Don't let the late drama fool you: a Dunfermline goal with 3 minutes of normal time remaining was followed by a last gasp Morton equaliser in added on time. However, for almost all of this match, the football on display from both sides was awful. At times it verged on comically bad, except no one was laughing. We have been subjected to terrible games at Cappielow in the past couple of years, the quality of play matching the stadium, which is a dump. Crammed into the doll's house size main stand, this was a miserable experience and the blame, I am sad to say, sits at the door of our manager.
For months I have defended Stevie Crawford. Last season he inherited an unmotivated squad from Allan Johnston. This summer, a complete rebuild, focusing on youth, gave fresh hope. We knew there would be inconsistency. I have written the same words over and over again on this site since July. Patience is required, there will be bumps in the road. Good performances have been followed by struggles, but we can live with that. However, there are growing signs that there is no overall plan: formations change, players who start brightly go off form as the weeks go on. Meanwhile, the manager seems out of his depth. It pains me to say that. His post match comments are now in the realms of the bizarre, as Captain Mainwaring once said. He is naturally trying to stay positive but there can be no fooling the people who sit through garbage like yesterday. Again, I get no pleasure from writing those words.
The first half was enough to get football stopped. The second half, with Dunfermline still persisting with the one up front tactic that never works, lit up briefly after Pars sub Andy Ryan came on, and the formation was changed to 4-4-2: Ryan's pass to Kevin Nisbet should have been buried, and then soon after Nisbet's shot was parried by Morton keeper Sam Ramsbottom straight to the waiting Ryan, who scored from close range. This should have been the approach from the start of the game - and not trying to eke out a draw against poor opponents. Where is the fire, the heart, the will to win? And I mean that literally - to win?! Not to draw! Or avoid just defeat!
I am aware some readers will disagree with my opinions. Please be aware that I have defended the manager for months. This is not a knee jerk reaction. I just don't see what he is trying to achieve with the squad that he has built. They are playing well within themselves. We have seen that they can be much, much better than this.
The late equaliser, after Morton had a goal disallowed prior to Ryan's opener, was a sickener. Referee Beaton seemed to find added on time from nowhere. A win would have been a case of let's get out of this hovel with the points. It would not - or should not - have masked the dreadful football on display.
Prove me wrong, Stevie!
A frustrating game that saw Dunfermline fail to defeat Alloa at East End Park for a fifth consecutive match. After the morale-boosting win at Firhill last week, the Pars were looking to build momentum with a first home League win of the season but had to settle for a draw despite having more of the game.
Stevie Crawford made 2 changes to the starting 11 that faced Partick Thistle last time out: Gabby McGill (confirmed as injured ) and Paul Paton (presumably injured) were replaced by Lewis McCann and Harry Cochrane in the same 4-4-2 formation as last week. The loss of Paton brought the average age of the team that began the game down to 21.8, surely the youngest Dunfermline lineup for quite some time.
There was a glorious chance for Dunfermline to open the scoring inside the first minute. A long ball from Lee Ashcroft made its way to Lewis McCann who got past his marker and played a pass to Kevin Nisbet. The striker, 10 yards from an open goal, put his shot wide of target. McCann then almost got his first Pars goal when he cleverly got past 2 Alloa defenders only to see his goal-bound shot headed clear. There was another near miss when Greg Kiltie couldn't divert Kyle Turner's shot beyond Alloa keeper Jamie MacDonald.
Although Dunfermline had more clear cut chances, Alloa were gradually getting into the game and playing the better football. There was a strange lethargy in the Pars' play while the visitors were linking up well but couldn't turn their impressive build up play into chances that might have troubled Cammy Gill in the home goal.
Five minutes into the second half, Alloa took the lead. After breaking up field, the ball fell to Adam Brown and from 30 yards the midfielder scored what will probably be the goal of his career with a great shot that flew into the top corner of Gill's net.
