SFL v Stirling Albion


Fixture: Irn Bru SFL Division

Attendance: 2553, Kick Off: 3:00pm.

Referee: Steven Nicholls

Stirling Albion were the opponents for the second game running.┬ From the starting elevens that started on Tuesday night Jim McIntyre made┬ four changes - two enforced; Andy Kirk, (back spasm), Calum Woods (foot injury) while Graham Bayne, and Chris Higgins dropped out meaning Andy Dowie, Kevin Rutkiewicz, Martin Hardie and Liam Buchanan started. Albion`s Jocky Scott made three changes Scott Buist, Ross Forsyth and Stephen Stirling starting in place of Michael Mullen, Chris Aitken (injured) and the suspended Doyle.

Stirling kicked off attacking the McCathie Stand end but Dunfermline through Joe Cardle put in an early cross for Scott Christie to hold. On six minutes Stirling won possession off Gary Mason and Tom Brighton peeled away from Alex Keddie but the final effort was poor and Chris Smith held.

First on target effort of the afternoon was in 11 minutes from Stephen Stirling but Smith held the long range shot. At the other end the home fans were encouraged as Buchanan accepted a Dowie pass to flash the ball through the six yard box but it evaded everyone including Cardle who it was intended for.

A Rutkiewicz pass in 16 minutes picked out Buchanan and he forced the first corner of the game but Cardle`s delivery was low to the near post and was easily cleared.┬ Five minutes later Hardie came extremely close to breaking the deadlock when he headed Austin McCann`s cross from the byeline on to the right goalpost.┬ Minutes later Hardie blasted a 30 yarder over the crossbar.

Stirling`s first corner in 26 minutes was followed by another from the opposite side but Paul McHale`s delivery from the left caused no problems. McHale then curled a free kick straight into Smith.┬ The keeper`s clearance was poorly dealt with by Martyn Corrigan and he ended up pulling down Stephen McDougall on the left side of the box. Referee Steven Nicholls awarded a penalty and in the circumstances Corrigan earned himself a red card with Paul McHale being shown yellow for protesting.

Martin HARDIE grabbed the ball as self appointed penalty kick taker in the absence of Andy Kirk, and after Stirling`s┬ objections sent the ball low to the keeper`s left. Arguments continued and before Stirling restarted, Paul McHale crossed with the referee to be shown another yellow card and then a red. The bottom of the table side were to face just under an hour with only nine men.

The one sidedness was balanced up ever so slightly six minutes later when Mason`s challenge on Brighton earned him a straight red. A through ball on 45 minutes saw Cardle race into the right side of the box and when Sean Welsh pushed him on the back yet another penalty was given and Welsh saw yellow.┬ HARDIE sent the ball down the middle to beat Christie and put the Pars in┬ two up at the break.

Half Time: Dunfermline 2 Stirling Albion 0

Pat Clarke replaced Steven McDougall for the second act and the sub could have scored twice in the opening minute. Firstly he missed a McCann cross to the far post and then his header was held by Christie. A Scott Robertson shot was turned behind by Smith and Stirling had a 53rd minute corner.┬ That was defended and play was quickly up the other end for BUCHANAN to score from 25 yards with the aid of a deflection off Stephen Stirling that wrong footed Scott Christie.┬ 3-0 Dunfermline.

The referee continued to air his cards and the already booked Scott Robertson and Joe Cardle were subbed as a precautionary move. Sub Ryan Thomson came close to opening his Dunfermline account in 70 minutes but the ball travelled across goal and beyond the far post. Three minutes later he rose to meet a David Graham cross but his header fell wide right.

Stirling Albion got a goal back in 74 minutes when Welsh`s free kick from the right touchline sent the ball into the Pars six yard box. Alex Burke had a poor touch on the clearance, teeing the shot up for Michael Mullen and although Smith stopped that John KANE turned the ball in for 3-1.

The goal never looked like starting a Stirling revival but at the same time Dunfermline failed to create much to improve their goal difference.┬ It did look like they had to score four minutes from time; Buchanan got to the byeline to cut back from the left.┬ Hardie, despite being on a hat-trick slipped the ball right to the better placed Thomson but he blasted over the bar from eight yards.┬ McCann`s 90th minute cross was touched on by Buchanan to Clarke but he sent his effort narrowly wide of the left goalpost.┬ Martin HARDIE did complete his┬ threesome however in the second minute of added time, heading home a Graham corner from the left.

Picking up on Tuesday night`s game, Stirling were disdainful and even supercilious in showing contempt of Dunfermline at the start but after losing their discipline never looked like taking anything from this game. A welcome three points for the Pars combined with Raith Rovers taking just one at Cappielow and it is back in Dunfermline`s hands - win the last eight and you are up.

DUNFERMLINE: Chris Smith; Andy Dowie (Alex Burke 69), Kevin Rutkiewicz, Alex Keddie, Austin McCann (c); David Graham, Gary Mason, Martin Hardie, Joe Cardle (Ryan Thomson 63); Steven McDougall (Pat Clarke HT), Liam Buchanan.┬
SUBS:┬ Chris Higgins,┬ Greg Paterson (GK).
SCORER: Hardie (31 pen., 45+1 pen., 92), Buchanan (54)
YELLOW CARD: Cardle (59), Hardie (59)
RED CARD: Mason (38)

STIRLING ALBION: Scott Christie; Sean Welsh, Martyn Corrigan, Scott Buist, Ross Forsyth; Stephen Stirling (John Kane 67), Brian Allison, Paul McHale, Ryan Borris:, Scott Robertson (Andy Gibson 60), Tom Brighton (Michael Mullen 58),
SUBS: Josh Flood, Murray Jackson (GK)

SCORER: Kane (74)
YELLOW CARD: McHale (30), Welsh (45), Robertson (56), Buist (60).
RED CARDS: Corrigan (30), McHale (32)

WEATHER:┬ Overcast 10┬║C

NEXT MATCH: (away) SFL First Division v Dundee
Tuesday 22nd March 2011, kick off 7.45pm

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