Dumbarton 0 Dunfermline 4Saturday, 26th Aug 2017
Ladbrokes Championship: Pars go with same again, Joe Cardle (5) 0-1: Kallum Higginbotham (27) 0-2: Nicky Clark (87) 0-3: Andy Ryan (90+1) 0-4
Dunfermline go top of the table as they rock Dumbarton with four goals
The second away League match took Dunfermline to The YOUR Radio 103FM Stadium in Dumbarton. Manager Allan Johnston did not alter the team from that which successfully defeated Falkirk the previous Saturday. Nicky Clark returned to the squad taking a place on the subs bench.
Dumbarton manager Stevie Aitken was forced into changes, Mark Stewart was out with a broken elbow. Dougie Hill, David Wilson and David Smith were dropped to the bench and into the side came Alistair Roy, Danny Handling, Craig Barr and Christian Nade.
The sun shone on the Sons as the kicked off and they got what they expected at the start with Joe Cardle getting down the left and crossing an inviting ball that was jus too high for the challenging Kallum Higginbotham.
In third minute Cardle found himself in a similar situation and this time tried a low shot to the near post that keeper Scott Gallacher held.
The keeper then made a mistake in coming out to try and reach Higginbotham`s perfectly weighted through ball into the right side of the Dumbarton box. Declan McManus beat the keeper to the ball and gathering it on the byeline crossed for Callum Smith to head on target but the ball was headed clear by a defender. The Pars pressed the loose ball and CARDLE was able to net the opener from six yards out. 1-0
Dumbarton forced two corners from the right in 11th minute but Tom Walsh`s second was held by Sean Murdoch. Play switched to the other end and Smith did well to hold the ball up in the opposition box. Barr headed a clearance but the ball fell to Cardle whose shot from 30 yards was held by the keeper.
Walsh then in 13 minutes became the first player cautioned, seeing yellow for a challenge on a Jason Talbot. Six minutes later another Higginbotham pass sent McManus through the right channel and despite genuine attempts by the last man, Andy Dowie to clear the ball, the Pars striker was tumbled 25 yards out. A yellow card was shown to the Dumbarton captain and Higginbotham sent the free kick into space to the right of the defensive wall and Cardle ran in to fire the ball over the bar but the offside flag had been raised.
The Fifers went two up in 27 minutes with a great counterattack from a Dumbarton corner. Walsh overhit the setpiece and Talbot sent the ball forward. Smith from just inside his own half picked out Cardle on a run down the left. As he approached the Dumbarton box he laid the ball off to HIGGINBOTHAM to his left and he found the net with a fine low finish. 0-2
The Pars reeked danger with every move and Williamson was next to cut back a fine chance that the Dumbarton defence managed to intercept before McManus could net. Cardle tested the keeper once more from 27 yards and at the other end Walsh took advantage of Shiels to pop a shot from 25 yards over Murdoch`s crossbar.
Four minutes from the break Talbot was next to try and get on the scoresheet but his shot from 25 yards out went over the bar. Then Higginbotham and Smith exchanged passes deep into the opposition box but when Higgy got in the shot Sam Wardrop cleared. Next a Williamson cross tried to find Shiels at the far post but his effort slipped wide.
It had been a first half that Johnston`s side had totally dominated. The shots stat showed 11 to the home side`s one and comfortably ahead the large travelling support appeared to have plenty to look forward to in the second half.
Half time: Dumbarton 0 Dunfermline 2
The second half was just in its second minute when Cardle completely wrong footed sub David Smith on the left side of the box but his cut back was blocked and when McManus collected the loose ball he turned and shot from the edge of the box but was high.
Higginbotham fired over a 51st minute cross that Gallacher just beat McManus`s leap and then in the next minute there was comedy as the ball got trapped on the deck between Cardle and a defender in the Sons box. McManus broke when the ball reappeared and his lay off to Smith was played through Shiels to Williamson on the right but he ran the ball out when he really should have tried a shot.
There was no let up in the Pars pressure, it was one way traffic and at times it looked like training ground passing. To the amusement of the fans even Nat Wedderburn tried his hand at trying to find a route through the opposition defence.
On the hour Dumbarton got forward, there was a weak appeal for a penalty when Roy went down in a tackle from Morris and then right back Smith found himself running on to the ball on the left side of the Pars box but his cross was quickly closed out.
Three minutes later Dunfermline made a double substitution replacing Callum Smith and Declan McManus with Andy Ryan and David Hopkirk. Next chance fell to Wedderburn whose 30 yard effort was plucked out of the air by Gallacher. Andy Ryan`s first opportunity came from a free kick 22 yards out but he sent that over the bar.
Hopkirk earned a 70th minute corner but Ryan had been spilled in the box as his fellow sub appeared to be pushed away. The corner from the left raised a further penalty appeal for hand ball but the chance that did come dropped to Hopkirk who unluckily hit his effort wide right.
Dumbarton won two 72nd minute corners. Barr headed the first on to the crossbar and Murdoch tipped away the second. Five minutes later Dumbarton got caught pushing up. Hopkirk broke from half way with only Dowie trailing him. He evaded a trip but with Ryan and Cardle to his left Hoppy opted to shoot from 25 yards past the advancing goalkeeper. Unfortunately he shot past theleft post as well!
Referee Barry Cook showed Dowie a second yellow for his attempted trip and the Sons were forced to play out the match with ten men. The stadium announcer had just announced the Sons Trust Man of the Match as Craig Barr when the Sons central defender headed their best effort of the afternoon on target and Murdoch had to pull off a fine save to persevere his clean sheet.
In 87th minute a third Pars goal killed the game. Hopkirk found himself in space on the left and he delivered a ball to the back post that CLARK had the easiest of tasks to turn the ball home. 0-3
Most would have thought that it was all over but Andy RYAN was able to accept a clever back heeled from Clark and crash the ball past Gallacher in the first minute of added time. 0-4.
League leaders Dundee United went down to a 3-0 defeat at St Mirren so the Fifers went top of the Championship, their highest league placing since 2012.
SUBS NOT USED: Kyle Prior, Dougie Hill, Chris Johnston, Jamie Ewings (GK).
YELLOW CARD: Walsh (13), Dowie (19), Smith (49)
RED CARD: Dowie (77)
DUNFERMLINE: Sean Murdoch: Ryan Williamson, Callum Morris (c) Lee Ashcroft, Jason Talbot: Kallum Higginbotham, Nat Wedderburn, Dean Shiels, Joe Cardle (Nicky Clark 79): Declan McManus (Andy Ryan 63), Callum Smith (David Hopkirk 63).
SUBS NOT USED: Lewis Martin, Michael Paton, Jean M`Voto, Cammy Gill (GK)
SCORERS: Cardle (5), Higginbotham (27), Clark (87), Ryan (90+1)
YELLOW CARD: Wedderburn (85)
REFEREE: Barry Cook
WEATHER: Sunny 19C
NEXT MATCH: Irn Bru Cup (away) v Buckie Thistle, Saturday 2nd September 2017, kick off 3.00pm at Victoria Park.
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