Seven minutes later, Dunfermline equalised. A hand ball by Nisbet in the lead up to the goal was missed by referee Colin Steven. The ball reached Kyle Turner whose well-placed shot from 19 yards gave drew Dunfermline level and gave the young midfielder his fifth goal of the season.
From that point on, Dunfermline dominated possession and ought to have scored at least once more to secure the 3 points the team deserved on the balance of play. Nisbet was having an off-day in front of goal - after his early miss, he had a free header in the 80th minute that hit the bar and then in the final minute, from another cross by substitute Josh Coley, Nisbet was unable to get his head to the ball a yard from goal.
Alloa once again proved to be a difficult opponent and Dunfermline ended the game disappointed not to have broken the winless run at home against the Clackmannanshire side. As I have remarked in almost every report this season, the young Pars team - with yesterday's side the most youthful fielded so far - will inevitable show inconsistency. There were positives to be taken from yesterday's game along with areas where there can, and hopefully will be, improvement, given time. The lack of a clinical edge was the difference between one point and three.
A first League win of the season and a jump of 3 places in the Championship table, with defeated Thistle slipping to the bottom: Firhill, baked in late summer heat, saw Dunfermline record a vital and encouraging victory that will hopefully be the catalyst for a positive autumn and beyond.
Manager Stevie Crawford made 2 changes to the team that played Inverness last weekend: fit-again (or fit enough) Ryan Dow was back on the right wing, and Gabby McGill partnered Kevin Nisbet up front. Tom Beadling and Lewis McCann moved to the bench. The team lined up in a 4-4-2 formation and although hosts Thistle had more of the ball in the opening 20 minutes, finding space in attacking areas, they rarely threatened Cammy Gill's goal and it was Dunfermline who came closest to opening the scoring during this period when Kevin Nisbet's header was saved by Scott Fox.
It was Nisbet who was first on the scoresheet, in the 23rd minute. From an Aaron Comrie cross Nisbet found the corner of Fox's net for his 7th goal of the season. Relief, as much as joy in scoring, was obvious: this was the first time since August 10 that the team had taken the lead in a Championship game.
Nisbet almost got his and Dunfermline's second after 30 minutes when his well-struck shot from 12 yards hit the bar. Three minutes later came a goal for the ages: Ryan Dow picked up the ball just inside the Thistle half, ran across and towards the right side, past 3 Thistle opponents, and placed the ball across Fox and into the corner for a sensational goal, one of the finest individual goals I have seen from a Pars player.
A feature of many Pars' games this season has been an inability to add to a half time lead, allowing opponents back into games. There was no such threat of this yesterday: four minutes into the second half, Kyle Turner shot from 25 yards and with the aid of a deflection, the ball went past Fox and put Dunfermline 3-0 up. If you don't shoot, you don't score!
Lewis McCann, who had come on at half time for Gabby McGill, was unlucky not to make it 4-0 with a well placed shot that narrowly missed the goal. McCann epitomised the spirit in the team with several good runs and some effective tracking back. Captain Paul Paton was also making his presence felt with a few hard, but fair, meaty challenges in midfield. This was Paton's best game in several weeks, the old warhorse leading the team through example, helped by vice captain Lee Ashcroft who also had a solid game.
The team managed the game well as it reached its conclusion: hunting in packs was back, restricting the opposition to an occasional cross but no direct shots on target in the final quarter, with keeper Cammy Gill achieving a first shut out in the League. The determination of all 11 players not to lose even one goal when 3-0 up and with the clock ticking down was pleasing: this was a collective effort, lit up by the excellence of Dow, but very much a team performance. After weeks of struggle the players showed exactly what they are capable of yesterday.
Patience and giving players time to develop was always going to be key this season; the challenge now is to use this performance as a marker. This team may not achieve promotion but neither do they belong in a relegation battle. It could be next season before we see the full benefits of this summer's rebuild but there is still an opportunity to make this season a memorable one if consistency can be found to match the ability within the squad.
