Dunfermline Athletic

Team Spirit can put Pars back on track

Sunday, 13th Nov 2022

JC:- “On any given day if you are not at your best, it doesn’t matter whether one team is bottom and the other team is top, you will drop points.”

Joe Chalmers has featured in every league match this season, starting 14 of the club’s 15 League One fixtures but in none has he had to go in 2-0 down at the interval to face the manager.

“At half time he let us know that he was not happy and we weren’t good enough. We needed to do better.

“Even at 2-0 down we probably had another three really good chances in that first half. If we could just have got that goal back at the end of the first half you could then maybe take your time a bit more and play a bit differently. When you are chasing the two goals you are just throwing everything at it. You can rush things and leave yourself a bit more open for a counterattack. Obviously it was the first half that has cost us.”

Nikolay Todorov and Kane Ritchie-Hosler came off the bench to start the second half and Joe felt that Kane did really well when he came on:-

“He has had to be patient for his chance but in training he is always showing what he is capable of. He gave us a lift and we tried to throw everything at it. We had a lot of pressure on them but that leaves yourself open at the back. On the break Clyde had a couple of chances where Deniz has done well but I think on overall pressure we placed on their goal we deserved a point in the end but it is still two points dropped.”

Joe and his team mates were disappointed because they want to win every match in front of their home fans but he claimed when you are sitting 2-0 at half time, to walk away with a point they have to be happy to get that:-

“We gave away a couple of poor goals. In games when you are not at your best you need to try and take something out of them. We didn’t play our best but we have battled back, shown a bit of character to take a point. It’s better than getting beat.”

Since this was the league leaders at home to a team that had lost its last eleven league matches everybody expected a Pars win, yet under new management Clyde dispelled their recent form. Joe stressed that no matter who you are playing against the focus has to be on getting a win:-

“Probably everybody coming to the game was expecting us to win, score first and win comfortably. It is not easy when you look at any of the leagues across Scotland, there are no easy games. On any given day if you are not at your best, it doesn’t matter whether one team is bottom and the other team is top, you will drop points.”

In the eighth minute Craig Wighton had headed a Josh Edwards cross on to the post and Joe felt that the match might have played out completely differently had the home side managed to score that early goal.

“It was actually a really good header, it was just unlucky. I think we had started the first fifteen minutes quite brightly then out of nothing we gave away a goal and lost another goal soon after and that left us chasing it. That brings a lot of pressure and you are trying to force things rather than playing an extra pass. You rush things and it becomes more difficult. You have to give credit to Clyde, they had a game plan, they made it difficult and when they got their chances they scored them.”

Dunfermline’s second half goals both came from the penalty spot and Joe had no doubt about referee Alan Muir’s decisions. The second came from Joe’s 86th minute free kick and he said that he knows as a regular in his team’s defensive walls that players are given plenty of warnings to keep their hands down when defending them.:-

“Every time you get a free kick in that area the referee warns you to keep your hands down. I have hit it and the boy (Liam Scullion) has jumped up and turned his back. He has not meant it but his arm was outstretched from his body so the ref did not hesitate, it was a definite penalty. Unfortunate for Clyde because they didn’t mean it.”

Joe praised his captain for stepping up to take the penalties:-

“He is the designated penalty taker and he has been putting them away really well. He showed good composure and bravery to go up there and take them. When you get two in the one game it becomes difficult. You are playing a game of cat and mouse but he did well to step up and tucked them away well so I’m delighted for him.”

That’s both the ninth and tenth team that has come and left East End Park with 2-2 draws. Joe agreed that these are two disappointing results but every game is difficult:-

“People look at a league table and think they know what should happen but they come here and make it difficult with a lot of men behind the ball. You have to try and break them down and the best thing to do is to try and get an early goal or score first.

“Obviously we made it really difficult for ourselves. We were always chasing the game, we showed character and we could easily have lost that game. We have to use that going into next week’s game against Peterhead.”

Joe feels that team spirit can help returning to winning ways at the Balmoor Stadium next Saturday:-

“There is good team spirit here and we keep going to the very end. There have been a lot of home games where we have scored late goals. We knew that we had to keep pushing, we got a point but before the game we wanted three.

“Over the course of a 36 game season you are going to have times where you lose goals and you have to battle back. You cannot just go through a season of plain sailing. Every time that we have had to dig deeper and show some character we have showed it. That comes from the team spirit around the club every day. The manager has got it instilled in us that we work hard, we are a fit group, we keep working and that’s all we can do.”

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