Dunfermline Athletic

East Fife 2 -1 Dunfermline Athletic

Author: Alistair Campbell Date: Tuesday, 23rd Aug 2011

Pride comes before a fall, or so they say, and after all the hoopla about their league exploits the Pars tripped themselves up when they deservedly lost this Scottish Communities Cup tie to their lower league rivals. After losing an early goal to Linn, Buchanan seemed to have things back on track but a poor all-round performance saw them fortunate to concede only one further goal.

Saturday’s journey up to Tayside seemed subtly different with the absence of the Hilltown “Multis” from the Dundee skyline, whereas the changes brought by the demolition of the Methil Power Station which formerly towered over New Bayview, are blatant. Despite the absence of this local landmark, there was no question of me losing my way – sadly the same could not be said of the Pars who failed to spark.

The perennial debate about the extent to which the team should be weakened was resolved with the announcement of the team lines. There were four changes – Mason, Hardie and Cardle missing (presumed rested) and Kirk dropped to the bench – meaning starts for Barrowan, Buchanan and McDougall and a first appearance of the season for Rutkiewicz in a slightly more adventurous 4-4-2. Thus the back line would see Gallacher in goals, Jason Thomson and Austin McCann at full backs and a renewal of the Rutkiewicz and Keddie centre-back partnership. With Dowie moved forward as the holding midfielder and two wide men in the shape of Graham on the left and McDougall on the right, more demands would be placed on Paul Burns to make the play, and we had the traditional little and large duo of Barrowman and Buchanan looking for goals. Macca retained some youth on the bench with the presence of Willis and Thomson, the experience of Kirk, the unknown (in a Pars context) quantity of Boyle, and sub keeper Smith.

East Fife also line up with a 4-4-2 but did not have the Pars’ luxury of choice, having to field stiker Stevie Hislop at centre-half. Although Scott Durie played right back, his old man Gordon was ineligible and the East Fife contained 3 youngsters that boss John Robertson claimed not to have met before. Sadly, this degree of unfamiliarity seemed to extend to the Pars defence who played as if they had not been introduced either.

East Fife kicked off but ceded possession immediately, although McDougall’s weak cross was easily held by keeper Brown. However, second time round they launched a quick ball over the top, catching the Pars rearguard napping and Wallace was free. Gallacher was never going to get there first but did time his late rush to the edge of the box sufficiently to hurry the East Fife forward into miscuing his attempted lob high and wide.

This should have given the Pars the wake-up call they needed, but instead they were positively hauled out of bed and slapped about the face when they did concede 2 minutes later with a quite calamitous piece of defending. Thomson and Rutkiewicz both went for the same ball but from different directions, the ball rebounded inside to McCann who made a complete hash of his attempted volley back to the keeper allowing Linn to nip in and although Gallacher beat away his first effort, Linn made no mistake at the second time of asking. 1-0 East Fife

The only thing to say about this was that the Pars had made 3 bad defensive errors but only conceded 1 goal. That ratio improved after another 3 minutes had elapsed when slackness at a corner allowed Linn to play a quick and unchallenged 1-2 and advanced along the goal-line to shoot from a narrow angle but again Gallacher parried.

Finally the Pars seemed to be roused from their slumbers and a half-decent move up the right saw Dowie recycle the ball to Graham but his shot was off-target. Better was to come in 12 minutes when Dowie’s ball over the top was chased down by Barrowman who although forced wide still got the shot in. Brown stopped it but the ball squirmed free and Buchanan followed up to bundle the ball over the line for the equaliser. 1-1

Rutkiewicz continued to struggle particularly with the long ball, but got his head in the way of a net-bound effort in 20 minutes as East Fife continued to give as good as they got, although Wallace’s spectacular bicycle kick was more danger to the cars in the car-park rather than the net.

However, the Pars seemed to move up a gear – Graham’s use of McCann’s overlap allowed the skipper to send in a cross that Barrowman should have done better with in 27 minutes and after Barrowman and Graham had weak efforts on target, they forced six corners in succession. However McDougall’s delivery from both sides wasn’t the best, and none of these resulted in a shot on goal. Still, at one apiece, surely the Pars would step up a gear in the second half.

Half time: East Fifers 1 West Fifers 1

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