Dunfermline Athletic

2016: Dunfermline 3 Brechin City 1

Memorable Match #14
Ladbrokes League One
Saturday 26th March 2016

A first senior hattrick from Faissal El Bakhtaoui coupled with a Cowdenbeath win at Peterhead combined to ensure the League One title was won with this victory. There were over 4000 Pars fans at East End Park but they were expecting to celebrate promotion and party at Cliftonhill the following Saturday.

Brechin City could scupper those plans if they had kept up their newly found form.  The Angus side had pulled themselves off the bottom rung by winning their last four matches.

Regardless there were six league games to go and the Fifers were just two wins away from securing promotion to the Championship. Joe Cardle was out through suspension. David Hopkirk was the player to come in off the bench.

It was Easter Saturday and that meant that there was a large number of distant fans present for what could transpire to be a title clincher.

The teams were welcomed on to the pitch amidst much noise and they changed ends before Ryan Wallace and Faissal El Bakhtaoui got the match underway with the . Within 45 seconds Faiss had a good effort charged down and the opening minutes were full of good positive stuff from the home eleven.

Brechin suffered an early set back when player manager Darren Dods was forced into substituting himself after just five minutes, Euan Smith coming on in his place. Then as the eight minute started EL BAKHTAOUI slid in to meet a Wallace cross from the right. 1-0

The visitors attempt to get right back in the game within two minutes was thwarted by Jason Talbot. In the eleventh minute Hopkirk had two good chances, Graeme Smith had a fine save with his left foot and then the Pars player headed the returned ball over the crossbar. At the other end Andy Jackson had an opportunity but pulled his shot wide right from 15 yards out.

A Hopkirk`s cross in 22 minutes forced another corner on the left and from that Ben Richards-Everton found himself shielding the ball out right before crossing a brilliant ball that just evaded Andy Geggan.

The second goal of the game was only two more minutes away when a long diagonal pass from Talbot picked out EL BAKHTAOUI who finished in style for 2-0

Much celebration was soon tempered as former Pars striker Robert THOMSON got one back for the visitors. A simple through ball from Craig Molloy that maybe had the defence looking for an offside decision. 2-1

Murdoch fisted away a Jackson shot three minutes later as the Angus side looked to strike again. That was followed up by a Brad McKay clearance from a Jackson cut back. At this stage some in the crowd reacted to news of a Greig Spence goal for Cowdenbeath but on the park focus was clearly on the job in hand.

Half time: Dunfermline 2 Brechin City 1

Dunfermline had two great changes in the sixth minute of the second half. Reid was played in on the right side and his pass for Wallace six yards out was crashed against the crossbar and then El Bakhtaoui on the rebound hit the ball at the keeper from eight yards out.

Andy Jackson had the ball in the Pars net in 52 minutes but referee Kirkland blew up for a foul on Geggan amidst one almighty goalmouth stramash. At the other end a decision did go with Brechin as Moffat appeared to be tripped by last man Gary Fusco.

Richards-Everton conceded a free kick 22 yards out after McKay had failed to cut out a through ball. Willie Dyer smashed the free kick on target but a deflection off the Pars wall took the ball over rather fortunately for a corner that Brechin were to waste.

In 75 minutes Richards-Everton cut out a Watt cross but Dunfermline were getting drawn deeper. James Dale sent a wild shot from 30 yards wide and high. The Pars response were balls to Moffat from El Bakhtaoui and from Paton but it was a Wallace cross from the left that caused the next danger. Paul McLean and his keeper combined to clear but the keeper required treatment for his heroics.

Paul Joseph Crossan had replaced Ryan Wallace with only minutes to go and it was his strong run to catch a Paton pass that allowed him to cut back for EL BAKHTAOUI to finish with aplomb. 3-1

A fantastic way for Faissal El Bakhtaoui to register his first hattrick and there can hardly ever have been such a wonderful goal to clinch a league title. Referee Steven Kirkland blew after the restart and there was an anxious minute before confirmation from Balmoor Stadium - Peterhead 0 Cowdenbeath 1.

Ladbrokes League One champions 2015-2016. It was three years to the day since the club had announced that it would be going into administration. Now it was heading back to the Championship. Congratulations to all the management and players. Job done!

DUNFERMLINE: Sean Murdoch; Craig Reid, Brad McKay, Ben Richards-Everton, Jason Talbot; Michael Paton, Andy Geggan (c), Josh Falkingham, David Hopkirk (Michael Moffat 40); Ryan Wallace (Paul Joseph Crossan 89), Faissal El Bakhtaoui.
SUBS NOT USED: Rhys McCabe, Shaun Byrne, Lewis Martin, Shaun Rooney, David Hutton (GK).
SCORERS: El Bakhtaoui (8, 24, 91)
YELLOW CARD: Richards-Everton (55), Wallace (80)

BRECHIN CITY: Graeme Smith; Paul McLean, Darren Dods (Euan Smith 5), Gary Fusco, Willie Dyer; James Dale, Jamie Robson, Craig Molloy (Liam Coogans 77), Liam Watt, Andy Jackson, Robert Thomson.
SUBS NOT USED: Jonathan Tiffoney, Jamie Montgomery, Darren McCormack, Craig Johnston, Paddy O`Neil (GK)
SCORERS: Thomson (25)
YELLOW CARD: G Smith (54), Robson (80), Dyer (89)

REFEREE: Steven Kirkland
WEATHER: Dull, wet 11C

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