Another loss; no attempts on target, 450 minutes since the last Pars' League goal and now more than 6 months since the last win in the Championship: Dunfermline slipped to bottom of the division after this latest defeat in what was a desperately poor game. Inverness came into the game having scored 8 times (all against Morton) in 2 League and Cup matches prior to their visit to Fife. There was no such threat from the Highlanders yesterday and they were marginally the worst of two awful teams.
The Pars lined up with 3 changes to the side that lost to Alloa in the Challenge Cup last week. Josh Edwards, Lewis McCann and Kevin Nisbet came in for Tom Lang (injured), Matty Todd and Gabby McGill. Lewis Martin moved to centre half from fullback. The 4-4-2 formation saw Tom Beadling play the whole game on the right wing, an experiment that will surely not be repeated. Kyle Turner was in centre midfield with Paul Paton, but often playing behind Paton, another puzzling tactic. Lewis McCann was on the left, which clearly the manager believes to be his best position.
There is very little in way of incidents to describe. It was simply a terrible game of football. Crawford claimed post-match that because his side put more crosses into the box, they possibly deserved more than a point. Inverness boss John Robertson was, as always, accurate and honest in his summing up, saying ''from 20 minutes in you could have put your money on a 0-0 draw''.
The game's only goal involved Pars sub Danny Devine, who was judged to have handled the ball in the penalty box with 3 minutes remaining. Inverness sub Sean Welsh shot straight down the middle of Cammy Gill's goal with the keeper diving to Welsh's left.
One point or none, the loss of a point should not be the main focus. The poor quality of play, the lack of a high press that characterised the League Cup group games, the absence of any cohesion in the team's passing: these are all factors that have to be addressed.
Dunfermline as a team, and the club legend, nice guy manager appear to have totally lost their way. It is sad to see such a decline in what appeared to be an exciting new team. Where is the team that played Dundee off the park in the opening League game? Why has the form of certain players nose-dived? Is is lack of confidence? Is it the result of flooding the squad with players in, mainly, an 18-22 age group, who now lack leadership? Is it helped by continually playing the squad's only veteran almost because he is the squad's only veteran, when his hips appear to have seized up?
We want this new approach to succeed, for the good of the club and its future. It is still ''only'' five games into the League campaign. There is ample time to turn this around, starting next week at Firhill. A big result is needed to install belief into the squad. It starts from the dugout.
The decline of the rebuilt 2019/20 Pars continued yesterday at East End Park with a defeat by Alloa in the Tunnock's Caramel Wafer Challenge Cup. For a second consecutive week, Dunfermline lost to part-time opposition and regardless of the merits of the competition just exited, there can be no hiding from how poor this performance was.
A new 4-3-2-1 formation was tested with loan signing Greg Kiltie going straight into the starting 11. Kiltie was one of 5 changes made by Stevie Crawford: in came Cammy Gill, Tom Lang, Matty Todd, Gabby McGill and Kiltie. Out from last week's team went Ryan Scully, Danny Devine, Josh Coley and Kevin Nisbet, plus Lewis McCann, who was absent on international duty with Ireland's under 21s. The line up was a mix of regular starters plus other players requiring game time. The formation was not a success: there was little width; the midfield 3 were either posted missing (Tom Beadling), playing too deep (Paul Paton) or not first team-ready (Matty Todd).
In goals, Cammy Gill was given the opportunity to impress, but failed to convince. Gill may have been selected regardless of Ryan Scully's form - the Challenge Cup being a good breeding ground for squad players - but this game represented a real chance for the second choice keeper to make a claim for a start in the League, given Scully's poor displays of late.
After a scrappy opening period, Dunfermline took the lead in the 29th minute. Gabby McGill broke upfield, released Kyle Turner, who then played a pass across to Greg Kiltie, who shot home from inside the penalty box. The team could not replicate the quality of that move during the hour that followed. Neither could they take advantage of the loss of Alloa keeper Neil Parry to injury a few minutes after the opening goal. Parry's replacement was 20 year old Chris Henry, making only the third appearance of his senior career.
