Livi's first loss in 7 games as Pars move up to second with impressive victory
One change to the starting 11 for Dunfermline and a significant one: the policy of playing a centre forward on the wing, which had resulted in three winless matches, was ended. Fraser Aird, although right footed, was brought into the left wing, with Declan McManus dropping to the bench. Callum Smith, last week's left winger, played up front with Nicky Clark. Joe Cardle was fit enough to be named among the substitutes after a month out injured.
MINUTES THAT MATTERED:
2' GOAL! Livi keeper Neil Alexander's clearance is charged down by Kallum Higginbotham. The ball rebounded off Higgy and into the net to open the scoring.
5' Sean Murdoch made a superb reaction save from a Josh Mullin attempt from close range.
30' GOAL! Fraser Aird doubled Dunfermline's lead with a goal of the season contender. Moving in from the left wing, Aird glided past his opponent and hit a fantastic shot into the top corner of the goal.
38' GOAL! Higginbotham placed a shot into the corner of the net after good link up play by Fraser Aird and Nicky Clark.
61' Clark's shot from 20 yards hit the Livi post.
64' Clark's header from an Aird cross was tipped over by Alexander.
87' Danny Mullen scored a consolation goal for Livi after a corner kick found its way to him at the back post.
Yesterday's match preview (here) outlined the impressive form of the visiting side, which made today's win, and the manner in which it was achieved, all the more impressive. As noted above, a natural winger (Fraser Aird) came into the side on the left wing and scored a superb goal in what was an excellent all round display. Aird is all right foot but did well on the left, showing pace, good pass precision and skill.
The defence were dominant, with Callum Morris a close contender for man of the match. There were no failures in the Dunfermline side, with Nicky Clark unlucky not to break his recent barren run in front of goal. It was pleasing to see Joe Cardle get a run out near the end but his fellow sub Declan McManus (who was unused today) must be wondering why it was he who dropped out of the team. At least Johnston has options, although regarding the team formation, it took far too long for the penny to finally drop. Play wingers on the wing and play strikers as strikers. It's an easy concept, and one that in this division will be largely successful.
The quality of play today was a level above the stodgy display at Queen of the South last week. Incisive passing, quick pressing of the opposition: aspects of the team's performances from earlier in the season, that returned today. This was a confident, emphatic win and made a previously hard-to-beat Livi side look very ordinary.
Photos and edits by Pars Review
Tomorrow: StatPack feature plus match photo gallery & matchday vlog