A mixture of first team squad players and some of the regular Under 20s team were selected for the latest SPFL Development League game on Tuesday afternoon in Kelty. As part of the business partnership that The Pars have with Kelty Hearts, the Under 20s home games are now being played at Kelty's New Central Park ground. Conner Duthie, Michael Paton, David Hopkirk and Joe Cardle came into the team that lost 3-0 at Hamilton last week. The latter 3 players were joined by Euan Spark and Lewis Spence (both still 20 years old but outwith the age group for Under 20s) as overage players.
Dunfermline started brightly and had 2 chances to score early in the game. David Hopkirk headed wide from close range, and Callum Smith was denied a chance to shoot by an excellent tackle in the box when he looked certain to score. Kilmarnock striker Florent Bojaj then wasted a good chance when his final touch was too heavy after he had been played through on the Dunfermline goal.
In the 25th minute, Michael Paton had to be replaced due to injury, with Johnny Galloway coming on, and Scott Lochhead moving from centre midfield to the right wing. Two minutes later the Pars went ahead when referee Kyle Hall generously awarded a penalty following an apparent foul on Hopkirk. Joe Cardle struck the kick confidently to put Dunfermline 1-0 up.
Dunfermline continued to press the Killie defence after half time, with Lewis Spence firing a shot over the bar from 25 yards, and Hopkirk caught out by the offside flag when making a run through on goal.
Against the run of play, Killie equalised in the 57th minute when Florent Bojaj scored from 6 yards. The goal was one of the few Killie efforts on target, and it was no surprise that Dunfermline continued to look the more threatening team. Cardle was put through but took a bad touch and the chance was gone. Hopkirk then shot wide when he looked more likely to score. Ciaran Lafferty replaced Callum Smith after 82 minutes and missed a great chance to win the game with a header from a few yards out that missed the target.
Euan Spark had a good game at right back, constantly getting up the pitch to support the attack, and in the final minute got into the Killie penalty box, unmarked. The ball spun in the air, Spark shouted to Hopkirk to head it to him, but the striker glanced the header beyond Spark and the Killie defence cleared the ball upfield. That was the Pars' final chance to win the game, which on the balance of play should have resulted in a home win.
Pars starting 11:
Match photo gallery.
All photos by Pars Review.