SFL v Cowdenbeath


Fixture: Irn Bru SFL Division

Attendance: 2192, Kick Off: 3.00pm.

Referee: John McKendrick

The Pars made the shortest possible trip for an away game, taking the team bus to Central Park. This was Dunfermline`s first league encounter in Cowdenbeath since 13th February 1993 and they had one successful League cup tie there in September 2002.

From the team knocked out of the cup by the late own goal at Aberdeen, Jim McIntyre made three changes. Chris Smith returned in goals, Liam Buchanan started against his old club, Nick Phinn replaced Alex Burke and new signing Martin Hardie was on the bench. For their first home game since 6th November the Blue Brazil were without the services of their captain Mark Baxter (foot injury) and John Mbu out with knee injury. Jon Robertson, and Richie Vauls were their two changes from the side that drew at Dingwall the previous Saturday.

Supporters of both clubs turned out in their numbers and the gate of 2192 was obviously swollen after Lochgelly Albert`s home cup tie against Dundee North End was a late victim of the damp weather!  Bright sunshine welcomed the players and fans however for this long awaited local derby, the low sun casting a shadow midway into the Pars box as Cameron kicked the game off with the hosts playing into the sun.  In the opening exchanges the ball was a hot potato with the best opening on two minutes falling to Buchanan from a David Graham lay off but the home defence was alert to that.

Calum Woods cross in fifth minute was turned behind for the first corner of the afternoon but Joe Cardle`s delivery was headed away and Graham didn`t connect solidly with the follow up, sending the ball well wide of target.  The hosts first corner three minutes later was headed out by Kevin Rutkiewicz before play switched to the other end with Andy Kirk setting up Cardle for a dangerous cross in from the left but the offside flag was up.

A Lee Makel free kick was headed behind his own goal by Kirk but Smith held with ease from the corner. End to end it continued with Graham flashing the ball through the Cowden six yard box in 12 minutes. Unfortunately neither Buchanan nor Cardle could get close enough to convert.  Next some neat ball play from Woods allowed him space to thread a good ball for Phinn to square to Kirk on the edge of the six yard box but former Pars keeper David Hay blocked well.

Immediately there was another Dunfermline chance; Cardle pulled the trigger on the right side of the Cowden box and this time it was Kenny Adamson who kept the ball out.  Cowden reminded their visitors that they could not be forgotten, Makel winning the ball off Gary Mason and then powering a fine shot on target for Smith to hold. Kirk then fed Cardle on the right and Phinn`s header from Cardle`s red booted cross was glanced well wide right.

Dunfermline continued to produce chances; Buchanan taking too long after latching on to a big ball over the top and rounding the keeper and Graham accepting a Buchanan lay off but blasting his 25 yard shot off target. As the sun went down so did the tempo of the game and in 34 minutes it was Cowdenbeath who had a pop at goal when John Armstrong`s throw in was defended out to him and he walloped a shot on target that Rutkiewicz cleared. 

That roused Dunfermline again with Cardle creating a chance to shoot narrowly wide left after one of his characteristic cut ins from the left.  Alex Keddie headed over the crossbar from a Cardle corner from the right and then in 43 minutes Hay reacted faster to thwart Buchanan as another cross landed in the home box,

Half Time: Cowdenbeath 0 Dunfermline 0

Half time excitement was generated with the switching on of Central Park`s enhanced floodlight system before Phinn and Kirk got the second half underway with the former heading a Cardle cross outside the left post after just 22 seconds.  Less than a minute later a long ball from Smith was headed right by Kirk from the edge of the Cowden box and GRAHAM connected well to drive the ball low and hard through two defenders and in at the far post. 1-0 to Dunfermline.

Adamson robbed Buchanan as he set off on a break and then immediately Winter lost possession to Buchanan.  The striker`s shot was blocked but the opportunity fell to Phinn but he beat his shot into the ground and over the bar.

Rain showered down as Jimmy Nicholl subbed Richie Vauls with Mark Ramsay in 55 minutes. Six minutes later Phinn should have made it 2-0 but his attempt from a Buchanan cut back was directed wide left from ten yards out. Kirk had a shot from 25 yards in 65 minutes but that was high and wide. There was pinball in the Pars box for a moment and Ramsay might have done better wih his effort before Graham won possession off Cameron in the centre circle but the break came to nothing as Buchanan dwelt on his attempt to find Kirk on the right side of the penalty area.

In 69 minutes BUCHANAN got off the mark for Dunfermline after a speedy break through the middle by Graham. He sent the ball wide for Cardle to return and the Pars new striker headed into the bottom right. Six minutes later GRAHAM carried the ball up the right channel, Woods overlapped to cause a distraction and the Pars midfielder thrashed the ball from 20 yards into the same spot as his first.

Martin Hardie replaced Nick Phinn to make his Dunfermline debut. Graham`s shot from 20 yards was deflected for a corner on the right before the most recent Pars signing swung the ball in from the left for Andy KIRK to head home a fourth goal for the `Townies` six minutes from full time.

After a first half with so much promise but no goals the second half proved most fruitful and coupled with Neil McCann`s late winner against Raith rovers it was a good day to be a Par.

COWDENBEATH: David Hay; Kenny Adamson, Craig Winter (c), John Armstrong, Richie Vauls (Mark Ramsay 55), Jon Robertson, Colin Cameron, Lee Makel (Lewis Coult 70), Archie Campbell; Stevie Crawford; John Dempster (Greig Stewart 75).
SUBS NOT USED: Scott Linton, Ludovic Roy (GK).
YELLOW CARD: Winter (51), Cameron (74)

DUNFERMLINE: Chris Smith; Calum Woods, Kevin Rutkiewicz, Alex Keddie, Austin McCann (c); David Graham, Nick Phinn (Martin Hardie,75), Gary Mason (Alex Burke 86), Joe Cardle (Steven McDougall 70); Andy Kirk, Liam Buchanan.
SUBS NOT USED: Neil McGregor, Kyle Allison.
SCORER: Graham (47, 75), Buchanan (69), Kirk (86).


NEXT MATCH: SFL First Division (home) v Falkirk
Tuesday 15th February 2011, kick off 7.45pm

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