Dunfermline 1 Hamilton 1Tuesday, 11th Mar 2008
Pars take early lead over the Table Toppers but Offiong strikes back with his 19th goal of the season to earn Hamilton a point.
DUNFERMLINE 1 HAMILTON 1
One change for Dunfermline - Nick Phinn started in preference to Kevin Harper. Hamilton made three changes with James McArthur, Alex Neil and Xavier Barrau coming in for Tom Parratt, Mark Gillhaney and Tony Stevenson.
There were a few scores to settle against Hamilton this season so when Stevie Crawford and Mark Burchill got things underway those fans who braved the elements in preference to sitting at home and watching Liverpool in the Champions League, had high hopes for a bit of revenge.
Unfortunately, despite the Pars playing with the wind and driving rain on their backs, early exchanges did not augur well with David Graham flashing the ball through the Pars penalty area from the left.
It was the seventh minute when Mark Burchill received a neat pass in from Phinn to get the home side's first shot on target of the night but the ball broke back off David Elebert and Alex Burke's follow up 20 yards out was pulled well wide to the right of goal.
Calum Woods won a free kick out on the right 25 yards out that Stephen Glass flighted in nicely for Scott Wilson to head on target from six yards.
Tomas Cerny parried the net bound effort and in the scramble to prevent Stephen Simmons turning the loose ball in, the keeper tumbled the Pars midfielder and Referee Calum Murray pointed to the spot. Only surprise - no card of any sort.
Stephen GLASS assumed responsibility for the penalty and he sent it into the right side of the net for the Fifers first goal against Hamilton in 264 minutes of SFL football.
In 20th minute Burchill ran on to a through ball from Simmons but Elebert made sure that the Pars striker was not to pass and dumped him unceremoniously. No foul and accusations of cheating from the 300 or so away fans in the east section of the Main Stand.
Burchill caught Hamilton on the break two minutes later and from the centre circle left his defender trailing in his tracks but when he released a fine shot from 15 yards Cerny parried the shot to his left and Crawford had a great chance to convert from eight yards but unfortunately the ball sailed over the bar into the empty East Stand.
Simmons hauled down Graham, earning himself a 27th minute yellow card and the visitors a free kick 25 yards out. Brian Easton launched the ball into the Pars box and the defence only half cleared allowing a return that Offiong won in the air for McArthur to turn on target but the ball was tipped over by Paul Gallacher.
Five minutes later a five pass attack finished by Crawford to Phinn saw the ball laid back to Calum Woods and let go a real screamer from just outside the box that skimmed off the roof of the net as cleared the goal.
As much as Hamilton threatened to hit the Pars on the break, Dunfermline saw plenty of possession yet the opposition defence protected their keeper and kept them at a distance. Mark Gilhaney came on for Xavier Barrau in 36th minutes and although not involved the Hamilton equaliser five minutes from half time came from the left side. Graham and Offiong fought for the crossed ball eight yards out leaving Wilson beaten and OFFIONG slotted inside Gallacher's right hand post.
Phinn battled away down the right but got little offer of assistance as he attempted to deliver a cross to the awaiting throng. In the end Scott Thomson came up and got involved but his half chance was not well connected and went wide left.
The half finished with Glass sending over another corner from the right but that was overhit and the half time whistle meant the teams went in level.
Half Time: Dunfermline 1 Hamilton 1
Greg Shields returned for his first Pars appearance since the UEFA Cup tie in Gothenburg, replacing Scott Thomson in the centre of defence. Two minutes into the second half a cracking cross from Woods created anxiety for Hamilton as Simmons headed narrowly over the crossbar from six yards.
A diagonal ball into the box from Glass was chested down by Simmons but Burchill's shot from the edge of the box got blocked. Woods went off on a run up the right, cut in and picked out Burke on the left side but the move broke down when neither Burke or Morrison could produce the cross.
A 59th minute free kick looked wasted when Scott Morrison decided against lofting over the ball into the penalty box where the likes of Wilson and Simmons were waiting but Alex Burke received the short ball and his high ball in tested Cerny but the green shirted keeper held well. The Hamilton crowd, no doubt quietened by the news that second placed, Dundee were two up at home against Livingston, had little to cheer especially when Easton blasted over a rare chance.
As the match entered the final quarter the league leaders mounted an offensive with cross balls that neither Mensing and then next, Graham could get on the end of. At the other end Elebert nearly got caught out as Burke pressurised on the edge of the box . An early ball from Morrison up to Phinn on the left wing raised the hopes and his ball in looked inviting for Simmons but he took it left instead and the chance was gone.
Kevin Harper came on in place of Phinn in 79th minute and almost sprung the Accies as he raced through on a Burchill pass but Elebert covered across to thwart him.
A Gallacher clearance that caused difficulty for his defence as he came out to try and clear a returned ball was fortunately blocked by Wilson as Waterworth tried to shoot at the empty goal from 35 yards. Jim McIntyre was the final sub of the night and he was at the far post for a 89th minute cross from Harper but the ball was just too big and the player manager was not to be the hero.
With 92 minutes on the clock the home fans made loud appeals for a penalty as a hand appeared to be used in the Hamilton box but that was dismissed and McIntyre blasted the loose ball over the bar.
DUNFERMLINE:Paul Gallacher; Calum Woods, Scott Wilson (c), Scott Thomson (Greg Shields HT), Scott Morrison; Nick Phinn (Kevin Harper 76), Stephen Simmons, Stephen Glass, Alex Burke; Mark Burchill, Stevie Crawford (Jim McIntyre 83).
SUBS: Sean Murdoch (GK), Paul Willis,
SCORER: Glass (11 pen),
YELLOW CARD: Glass (15), Simmons (27), Morrison (69)
HAMILTON ACCIES: Tomas Cerny; Simon Mensing, Brian Easton, James McCarthy (Tony Stevenson 76), David Elebert, Mark McLaughlin, David Graham, Richard Offiong (Andrew Waterworth 82), Alex Neil, Xavi Barrau (Mark Gilhaney 36).
SUBS: James Gibson, Bryn Halliwell
SCORER: Offiong (40)
REFEREE: Calum Murray
WEATHER: Wet, Blustery 7?C
NEXT MATCH: SFL (away) v Queen of the South, Saturday 15th March 2008, kick off 3.00pm