Gill, more vocal than Scully but lacking presence in goal, was largely responsible for Alloa's first goal, which came five minutes before the break. A cross from the left was pawed downwards by the Pars keeper, a rarely seen method of effective goalkeeping. The ball bounced towards Lang, who was caught out and unable to clear, leaving Alloa forward Robert Thomson with a chance to score, which he took. The teams went into the half time break level.
Eight minutes into the second half, a familiar theme returned to East End Park when Alan Trouten scored for Alloa. Last season, Trouten scored more goals at the Pars' stadium (5) than any Dunfermline player. He added another goal yesterday with a well-placed finish to put the visitors 2-1 up.
Substitutions were then made: Andy Ryan and Kevin Nisbet replaced Matty Todd and Gabby McGill. A minute later, there was a third change made but this time not by choice, when Lang was injured and had to be withdrawn. Josh Edwards came on at left back, with Lewis Martin moving to central defence. Stuart Morrison and Danny Devine, who had partnered Lee Ashcroft in the middle of the defence in the previous 2 games, remained on the bench.
The formation remained the same, although more loosely, with Andy Ryan taking a position somewhere on the right side. Just as at Arbroath last week, there was no pummeling of the opponents' goal. Dunfermline had more possession but a series of shots blasted over and crosses played too long or behind the goal meant that the Alloa reserve keeper had a relatively easy time of it, only required to catch the occasional high ball, usually unchallenged.
In injury time the otherwise anonymous Beadling hit a shot that struck Trouten. Appeals for a penalty were waved away by referee Steven McLean. By this point, Alloa were down to 10 men, after Blair Malcolm, himself a 76th minute substitute, had to go off injured, with the visitors having made all their permitted substitutions.
Last season, Alloa knocked the Pars out of this competition on penalties after the game ended 2-2. This time, their 2-1 win saw them record a first victory in 90 minutes at East End Park since 1977. In 35 year old captain and centre half Andy Graham, they had the game's best player, the type of veteran that (including 32 year old Paul Paton) the current Dunfermline team lacks. The drive to play youth, however well-intentioned, is having a detrimental effect on results and performances. One or two older heads are needed to guide the core of young players who have ability and may well go onto have good careers at Dunfermline or elsewhere. As a collective, however, they are not yet ready to compete at this level and to secure positive results against opponents who are little more than well-organised workers. This is not said with hindsight: I have repeated this often, even during the League Cup group games when the team topped their group. I have also urged for patience to be applied and that is still the case. Ultimately, however, results have to improve.
Early season positivity is in danger of evaporating fast if performances like this are to be repeated. After a summer squad revamp, with players mostly under 22 brought in to the Pars first team pool, optimism rose after topping the Betfred Cup group and an excellent first half display against Dundee in the opening League game. Sadly, performance levels have dipped dramatically since then: a drab draw at Queen of the South, a loss without laying a glove on an admittedly good Dundee United side, then yesterday's outing at Gayfield, with the team lacking creativity and often looking completely disorganised. After stating that patience will be required, I am not about to turn on the team or management, but there are several worrying signs that have to be addressed and corrected if we are to avoid a long season at the wrong end of the division.
Three changes were made to the team that lost to Dundee United: Ryan Dow (injured) was not in the squad, while Stuart Morrison and Andy Ryan dropped to the bench. Josh Coley switched to the right wing in place of Dow, Lewis McCann took Coley's left wing berth, and Danny Devine and Kyle Turner came into the starting 11.
