Callum Morris returned to the starting 11, with Jean Yves M'Voto dropping out. Dean Shiels was back in the matchday squad, on the bench.
Job done in emphatic fashion, with some well taken goals and a career first goal for Ryan Williamson. Dunfermline required just a point from this game to secure a promotion play-off place (assuming Inverness would defeat Morton, which they did). Dumbarton had their own forthcoming play-offs at the other end of the table to concern themselves with. Their already-depleted squad, missing several players through injury, was weakened further today when their captain Craig Barr was sent off early in the game.
The match began with Dumbarton having a couple of attacks but then losing Craig Barr to a red card in the 9th minute. Barr might have been better advised to allow Andy Ryan to run in on goal but instead pulled down the Pars striker and will now almost certainly miss his team's play-off semi final against Arbroath. Soon after the ordering off, Dumbarton had their best chance when Kevin Nisbet got into a dangerous position in the box but could not capitalise on the opening.
Dunfermline took the lead after 18 minutes when Kallum Higginbotham took a pass from Fraser Aird and struck the ball past Jamie Ewings in the Dumbarton goal. Seven minutes later, Higgy made it 2-0 with a great finish. He then attempted an overhead kick from a tight angle that narrowly failed to connect, and then saw his long range piledriver smack the bar.
Aird got the Pars' third goal after working his way past a Dumbarton defender and placing his shot across the keeper and into the corner - a very well made and finished goal.
Half time saw Dumbarton manager Stephen Aitken make a beeline for referee Colin Steven, to dispute the sending off. Aitken will be very concerned with his side's form and morale going into their play-off games, and as the game progressed through the second half, they were unable to make any impression and looked totally dispirited.
Andy Ryan should have made it 4-0 when Aird's cross picked out the striker perfectly only for his header to go wide. By this time Joe Cardle and Jason Talbot had replaced Higginbotham and Lee Ashcroft. Declan McManus was then brought on for Nicky Clark, and tried everything to break his goalscoring drought, only to be denied by good goalkeeping.
Inverness were now 3-0 ahead at Morton but it did not matter given Dunfermline's dominance of this game. The pace of the game dropped as the minutes ticked by. James Vincent was strolling through the game in midfield, given time to play and showing class and composure on the ball. Together with Higginbotham and Aird, Vincent was one of the team's better performers.
A fourth goal against a demoralised opponent might normally have been met with polite applause but when the scorer was Ryan Williamson, with a career-first goal, East End Park erupted. The popular full-back poked the ball home and ran behind the goal at the home end with his arms in the air, sparking great celebrations. It was clear that all Pars fans, players and management were delighted for the big man.
The play-offs seemed a long way off a few weeks ago, when the Dunfermline team had fallen out of the top 4. The Pars were without a win from early January until a 1-0 home win against Inverness in mid-March started the current 10 match unbeaten run that has transformed the season and given us real hope of returning to the top division after a 6 year absence.
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