SPFL Championship: DUNFERMLINE 4 ST MIRREN 3: 24/09/16 :

SPFL Championship: John Sutton (31) 0-1: Nicky Clark (40) 1-1: John Sutton (45) 1-2: Andy Webster og (62) 2-2: Nicky Clark (77) 3-2: Ryan Hardie (81) 3-3: Farid El Alagui (84) 4-3

For the visit of St Mirren Pars manager Allan Johnston brought in Sean Murdoch, Jason Talbot, John Herron and Joe Cardle. Out of favour David Hutton, Rhys McCabe and Paul McMullan found themselves relegated to the bench while Ben Richards-Everton was missing altogether.

St Mirren`s team, under the temporary charge of youth team coach Alan McManus showed one change from the side that drew at Dumbarton the previous Saturday. That meant Rocco Quinn came in for Tom Walsh as the teams sitting joint ninth met.

With the match being televised live on BBC Alba it was 5.15pm when Dunfermline kick off attacking the goal in front of a small and compact travelling support in the East Stand. Lewis Morgan fired the first shot of the game in fifth minute into the tenth row of the McCathie Stand.

The Pars produced a nice move next minute Cardle playing the ball to Herron on the left side of the St Mirren box but Joe just couldn`t control the former Celtic youth captain`s clever return. In ninth minute Cardle surprised his front men when he got in a fine cross from then left corner flag but Saints cleared.

Right on 11 minutes Lewis Martin touched the ball in for Michael Paton to send a great through ball for Nicky Clark. His cutback from the right byeline found Cardle in front of goal but he failed to get the right connection with his scissors kick and St Mirren were let off.

Two Paton corners in 13th minute were all too easily defended but next minute Gary Irvine`s late tackle on Clark handed the Pars a chance from a free kick on edge of the D but Paton scooped that over the bar.

Another late tackle by Irvine, this time on Martin allowed Clark to lift the ball into the Saints box and although they cleared the danger it was not convincingly executed. The Fifers kept up the pressure but Cardle was caught offside as he tried to latch on to a Clark pass.

Another Pars free kick midway through the first half was taken by Herron to Cardle who ran from deep to control and then centre but keeper Scott Gallacher held. Jack Baird was yellow carded for chopping down Cardle 30 yards out but Joe then overhit the free kick and that took the heat off the visitors.

The play had all been with Dunfermline but then in 29 minutes a wayward shot won them a corner on the right but Callum Fordyce got that away. The visitors then capitalise on a mistake by Martin, Morgan broke up the left, his first cross was blocked by Fordyce but given a second chance cut it back for John SUTTON to send the ball to the inside of the right post and despite Talbot getting a slight touch he could not prevent the ball slipping into the net. 0-1

St Mirren`s lead lasted only nine minutes because Dunfermline were to score a much deserved equaliser five minutes from half time. Nicky CLARK`s diving header met Talbot`s delivery from the left and it was all square again.

Andy Webster had to come on for Gary McKenzie and immediately he was involved a goalmouth stramash where first Clark and then Geggan might have netted. It was the final minute of the half when the Buddies sent play up to the other end where SUTTON was the sole threat. He powered on to Hardie`s pass to the top of the box and stabbed the ball into the net at the base of the right goalpost. 1-2

Not much time for anything else and the Pars went in to jeers from the home support.

Half time: Dunfermline 1 St Mirren 2

Ryan Williamson came on for the start of the second half with the luckless Fordyce withdrawn. Martin moved into central defence and the Pars immediately had two good chances, Cardle and then Reilly but neither hit the target.

Saints too had early chances, Jason Naismith cutting in from the right and flashing the ball across the face of goal and then Sutton sending a header narrowly wide left. Dunfermline rallied encouraged by the home stands. Crosses from Paton and Cardle peppered the box and Herron then in 56 minutes sent Clark through on the left but he was closed out and only a corner resulted.

The Pars equaliser came in 62 minutes. Herron set Williamson off on a trademark run, his cross was crashed at goal by Reilly but Gallacher blocked the shot. The ball then pinballed off defender, Cardle and WEBSTER into the net. 2-2

Geggan blasted wide right two minutes later. A 70th minute corner, an outswinger by Mallan was headed clear by Geggan before Herron and Paton combined to deliver a fine ball for Talbot to run on to but he sent the attempt into the McCathie Stand.

Farid El Alagui replaced Gavin Reilly in 73 minutes and was yellow carded within 90 seconds . But four minutes later Dunfermline took the lead for the first time in the game. Herron sent the ball right for Paton and his cross was superbly met by CLARK who swept the ball home for 3-2.

Nine minutes from full time slackness at a throw in down on the right allowed Ryan HARDIE to smash in St Mirren`s third. 3-3

El Alagui was then through on the keeper but sent the ball wide right before in 84th minute sub Paul McMullan fired a low ball from the left into the Saints box and EL ALAGUI expertly prodded the ball past Gallacher, 4-3.

St Mirren tried but there was to be no way past Dunfermline again. Allan Johnston`s side saw out the remaining time and three added minutes to secure their second Championship match of the season. Again it had taken four goals for the Pars to record a victory, definitely not a match for the faint hearted. No wonder BBC Alba have already booked the return match for another live broadcast on 19th November!
DUNFERMLINE: Sean Murdoch: Lewis Martin, Lee Ashcroft, Callum Fordyce (Ryan Williamson HT), Jason Talbot, Michael Paton, Andy Geggan (c), John Herron, Joe Cardle (Paul McMullan 79): Gavin Reilly (Farid El Alagui 73), Nicky Clark.
SUBS NOT USED: Kallum Higginbotham, Rhys McCabe, Michael Moffat, David Hutton (GK)
SCORERS: Clark (40, 77), Webster (og 62), El Alagui (84)
YELLOW CARD: Farid El Alagui (74)

ST MIRREN: Scott Gallacher: Jaison Naismith, Gary McKenzie (Andy Webster 44), Jack Baird, Gary Irvine: Rocco Quinn, Stephen Mallan, Kyle Hutton, Lewis Morgan (Tom Walsh 68), Ryan Hardie, John Sutton
SUBS NOT USED: Lawrence Shankland, Darren Whyte, David Clarkson, Andrew McDonald, Jamie Langfield (GK)
SCORERS: Sutton (31, 45), Hardie (81)

REFEREE: Greg Aitken

NEXT MATCH: SPFL Championship: (away) v Ayr United, Saturday 1st October 2016, kick off 3.00pm at Somerset Park.

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