The Pars' resurgence continued last night with a third consecutive win, with second half goals from Bruce Anderson (2) and Danny Devine putting the team within 2 points of a promotion play-off place. Visitors Thistle suffered another second half collapse - after shipping 4 goals to Ross County at the weekend after being 2-0 up, they conceded another 3 last night and rarely looked capable of threatening Ryan Scully's goal. The Pars keeper has now recorded three clean sheets in a row, to make a total of 4 shutouts in 5 games since his return to the club.
James Vincent and Myles Hippolyte were missing from the squad, presumably injured. Jackson Longridge, who until the weekend game game at Ayr had been an ever-present this season, and Faissal El Bakhtaoui were both still injured.
The midfield diamond was replaced by a 4-4-1-1 formation. Louis Longridge made his first start since October, playing behind Bruce Anderson, replacing Aidan Connolly. Kallum Higginbotham came back into the team in right midfield.
Starting 11 and formation:
The first half could generously be described as scrappy: Thistle offered little except for a Scott McDonald header, and after hesitancy in the Pars penalty box, Ryan Scully was forced to make his only real save of the evening from a shot by James Penrice. James Craigen had a shot from distance after 20th minutes that narrowly missed, while Bruce Anderson had Dunfermline's best chance of the half, shooting wide in the 35th minute after good play by Louis Longridge.
Just as in the last home game, against Inverness 10 days before, Dunfermline took a 47th minute lead. Ryan Blair's corner was flicked on by Danny Devine to Bruce Anderson, who touched the ball into the net from 4 yards. Thistle's response was tepid: a few ventures upfield without worrying the Pars defence which. Thh veteran strike partnership Scott McDonald and Kris Doolan were ineffective and both players were substituted in the 66th minute.
Dunfermline went 2-0 up in the 75th minute. From another Ryan Blair corner kick, Danny Devine rose and headed the ball powerfully past Conor Hazard in the Thistle goal for his first League goal of the season. The Irish defender has been the team's most improved player this month and his goal capped another very good performance from him.
The result was put beyond any doubt with 4 minutes remaining. James Craigen overlapped down the left, his cross finding Blair who played the ball onto Anderson for his second and the Pars' third goal.
An excellent second half performance and another vital 3 points.
Ryan Scully 7 Relatively untroubled but made one good blocking save in the first half.
Ryan Williamson 6 Still lacking confidence - not showing what he is capable of when on form.
Danny Devine 9 Another solid defensive display, capped off by a thumping header for the team's second goal.
Lee Ashcroft 8 Did well alongside Devine and kept the Thistle attack quiet.
James Craigen 9 Great run and cross that lead to the third goal. Can fit into almost any role and perform well.
Kallum Higginbotham 7 Back in the starting lineup. Tried to create and worked away on the right before being substituted.
Tom Beadling 7 Broke up play in midfield - does the job required of him.
Joe Thomson 7.5 Never lets the team down.
Ryan Blair 8 Expert deliveries from corners and lined up well with Craigen on the left.
Louis Longridge 7 One good turn and pass to Anderson in the first half but still building up match fitness.
Bruce Anderson 9 A born goal poacher - can go far in the game with this type of scoring instinct.
Subs used: Aidan Connolly (75 minutes), Matty Todd (84), Robbie Muirhead (89).