The Pars made sure of victory in a professional and efficient manner today, at a venue which rarely sees good football played. The much maligned playing surface was in better condition than in recent seasons, and allowed Dunfermline's creative players to play a greater part in the game than is usual at Central Park.
Two changes were made to the starting 11, with manager Allan Johnston naming the team predicted in this site's match preview yesterday. For the sake of squad rotation in the tight schedule of Betfred League Cup games, Jason Talbot replaced Lewis Martin at left back, and Kallum Higginbotham (pictured) made his first start for the club, with Rhys McCabe moving to the bench.
A goalless first half saw Cowden keeper David McGurn make two outstanding saves from the Moff, firstly from a glancing header than looked to be a certain goal, then a shot from close range that was turned round the post. Joe Cardle also came close twice, while the home side hardly threatened the Pars goal.
The first Pars goal in the 57th minute appeared to be a perfectly executed training ground move. Higginbotham's corner kick was played into space inside the penalty box and met by Andy Geggan who lashed the ball into the net. Both players celebrated together before being joined by their team mates. Higginbotham's performance was a delight to every Pars fan, showing a level of ability that will make him a crucial part of the season ahead. One back-heel pass in midfield was sublime, and he did not waste a pass of any significance in the game.
Higginbotham created the second Dunfermline goal in the 69th minute when his well taken free kick found centre half Lee Ashcroft, who volleyed home with the skill of a striker, his first goal for the Pars.
In the 82nd minute Cowden had their only serious attempt at goal. Ex-Par Greg Ross shot from a tight angle, and Cowden sub Cammy Muirhead narrowly failed to make contact with the ball a yard from goal.
Dunfermline's 3rd and decisive goal followed 3 minutes later, and once again it was Andy Geggan who scored, getting on the end of substitute Paul McMullan's accurate cross.
A good day's work at a difficult venue.
Pars line-up with marks out of 10 for each player:
Photos by Pars Review. A full match photo gallery, with over 40 photos, will be uploaded tomorrow.