An uncharacteristically sloppy defensive display cost the Dunfermline Under 20s the chance of moving further up the SPFL Development League table, as they fell to a 3-0 defeat at Hamilton's Superseal Stadium on Wednesday evening.
With many first team fringe players currently out injured, coach John Potter selected a youthful team, with the only overage players being 20 year olds Euan Spark, Ryan Williamson and Lewis Spence, all of whom are under a year too old to be classed as under 20s in Development League games. Williamson was making his return following the injury he suffered in the pre-match warm up against Dundee United at Tannadice on 8 November.
The Pars team lined up in a 4-2-3-1 formation, which changed to 4-4-1-1 during the second half when substitutions were made. Opponents Hamilton had the majority of possession during the opening 45 minutes but did not greatly threaten the Dunfermline goal. Keeper Cammy Gill saved 2 shots from around 20 yards, while the closest Dunfermline came to scoring was when Williamson made a trademark run up the wing, and from his cross Callum Smith headed from 15 yards, forcing Hamilton keeper Robbie Thomson to tip the ball over the bar.
Hamilton went ahead in the 50th minute when a pass from the left was not cut out and Ryan Tierney shot past Gill. Dunfermline then missed a tremendous chance to equalise when Scott Lochhead picked out Callum Smith but from 8 yards and with an open goal, the Pars striker blazed his shot over the bar.
As so often happens, a failure to take a chance is compounded by the opponent scoring, and it was Hamilton's Lewis Smith who doubled the home side's lead in the 62nd minute with a well struck shot from 18 yards. After 72 minutes it was 3-0. Paul Allan's back pass to Gill was far too short, and as the Pars keeper tried to get back into his goal, Hamilton played the ball across the penalty box until Smith found space to score his second goal and Hamilton's third.
Lochhead had a good effort from outside the box that whistled past the post, which was as close as Dunfermline came to pulling a goal back. Hamilton continued to look the more threatening team.
Starting line up and formation below.
Subs used: Brandon Luke, Ciaran Lafferty and Matthew Todd, replacing Ryan Williamson, Callum Smith and Robbie Crawford.
Formation changed after Brandon Luke replaced Ryan Williamson, with Johnny Galloway moving to right back and Luke playing on the left midfield in a 4-4-1-1 formation, Scott Lochhead then playing behind Callum Smith.
Match photos. All photos by Pars Review.