SPL: DUNFERMLINE 1 MOTHERWELL 2: 23/05/99
A GAME OF TWO BOYLES
Manager Campbell’s post match comments echoed what was written for him in the match programme “The players know that they let themselves down badly” - more public criticism and no suggestion that there might just be the odd tactical and managerial mistake along the way.
As the curtain fell on the Dunfermline season there were few around calling for more. The smallest crowd at East End Park for three years, 3532 sad souls, were poorly entertained as both sides served up a unpalatable Sunday lunch.
Dick Campbell had handed 18 year-old Steven Boyle his debut and the youngster bit the bait with a great performance. But the manager decided that one goal and 67 minutes worth of his entertainment were sufficient.
Dunfermline made three changes from the previous match. Injury to Andy Tod meant that Greg Shields went back to central defence with Richard Huxford moving to right back. In came Jamie Dolan after suspension, Chris McGroarty for Shaw and Steven Boyle for Petrie.
The ground was eerily empty as the teams kicked off at 12.30. The East stand was unopened and occupied by a solitary camera man. The 500 odd Motherwell supporters were packed into the North East stand, a move that made them more vocal and consequently more effective. If they had been left to rattle in the East stand then they would have been a lost force.
McGroarty produced the first shot on goal after 11 minutes, then Thomson shot straight at Goram. Thomson had another chance on 18 minutes but his shot flew past Goram’s right hand post. Then a touch of class from young BOYLE as he hit the net from 18 yards. A firm strike that even Goram could not prevent sailing high into the net. Boyle manufactured another chance after 25 minutes but his 20 yard shot hit the crossbar.
Five minutes later Huxford did well to provide a cross to Andy Smith but alas Andy was taken unexpectedly and nothing came of it. Owen Coyle broke through the Well defence but again Andy Smith could not meet it.
Into the second half and Gavin Johnson was allowed a big wind up for a piledriver but the shot went past the post. On the hour Steven Boyle beat off challenges from Nevin and Matthaei as he raced to the byeline and crossed for Andy Smith. To no one’s surprise the big centre failed to connect.
Boyle was substituted but had done enough to win the approval of the fans and the match sponsors who named him Man of the match for his impressive 67 minute display. Dunfermline have been needing someone all season who could feed crosses to Andy Smith and all along they have had the answer sitting in the stand.
A long ball over the defence with Greg Shields looking uncharacteristically slow let in Don Goodman to chip Lee Butler with quarter of an hour to play. Worse was to follow but only what we deserved. A last minute double chance to Thomson and Petrie was kept out by the acrobatic Goram and Motherwell broke straight upfield to score. Douglas Ramsay shot from 25 yards, in a similar style to Boyle’s goal and he too found the net.
The Motherwell players piled on top of their hero as the final agony was inflicted on the relegated Pars.
The Norrie McCathie stand which was only at best half full did get the treatment from the keepers. Andy Goram amused the home support by picking up and shaking a couple of empty Stephen’s bags in search of a famous bridie and at the end of the match Lee Butler through his gloves into a group of appreciative fans. Andy Rhodes style - does this mean that Lee will not need them for First Division opposition or will he finds other posts to defend?
Twelve players will be revealed in the Campbell clearances this week. These players will carry the can but Dick will probably still get into the soup before too many matches of next season.
Dunfermline’s new Chairman sat and witnessed yet another inept Dunfermline display and how he must envy his Motherwell counterpart. There are few Chairmen who have fans chant their names and John Boyle acknowledged them by crossing the park to shake their hands. There is the challenge.
DUNFERMLINE: Butler, Huxford, Shields, Ireland (Squires 64), Johnson; Thomson, Dolan, McGroarty, Boyle (Petrie 67); Smith, Coyle (Graham 82).
Subs not used: Westwater, Nish
Scorer: Boyle (20)
Yellow Card: Smith (68)
Referee J McCluskey (Stewarton)
League Position 10th and relegated
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