Dunfermline Athletic

2012: St Mirren 4 Dunfermline 4

Memorable Match #33
Scottish Premier League
Saturday, 21st April 2012
Hasselbaink (4) 1-0; MacMillan (24) 1-1; Thomson (43) 2-1; Thomson (48) 3-1; Graham (56) 3-2; Buchanan (71) 4-3; Kirk (88) 4-4.

Sitting seven points behind 11th placed Hibs with five matches to go, Dunfermline`s SPL status was under threat. Their first post split fixture was away to St Mirren.

When the sides had met at East End Park, just four weeks before Steven Thomson headed the visitors into the lead before half time. Joe Cardle got a quick equaliser just 33 seconds into the second half but there was to be no winner.

Having won just two of their last 32 matches and amassed only 20 league points from 33 games, Dunfermline travelled to Paisley for a match in which they could safely be described as fighting for their SPL lives. Jim Jefferies had only been in charge for three matches and he brought back Martin Hardie and Liam Buchanan meaning Paul Willis and Andy Kirk dropped to the bench that contained no defenders at all.

St Mirren seeking just their second SPL win in 2012, replaced Jeroen Tesselaar and Steven Thomson with Jim Goodwin and Graham Carey. The skies darkened towards kick off with another heavy April shower threatening.

The 308 strong travelling support boasting a drummer and flags welcomed the Pars on to the park. Kyle Hutton and Liam Buchanan kicked the game off attacking the goal in front of the home support, and Hardie had a shot from distance blocked within 30 seconds.

In fourth minute Paul McGowan slipped the ball through for Nigel HASSELBAINK and with the defence looking for what might have been a fair offside decision, the striker swiftly moved into the right side of the box and under pressure from Austin McCann, slotted the ball under the advancing Chris Smith. It was the hosts first attack of the game 1-0.

The woodwork denied the Pars a goal in 19th minute when, taking advantage of a slack Saints pass, David Graham played a neat one-two off Hardie but luck was not to favour the Pars player`s left footed effort from 22 yards.

Then in 24 minutes Dunfermline got the joy that they deserved as Jordan MACMILLAN broke clear of Carey and released a fantastic left footed shot from the edge of the box that gave keeper Craig Samson little hope of stopping. 1-1.

Saints reshuffled their formation pulling van Zanten and Carey to full back with Goodwin moving into a midfield role. Only five minutes after being pegged back St Mirren should have restored their lead. A Carey ball over from the left was headed on to the crossbar by McGowan and remarkably Thomson failed to net the rebound.

Smith avoided an embarrassing own goal when Andy Dowie`s back header was clawed down by the keeper`s outstretched left hand.

The visitors made Samson work again just three minutes from the interval when Graham fed Mason the ball on the right and the keeper came out to steal the ball away from Hardie. Things turned for the worse however in 43 minutes. The dayglo boots of Carey swung another ball in from the left, neither the keeper nor his defenders went for the ball leaving THOMSON to drift in and head in number two.

Quite a frustrating first half for the bottom of the table team. They looked good for the spell up until they equalised but let St Mirren back into it and lost a silly goal just at the wrong time.

Half Time: St Mirren 2 Dunfermline 1

Joe Cardle replaced Jordan MacMillan for the second half meaning Gary Mason moved to the right back position. Two minutes after the restart McLean flashed a ball through the Pars penalty box and McCann got an important touch to deflect the ball away. Unfortunately a high ball was returned from the right and again THOMSON rose above Dowie to power the ball past Smith. Yet another deflating goal early in the second half of a game. 3-1.

Cardle`s first run in 54 minutes created a cross and an opportunity. Hardie was in position on the edge of the six yard box to meet it but his header was not good and the chance was gone. Two minutes later it was all so different as the Pars got back into the match. A loose pass was gathered by GRAHAM and he played a good 1-2 with Hardie to breach the home defence and finish in style. His first goal since 26th November, 3-2 and over half an hour to go.

The Fifers appeared to rise to the challenge with Graham and Cardle creating danger down the left, Buchanan forced a corner and then Hardie nearly getting on to a low ball into the Saints box.

The Pars fans chanted "get into them" as the play continued to sweep towards Samson`s goal but the goal was to come at the wrong end. THOMSON completed his hatrick in style on 66 minutes after Van Zanten dispossessed Cardle and advanced into the box where he teed up the former Rangers and Cardiff City striker for a good finish. 4-2

You could fear that Dunfermline might have thrown in the towel at that but then five minutes after going two behind, BUCHANAN was sent through in the right channel and with numerous defenders in tow there was only one option. The striker finished with class, finding the top corner of the near post from 18 yards. 4-3

Andy Kirk was an 85th minute sub and he immediately came close to getting on the end of Cardle`s inswinger before netting the Pars fourth in 88 minutes. Another great delivery from Cardle was headed home by substitute KIRK to give Dunfermline renewed hope. 4-4.

In the first minute of the three added minutes Kirk`s shot was deflected for a corner. Everyone attacked the cross but St Mirren got the ball away. In a frantic finale Kirk had a shot off target and then another ball into the box from the right was headed on by Barrowman but neither Cardle nor Hardie could get on the end of it.

Four goals but just one point. When you score four goals away from home you could reasonably expect to win but not in Paisley. Maybe the Fifers did not take the three points that were required but the team did show phenomenal spirit to salvage a point.

Sadly despite winning their next match against Aberdeen and drawing with Inverness, defeat at Easter Road sealed the Pars relegation from the SPL in 2012.

ST MIRREN: Craig Samson; Lee Mair, Jim Goodwin, Marc McAusland; David van Zanten, Dougie Imrie (Gary Teale 73), Paul McGowan, Kenny McLean, Graham Carey; Nigel Hasselbaink (Thomas Reilly 73), Steven Thompson
SUBS NOT USED: Darren McGregor, Graeme Smith, Aaron Mooy, Steven Thomson, Hugh Murray.
SCORERS: Hasselbaink (4), Thomson (43, 48, 66)
YELLOW CARD: Imrie (59)

DUNFERMLINE: Chris Smith; Jordan MacMillan (Joe Cardle HT), Andy Dowie, Alex Keddie, Austin McCann (c); David Graham, Gary Mason (Andy Kirk 85), Mark Kerr, Kyle Hutton; Martin Hardie Liam Buchanan (Andy Barrowman 78).
SUBS NOT USED: Ryan Thomson, Paul Willis, Steven McDougall, Bernardo Fernandez (GK).
SCORERS: MacMillan (24), Graham (56), Buchanan (71), Kirk (88)
YELLOW CARD: MacMillan (31), Keddie (78)

REFEREE: Iain Brines
WEATHER: Overcast 10°C

NEXT MATCH: (home) SPL v Aberdeen
Saturday 28th April kick off 3.00pm

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