Dunfermline 4 Arbroath 3Saturday, 24th Apr 2021
Scottish Championship: Declan McManus (11 pen.) 1-0: Kevin O’Hara (15) 2-0: Jack Hamilton (30) 2-1: Low (35 pen.) 2-2: Craig Wighton (57) 3-2: Craig Wighton (75) 4-2: Scott Stewart (82) 4-3:
Dunfermline earned their place in the Premiership play offs due to coming out on top in this seven goal thriller at East End Park. After going into an early lead the Pars were severely tested by an Arbroath side that were relentless in their pursuit of at least a point.
Going into this, the final home match of the league season, Dunfermline Athletic sat 4th with 36 points and required 2 wins from their final 2 games to automatically secure a Premiership play-off spot. Arbroath who were in 7th place needed to make sure they won to avoid the relegation play-offs.
Both Stevie Crawford and Dick Campbell went with the starting elevens that gave them good wins the previous Saturday and the only change was Paul Watson named as a substitute for the Pars. The Arbroath bench include keeper Rab Douglas on the day of his 49th birthday. The former Scotland man was kitted out in dayglo pink!
The strong April sun was catching just the front three rows of the North Stand and half way up the East Stand from where Arbroath emerged. The teams changed ends and Kevin O’Hara kicked off for the hosts.
First attempt at goal came from Aaron Comrie in fifth minute. Dom Thomas managed to work the ball to Steven Whittaker on the edge of the box and it was the full back who was able to test the keeper.
Arbroath stormed back to the other end, forced a corner on the left and then Owain Fon Williams was forced into pulling off a great save to keep out a Kris Doolan shot to the inside of the right post after a lay off from Jason Thomson.
Thomas pumped a long ball out of his own half that Craig Wighton chased all the way up the right to guard at the corner flag. He brilliantly turned Thomas O’Brien to make ground along the byeline but before he could release a pass he was tumbled and referee Steven McLean awarded a penalty. Declan McMANUS stepped up to convert in the eleventh minute and it was 1-0.
Only four minutes would separate two Dunfermline goals. Josh Edwards long ball from the edge of his own box set off Kevin O’HARA chasing it down the left side with Ricky Little tailing him. Catching it outside of the Arbroath box and he cut in finished executing a low shot between Little and O’Brien that gave Derek Gaston little chance 2-0.
Although behind Arbroath did plenty of attacking, uncomfortably playing the ball around the Pars box. They gave the distinct impression that they could endanger Fôn Williams goal at any point. Dick Campbell has been watching from a sunny vista in the East Stand but was spurred into heading for the dugout as Ben Williamson went down at the right corner flag.
A 28th minute free kick was awarded to the visitors for McManus’ challenge on Low bit Dale Hilson’s delivery from the left was cleared. Two Arbroath corners from the left on the half hour were defended by the Fifers before a good move from Thomas, through Comrie to McManus and on to Ewan Henderson on the left allowed the on loan Celt a shot that Gaston held.
Two minutes later Arbroath threatened again and Fôn Williams parried a Low shot away for another corner from the left side. When Low sent over the corner and O’Brien’s powerful header was beaten away by Williams but on to Jack HAMILTON and the ball crossed the line for an Arbroath goal. 2-1
Arbroath pushed forward again and were awarded a penalty just two minutes later after Henderson brought down Thomson on the right side of the penalty box. Nicky LOW stepped up and rattled the crossbar in making it 2-2 from the spot.
In 41 minutes Wighton forced a save out of Gaston after receiving a pass from O’Hara and getting the break of the ball off two defenders. Arbroath had 54% first half possession and five corners to the home side’s none. It looked like the second half would be another competitive half.
Half time: Dunfermline 2 Arbroath 2
Ricky Little was shown the yellow card for stopping O’Hara break just inside the Lichties half and when Henderson set the ball in from the free kick Vytas Gašpuitis headed down for Lewis Mayo but Arbroath closed him down before a shot could be dispatched.
Gaston did well to keep out a fierce strike from 25 yards by Thomas and at the other end Low hit a long range shot that Fon Williams held. Then in 57 minutes Henderson played a neat ball through to Craig WIGHTON who had made a switch running left and he drew the keeper in picking his spot nutmegging Gaston to make it 3-2.
Kerr McInroy became the first substitute of the afternoon replacing Declan McManus in 62 minutes. That started a rash of substitutions. Arbroath bringing on Scott Stewart and then Michael McKenna before Paul Watson came on in place of Vytas Gašpuitis.
