St Mirren 1 Dunfermline 0Saturday, 16th Dec 2017
Ladbrokes Championship: Dean Shiels and Kallum Higginbotham start in place of Lewis Martin and Michael Paton. Cammy Smith (38) 1-0
Manager Allan Johnston made two changes to his Dunfermline Athletic side for their first trip of the season to the Paisley 2021 Stadium. Dean Shiels and Kallum Higginbotham came in to take the places of Lewis Martin and Michael Paton.
St Mirren stuck with the same starting eleven that won 2-1 at Brechin. Their new emergency loan signing Danny Mullen was on the bench for a match manager Jack Ross predicted would be exciting and a potential Christmas cracker.
The low December sun made it difficult for the fans in the main stand but as they shaded their eyes Nicky Clark got the match underway with the visitors attacking the goal at the town end.
In just the second minute Nat Wedderburn slipped as Lee Ashcroft headed the ball out of his own box, Stephen McGinn pounced on the loose ball and fortunately when he slid the ball to Ian McShane on the top of the box his effort was blocked.
Jason Talbot made a timely tackle on Liam Smith as he threatened to burst in on the left side of the Pars box. Then Dunfermline had their first chance of the match. A clever backheeler from Higginbotham back into the path of a Ryan Williamson and it looked like he might score his first professional goal but the effort was deflected wide by the narrowest of margins for a corner on the left.
Lewis Morgan broke from the setpiece and despite three Pars players tracking him made a lot of ground before Ashcroft stepped in to clear. St Mirren were to repeat the move just a minute later and this time it was Gavin Reilly who was stopped by Sean Murdoch in the D at the top of the box.
The keeper got to the ball first but the St Mirren top goalscorer made the most of going over the keeper`s legs and referee Craig Charleston awarded a free kick. The home fans were howling for a red card but after consulting his stand side assistant pulled Murdoch aside and showed him a ninth minute yellow. McShane then stepped up and hit the free kick over the wall and over the bar.
There was hope at the other end too as a Higginbotham`s pass picked out a Clark to his right but the striker`s low drive was blocked by the St Mirren defence.
Reilly threatened to break in from the right and the combined efforts of Ashcroft and Talbot caused a 18th minute free kick that McShane pumped into the box only for Wedderburn to head away.
A move from Cardle to Clark to Williamson earned the Fifers a 20th minute corner and when Higginbotham sent that over from the left there was some inconclusive defending that ended up with a defender blasting the ball behind but off Declan McManus in front of goal.
Skipper Callum Morris was shown yellow for his challenge on Cammy Smith and the Saints forced a couple of free kicks as the half went into its second quarter. The second free kick from down on the right was sent over by Morgan and Reilly tested Murdoch with a powerful header.
Higginbotham was smacking the ground after he was spilled as he raced into the Saints box but play on was the ref`s decision. Back at the other end some slick passing set up the home side but McShane swished at the shot and Reilly was offside as he tried to converted the break.
The floodlights came on as the half hour mark past and again the home side looked dangerous on the break. Fortunately McGinn overhit his ball towards Reilly and Murdoch gathered.
Ten minutes from the interval Morris` tackle on Reilly handed St Mirren a free kick 35 yards out but McShane`s attempt to find his big men in the box was foiled.
Dunfermline were to go behind in 38th minute. Kyle Magennis` pass got McShane in on the right side of the box and h then sent the ball across the six yard box. Reilly could not get a connection but Cammy SMITH arrived to stick the ball in the Fifers net. 1-0
A Cardle free kick in 43 minutes almost created the equaliser. As the ball flashed in from the left McManus` diving header somehow managed to escape right of target. There was one final let off for Dunfermline when Reilly burst through one on one with Murdoch but he scooped his attempt high and wide right.
A free kick 30 yards out in the first minute of added time was hit over the crossbar by McManus. It had been a fiercely contested first 45 and there was plenty of evidence to believe that the visitors could get something out of the match.
Half time: St Mirren 1 Dunfermline 0
The home side started the second half the brighter, Morgan sending over a dangerous early ball and then forcing their first corner of the match in 49 minutes. Jack Baird was up for that and he came pretty close with his header on the delivery in from the left.
Cardle fired a shot narrowly wide from 25 yards and then Joe combined with Clark playing a neat 1-2 on halfway to send away McManus who was closed out and forced a 52nd minute corner on the left. Alas after it was taken short by Higginbotham that did not change anything
There was speedy break up the left by Cardle in 59 minutes and despite the close attentions of three Saints the Pars favourite got a cross in but Higginbotham was penalised for heading Eckersley as he tried to head the ball.
There were more signs of optimism when next minute McManus broke and Clark was given the chance to loop the ball across for Cardle on the 18 yard line but he could not get the shot away. The 330 strong travelling support rallied as Cardle again teased Liam Smith on the left and Talbot was able to cross for Clark to head wide.