The first half saw Dunfermline have the supposed advantage of the strong wind that whipped in from the nearby North Sea, blowing towards the town end of Arbroath. It was the home side that had the game's first goal attempt, Bobby Linn's shot palmed away by Ryan Scully in the 5th minute. With Arbroath unable to launch long balls without the ball hanging in the air and heading backwards, the Pars team had a couple of efforts from the left side - Kevin Nisbet's shot going well wide, and Lewis McCann coming closer with his right footed curler. Kyle Turner then jinked past an opponent before slipping in the act of shooting from 20 yards, his shot easily gathered by home keeper Darren Jamieson.
At the other end, there was a repeat of last week's kamikaze defensive play when Scully received a passback and then kicked the ball to a marked Paul Paton, 25 yards from goal. Paton, never the most mobile, then kicked the ball out for a corner. A mess.
Half time came with the game goalless and devoid of much in the way of quality play or entertainment.
Dick Campbell made a halftime substitution with Luke Donnelly replacing Greig Spence, who had been booked in the first half for a needless foul on Scully. It took the substitute only 5 minutes to make an impact with a shot from just outside the box, headed for Scully's near post. The Pars keeper went to ground like a sack of tatties and allowed the ball to go past him for what turned out to be the game's only goal.
The 40 minutes that followed saw the wind die down slightly but Dunfermline unable to threaten home goal. The closest the game came to an equaliser was when Turner tried to chip Jamieson after the Arbroath keeper did not clear the ball properly but could not get enough on the attempt.
We were then subjected to the sight of Danny Devine repeatedly punting the ball up the park, into the stand and various other places. The defender, making his first start of the season for the first team, had a torrid time and deteriorated further as the game went on.
The game petered out with no late flurries or incidents that might have led to a share of the points. Where was the quality and the enthusiasm of the early season games? This looked like a completely different team. Stevie Crawford claimed in his post match interview that he is ''not concerned'' and said that the fixtures at the start of the season had been difficult, listing the games against the 2 Dundee clubs, which can be accepted, but also the other 2 matches played so far - against Queen of the South (a team whose only League goal this season came against Dunfermline) and yesterday's newly-promoted part time opponents.
Patience is required now, more than ever, but unless there is an improvement in performance, belief will inevitably wither away no matter how well we want the team and management to do.
Greg Shields' reserve side were comfortable winners of the Fife Cup at East End Park last night, dominating the game and playing some good football in the process. 22 year old Tom Lang was the team's oldest player, playing in central defence alongside 18 year old captain Paul Brown. East Fife fielded a few first team players but were no threat to the Dunfermline side at any stage of the game.
The Pars side included Vinnie Steels, listed as a trialist. The 18 year old, on Burnley's books, had a very good game and it was refreshing to see an old fashioned winger, taking the ball past the fullback time after time, and whipping over inviting crosses into the box. His burst of pace was also noticeable. The whole team played well and once again midfielder Paul Allan was excellent in possession, a tidy player who rarely wastes a ball.
The first half had echoes of the first team's Betfred Cup games at East End Park this season: racing to a 3-0 lead and although unable to add any further goals in the second period, never in danger of letting the opposition back into the game. The opening goal came after 22 minutes when Tom Lang headed in from a Matty Bowman corner kick. Five minutes later, it was 2-0: East Fife's defenders failed to clear the ball and then brought down Lewis Sawers inside the box. Gabby McGill scored from the spot.
In the 37th minute it was 3-0: Steels' cross was finished expertly by 17 year old Cammy Graham, who was impressive throughout the match.
There were no further goals in the second half but the introduction of 3 Pars' substitutes provided further encouragement for the future. 16 year olds Quinn Coulson, Aaran Dair and Kieran Mitchell all contributed to some quick and incisive passing moves. The ball was played on the ground throughout and the team's link-up play was very good to watch.
After the final whistle, the team collected their winners' medals and Paul Brown lifted the trophy. Winning is a good habit to get into and games such as this are a further step in the development of this young squad.
Outplayed but also making life difficult for ourselves at times: yesterday's defeat to top of the table Dundee United was further confirmation that this season's rebuilt Pars squad are still in the early development stage and will require time and patience in the quest to eventually achieve consistency of performance.