Steven Whittaker forced another good save out of Gaston with a blast from outside the box before two 70th minute corners on the right for Arbroath were defended immediately prior to Luke Donnelly replacing Dale Hilson. The Angus side were not for giving in and they did some serious attacking as the Pars pressed on to the back foot. There were appeals for a penalty after Hamilton thrashed a net bound effort on to Mayo. No penalty.
Things were briefly to become a little more comfortable fifteen minutes from time when running on to a Wighton flick, Henderson got the break of the ball off Little on the left side and with a clip over O’Brien he teed up WIGHTON delightfully for a superb right footed volley into the top right. 4-2
That comfort was extinguished seven minutes later when Scott STEWART rose to head home a Thomson cross 4-3. It was a really good header to find the top right corner. O’Brien headed wide left from an 89th minute corner from the right as the team in maroon tried their very best for an equaliser.
On the 90 minute mark Stewart had his shot blocked and from McKenna’s corner on the left Little headed wide of the near post. There then followed a complete onslaught on the Pars goal with a McKenna effort deflected away off Watson for a corner.
Fôn Williams saved but could not hold from the corner and McInroy hooked the ball away off the line. After five hectic added on minutes it was finally all over and as a consequence of Hearts defeating Inverness Caley Thistle, Dunfermline were in the Premiership play offs. Well done to Stevie, Jason, Greg and their players.
Dates for the diary:
Premiership play off Quarter Final Wednesday 5th May
Premiership play off Quarter Final Sunday 9th May
SUBS NOT USED: Lewis McCann, Paul Allan, Kyle Macdonald, Cammy Gill (GK)
SCORERS: McManus (11 pen.), O’Hara (15), Wighton (57, 75)
YELLOW CARD: Henderson (34), Whittaker (61)
ARBROATH: Derek Gaston: Jason Thomson, Ricky Little, Thomas O’Brien (c), Colin Hamilton: David Gold ( Scott Stewart 63), Ben Williamson, Nicky Low, Dale Hilson (Luke Donnelly 71), Kris Doolan (Michael McKenna 65), Jack Hamilton.
SUBS NOT USED: James Craigen, Lewis Moore, Mark Whatley, Rab Douglas (GK)
SCORERS: Hamilton (32), Low (35 pen.), Stewart (82)
YELLOW CARD: Little (52)
REFEREE: Steven McLean
WEATHER: Sunny 11°C
NEXT MATCH: Scottish Championship (away) v Alloa Athletic, Friday 30th April 2021 at the Indodrill Stadium, kick off 7.45pm behind closed doors
50/50 Draw - Number 100014640 won £205
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Dunfermline 4-3 Arbroath
Sat, 24th Apr 2021
Stevie Crawford post Arbroath
Sat, 24th Apr 2021
Craig Wighton post Arbroath
Sat, 24th Apr 2021
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Preview ArbroathSaturday, 24th Apr 2021
Scottish Championship (home) v Arbroath, Saturday 24th April 2021, kick off 3.00pm at East End Park, behind closed doors
The heat is on for the last home match of the Pars Championship schedule. If Dunfermline can win both this one and the away game at Alloa next Friday night, they will be assured of a play off place. Arbroath sit seventh but only two points ahead of Morton and Ayr United. The Gayfield club is in need of points to make sure they don’t end up in the play offs at the wrong end.
Stevie Crawford has warned:-
“Any team under Dick Campbell is going to compete, whether they were sitting here in a position in the table where they were comfortable- not able to win promotion or get relegated. It is not getting caught up too much in what Arbroath are doing but being respectful knowing that he has good players and he has put a good squad together.”
The sides have already met three times this season, Dunfermline winning two and Arbroath one. These two clubs have met 100 times and the Fifers have the advantage with 48 wins to Arbroath’s 31 with 21 games drawn.
Milestones Arbroath (home)
Last Victory | 26/12/20 | 1-0 | Championship
Last Defeat | 17/08/13 | 2-3 | League One
Best Victory | 02/04/32 | 6-0 | Div Two*
Worst Defeat | 12/12/36 | 1-4 | Div One*
Last Goalless Draw | 22/03/86 | Div Two*
First Meeting | 17/04/22 | 5-1 | Div Two*
*Pre league reconstruction
The sides have met 77 times in the league, Dunfermline have won 34, Arbroath 25 and 18 matches have been drawn.
Dunfermline 1-0 Arbroath
Sat, 26th Dec 2020
Last League Meeting at East End Park
Dunfermline 1 Arbroath 0
Championship, Saturday 26th December 2020
It was the first Boxing Day fixture between the teams since 1925 and it was a stormy affair. Storm Bella lashed East End Park with strong wind and swirling rain, conditions that the visitors regularly have to deal with at Gayfield.
