Dunfermline Athletic

Montrose 1 Dunfermline 3

Saturday, 25th Mar 2023

cinch League One: five changes as Comrie, Chalmers, Mahon, McCann and Otoo start. Lewis McCann (22) 0-1: Craig Wighton (29) 0-2: Craig Wighton (55 pen.) 0-3: Craig Brown (65) 1-3:

Dunfermline’s first win at Montrose since 1992 opened up an eleven point lead at the top of the table with just seven matches remaining.

Dunfermline’s league match away to Montrose kicked off at 4.00pm due to the televised Scotland v Cyprus Euro Qualifier that kicked off at 2.00pm. The manager claims that he doesn`t look at the league table but it would be hard for anyone to avoid the vision that a win at Links Park would open an 11 points gap at the top of League One.

James McPake made five changes from the starting eleven he sent out to face FC Edinburgh the previous Saturday. Rhys Breen and Matty Todd were out injured and Kyle Macdonald, Kevin O’Hara and Paul McGowan were on the bench. That meant starts for Aaron Comrie, Joe Chalmers, Robbie Mahon, Lewis McCann and Ewan Otoo.

Montrose manager Stewart Petrie made two changes from the side that came from behind to win at Kelty the previous week. Twenty year old loanee from Ross County Adam Mackinnon and 36 year old Michael Gardyne replaced Paul Watson and Craig Brown in the Gable Endies team.

The floodlights were on to welcome the teams on to the park and there was a sizeable travelling support to back the Pars who kicked off attacking the goal at the town end.

It was a tentative start from both sides and the first incident to rouse the Pars fans a hefty tackle by Rory McAllister on Ewan Otoo in seven minutes. Montrose pushed into the Pars box in 12th minute and Craig Johnston was tumbled but it was his own player, Matty Allan who tripped him up.

Worryingly that heralded a short spell where Gardyne and his team mates earned more time on the ball but play was soon back at the other end with Kane Ritchie-Hosker troubling the left side of the home defence. Kyle Benedictus was shown an 18th minute yellow when taking down Gardyne in the aftermath of the officials failing to spot a McAllister handball. The resultant free kick was headed into Deniz Mehmet’s hands by Craig Wighton.

The opening goal came before the midpoint of the half when a left footed Chalmers delivery from the right side was perfect for Lewis McCANN to meet and head past the helpless Ross Matthews. 0-1.

Four minutes later Wighton was through on the 20 year old keeper but this time the man in the turquoise kit beat the ball away. The chance had been laid on by Mahon from an Edwards thrown in on halfway.

A 27th minute corner on the right resulted from Matthews turning away another excellent McCann shot. The second Dunfermline goal was only two minutes away. Mahon made an impressive powerful run from his own half, brushing off a tug from a defender before releasing the ball for McCann to crash at goal. The keeper touched the shot on to the crossbar and WIGHTON followed up to head the ball into the net. 0-2

Montrose’s first attempt on the Fifers goal came in 32 minutes but McAllister’ effort sailed over the bar. A Ritchie-Hosler cross earned a 41st minute corner that Montrose defended and the half was seen out with Graham Webster’s shot hitting his own player in an offside position.

Half time: Montrose 0 Dunfermline 2

The “Mighty Mo” made two substitutions at the break, Blair Lyons and Craig Brown replacing Adam Mackinnon and Craig Johnston. Montrose kicked off the second half but Wighton took advantage of a mistake in the home defence to set up McCann but he blasted over the bar all within ten seconds of the restart.

In 49 minutes a near interchange between Mahon and Ritchie-Hosler on the right edge of the opposition penalty box almost got the latter in for the third but the defence blocked. Comrie was next to create a threat, his cross teed up by Mahon for McCann but his shot was blocked.

A 52nd minute free kick 35 yards out launched by McCann was turned around his right hand post by Matthews. Two minutes later Montrose contributed to their own downfall. In trying to play the ball out they lost possession to Ritchie-Hosler and Hamilton latched on to the pass on the right side of the box. Andrew Steeves challenge gave the referee no alternative but to point to the penalty spot. WIGHTON grabbed the ball and with 55 minutes on the clock, netted bottom right for a three goal lead. 0-3

Robbie Mahon took a knock and limped off to be replaced by Paul McGowan before a free kick on the edge of the Pars box led to a Montrose goal. The initial effort rebounded off the defensive wall but sub Craig BROWN was able to fire a strong effort into the top left corner. 1-3

Kevin O’Hara replaced Craig Wighton for the final thirty minutes but with renewed hope from their goal Montrose in 71 minutes forced their first corner of the match. Ably defended play switched to the other end but two Pars corners came to nothing.

Indeed there was a let off as Brown met a cross in front of the Dunfermline goal and the former University of Stirling player managed to clear the bar with his attempt. Spurred on by Lyons, Montrose rallied and showed no signs of giving up quietly.

After good play up the right from Ritchie-Hosler and Otoo a chance fell to O’Hara but his luck was out as he rifled the ball outside the left upright. The Fifers had some solid defending to do with a fair amount of head tennis around their own box. They saw the game out however to take the three points back down the A92.

The win means this Dunfermline side has gone seventeen league games undefeated equalling the record set in season 1985-1986.

MONTROSE: Ross Matthews: Graham Webster, Matthew Allan, Sean Dillon, Andrew Steeves: Terry Masson (Matheus Machado 64), Liam Callaghan (Paul Watson 64), Michael Gardyne, Adam Mackinnon (Craig Brown HT), Rory McAllister, Craig Johnston (Blair Lyons HT)
SUBS NOT USED: Mark Whatley, Kerr Waddell, Lewis Milne, Aaron Lennox (GK).
SCORERS: Brown (65)
YELLOW CARD: McAllister (34), Gardyne (56)

DUNFERMLINE: Deniz Mehmet: Aaron Comrie, Kyle Benedictus (c), Ewan Otoo, Josh Edwards: Kane Ritchie-Hosler, Chris Hamilton, Joe Chalmers: Robbie Mahon (Paul McGowan 64), Craig Wighton (Kevin O’Hara 69): Lewis McCann (Nikolay Todorov 84).
SUBS NOT USED: Kyle Macdonald, Chris Mochrie, Paul Allan, Miller Fenton, Max Little (GK).
SCORERS: McCann (22), Wighton (29, 55 pen.)
YELLOW CARD: Benedictus (18), McGowan (82), Ritchie-Hosler (86)

REFEREE: Stewart Luke

NEXT MATCH: cinch League One, (home), v Kelty Hearts, Saturday 1st April 2023, kick off 3.00pm at The KDM Group East End Park

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