New year and new hope as Pars brush aside rivals
New signing Lee Robinson replaced the injured Sean Murdoch in goals, while Jean Yves M'Voto took over from captain Callum Morris, who was serving a 1 game suspension. The team lined up in a 4-1-3-2 formation, with Nicky Clark captain.
MINUTES THAT MATTERED:
1' Nicky Clark shot just wide
3' Jean Yves M'Voto saw his header saved by Falkirk keeper Robbie Mutch
16' GOAL Clark opened the scoring with a shot from inside the box that Mutch got a hand to but couldn't prevent going in (assist: Declan McManus)
23' Clark's header from a Jason Talbot cross just missed the goal
28' Lee Robinson turned a goal-bound Aaron Muirhead 20 yarder round the post
45' Robinson saved again, this time from an angled Louis Longridge shot
50' GOAL After good work by Joe Cardle, the ball moved to Talbot and Clark before McManus slid in to make it 2-0 to Dunfermline
61' Reghan Tumilty's shot looked to be heading for the corner of the goal but Robinson got down to tip the ball round the post
77' Cardle shot from inside the box. The ball hit the post and rebounded into Mutch's arms
80' Robinson did well to save a Welsh shot
89' Falkirk almost got a goal back when Tumilty's shot hit the post
90' Pars sub Andy Ryan got to the ball first before an out-rushing Mutch but was unable to capitalise, with his eventual effort cleared by the Falkirk defence
Those who saw my pre-match tweet (below, and here) will appreciate how satisfied the feeling was when leaving EEP at the end of today's game - the team delivered and, aided by some outstanding individual performances, defeated a Falkirk side whose support were more concerned with singing about Dean Shiels than their own relegation worries.
Any pre-match concerns about the absence of the team's captain and vice-captain - Callum Morris and Sean Murdoch - were unfounded, with their replacements (Jean Yves M'Voto and Lee Robinson) among the best of the Pars players. Robinson had 4 excellent saves and was assured throughout. M'Voto was an absolute rock at the back and on this performance deserves to retain his place.
Falkirk had 3 new signings in their line-up but aside from snap shots that kept Robinson busy at various points in the game, were outplayed and outfought by a resolute Dunfermline team. We wanted spirit and we got it - from the team and the supporters, including the vociferous group in the North West stand, who stood throughout the game and created a tremendous atmosphere that has been missing of late. The team responded, with M'Voto and Nat Wedderburn (in a defensive midfield role) using their physicality to great effect. M'Voto in particular was peerless, doing his job without any frills, a classic centre half performance.
The creative spark of the team, Joe Cardle, was everywhere and although playing predominantly on the left of a 3 man midfield (with Wedderburn behind them), had a free reign to move around the pitch, which he did successfully. Up front the partnership of Nicky Clark and Declan McManus was a constant threat to the Falkirk backline. Clark took on the responsibility of being captain and worked hard, and scored his 12th goal of the season, while McManus - the definition of tireless - took his season's tally to 11.
Robinson won the sponsor's man of the match award, and while the new keeper had a flawless debut, I felt M'Voto was marginally the team's best performer on the day.
This was the Dunfermline team that we wanted to see - the players and management deserve great credit for their efforts today, as do the supporters.
On the theme of supporters: the element of the Falkirk support who brought false eyes to the stadium today and threw them onto the pitch, in addition to singing about Dean Shiels, is beyond the comprehension of any right-thinking person. These people should be ashamed of themselves. They are the lowest of the low.
Photos and edits by Pars Review
Match photo gallery