmed away by Jamieson. Throw ins and corners followed from both sides of the park. McCann did well on the left to pull a good cross on to the near post but Todorov was denied by the keeper.

It was one way traffic apart from an Agyeman break that Mehmet ended. Then in 86 minutes the goal that was threatened duly arrived. Macdonald showed composure on the right to check, beat Barjonas and cross. Lewis McCANN rose at the far post to head home. 1-2

Kelty had put up a good fight but eventually Dunfermline found a way to break them down. The introduction of three substitutes midway through the second half with the associated change of shape made a distinct difference.

The home side put up a spirited attempt to claw the game back but it was Dunfermline who came closest in added time with Todd’s shot hitting the right goalpost.

The three points kept the gap between Dunfermline and their followers at four points but second placed FC Edinburgh have played one more game. The Pars are seven points clear of third placed Falkirk with both having played 18 matches. It is only half way through the campaign but the next quarter could start well if Falkirk can be overcome in the New Year fixture.

KELTY HEARTS: Darren Jamieson: Darren Lyon, Jordon Forster, Lewis Martin, Reis Peggie: Joe Cardle (Dougie Hill 74), Michael Tidser, Jamie Barjonas, Kallum Higginbotham, Nathan Austin (Scott McGill 71), Alfredo Agyeman
SUBS NOT USED: Cammy Logan, Robbie McNab, Liam Campbell, Scott Cameron, Miguel Kamgna Jun, Kyle Doherty
SCORERS: Agyeman (60)
YELLOW CARD: O’Ware (41), Barjonas (45), Tidser (47), Higginbotham (72)

DUNFERMLINE: Deniz Mehmet: Sam Fisher, Kyle Benedictus (c), Rhys Breen (Kyle Macdonald 66), Aaron Comrie, Kane Ritchie-Hosler (Nikolay Todorov 66), Joe Chalmers (Chris Hamilton 66), Chris Mochrie (Lewis McCann 52), Josh Edwards: Matthew Todd: Craig Wighton,.
SUBS NOT USED: Sam Young, Andrew Tod, Taylor Sutherland, Robbie Mahon, Max Little (GK)
SCORERS: O’Ware (og 67), McCann (86)
YELLOW CARD: Benedictus (35)

REFEREE: Greg Aitken

NEXT MATCH: cinch League One (home) v Falkirk, Monday 2nd January 2023, kick off 3.00pm

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