SFL First Division: ST MIRREN 3 DUNFERMLINE 1: 30/10/99

Following recent performances a win at Paisley would have been quite a turn around in fortunes. Nobody was really surprised with the outcome of this top of the league clash which leaves the Buddies six points ahead of the Pars.

Eddie May and Hamish French were dropped from the starting line up. Scott Thomson started at right back and on loan Stevie Crawford was up front. St Mirren kicked off towards the away end in the pouring rain that was localised to Paisley.

The first Pars pressure came after seven minutes when a Jamie Dolan pass found Steve Hampshire wide on the right. The youngster beat the full back and bore in on goal but his shot was easily saved. After 20 minutes another piece of good work allowed a cross to Moss but he just failed to connect.

Three minutes later Justin Skinner fed a ball through to his ex Hibs colleague Crawford but his shot went well wide of the left side post. Although there were Pars chances it was far from being all Dunfermline. A 25th minute effort from Yardley rebounded off Andy Tod and Baltacha’s shot was deflected wide for a corner.

Barry Lavety opened the scoring in 33 minutes when the Pars defence were posted missing and Lavety pushed one of his own players out of the road to shoot past Westwater from 8 yards.

David Moss tried to counter right away but his 20 yard shot was well wide. The Dunfermline play was sloppy and undirected. St Mirren took things slowly with players and ball people on official go slows.

The home fans sung “Campbell, Campbell what’s the score” and some of the 1200 travelling support joined in.

The only other first half incident worthy of note was the penalty that wasn’t given to St Mirren. Mendez passed Jason Dair as he advanced into the box from the right. Dair fell and pushed his left hand out to bring the Saints man down. Ref deemed no penalty, play on but most Pars fans were happy to concede at half time that they thought a penalty would have been fair.

Dunfermline sensing change was require brought on Potter at right back and switched Scott Thomson to left back for the luckless Dair. Andy Smith was introduced up front for Hampshire and all of a sudden the tempo increased.

With five minutes Dunfermline had three chances. Andy Smith teed up Crawford but his weak shot went for a corner. David Moss came storming in to almost connect with his head and next John Potter found Andy smith on the edge of the box and he laid it back for Skinner to shoot. Yet again a less than lethal shot was saved by the fumbling keeper and Smith was unlucky not to capitalise.

The Pars troops geed up the team and in 51 minutes a goal was brilliantly created by David MOSS. A through ball from the right was dummied by Moss who let it fall to Crawford. Crawford was left clear and homed in on goal. He left his shot too late and the keeper saved for the rebound to fall to Moss on the left. Moss shot through between two defenders on the goal line and showed great emotion on opening his goal scoring account with the Pars.

The lift that this goal gave to the team was sadly removed when Mark Yardley scored four minutes later. A fairly harmless shot caught out Ian Westwater and he could only wave and blink at the ball as it soared over him into the net.

Scott Thomson had a shot deflected for a corner after 73 minutes. Yardley stuck another over the crossbar and then with ten minutes left a Westwater clearance bounced over Hugh Murray and Crawford was presented with another perfect opportunity but his shot was wide. Westie did have a good save three minutes later but then Andy Tod and Yardley went for a cross from the left and the Pars man sent the ball into the net.

Three minutes from time Stewart Petrie ran through the centre and laid off a perfect pass to David Moss but again the shot was wide.

Saints manager Tom Hendrie was sent to the stand after he protested strongly about an off the ball incident two minutes from time that left Barry McLaughlan with a broken nose. There were words between Smithy and McLaughlan but none of the officials saw any infringement.

A defeat and dejection for the Pars. Bleakly nobody believes the manager, his tactics, his team selection or his players are good enough to get us out of this spell of below par performances. Jason Dair is not a left back and is being made to look bad by continually being asked to play there. The manager having signed players seems compelled to play them despite the fact they are struggling to fit in and to find form.

The next two matches are at home against Raith, who are now on the same number of points as the Pars and against promotion contenders, Livingston who are just one point behind the two Fife teams. Victories are going to become absolute necessities.

DUNFERMLINE: Westwater; Thomson, Tod, Reid, Dair (Potter 45); Skinner, Moss, Dolan (French 63), Petrie; Hampshire (Smith 45), Crawford.
Scorer: Moss (51)
Yellow Cards: Hampshire (43), Dolan (61), Thomson (86)

Referee: T Brown (Edinburgh)
Attendance: 6130
League Position 2nd (6 points behind St Mirren)
Strip: Yellow Away strip

Next match v Raith Rovers (home) Bells Scottish First Division Saturday 6th November 1999

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