Dunfermline 4 Dumbarton 0Saturday, 28th Apr 2018
Ladbrokes Championship: Callum Morris in place Jean-Yves M’Voto. Kallum Higginbotham (18) 1-0: Kallum Higginbotham (25) 2-0: Fraser Aird (45) 3-0: Ryan Williamson (66) 4-0:
This weekend Dunfermline Athletic celebrated 50 years since winning the Scottish Cup and there was hope going into this match that they could couple that with celebrating a play off place for the Premiership.
With one point from this home match against ninth placed Dumbarton enough to secure play off ties against Dundee United, manager Allan Johnston brought back Callum Morris in the absence of Jean-Yves M’Voto.
Dumbarton manager Stevie Aitken made five changes to his starting eleven allowing speculation his sights were set on their first play off game the following week. Out went Grant Gallagher, David Wilson, Tom Walsh, Danny Handling and Callum Gallagher. In came Iain Russell, Kyle Hutton, Aidan Wilson, Liam Burt and Kevin Nisbit.
1968 captain Roy Barry paraded the Scottish Cup as the teams came on to the pitch and it was the Pars who kicked off attacking the goal at the away end. After just 11 seconds Nicky Clark go5 in the first shot of the game, sending his low drive from 25 yards out narrowly wide left.
Andy Ryan was next to try a shot after Clark had headed the ball into his path but his fifth minute effort from the edge of the box was blocked out. Dumbarton’s first response was a Burt drive into the sidenetting three minutes later from an acute angle on the right.
As if the task would not be great enough for the Sons it was made a lot worse when their captain was shown a straight red in ninth minute. Ryan caused the problem wriggling his way through the middle. It looked like he had got safely past the last defender but was then tumbled. Referee Colin Steven looked at his stand side assistant and pulled out the red card for Craig Barr.
Dunfermline 4-0 Dumbarton
Sat, 28th Apr 2018
After treatment to Ryan, James Craigen rifled the 30 yard free kick on target but into arms of keeper Jamie Ewings. The ten men immediately had a good chance to go ahead when Nisbit made ground on the left side of the home box to cross an inviting ball into a dangerous area but none of the Dumbarton players got the vital touch.
Back at the other end Ryan was presented with a good opportunity at the far post but Ewing’s turned his effort on to the post and the ball was scrambled away. The Fifers were to open the scoring however in 18 minutes. The goal came from a deep cross from Fraser Aird on the left that evaded the defence and Kallum HIGGINBOTHAM smashed the ball home from ten yards out. 1-0
Seven minutes past in which Dumbarton were forced into a sub, Grant Gallagher for Iain Russell, before HIGGINBOTHAM doubled his tally. He was picked out on the left side of the Sons box and he found the net with a superb finish, 2-0.
Play was all towards the Dumbarton goal and Craigen fired a 30th minute shot over the crossbar from the edge of the box. Two minutes later a fine pass by Higginbotham sent Aird racing down the left and his cross fell nicely for Ryan in front of goal, but the luckless striker only found the keeper’s arms.
Lewis Martin made a good connection 35 yards out and his low stinger was deflected behind for a corner on the left. When Aird sent that over Higginbotham tried an overhead kick at the far post only to find the sidenetting. Another Aird cross was headed behind by Dougie Hill to earn the Pars a 41st minute corner on the right. That was defended but it was the left upright that denied Higginbotham a first half hat trick after releasing a fierce 40 yard effort.
Fraser AIRD scored Dunfermline’s third on the stroke of half time, cutting in from the left to find the net with a great shot from an acute angle on the left. 54% Dunfermline possession in the first half but 16 shots to the Sons one told the story of the first 45.
Half time: Dunfermline 3 Dumbarton 0
Jason Talbot replaced Lee Ashcroft before Dumbarton got the second half underway. Two minutes into the half an Aird delivery was met by Ryan but his header from eight yards out bounced outside the left post.
Aird provided another high ball into the opposition box in 55 minutes but Clark could not get high enough to convert the chance. Ryan tried another that found Ewings before Joe Cardle came on as a 61st minute sub for Kallum Higginbotham who went off to a standing ovation.
Ryan popped a 65th minute shot wide but next minute there was a piece of history as Ryan WILLIAMSON scored his first senior goal in his 111th appearance for Dunfermline Athletic. It was a Cardle who made the chance edging his way across the penalty box with the crowd screaming for a shot. It did not come but he slipped the ball right for the better placed full back to direct the ball home. 4-0 and what a celebration!
Talbot tried to get a piece of the action with a shot that was always veering wide right. Cardle had a go but again his shot was blocked and sub Declan McManus pulled his shot across the face of goal as play was restricted to the Dumbarton half.
Ewing’s pulled off a good save turning a McManus shot around his left hand post and although Ryan got a shot in from the 83rd minute corner that was not to find the net. Four minutes later McManus’ netbound effort was kept out by Hill but really that did not matter.
The result had been without question since Higgy’s first half brace and all that remained to be decided was who against and where was the first play off was to be on Tuesday night.
Dundee United successfully saw off second placed Livingston 2-0 to clinch third spot and so it would be East End Park on Tuesday night against United. Congratulations to Allan Johnston and his team for making the SPFL Premiership play offs.
SUBS NOT USED: Dan Armstrong, Nat Wedderburn, Dean Shiels, Cammy Gill (GK)
SCORERS: Higginbotham (18, 25), Aird (45), Williamson (66).
DUMBARTON: Jamie Ewings: David Smith, Craig Barr (c), Aidan Wilson, Dougie Hill: Stuart Carswell, Kyle Hutton, Liam Burt (Danny Handling 75), Iain Russell (Grant Gallagher 23), Andy Stirling: Kevin Nisbet (Mark Stewart 61).
SUBS NOT USED: Callum Gallagher, David Wilson, Dimitris Froxylias, Scott Gallacher (GK).
RED CARD: Barr (9)
REFEREE: Colin Steven
WEATHER: Sunny 10C
Half time 50/50 winning ticket number is 42520 for the prize of £1000
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