Another defeat, partly due to the idiocy of one of our most experienced players. The sending off, after Kallum Higginbotham elbowed Stelios Demetriou off the ball in the 15th minute, came with Dunfermline already a goal behind. Ross County had taken a 9th minute lead, when an unmarked Billy McKay scored his 12th goal of the season. This team do not help themselves at times: the double blow obviously impacting the remainder of the game and although technically remaining 'in the game', a loss is a loss.
The manager had 2 weeks to formulate his plans for today's game and he selected a side that lined up 4-5-1, with Higginbotham and Robbie Muirhead on the wings, and Faissal up front alone. The subs bench was not even filled, with numerous injuries depleting the squad, but that cannot be used as an excuse - Ross County also had injuries and were without several first team regulars.
Muirhead, Faissal and James Vincent came into the team, with Andy Ryan and Aidan Connolly (both presumably injured) not even amongst the subs, and Myles Hippolyte dropping to the bench.
After the early drama, the remainder of the first half was fairly even, with the 10-man Pars side at least showing effort and some element of resolve. As always, lack of a cutting edge when half chances presented themselves was an issue but at least the team did not crumble, as many might have feared.
The second half began with Ross Stewart put through on goal but denied by Lee Robinson. Dunfermline then created two chances - a Joe Thomson shot saved by Scott Fox, and a Muirhead header that missed the target.
The home side doubled their lead in the 61st minute through Jamie Lindsay. It was at this point that the manager may have made changes, to freshen up a side that had given much effort but could have benefited by at least one sub replacing a tiring midfield. A Pars goal was to come before any changes were made, when Ross Draper turned the ball into his own net after Fox had pushed out a cross from Faissal, in the 73rd minute.
At that point, Aidan Keena replaced Malaury Martin. The final 2 Pars substitutions were made in the 86th and 89th minutes, which says it all. It may have made no difference to bring on players earlier but under the circumstances it may have been advisable.
The game ended with a 7th defeat in 14 League games. Is it enough just to avoid a hammering? I'll leave that for you to decide.
Thanks to my friends in Aviemore for the hospitality this weekend. Apologies for lack of photos - my son Ben is in Blackpool (booked when this was supposed to be a free weekend, before a fixture change), so no photos or matchday video diary for this game.
Are you sick of watching the same movie over and over again? Because I am - and hearing the same comments after the film finishes. This disgraceful defeat, to a Falkirk team who we could charitably describe as ''better'' than the previous time we played them, only because they were so terrible then, has to be the final time we have to suffer a Pars performance with this guy in charge. He is NOT A MANAGER. He cannot motivate, he cannot make positive game-changing switches - we have now played 7 games in the League at East End Park and have scored 2 goals! And one of those was a gift from a Partick Thistle defender. The other was a consolation goal in a 3-1 defeat by Ross County. Post-match, it's the same bland drivel from him - better team, have to score, etc, etc.
Yes, we started the game well today. Kallum Higginbotham almost scored with a long range shot that was saved. We then should have scored when the rebound fell to Andy Ryan but he fluffed his finish. Joe Thomson then had an effort blocked by a defender. Higginbotham was to be the team's only leader - and best player - and was subbed with 15 minutes remaining. His replacement, Aidan Connolly, spent part of his time playing up front, with Andy Ryan on the right wing. You could not make this stuff up. Meanwhile, The other like-for-like replacement (2 wingers on, 2 off), Robbie Muirhead, on for Myles Hippolyte, proved again what a waste of money his signing has been.
Falkirk hit the bar early in the second half, their only serious goal attempt until their goal later in the game. The goal came in the 71st minute, a 30 yard effort after every Pars player backed off to allow Zak Rudden to shoot. Lee Robinson was slow to react and was a long way from the ball as it went past him.
Then came the subs, mentioned already.
There was an enforced first half substitution when Aidan Keena had to go off injured. Faissal came on, saw Falkirk keeper Fasan make one good save from a second half shot, but spent the rest of the game running about, looking lost, a sad sight.
We can't score and we have handed our biggest rivals only their second win of the season. Time for the board to make the best decision for the club, no matter how much they admire the manager.
A very welcome 3 points and a first victory over Alloa in 3 attempts this season - today's match saw the Pars dominate for long spells but also have a couple of first half escapes when Alloa might have taken the lead. The winning goal was a goal of the season contender from leftback Jackson Longridge, his fourth of the season.
Allan Johnston named an unchanged lineup although James Vincent was fit again and listed among the substitutes. The tight pitch - narrowed to the minimum width under UEFA guidelines - did little to encourage expansive football, which is clearly Alloa's intent this season - to battle and scrap for points.
Dunfermline started well and made Alloa keeper Neil Parry work hard - both Andy Ryan and Aidan Keena forced good saves from Parry early in the game. It was refreshing to see a Pars team have no hesitation in shooting. The home side threatened with a Dario Zanatta header that just missed the target. The Pars continued to press but on a breakaway it seemed certain that Alloa would go ahead after Greig Spence shot towards an open goal, only for Lee Ashcroft to appear from nowhere to block the attempt. Great defending by the Pars captain but a big let-off too.
The dreich weather and darkening sky greeted the teams at the start of the second half. Dunfermline tried to play the better football but the tight pitch and slippy conditions were not helping. Alloa did not have any clear cut second half chances with the Pars defence clearing the ball without frills.
Allan Johnston made a double substitution after 60 minutes, replacing James Craigen and Aidan Connolly with Ryan Williamson and Kallum Higginbotham. The 2 subs combined on the right side, with Myles Hippolyte moving from right to left wing. Eight minutes later, Faissal El Bakhtaoui replaced Aidan Keena in attack.
The game's only goal followed soon after the final Pars' substitution. The ball broke out to Jackson Longridge who hit a rasper of a shot from outside the box into the top corner of the net. A superb strike and on the balance of play, a deserved lead for Dunfermline.
There were further chances: Faissal had a header from a Williamson cross that Parry held; Andy Ryan then evaded a couple of challenges in the penalty box but was unable to finish. Faissal then took a cross from Higginbotham but shot too early when he had time to bring the ball in.
Alloa pressed for a late equaliser but resolute defending by Williamson and then a backtracking Thomson saw Dunfermline through to the end of the 90 minutes with the lead intact.
A satisfying performance.
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