The weekend away has definitely been a more enjoyable experience than the game we came to watch. In a dire 90 minutes, Dunfermline had one shot on target (Aidan Connolly’s late effort that, ironically, would have been better served as a pass to an unmarked Faissal El Bakhtaoui). The home side were taller than almost any team I have seen us face and were very industrial. There wasn't much good football on show.
Allan Johnston reverted to a 4-4-2 starting lineup, possibility due to the absence of central defender Danny Devine, presumably one of the unnamed players who Johnston said had an injury niggle in the build up to the game. That left Lee Ashcroft and Mark Durnan as the only 2 fit centre halves at the club, with under 20s option Stuart Morrison injured in the pre-match warm-up and Lewis Martin weeks away from fitness after his recent operation. Fullbacks were James Craigen and Jackson Longridge, with Lee Ashcroft and Mark Durnan in central defence. In midfield, Kallum Higginbotham was wide right, with new signing Robbie Muirhead on the left. James Vincent and Joe Thomson were in the middle. Faissal El Bakhtaoui and Louis Longridge were up front. At the start of the second half, Longridge was on the left midfield, swapping positions with Muirhead. Eight minutes into the second period, Higgy was substituted, a move which saw Longridge change positions yet again, this time to right midfield.
Despite Boreham Wood being so poor, Dunfermline could not capitalise on that - the Pars were disjointed, slack with their passing and lacking urgency. Boreham Wood's fans were easily outnumbered by the away support, but the Pars team failed to take much inspiration from the enthusiastic backing they received from around 750 supporters. The team has regressed noticeably over the last month and certain players look out of sorts. Johnston has yet again recruited a non- striker in recent signing Robbie Muirhead, leaving us with a real lack of natural goal threats. Plenty of creators but not enough finishers.
Lee Robinson did his best to unnerve the Boreham Wood penalty takers, after the game ended goalless. Mercifully, we were spared extra time but after all of the opening 11 penalties were scored, it was Boreham Wood who eventually failed to convert, their sixth kick smacking off the bar. Robinson’s antics made no difference, ultimately. The successful kicks were the highlight by far of the day from a poor Pars team. Hopefully, with new players Robbie Muirhead and Malaury Martin gaining fitness, our form will improve.
Meanwhile, the trip itself has been a big success and, as I said in the match preview and at the start of this article, we will remember the weekend away more than the game itself.