Stenhousemuir 1 Dunfermline 2Thursday, 2nd Jan 2014
Faissal El Bakhtaoui made his starting debut in place of the injured Josh Falkingham. El Bakhtaoui (13) 0-1; Lynch (84) 1-1, Geggan (91) 1-2.
Watch the goals on Pars TV
The Pars were first foots at Ochilview Park and most, turning out on a bright but breezy January afternoon, were hoping for just an entertaining match as had been served up by these teams on the Stenhousemuir plastic back in August. Could it be another nine goal thriller?
From the team that started against Rangers on Monday night, Jim Jefferies was without his captain Josh Falkingham, out with a broken hand his place was taken by French Moroccan Faissal El Bakhtaoui who came in for his starting debut. That was the only change for the visitors since Ryan Williamson had recovered after being stretchered off on Monday night.
Stenhousemuir too, made one change from the eleven that they put out at Brechin, Kris Faulds being preferred to Errol Douglas. New signing former Morton defender Stewart Greacen was on the bench after returning from football in Ireland. The home side had a familiar face to Pars fans in former keeper Chris Smith. Having conceded eight against Dunfermline in the first two matches this season, he was likely to have a busy day and so it transpired right from the kick off.
Faissal and Jordan Moore got the game underway attacking the goal at the west stand and in 42 seconds Ryan Wallace tested the Stenny keeper who had to parry behind a well struck shot at an angle from the right. Kerr Young powered the header from the subsequent corner off target.
In seven minutes Young was shown yellow for stopping Sean Higgins on the edge of the Pars box and the Stenny number nine took responsibility for the free kick but smashed it over the bar and into the temporary stand.
Dunfermline went ahead in 13 minutes after Wallace ran on to a long ball up the left from Lewis Martin. He trapped the ball at the byeline and cut back for EL BAKHTAOUI who netted with a neat flick past Smith at his near post. 0-1
Byrne had a shot blocked before Wallace released a fierce shot in 20 minutes that Smith dived low to the base of his left hand post to save.
The home side earned heir first corner off Whittle four minutes later and Young headed the inswinger on to his own bar. Another corner was conceded and this time Sean Lynch fired wide and high. A Stenny free kick in 26 minutes for Young's close marking of Higgins, caused no problems for the visitors' defence.
Sweet play between Williamson and Bakhtaoui on the right caused Faulds to head behind for a corner when the latter crossed. Wallace's delivery from the left was inviting but nobody accepted it.
In 34 minutes a Byrne tackle on Kevin McKinlay handed Stenhousemuir another free kick and although Higgins lofted that into a dangerous area the attack could make nothing of it. Whittle then required treatment from physio Kenny Murray but was back on the park before Lynch hit a shot that swerved wide right from 28 yards.
Four minutes from the break Moore was offside but didn't prevent Eddie Malone clattering him to the ground. Williamson put the ball out to allow Higgins to receive treatment but he was fit to resume after Stenny's physio worked her magic.
It had been a fine first half for the Fifers but play had been up to Scully at times despite the Pars keeper having had anything to save. Faissal had put in a startling and energetic performance and thoroughly deserved his first senior goal.
Half Time: Stenhousemuir 0 Dunfermline 1
Alex Whittle was replaced by under 20s left back Ross Drummond as the second half started. The home side threatened first with a cross from the right failing to be converted by Faulds and then Martin heading behind as another break in from the right created danger.
On 53 minutes Moore blasted a chance well off target but when play switched back to the other end Scully pulled off a very good save to deny Bryan Hodge whose bright green boot had sent a stinging shot on target from the edge of the box.
Husband saw his attempt from a 28 yard free kick hit the Stenhousemuir wall. The home side were having their best spell of the match and forced two quick corners on the hour after firstly, Young and then Scully turned the ball behind. Second Pars sub was then Allan Smith for Jordan Moore.
Not much was going Dunfermline's way and the sizeable travelling support grew quiet and concerned. Sub John Gemmell launched a low ball in from the right that Scully had to hold while Pars sub Smith kept his namesake keeper alert. Gemmell rocketed a good chance wide left that could have burst the net had it been on target. Wallace then fired narrowly over the bar at the other end.
In 76 minutes Wallace sent Drummond up the left but when he delivered a fine ball into the centre of the penalty box El Bakhtaoui could only send a tired looking effort wide right. As the Warriors pushed hard for an equaliser. There was some respite when Wallace sent a 30 yard free kick on target but Smith held comfortably.
Two more Stenny corners were followed by a long throw in from the right. The ball was not cleared and Ross McMillan clipped it on for LYNCH who turned the ball past Scully for an 84th minute equaliser. 1-1
The time was running out fast and Drummond came across for a 91st minute corner on the right. When he swung that over Andy GEGGAN met the ball with his head and yet again he broke Stenhousemuir's hearts. 1-2
It was a cruel end for the home team whose manager you could guarantee would say that this was a match that they did not deserve to lose! Goals win games though and all three points went back to Fife.
STENHOUSEMUIR: Chris Smith; Nicky Devlin, Kevin McKinlay, Ross McMillan, Eddie Malone, Bryan Hodge, David Rowson, Sean Dickson, Sean Lynch, Sean Higgins, Kris Faulds (John Gemmell 62).
SUBS NOT USED: Brown Ferguson, Stewart Greacen, Errol Douglas, Ross McNeil, Darren Smith, Dean Shaw.
YELLOW CARD: Gemmell (76), Hodge (80)
SCORER: Lynch (84)
DUNFERMLINE: Ryan Scully; Ryan Williamson, Kerr Young, Lewis Martin, Alex Whittle (Ross Drummond HT); Shaun Byrne, Stephen Husband (Chris Kane 72), Andy Geggan (c); Faissal El Bakhtaoui, Ryan Wallace, Jordan Moore (Allan Smith 61).
SUBS NOT USED: Craig Dargo, Lewis Spence, Ryan Goodfellow (GK).
SCORERS: El Bakhtaoui (13), Geggan (91)
YELLOW CARD: Young (9)
REFEREE: Andrew Dallas
WEATHER: Overcast 7C
NEXT MATCH: SPFL League One (home) v Stranraer
Saturday 11th January 2014, kick off 3.00pm
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