Total confusion reigned for several minutes after referee Craig Charleston awarded the Fifers a 64th minute penalty. Williamson seemed to have been taken down on the byeline by Adam Eckersley but after consulting his assistant the referee changed his mind and gave the decision the other way. Williamson was yellow carded just to add to the confusion.
It was 69th minute when Higginbotham pumped the ball from the right touchline to the far side of the Pars goal, there was a scramble and miraculously St Mirren escaped with just a corner.
A 71st free kick kept up the pressure as Dunfermline really pressed for a goal. Cardle`s delivery targeted the centre halves who were up but they were blown up for too enthusiastic challenges.
Three minutes later Ashcroft got his head to another Cardle free kick but no one could convert the knock down.
Danny Mullen came on to make his St Mirren debut and his desire to make an immediate impact took some of the heat out of the Pars push. Dunfermline put on two sub of their own when Fraser Aird and Michael Paton replaced Joe Cardle and Kallum Higginbotham in 82 minutes.
Paton`s first involvement was to deliver a great ball in from the free kick on the right but Clark`s header was held by Samson. Next in 86 minute Williamson`s cross was flicked on for Aird at the far post but he sent what was a great chance wide left.
It had been a determined effort from the Pars for almost every minute of the second half and the four added but they were to leave Paisley pointless.
SUBS NOT USED: Gregor Buchanan, Jordan Kirkpatrick, John Sutton, Gary McKenzie, Ross Stewart
SCORERS: C Smith (38)
DUNFERMLINE: Sean Murdoch: Ryan Williamson, Callum Morris (c), Lee Ashcroft, Jason Talbot: Kallum Higginbotham (Michael Paton 82), Nat Wedderburn, Dean Shiels, Joe Cardle (Fraser Aird 82): Nicky Clark, Declan McManus.
SUBS NOT USED: Lewis Martin, Andy Ryan, Callum Smith, Jean-Yves M`Voto, Cammy Gill (GK)
YELLOW CARD: Murdoch (9), Morris (22), McManus (58), Williamson (66), Cardle (76)
REFEREE: Craig Charleston
WEATHER: Sunny 2C
NEXT MATCH: Ladbrokes Championship (home) v Brechin City, Saturday 23rd December 2017 3.00pm kick off at East End Park
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St Mirren 1-0 Dunfermline
Sat, 16th Dec 2017
Allan Johnston post St Mirren
Sat, 16th Dec 2017
Nicky Clark post St Mirren
Sat, 16th Dec 2017
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Preview St MirrenSaturday, 16th Dec 2017
Ladbrokes Championship: (away) v St Mirren, Saturday 16th December 2017, kick off 3.00pm at the Paisley 2021 Stadium
St Mirren have been one of the teams of the season so far. After winning a fight to stave off what at one point last season certain relegation, Jack Ross` team currently sit second just one point behind league leaders Dundee United.
The first meeting with the Buddies at East End Park in September was a resounding 3-0 win for the Fifers. Since the Saints have won six of their subsequent ten league games, Dunfermline have won just two.
In league matches between the clubs, the Pars hold the advantage overall with 37 wins to Saints 29.
League Record v St Mirren
Pld 91 W39 D25 L29
Record win away to Saints is 5-0 when Bert Paton (2), Hugh Robertson, Hugh Maxwell and Jim Fleming did the damage in season 66/67. The Buddies have won by four goals a few times, 6-2 being the biggest result in February 1959 when they even scored one of the Pars two.
Milestones St Mirren (Away)
Last League Victory 19/11/16 1 - 0 Championship
Last League Defeat 10/10/15 1 - 2 League Cup
Best League Victory * 15/10/66 5 - 0 Div One*
Worst League Defeat* 18/02/59 2 - 6 Div One*
* Pre Reconstruction
The 1-0 win in November 2016 was Dunfermline first away win over St Mirren since the Buddies moved from Love Street to Greenhill Road. Prior to that success, the Pars had won only once in Paisley since March 2000, a 1-0 win in 2007 but of the last dozen matches Dunfermline have won four, St Mirren three and five have been drawn.
Last Twelve Matches v St Mirren
16-09-2017 Dunfermline 3-0 St Mirren Championship
11-03-2017 St Mirren 0-0 Dunfermline Championship
14-01-2017 Dunfermline Athletic 1-1 St Mirren Championship
19-11-2016 St Mirren 0-1 Dunfermline Athletic Championship
24-09-2016 Dunfermline Athletic 4-3 St Mirren Championship
10-10-2015 St Mirren 4-0 Dunfermline Athletic Scottish Challenge Cup
26-08-2014 St Mirren 2-1 Dunfermline Athletic Scottish League Cup
22-04-2012 St Mirren 4-4 Dunfermline Athletic SPL
24-03-2012 Dunfermline Athletic 1-1 St Mirren SPL
19-11-2011 St Mirren 2-1 Dunfermline Athletic SPL
25-07-2011 Dunfermline Athletic 0-0 St Mirren SPL
23-09-2008 Dunfermline Athletic 2-0 St Mirren Scottish League Cup
Last Meeting in Paisley - 11th March 2017
St Mirren 0 Dunfermline 0
This result turned out to be a good one given the seven match unbeaten run that this started for St Mirren.
