SPFL Championship: DUNFERMLINE 1 HIBERNIAN 1: 01/04/17

Hibs manager Neil Lennon freshened his team up from that which drew 0-0 at home to Morton. Brian Graham, Dylan McGeouch and Brian McLean started while James Keatings and Grant Holt dropped to the bench and Paul Hanlon was pulled out after arriving at East End Park.

Dunfermline kicked off against the league leaders with the bright sunshine in the eyes of keeper Ofir Marciano in the goal in front of the SQMC (East) Stand.

It was Hibs who threatened first with Lee Ashcroft and Callum Morris doing well to clear dangerous balls into the Pars box. Lewis Stevenson had a shot on target in fourth minute that was beaten away but initially it was backs to the wall stuff for the Fifers.

Michael Moffat evaded the offside trap in eight minutes, running on to a long ball from Andy Geggan. He could only force a corner on the right but from that Nicky Clark got a chance to flick Kallum Higginbotham`s corner into the six yard box. Hibs cleared but just two minutes later Nat Wedderburn thumped a shot from 25 yards to the right of target.

Jason Cummings flashed Hibs first corner in 12th minute across the Pars six yards box and although cleared John McGINN latched on to the ball and from 28 yards crashed a low shot passed Sean Murdoch at his left hand post. 0-1

Physio Kenny Murray had to run on to assist Moffat in 17 minutes after he was crushed between McGinn and McGregor. The striker was cut and had to go inside for further treatment. Ironically while a man short the Pars had their best chances. First Paul McMullan got around Marciano but with no support got closed down. Then Clark got round the defence on the right but again lack of support meant the chance could not be converted.

After an absence of eight minutes during which Morris collected the first yellow card of the game, Moff returned. Wedderburn quickly followed Morris into referee Greg Aitken`s book when McGinn ran into the big man.

A Higginbotham free kick on the half hour was launched from the right touchline for Morris to leap and head on target but Marciano tipped the effort over the crossbar. Unfortunately the corner from the left side changed nothing.

A Hibs corner from the left in 34 minutes was headed wide right by Graham. Two minutes later Higginbotham fed Clark an opportunity but his attempt headed towards the corner flag and out. Next Moffat flicked the ball into the Hibs box giving McMullan a half chance but Marciano stepped in to gather.

McMinn was yellow carded for a trip on McMullan and from the free kick Higginbotham floated his delivery in the direction of Morris on the right side of the box but the central defender could not get high enough to connect.

Five minutes before the interval Higginbotham and McGeouch clashed causing the referee top halt the game. The doc sent Higgy for further treatment and he was missing for five minutes but the Hibs man was fit to continue.

A Talbot free kick from just inside the Hibs half out on the left reached Morris on the right side of the box but he could not get enough on his header. Back in front of his own goal Talbot nipped in to deny Cummings.

Hibs had shown class in their play but in the second minute of added time Moffat and Higginbotham combined to allow Moff to cross but his final pass was well intercepted. The final chance of the half fell to Hibs but Cummings tried to cash in Murdoch slid out to prevent any further goals.

Half time: Dunfermline 0 Hibernian 1

In the second minute of the second half Hibs missed a glowing chance to go two up. First McGinn`s rocket from 25 yards out was well saved by Murdoch. Cummings kept the ball in play on the right byeline and cut back for Graham four yards out but he unbelievably sent the ball out beyond the left upright.

Four minutes later it was the other way around with Cummings touching a Graham cut back wide. Clark then produced two chances for the home side. In 54 minutes he nutmegged McGregor but was unable to get a shot away and two minutes later he rose at the left post to head a Higginbotham cross over the bar.

Then under more Dunfermline pressure Stevenson handled the ball in the box as McMullan tried to play past him and a 59th minute penalty was awarded. HIGGINBOTHAM looked in no hurry to take it but coolly stepped up to hit the ball to the keeper`s right and although the Israeli internationalist appeared to get close to it the ball nestled in the bottom left and it was all square. 1-1

The stadium got even noisier as both sides created chances that could have put them ahead. Murdoch pulled off a couple of good saves from high crosses into his six yard box while at the other end Clark looked through on goal but was squeezed out by the Hibs defence.

Morris cleared a pass intended for Graham and Dunfermline produced a great diagonal pass with Geggan trying to pick out Clark but a free kick was given to the visitors.

Herron picked up an injury and could not continue meaning Rhys McCabe came on in 80 minutes.
Nine minutes from the end a McMullan run down the left allowed the on loan Celt to play a fine ball in for Moffat and his on target shot was kept out as it pinballed between two defenders.

An 85th minute free kick was sent across the face of the Fifers goal and at the other end a long throw from the sub reached Morris but in the play that ensued Higginbotham was judged offside.

Then an 88th minute free kick was well defended by Clark. Narvin Bartley and Nat Wedderburn faced up as the heat got too much for the pair of them but the referee calmed the situation down.

A McCabe header put the Pars under pressure from a 90th minute corner but Murdoch rose to take with both hands. The home side successfully defended an Ambrose long throw to secure a point for the Pars.
DUNFERMLINE: Sean Murdoch: Andy Geggan (c), Callum Morris, Lee Ashcroft, Jason Talbot: Kallum Higginbotham, Nat Wedderburn, John Herron (Rhys McCabe 80), Paul McMullan: Michael Moffat, Nicky Clark.
SUBS NOT USED: Ryan Williamson Michael Paton, Gavin Reilly, Joe Cardle, Lewis Martin, Cammy Gill (GK)
SCORERS: Higginbotham (59 pen.)
YELLOW CARD: Morris (23), Wedderburn (27)

HIBERNIAN: Ofir Marciano: Efe Ambrose, Darren McGregor, Brian McLean, Lewis Stevenson: Martin Boyle (James Keatings 77), Dylan McGeouch, John McGinn, Martin Bartley, Brian Graham (Grant Holt 78), Jason Cummings.
SUBS NOT USED: Fraser Fyvie, Fraser Murray, Scott Martin, David Gray, Ross Laidlaw (GK)
SCORERS: McGinn (12)
YELLOW CARD: Graham (35), McMinn (38), McGeouch (66)

REFEREE: Greg Aitken
WEATHER: Sunny 13C

NEXT MATCH: Ladbrokes Championship: (home) v Raith Rovers, Saturday 8th April 2017, kick off 3.00pm at East End Park.

50/50 half time draw, ticket no. 94601 won £983

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