Overcast with a cool North Ayrshire breeze to bother spectators, it was not a day for mosquitoes. Somewhere however Referee Alan Freeland contracted yellow fever and he dished out three debatable yellow cards in 4 minutes. Later Andy Smith developed scarlet and Dunfermline were left to hang on in desperation for the miserable ref’s last function. The Pars without Scott McCulloch (injured), dropped Gerry Britton to the bench and brought back Stewart Petrie and Chris Templeman.

With Kilmarnock capable of topping the table with just a draw, Dunfermline went to Rugby Park intent on spoiling the party. The Dunfermline tactics strangely placed the distinctly left footed Petrie on the right and involved throwing both central defenders forward at every possible time.

The presence of Squires allowed the Englishman to feed a good ball to Smith who should have scored and a few moments later Craig Ireland too, should have been on the scoresheet when a game of head tennis with Andy Smith into the penalty box resulted in the defender’s effort going over the bar.

Davie Provan and Danny McGrain the interested observers in the stand adjudged that Dunfermline should have been ahead at half time with Killie’s only chance coming when Vareille headed against the post and Ferguson brilliantly blocked Dylan Kerr’s follow up.

The Fifers also had opportunity to go ahead 28 minutes into the second half when Andy Smith’s drive was turned over the bar by Marshall. Thirteen minutes from time Skipper Andy collected another yellow card and the ten men were left to hold out. What Smith did to attract the second yellow perplexed everyone, use of the elbow, persistent fouling or mouthing - it was a very harsh decision. Squires and Ireland were feeling the effects of their marauding runs up front and it was a tired looking defence that held out. Not that it was simple; Roberts should have scored in the third minute of injury time when he could easily have done better that placing the ball in Butler’s arms.

Surely Dunfermline would have settled for the draw as they drove down the A77 on Saturday lunchtime and they might have done better if they had taken one of the game’s few chances. Andy Smith will now miss the next match against Celtic and could have done Manager Paton a favour. It has been apparent thus far this season that Smith has failed to regain his form of last season. Some reckon that the captain’s role is not helping him, Templeman and Faulconbridge both hit two goals in the under 21’s last week but it would have been hard to drop the captain. Celtic’s visit at the end of next week forces changes and a great opportunity for challengers to show their worth although the under 21 rule may mean that one of the pair will have to start the game on the bench.

The first quarter of the Premier League season ends with Dunfermline unbeaten to all but the Old Firm. The goal will have to be found more regularly so that the draw experts can collect three points more than once in nine outings.

Dunfermline Athletic: Butler, Shields, Squires, Ireland, Thomson, Petrie, Huxford, Ferguson (Faulconbridge 90min), French (Britton 83min), Smith, Templeman (Shaw 65min),
Subs not used: Hay, Linighan
Yellow cards: Thomson (15min); Smith (18min); Templeman (19min);
Ferguson (62min).
Red card: Smith (77min).

Referee: A Freeland, Aberdeen.
Attendance: 8,346.
League position 8th

Next Match v Celtic (home) 17th October

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