The Pars almost had the first success, hitting on the break. Michael Moffat started the move in his own half, picking out Kallum Higginbotham on midway and he then switched the ball on for Paul McMullan who squared for Higgy to shoot but keeper Billy O`Brien blocked the shot.
For a time it was all St Mirren and a good exchange on the left put Stephen Mallan in for a fine strike from 18 yards but Sean Murdoch earned his oats. Then a 27th minute free kick 30 yards out saw Mallan`s shot deflected off the Pars man for a corner on the left that was to be overhit and wasted.
As the interval approached St Mirren continued to cross balls into the box from both flanks but nothing to trouble the Fifers defence. Within 40 seconds of the restart Moffat fired a good chance just over the bar. The Pars initially started the half the better team and pushed up with some nice interchanges between Moffat and Higginbotham, then in 49th minute Morris was penalised as Morgan shot off target. Mallan had the opportunity from the free kick 25 yards out but struck that at the four man defensive wall.
McMullan saw his shot from the edge of the box tipped over by O`Brien. A further break by Saints then quickly set up Morgan but there were groans as his not so well connected shot went straight to Murdoch. The draw suited Dunfermline much more than it did St Mirren.
ST MIRREN: Billy O`Brien: Gary Irvine, Gary Mackenzie, Harry Davis, Adam Eckersley: Stephen Mallan, Cameron Smith (Stelios Demetriou 80), Lewis Morgan, Stephen McGinn, Josh Todd (Rory Loy 54), John Sutton
SUBS NOT USED: Kyle Magennis, Jack Baird, Craig Storie, Pal Fjelde, Jamie Lanfield (GK).
DUNFERMLINE: Sean Murdoch: Andy Geggan (c), Callum Morris, Lee Ashcroft, Jason Talbot: Nat Wedderburn: Kallum Higginbotham (Michael Paton 74) John Herron, Paul McMullan: Nicky Clark, Michael Moffat.
SUBS NOT USED: Joe Cardle, Gavin Reilly, Rhys McCabe, Callum Fordyce, Lewis Spence, Cammy Gill (GK)
Form last six matches
Queen of the South (H) L 2-5
Dundee United (A) L 1-2
Dumbarton (H) D 2-2
Morton (H) D 1-1
Queens Park (A) W 4-1
Falkirk (A) D 1-1
Brechin City (A) W 2-1
Dumbarton (H) L 0-1
Livingston (W) W 3-1
Inverness Caley Th (A) W 2-0
Lothian Thistle (A) W 7-1
Dundee United (A) L 1-2
League Position: 5th
League Points: 23
League Record: P16 W6 D5 L5 GF32 GA22
Goal Difference: +10
Last Six League Match Form: LDDDLL
League Position: 2nd
League Points: 32
League Record: P16 W10 D2 L4 GF31 GA20
Goal Difference: +11
Last Six League Match Form: DLWWLW
Teams last time out
DUNFERMLINE (v Queen of the South):Sean Murdoch: Ryan Williamson, Callum Morris (c), Lee Ashcroft, Jason Talbot (Fraser Aird 87): Michael Paton, Nat Wedderburn (Dean Shiels 35), Lewis Martin (Kallum Higginbotham 65), Joe Cardle: Nicky Clark, Declan McManus.
SUBS NOT USED: Callum Smith, Jean-Yves M`Voto, Cammy Gill (GK)
ST MIRREN (v Brechin City):Craig Samson: Liam Smith, Jack Baird, Harry Davis, Adam Eckersley, Ian McShane (John Sutton 61), Stephen McGinn, Kyle Magennis, Cammy Smith (Jordan Kirkpatrick), Lewis Morgan (Gregor Buchanan 87), Gavin Reilly
SIBS NOT USED: Conor O`Keefe, Daryl Duffy, Ross Stewart, Jamie McCart
Referee will be Craig Charleston.
Other Championship Fixtures
Falkirk v Brechin City
Inverness Caley Thistle v Dumbarton
Livingston v Morton
Queen of the South v Dundee United
- Dunfermline 2 Queen of the South 5
- Managers post Queen of the South
- Dundee United 2 Dunfermline 1
- Hospitality v Brechin City
- 11/03/17: St Mirren 0 Dunfermline 0