Dunfermline 1 Kilmarnock 2Saturday, 12th May 2012
Seven changes in Pars team; three for Killie. Willis (20) 1-0; Kelly (85) 1-1: Winchester (88) 1-2.
It was the last match of their SPL season and two goals in the last five minutes denied the Pars what would have been their second home win. For the Pars final match of the season Manager Jim Jefferies brought in Bernardo Fernadez, the Spanish goalkeeper signed in March, for his Dunfermline Athletic debut.
Alex Keddie returned after serving his one match suspension, Paul Willis, Ryan Thomson, Joe Cardle, Steven McDougall and Liam Buchanan all came into the starting eleven. Kilmarnock made three changes with Kyle Letheren replacing Cammy Bell in goal, Ryan O'Leary and Ross Barbour also started with Lee Johnson and Mahamadou Sissoko dropping out.
In bright sunshine Kilmarnock kicked off attacking the goal at the McCathie Stand end and denied the Pars much of the ball for the opening five minutes. The first Pars pressure came in seven minutes when Buchanan broke through the left channel but Lewis Toshney recovered to put in a timely tackle on the Pars striker as he burst through on goal.
Willis' cross from the right was turned behind by Barbour for the first corner of the afternoon two minutes later but the all red kitted Killie keeper fisted clear. McDougall then supplied a good ball in from the right that panicked the visitors defence for a moment but they survived.
Keddie's foul on Shiels in 14 minutes promised much but delivered nothing. Then two minutes later there was some messy defending on the top of the Pars penalty box and eventually the ball was hit off Harkins by Jordan McMillan and the ball went trundling wide of the left post.
After McDougall was tugged by Shiels, Cardle sent the free kick from midway inside the opposition half to find Buchanan at the far side of the penalty box that Buchanan headed to the near post where WILLIS had the easiest of tasks to turn the ball in for his first goal of the season. 1-0.
Kerr sent Buchanan scurrying down the right from where he produced a fine ball to the far post but no one was there to accept the chance. Cardle also laid a good pass into the goalmouth area where the keeper was able to collect without any pressure being put on him. Buchanan kept up the push taking the ball to the left byeline before cutting in and getting in a shot that was blocked by Kelly.
Kilmarnock got risky at the back and Thomson slipped a ball right for McDougall and he sent an effort narrowly wide left. The visitors first corner of the afternoon on the half hour gave Bernardo nothing to do as McDougall got the header in to clear. Three minutes later Dunfermline should have increased their advantage when McDougall supplied a good pass for Willis at the right post but his tap to Buchanan inside him was too weak and was cleared.
Just ahead of the break the sun went away and the play got increasingly dull as well. Ross Barbour tried a long range effort but was wide and failed to trouble Bernardo. Buchanan was closed out by O'Leary for a corner on the right but Cardle's delivery was easily dealt with by Kelly. At the other end Kelly shot on target but Bernardo held comfortably.
It had been a typical last day of the season game so far. Kilmarnock did not have much to play for while the Dunfermline players looked keen to impress their Manager ahead of contract considerations in the coming week.
Half time: Dunfermline 1 Kilmarnock 0
First threat of the second half came from a free kick that Shiels picked out Barbour at the left post but he headed wide and then Harkins got to the right byeline and chipped the ball across the face of goal taking out the keeper but thankfully Dowie was able to clear from under the crossbar.
It was all Kilmarnock at this stage with Harkins then testing the Spanish keeper with a snapshot from 25 yards. Dunfermline were able to hit on the break with Buchanan firing from an angle but then it was back in the Pars final third with both Shiels and Harkins getting in efforts that fell wide. In 61 minutes Harkins attempted a cheeky one from near the touchline making Bernardo tip over his crossbar just in case the ball was going to drop into the goal.
Harkins continued to test the Pars keeper at every opportunity forcing him to save and then Toshney crashed the ball through the six yard box with no takers. David Graham and Andy Kirk came on for Joe Cardle and Steven McDougall but it was Willis who came close when Mark Kerr flighted a good ball into the Kilmarnock box.
Jude Winchester and Chris Johnston were subs for the visitors as Kenny Shiels took the opportunity to give his youngsters a run out in the SPL. Jim Jefferies felt that this was not the day for him to do likewise. Martin Hardie was his final sub so Kerr Young and Shaun Byrne finished the season where they had spent most of it, on the bench.
On 75 minutes Willis got away from his marker but when in on goal the Killie keeper was able to pluck the chipped attempt out of the air. A Killie corner delivered by James Dayton from the right and the ball was trapped by Dowie in front of goal and after a hesitaton a clearance took the pressure off the defence.
Then in 81 minutes Boyle conceded another corner on the right but this time Bernardo, unchallenged, held easily. Four minutes later Kilmarnock got the equaliser that they had threatened for most of the second half. Keddie got a good block on a Shiels shot but the ball travelled to Liam KELLY who shot home from 25 yards giving the Pars new keeper no chance.
Pars fans thought that the lead had been restored within the minute but Kirk's net bound header was helped in by an offside Hardie. Worse was to follow when the visitors produced a fine move to win the game.
Dayton made the break played in Shiels as the ball went wide for Toshney and his ball teed up WINCHESTER with a simple chance from close in. 1-2 and just two minutes plus three added to go. Killie had the better chance to add to the scoreline but Dayton blasted over the bar.
It was not to be a second successive home win for the Pars, the final five minutes put paid to that. The defeat so typical of their season. And so to the First Division.
DUNFERMLINE: Bernardo Fernandez; Jordan McMillan, Andy Dowie, Alex Keddie, Paddy Boyle; Paul Willis, Ryan Thomson, Mark Kerr (c), Joe Cardle (David Graham 64), Steven McDougall (Andy Kirk 64), Liam Buchanan (Martin Hardie 72).
SUBS NOT USED: Gary Mason, Shaun Byrne, Kerr Young, Chris Smith (GK)
SCORER: Willis (20)
YELLOW CARD: Thomson (45)
KILMARNOCK: Kyle Letheren; Lewis Toshney, Michael Nelson, Ryan O'Leary, Ben Gordon, Liam Kelly, Ross Barbour (Jude Winchester 58), Lee Johnson, James Fowler, Dean Shiels, Gary Harkins (James Dayton 74), William Gros (Chris Johnston 68),
SUBS NOT USED: Cameron Bell; Danny Racchi, Lee Johnson, Ross Fisher,
SCORERS: Kelly (85), Winchester (88)
YELLOW CARD: Winchester (88)
REFEREE: Kevin Clancy
WEATHER: 12C Sunny (and no fog for Kilmarnock match!)
50/50 Prize Draw: No. 62741. The prize amount is £551.