Two changes were made to the team that started against Celtic last week: Josh Coley replaced Josh Edwards and Andy Ryan started up front in place of Kyle Turner. This was a more attacking line up but neither Coley nor Ryan did much to justify their selection; Coley was substituted at half time and Ryan withdrawn during the second half, both ineffective. Their replacements - Turner and Lewis McCann - were arguably the team's best performers during their time of the pitch.
The opening 5 minutes started well enough but soon we began to look vulnerable. After last week's admirable defensive resilience at Parkhead, we looked fragile at the back, playing ourselves into trouble with slack passes involving goalkeeper Ryan Scully and the back four, gifting the ball to the opposition in dangerous areas. In the 10th minute, the first goal came from a predictable source, Lawrence Shankland, who was too strong for Stuart Morrison and released a shot that went through Scully's legs and in. Still we continued to build play up from the back but lacked accuracy and again caused ourselves unnecessary bother with loose distribution and several players looking off the pace of the game.
The game's second goal was scored by Shankland after 30 minutes. Paul McMullen got past Lewis Martin and from his accurate cross, Shankland headed the ball in via Scully's body. We were creating very little at the other end and halftime came with us 2-0 down and hardly having threatened the visitors' goal.
Kyle Turner was brought on at halftime to replace Josh Coley and the team's formation was switched to 4-3-3. Turner almost got the Pars back into the game with a shot that was saved by United keeper Benjamin Siegrist. Kevin Nisbet, who for most of the game cut an isolated figure in attack, then had one clear chance to score but shot wide of goal in the direction he was looking rather than at the target. Aside from a few corners that Lee Ashcroft could not get his head to, that was the total of our attempts at goal and although the second half display was an improvement on the opening 45 minutes, we were still second best in all areas.
United had at least 4 chances to extend their lead: Nicky Clark shot wide after Stuart Morrison's poor ball out of defence played us into trouble; Peter Pawlett had a miss of Chris Iwelumo proportions; Shankland failed to complete his hat trick from the penalty spot, Scully smothering the striker's kick; and Shankland again, with a header, could have done better.
In the match preview for this game I commented that ''expectation should be tempered with realism''. When our best 14 or 15 players are on form, we can produce quality displays such as the opening half against Dundee; when off-form, we play as we did yesterday. I would like to see a couple of more experienced players brought in to prevent relying on teenagers from the bench, some of whom are not far enough along in their development to influence first team games, and to challenge the more established first picks. There is no need for scapegoating or negativity; as noted at the start of this report, time and patience are required, while also eliminating kamikaze defensive sloppiness.
Heroes, very one of them. A few minutes separated us from a penalty shoot out that could have seen the elimination of Scotland's champions from the Betfred Cup, ending their bid for a quadruple treble. We came as close - and much closer - than almost any other team has since 2016 in defeating Celtic in a cup competition and despite their greater possession, ultimately they had to rely on a fluke and a deflection to defeat us.
This was a day to remember and included one of those moments that will live forever in the memory of every Pars fan. In the 55th minute Mikey Johnston's mishit cross flew beyond Ryan Scully to give Celtic the lead, after we had frustrated them and could even had gone ahead earlier in the game when Kevin Nisbet, through on goal, took a heavier touch than he would have liked and could only poke the ball wide of goal. Then the moment came. 77 minutes on the clock: Pars sub Andy Ryan fought off a challenge from Calum McGregor and broke down the left, into the box and cut the ball back perfectly for Tom Beadling who struck it with purpose and accuracy into the corner of the net. Pandemonium followed in the Pars section of the stands - we had stood up to the country's best team and were now level with them and suddenly in with a real chance of causing a huge upset.
