Allan Johnston's draw specialists came away from Paisley with a deserved point in what was a very competitive game. The lack of goals should not suggest a lack of entertainment - both teams created openings and were fully committed to winning the game. St Mirren's need of the full 3 points was clear, as games run out in their bid to lift themselves off the bottom of the Championship table. They began by taking the game to Dunfermline, and were helped by the atrocious referee, Stephen Finnie, who once again in a Dunfermline game showed a mixture of incompetence and strange decision making.
The Pars team was once again unchanged, and it was Kallum Higginbotham who was Finnie's first target, booking the winger for a foul after 3 minutes. This clearly upset Higginbotham, who cut a frustrated figure for the remainder of his time on the park, eventually replaced by Michael Paton.
Sean Murdoch once again excelled, making a superb finger tip save from a 25 yard piledriver from Saints' Adam Eckersley. Murdoch was assured throughout, his handling, decision making and command of his penalty area faultless.
Saints midfielder Stephen Mallan showed why he is one of the Championship's best talents with 2 efforts on goal that Murdoch dealt with. In the Pars midfield, John Herron looked off the pace, but Nat Wedderburn had another impressive game.
Dunfermline were dealing with the home side's greater possession, defending resolutely and threatening on the break. One such Pars attack saw Paul McMullan challenged in the box but, predictably, Finnie was not interested.
The Moff was linking up play well, and with the second half a few minutes old, he burst forward and hammered a shot from 20 yards that narrowly went over the bar.
Rory Loy and Lewis Morgan both came close for Saints, and it was only determined Pars defending that prevented a goal, Andy Geggan and Lee Ashcroft in particular defending well. Jason Talbot was under pressure at times but could not be criticised for his attitude. Callum Morris had a couple of lapses of concentration that could have proved costly.
St Mirren were now getting frantic in their attacks, and the Pars defence, although tested, did not buckle. Then after the out-of-sorts Higginbotham was replaced, the best chance of the game fell to sub Michael Paton. Played through on the right side of the penalty area, he delayed when an early shot was possible, and his eventual shot was saved by Saints keeper Billy O'Brien.
The home side's Morgan, Loy, Mallan and McGinn all had crosses or half chances saved or cleared, and continued to be aided by the dreadful referee, who awarded them very debatable fouls in dangerous areas. The game ended with the Pars support appreciative of their team's effort.
Pars player ratings:
Photos: Pars Review.
Match photo gallery will be posted tomorrow.