Arbroath 1 Dunfermline 1

cinch Championship: Breen, Comrie and Moffat start. Jay Bird (45+3) 1-0: Craig Wighton (90+1) 1-1:

It was the Saturday before Christmas and Dunfermline travelled up the A92 to Arbroath. Awaiting them was the league’s ninth placed team now under manager Jim McIntyre. It was a wet but not so windy Gayfield when they arrived.

James McPake made three changes to his starting eleven with Rhys Breen, Aaron Comrie and Owen Moffat starting in place of the injured Sam Fisher, Joe Chalmers and Alex Jakubiak. Arbroath’s starting eleven showed one change from the previous week at Inverness with Thomas O’Brien returning from suspension and Darren Lyon finding himself back on the bench.

Owen Moffat got the match underway with the visitors attacking the goal at the Pleasureland end but it was the home side that started brighter with a lot of play towards Deniz Mehmet’s goal. It was the Fifers who won the first corner of the game and when the ball was delivered from the right in 11th minute it evaded both Breen and Edwards. 

A Moffat counterattack saw him set off on a solo run right to the edge of the Arbroath only to be upended and play carried on. It was a Moffat break in 16 minutes that set up McCann to net but he was clearly offside. Arbroath pushed up again and when Leighton McIntosh cut in from the right Mehmet had to beat the ball away at his near post.

When a good pass picked out McIntosh again on the right he combined with Craig Slater to get the cross in towards the Pars six yard box. Jay Bird and Chris Hamilton went for the ball with Pars captain coming off worst. Bird was yellow carded and the physios called for a stretcher. In the end Hammy was able to walk off but, assuming the captain’s armband, Joe Chalmers was brought on in his place with Ewan Otoo making a quick return to a defensive role.

Todd managed to get a shot in but that was easily held by Derek Gaston. Next a Slater in-swinging corner from the left was kept out but the Red Lichties were managing to keep play in the Pars half. 

In 35 minutes a Pars free kick was pumped into the Arbroath box and the fans behind made appeals for a penalty when McCann looked to be pushed as he went for the header. Chalmers was next to bring a save out of Gaston but his attempt lacked power and was easily held.

Three minutes later, Lewis McCann pulled up off the ball on the left and he limped off unable to continue and Alex Jakubiak was introduced in his place. McIntosh and Slater again joined up for the latter to send a really dangerous ball into the Dunfermline six yard box. There was a scramble with Jermaine Hylton the main predator but the defence got the ball away. 

Three Arbroath corners created a threat. Breen headed behind the first 44th minute corner, then Todd the subsequent corner before Mehmet held Slater’s third. At the other end Edwards forced Colin Hamilton to concede a corner on the right side which Arbroath defended. The opening goal came in third minute of time added on at the end of the first half. It was a well taken goal with Jay BIRD latching on to an O’Brien through ball to net. 1-0

Arbroath had been the more attacking team and they went in at the break with the advantage. The home side had 58% first half possession and 8 shots to the Pars 1.

Half time: Arbroath 1 Dunfermline 0

Dunfermline forced an early second half corner that Allan lobbed in from the left. Otoo headed back the defended cross and Jakubiak made contact but shot wide right. The home side’s first attempt of the second 45 came in 51 minutes when Hylton picked out Bird on the edge of the box but pressed by the presence of Otoo, the striker’s shot was easily taken by Mehmet. 

Ten minutes in and a Moffat run rapidly took play to the other end. He found O’Halloran on the right side of the box and he sent a really inviting ball into the six yard box that needed Jakubiak’s touch but unfortunately he did not connect. That was O’Halloran’s last involvement as he and Paul Allan were subbed to make way for Craig Wighton and Ben Summers.

There were two quick chances for the home side with Bird and Gold both directing the ball narrowly wide right. While at the other end a Jakubiak shot was beaten away by Gaston and Wighton’s follow up went wide right.

In 66 minutes Owen Moffat hit the post after a great break up the right channel by Comrie having been set up by Jakubiak. On reaching the home box he chose not to shoot but instead square the ball for Wighton, who in turn laid the ball off to his left for Moffat to shoot. When the ball came back off the post Comrie did get a shot in but he smashed that wide of the right goalpost. Definitely the Pars best chance this far.

Bird pushed Otoo away to create a 72nd minute chance but his low shot went outside the left post. Bird then had an effort from the right side that deflected wide for a corner. What followed next was extraordinary. Bird and Hylton had a difference of opinion that sparked ignition, one wanted a shot the other a pass and Pars centre back Breen tried to break up the scuffle. Referee Lloyd Wilson consulted his linesman and showed both Arbroath men a yellow card. That took Bird’s tally to two and the red card followed. 

Playing against the ten men Dunfermline played a couple of balls into the Arbroath box, firstly Edwards and then Moffat with Summers executing the shot but that was blocked. A Wighton effort was crashed over the bar.

Kenan Dünnwald-Turan came on for the Angus side but Dunfermline were entrenched in the home half. Todd earned a corner on the right and when Chalmers swung the ball in WIGHTON rose to head home. 1-1

With the goal coming in the first minute of added time, some of the 564 travelling supporters had made their way to the exit but they had luckily not left and they urged their side to get a winner. There was near thing from another Chalmers corner and when Summers sent Todd deep in on the right, although his cross found Wighton in front of goal he could not direct the ball into the net. In the four added minutes there was a concerted effort for a winner but it wasn’t to be. 

ARBROATH: Derek Gaston: Scott Stewart, Aaron Steele, Thomas O’Brien (c), Colin Hamilton: Leighton McIntosh, Craig Slater, David Gold (Mark Stowe 59), Jess Norey, Jay Bird, Jermaine Hylton (Kenan Dünnwald-Turan 88).
SUBS NOT USED: Keaghan Jacobs, Darren Lyon, Ally Adams (GK)
SCORERS: Bird (45+3)
YELLOW CARD: Bird 21), Hylton (74)
RED CARD: Bird (74)

DUNFERMLINE: Deniz Mehmet: Aaron Comrie, Chris Hamilton (c) (Joe Chalmers 25), Rhys Breen: Michael O’Halloran (Craig Wighton 56), Paul Allan (Ben Summers 56), Ewan Otoo, Josh Edwards: Matty Todd, Owen Moffat, Lewis McCann (Alex Jakubiak 39).
SUBS NOT USED: Miller Fenton, Jake Sutherland, Harry Sharp (GK), Max Little (GK)
SCORERS: Wighton (90+1)
YELLOW CARD: Jakubiak (67)

Manager’s post match comments

REFEREE: Lloyd Wilson
WEATHER: Dreich 3°C

NEXT MATCH: cinch Championship (away) v Ayr United, Saturday 30th December 2023, kick off 3.00pm at Somerset Park

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