Defensively, we gave as good a performance as any Pars side in living memory. Collectively we were superb but a special word has to go to the outstanding Lewis Martin: a colossus on the left side of the Pars defence who, wearing the number 4 shirt, was faultless and inspirational. Norrie would have been proud of the whole team yesterday and none more than Martin, wearing the legendary captain's number. The current captain, Paul Paton, and vice captain Lee Ashcroft showed great leadership and guided their younger team mates through the game.
With only 5 minutes of extra time remaining, James Forrest's shot was deflected beyond Scully and gave Celtic their second fortuitous goal of the game. There was still time for a Pars free kick to be flighted into the box. Ashcroft fell after Olivier Ntcham had a hand on his back. Appeals for a penalty were turned away by referee John Beaton. The game then ended with Celtic's Lewis Morgan killing time at the corner flag, desperate for the game to end.
Everyone associated with DAFC can be proud: players, management, and the superb backing that the 1200 travelling fans gave the team. We faced up to a team with far greater resources but what they do not have is our unity, on and off the pitch: we are on the road back and this was a significant part of our journey back to the top flight of Scottish football.
If only football matches lasted 45 minutes - or 44. For the fifth time in 6 games this season, Dunfermline went into the break ahead but were unable, for the fourth game out of those 6, to add any goals in the second half. Last week, the game against Dundee turned in the 44th minute with the award of a penalty to the opposition, resulting in a 2-0 lead being reduced to 2-1 and the pendulum swinging in favour of Dundee for most of the remainder of the game. Yesterday, with Dunfermline leading 1-0, a Queens' header crashed off the bar in the final minute of the opening period. An escape, but once again a sign of what was to follow.
Stevie Crawford made 2 changes to his starting 11: Kyle Turner, suspended last week, came in on the left wing for Josh Coley, while Andy Ryan replaced Lewis McCann up front.
The home side, managed by Allan Johnston, included ex-Pars Faissal El Bakhtoui, Michael Paton and Scott Mercer.
It was talisman Turner who opened the scoring in the 8th minute after a skillful dodge past 2 Queens defenders and a well placed shot beyond Robby McCrorie in the home goal. Andy Ryan should have made it 2-0 with a shot from 15 yards that went wide and then Kevin Nisbet, played through on goal, could only hit his shot at the out-rushing McRorie. In other games, the team have established at least a 2 goal lead but the failure to add to Turner's goal was to prove costly.
The second half began with the infamous Dumfries seagulls still perched on top of the moss-covered roof of the main stand. The club had issued a warning during the week (I kid you not) that anyone caught feeding the seagulls would be ejected from the ground; the stadium announcer repeated that warning before the game started then added, in jest presumably, that ''you can't feed them but you can eat them if you want''. Gallows humour, Dunfries-style. The birds, who apparently settle down and do their business on Palmerston's artificial pitch when games are not being played, had certainly made their mark on the seats of the East Stand where we sat.
Back to the game - although the second half was largely devoid of quality or incident. Queens showed a cynical side to their game, twice pulling back Dunfermline attackers when a breakaway seemed possible. Five home players plus Allan Johnston were booked, with no yellows issued to Crawford's team.
With Dunfermline unable to take hold of the game, Queens equalised through old foe Gary Oliver after 62 minutes. Lee Ashcroft's challenge and attempted clearance fell to Oliver who tucked the ball beyond Ryan Scully. The Pars keeper then made an excellent save, tipping a goal-bound Darren Brownlie header over the bar. There was late drama when Paul Paton hit his own post with a sliced clearance; then referee Steven Reid, who had not enjoyed the best of games, seemed to point to the spot after Queens' Connor Murray was challenged in the box, then changed his mind to the relief of Pars players and fans.
In the final minute, a Pars corner was headed wide by Euan Murray, who fell awkwardly and required medical attention. Concern grew for the defender as he was stretchered off but fortunately it was confirmed after the match that a hospital visit was not required after his neck had been injured in the incident.
A disappointing game overall, with the trend for second half declines continuing.
Thankfully, there were no reports of any seagulls being eaten by any especially-hungry local or travelling fans.
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