Dunfermline would get that long awaited goal in the first minute of added time. A Thomas cross from the right got no takers but when returned by Edwards, Kevin O’HARA headed in at the near post. 1-0
There was little time for Arbroath to come back and the Pars saw it out to secure their second place in the Championship three points behind Hearts and three ahead of Raith Rovers.
DUNFERMLINE: Owain Fôn Williams: Lewis Mayo (Aaron Comrie 72), Paul Watson, Euan Murray (c), Josh Edwards: Steven Whittaker (Kerr McInroy 72): Ryan Dow, Iain Wilson (Kevin O’Hara 81), Kyle Turner, Dom Thomas: Declan McManus
SUBS NOT USED: Lewis McCann, Matty Bowman, Lucas Berry, Cammy Gill (GK)
ARBROATH: Derek Gaston: Jason Thomson, Ricky Little, Thomas O’Brien, Colin Hamilton, Miko Virtanen, David Gold, James Craigen, Dale Hilson (Michael Ruth 87), Luke Donnelly (Kris Doolan 78), Michael McKenna (Scott Stewart 67)
SUBS NOT USED: Gavin Swankie, Bobby Linn, Connor Smith, Scott Gallacher (GK).
Twelve Most Recent Meetings
The Fifers have won nine of the last twelve fixtures, Arbroath two including the last one at Arbroath and one game drawn.
06/02/21 | Arbroath 2-0 Dunfermline | Championship
26/12/20 | Dunfermline 1-0 Arbroath | Championship
28/11/20 | Arbroath 1-3 Dunfermline | Betfred Cup
04/03/20 | Arbroath 0-0 Dunfermline | Championship
29/10/19 | Dunfermline 2-0 Arbroath | Championship
31/08/19 | Arbroath 1-0 Dunfermline | Championship
15/08/17 | Dunfermline 2-0 Arbroath | Challenge Cup
19/07/16 | Dunfermline 3-0 Arbroath | League Cup
25/07/15 | Arbroath 1-4 Dunfermline | Challenge Cup
26/04/14 | Arbroath 1-2 Dunfermline | League One
25/02/14 | Dunfermline 3-0 Arbroath | League One
21/12/13 | Arbroath 0-3 Dunfermline | League One
Dunfermline’s win over Queen of the South was their first in eight matches but they are undefeated in their last four games.
Arbroath have only lost four of their 16 fixtures in 2021 and are undefeated in their last three matches. They have not won away from home in their last three matches on road but these matches were at Dundee, Inverness and Raith.
Queen of the South (H) W 3-1
Dundee ( H) D 0-0
Ayr United (A) D 1-1
Hearts (H) D 0-0
Raith Rovers (A) L 1-5
Dundee (A) L 2-3
Ayr United (H) W 4-0
Raith Rovers (A) D 2-2
Alloa Athletic (H) W 2-1
Inverness Caley Thistle (A) L 1-0
Falkirk (H) L 1-2
Hearts (H) D 0-0
Current League Stats
League Position: 4th
League Points: 36
Goal Difference: +4
Home League Record: P13 W8 D3 L2 GF20 GA10
Last Six Match Form: LLDDDW
League Position: 7th
League Points: 29
Goal Difference: -6
Away League Record: P12 W2 D3 L7 GF9 GA19
Last Six Match Form: DLLWDW
Last time out
DUNFERMLINE (v Queen of the South): Owain Fôn Williams: Aaron Comrie, Vytas Gašpuitis, Lewis Mayo, Josh Edwards: Steven Whittaker (c): Dom Thomas, Declan McManus (Fraser Murray 56), Ewan Henderson: Kevin O’Hara, Craig Wighton (Kerr McInroy 80).
SUBS NOT USED: Lewis McCann, Paul Allan, Kyle Macdonald, Matthew Todd, Cammy Gill (GK)
ARBROATH (v Ayr United): Derek Gaston: Jason Thomson, Ricky Little, Thomas O’Brien (c), Colin Hamilton: David Gold (Scott Stewart 67), Ben Williamson, Nicky Low (Michael McKenna 67), Dale Hilson, Kris Doolan (James Craigen 67), Jack Hamilton.
SUBS NOT USED:, Lewis Moore, Luke Donnelly, Mark Whatley 79), Rab Douglas (GK).
Referee will be Steven McLean, his first Dunfermline match since the Challenge Cup tie against Alloa in September 2019.
Other Championship Fixtures
Saturday 24th April
Ayr United v Queen of the South
Dundee v Raith Rovers
Hearts v Inverness Caley Thistle
Morton v Alloa Athletic
Friday 30th April
Alloa Athletic v Dunfermline
Arbroath v Morton
Inverness Caley Thistle v Ayr United
Queen of the South v Dundee
Raith Rovers v Hearts
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