Pars achieve a much-needed victory that keeps top 4 hopes alive
Ben steps in again to write this match report.
Jason Talbot was suspended for this game and Jean Yves M'Voto and Joe Cardle, along with Michael Paton, missed out through injury. Kallum Higginbotham and Lewis Martin came into the starting 11, with Dean Shiels, Fraser Aird and Scott Lochhead added to the squad as subs.
A stepping stone to a bigger test at the weekend, Tuesday evening's match against Inverness brought a welcome victory that was admittedly not for the purists but produced the result that makes Saturday's meeting with 4th placed Morton a game that could define the rest of our season.
The first half felt like a typical mid-table meeting of 2 sides who have struggled for form of late. The game's only goal came from a James Craigen free kick. The goal aside, I thought both teams were very average with no one really testing either keeper. The second half was when the game really kicked into life from a Pars perspective, with Kallum Higginbotham having possibly his best game since October which, in turn, allowed Ryan Williamson to be back to his attacking best. The right wing combination of those 2 players was a key feature in much of our good early season form and, reunited for the first time in several weeks, they once again linked up well together. I also thought Lewis Martin, Tom Beadling and Declan McManus had good games and put themselves about well, with McManus very unlucky not to find the net at least once on the night, including one effort off the post. Higginbotham brought out a good save from Inverness keeper Mark Ridgers, who also dealt with a well-struck long range shot from Lewis Martin.
Inverness didn’t offer much however, and you had to feel for their small band of supporters who made the 280 mile round trip only to see such a lacklustre performance from their team , who offered nothing in terms of an attacking threat all night.
With Dunfermline, it’s always the hope that kills you and this performance (second half mainly) has put that little bit of belief back in me that we can make a late challenge for the play-offs. Of course, it will all be in vain if we don’t pick up the three points on Saturday, which is another must-win game at East End Park to look forward to. If the team can perform as they did in the second half of this game then I’ll be confident of a positive result.