No changes to the Pars starting 11 and subs bench after last week's win at Brechin. Subs during game: Callum Smith for David Hopkirk (half time); Aaron Splaine for Dean Shiels (65); Andy Ryan for Declan McManus (82).
35' Fraser Fyvie opened the scoring for United after Sean Murdoch pushed out a Robson cross.
43' William Edjenguele's header reached Scott McDonald who made it 2-0.
44' Billy King hit the bar for United.
59' Fyvie got United's third with a well struck shot from 25 yards.
77' Callum Smith pulled a goal back with a header from a deflected Jason Talbot cross.
A hugely disappointing performance that extended the winless run against United to 10 games. Those making their first trip to EEP in the home end this season must have left wondering where the Pars side that were table toppers and had scored 21 goals in 7 League games disappeared to.
The game was relatively void of incident, as the "minutes that mattered" notes above would suggest. Sean Murdoch was not required to make any difficult saves before the away team opened the scoring. Dunfermline barely troubled visiting keeper Harry Lewis. Declan McManus had a first half effort that rolled into the keeper's hands, and with the exception of Callum Smith's second half consolation goal, that was about it as far as any meaningful attempts at goal from Allan Johnston's team.
In goal, Sean Murdoch was steady and couldn't do much about the goals conceded.
Ryan Williamson did not reach the same heights of the past few games in an attacking sense, but was sound defensively. Jason Talbot was the team's best defender. Central defenders Lee Ashcroft and Callum Morris both had shaky moments - Ashcroft lost possession in the build up for the first goal, while in the second half Morris almost cost the team a goal when he seemed unaware that Scott McDonald was ghosting past him - Murdoch's altertness saved the captain's embarrassment.
Wide midfielders Kallum Higginbotham and David Hopkirk were ineffective. Higgy almost lost composure near the end of the game, while Hopkirk had a very poor game and was subbed at half time. Big Nat had a couple of good moments in the middle of the park but also got caught out by nippier opponents. Dean Shiels showed class in brief spells but failed to impose himself.
Declan McManus worked hard as ever up front and was moved to the left after Hopkirk's withdrawal, but left wing is not his position. Quite how, or why, Nicky Clark was allowed to see out the whole game is something only Allan Johnston can explain. When Nicky isn't scoring, he offers next to nothing.
Subs: Callum Smith scored his third Pars goal in a spirited second half appearance. Aaron Splaine improved the midfield during his 25 minutes on the park. Andy Ryan was given 8 minutes and played on the left wing, to little effect.
The biggest disappointment was the feeling that, yet again, United adopted a "big team" attitude against us, and we were all too happy to comply. We never once looked like a team who expected to win the game. Previous concerns over mental weakness in key games resurfaced today and must be addressed by the management team - unless they are also part of the problem. Otherwise we will achieve nothing this season.
Pars Review man of the match - Jason Talbot
Tomorrow: match photo gallery & vlog will be posted
All photos & edits by Pars Review
Archives (current site)