A desperately poor performance with part time Dumbarton unlucky not to win all 3 points
With Aaron Splaine and Andy Ryan injured, Allan Johnston brought Callum Smith into the starting 11 to replace Ryan, despite Declan McManus being free from suspension. Joe Cardle was dropped, with Fraser Aird moving to the left wing. Kallum Higginbotham returned to the team after serving his 1 game suspension.
MINUTES THAT MATTERED:
The first half was so woeful, so chronically bad, that there were almost no moments of any real significance that are worthy of noting. I will not waste my time, or yours, by describing how Big Nat fell on his backside or how Higgy was continually dispossessed etc. Callum Smith had a goal-bound shot cleared; that was pretty much it.
50' Tom Walsh puts Dumbarton ahead with a shot into the corner of the net from 25 yards
55' Joe Cardle and Michael Paton replace out-of-form pair Kallum Higginbotham and Dean Shiels
56' Callum Morris equalises after bringing the ball down and hooking a shot past the keeper
68' Dumbarton sub Dimitrios Froxylias hits an incredible shot from outside the box into the top corner to put Dumbarton 2-1 up
71' Declan McManus comes on in place of Fraser Aird. Johnston moves striker Callum Smith to the right wing
89' Nicky Clark equalises with a close range header
Apologies in advance to the reader who told me he "doesn't like reading match reports after we lose". Today's report has been written with the feel of a defeat despite the late equaliser. I have also allowed 3 hours to pass since full time to reflect on the performance, so as not to vent and rant, and to give a (hopefully) considered response to the game, the team selection and other issues.
No team has a given right to 3 points but the expectation of a home win was high pre-match, partly due to our excellent recent record against Dumbarton. It was, sadly, clear from the opening minutes that Dunfermline were flat, sloppy, and not in a mindset that would suggest a morale-boosting win, after just 1 League victory in 6 games, stretching back to September.
Kallum Higginbotham, brought back into the team after suspension, had a dreadful game, as did Dean Shiels, who always wanted far more time on the ball than he could possibly have expected. Johnston was correct to sub the pair before the hour, but his final substitution was baffling to say the least: Declan McManus on (no problem there) but Fraser Aird off, and striker Callum Smith moved to the wing, a return to the centre forward played wide nonsense of a few weeks ago when Cardle was injured. Taking off 2 wingers and then playing a striker on the wing either says that he has no faith in his actual wingers, or he is needing help with his team selection.
Credit to Dumbarton for being very well organised, and for Froxylias' magnificent goal. The Greek, who was on trial with the Pars in the summer, scored a goal that will surely be his team's goal of the season.
The Pars defence were almost blameless, and there was nothing Sean Murdoch could do about either goal. Midfield was abysmal. Aird was the best of the bunch but Shiels and Higgy, as noted above, had games to forget. Big Nat looked bigger and more immobile than ever. Up front, Nicky Clark could not be criticised for lacking effort. Callum Smith was somehow awarded the sponsors' man of the match.
I take no pleasure in criticising the team or the manager but as an independent website that exists to give a balanced and objective opinion, I cannot pretend that it was better than how I have described. There is no vendetta against the manager but I am losing faith in his ability to take the team further.
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