McManus gets his first Pars goals in another convincing home win
Declan McManus and Joe Cardle both scored doubles as Dunfermline easily dealt with Peterhead's sometimes questionable tactics at East End Park. There was 1 change to the team that started the previous game at East Fife, with Dean Shiels replacing Nat Wedderburn.
Straight from the kick-off, the Pars took the game to the visitors, almost scoring one of the fastest ever goals in the stadium when McManus burst forward on the right, then moved inside only to have his shot blocked. The opening goal did not take long to come though, and it was McManus who finished off a move engineered by Nicky Clark after 7 minutes. After impressing with his work rate in the opening 2 games of the Betfred Cup, but without scoring, it was good to see McManus opening his goal account for the club.
Joe Cardle doubled the lead in the 12th minute after Kallum Higginbotham found him in the box. Cardle swept the ball into the net for his first goal of the season. Dunfermline were dominating the game, with Peterhead resorting to some dangerous lunges that fortunately failed to connect with Pars' players legs.
Cardle made it 3-0 after 22 minutes following a great run down the wing from Ryan Williamson, who looked up and played a perfect pass to the Pars winger, who finished with confidence.
In the 40th minute, Peterhead's Rory McAllister conned referee Bobby Madden into booking Callum Morris by going down easily in a tussle with the Dunfermline captain. McAllister himself was booked 4 minutes later for fouling Morris, and compounded the offence by then holding his face as if Morris had hit him.
Just as in the previous home game against Elgin, Dunfermline added an early second half goal to a resounding first half lead. This time it was McManus, with a sublime lob over Peterhead keeper Greg Fleming. It was by no means an easy chance, with McManus judging the angle and distance to perfection as the ball sailed over Fleming and into the net.
Peterhead were a beaten side but did threaten for the first time when firstly fullback Jason Brown missed a great chance to score from a header, then Sean Murdoch made a good diving save from a shot from ex-Par Willie Gibson.
Allan Johnston made 2 changes in the 59th minute with Aaron Splaine and Callum Smith replacing Michael Paton and Nicky Clark.
Peterhead did get a consolation goal in 61 minutes when Lee Ashcroft handled in the box, and Rory McAllister scored from the resultant penalty. Another Pars change was made with Big Jock M'Voto coming on for Joe Cardle, and the formation changing to 3-5-2.
A fifth Dunfermline goal came after 74 minutes when McManus' cross from the right was sliced into his own net by Scott Ross.
The game was played in poor weather conditions, with a cold wind and heavy showers. The team did well to keep the ball on the ground and comprehensively outplay their opponents. Dean Shiels was efficient in midfield on his first start, Ryan Williamson was always keen to get involved with overlapping runs up the right side, Cardle will be boosted by his double, but it was Declan McManus who was the standout performer. His workrate is exceptional but he is much more than a willing workhorse. He has a good touch and awareness of the play around him, working well within the team and already looking like a clever signing.
Pars starting 11 & subs:
Tomorrow: full match photo gallery.
Photos & edits: Pars Review
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