Doonhamers Determined To Deny DunfermlineDate: Wednesday, 12th Apr 2023
On Tuesday evening, Dunfermline Athletic were one of four Club`s playing the outstanding two re-arranged fixtures within SPFL cinch League One. The Pars travelled north to face Peterhead, while Falkirk faced Montrose in Angus, on Match-Day 32 of 36.
James McPake made one change to his starting eleven, with Nikolay Todorov replacing DAFC`s top goalscorer, Craig Wighton at Balmoor Stadium. But it was the bottom of the league side, onto their 4th management team of the campaign, who started the brighter, testing Deniz Mehmet from a direct free-kick early on.
But in general, the first-half was a fairly scrappy affair with neither goalie overly troubled. Athletic did grow into the contest, with Lewis McCann coming closest for either side, seeing his shot palmed away by Stuart McKenzie in the Blue Toon goal. However, it was 0-0 at the break, with the interval at Links Park seeing the scoreline of Montrose 0-2 Falkirk.
This wasn`t good news for those of a Black & White persuasion; the Bairns needed to drop points against the Gable Endies, coupled with Dunfermline needing to win against Ryan Strachan and Jordon Brown`s men, to bring the title race to end midweek. The West Fifers needed a goal and twelve minutes into the second-half, it came, through Nikolay Todorov.
Nikolay Todorov talks to Jordan Burt post-match
But seconds after scoring, the big Bulgarian striker was replaced by Wighton, while Chris Mochrie replaced Chris Hamilton in an offensive change in midfield. The opening goal sparked the Pars into life on a chilly night near the North Sea, but the performance was just heating up from the visitors perspective.
The hosts knew a win over the league leaders would allow them to leapfrog Clyde in the division`s standings, putting the Bully Wee bottom with 12 points to play for. So, the Blue Toon had to open up and try get back into the match, which only benefited their opponents.
After a poor clearance from McKenzie from a goal-kick, McCann raced onto a loose ball by Jack Wilkie and stormed towards goal: the Northern Irish youth international kept composed and showed maturity in his play, sliding the ball across goal for Wighton to tap home to double the lead for McPake`s men.
Highlights: Peterhead 0-2 Dunfermline Athletic
The visitors brought on the experienced Paul McGowan, plus Kyle Macdonald and Paul Allan as they comfortably saw out the match. It was a good evening`s work at Balmoor Stadium, but unfortunately the title race continues, as Montrose couldn`t come back against Falkirk, with John McGlynn`s men winning the match 2-1 in the end. Dunfermline Athletic now must look at Saturday and attempting to win the title in front of their own fans, at KDM Group East End Park.
But that won`t be an easy task against Marvin Bartley`s men, who are in good form just now. Queen of the South will travel with confidence and a desire not to be the side that ultimately loses to hand DAFC a swift return to the Championship. The Dumfries side have ambitions of promotion themselves, with a return to the second-tier of Scottish Football only likely if they can secure a top four spot between now and May; to do that, you`d imagine they`ll need to take at least a point from West Fife this weekend to stand a chance of achieving this goal. McPake knows how tricky a test this will be:
James McPake talking to ParsTV following the match with Peterhead