Football, like life, can be very cruel at times, and today's game at Easter Road proved that the cruelest of luck can be suffered by those who least deserve it. A crucial error by club captain Callum Fordyce, making his first team return after 11 months absence, gifted the home side the most fortunate of victories. Fordyce was distraught: having battled back against the terrible injury that put him out for so long, he fitted straight back into the team at the home of the division title favourites. For him to be responsible for the late losing goal was unfair and undeserved, but no blame will be cast against him by team mates or supporters.
A crowd of over 16,000 filled Easter Road and the home side had the better of the opening exchanges. Misses by Hibs forward Grant Holt kept the scoreline goalless, and after the game settled down and Dunfermline began to gain confidence, Hibs went ahead when Ben Richards-Everton back-headed the ball into the top corner of his own net in the 29th minute. Pars keeper David Hutton was also at fault, rooted to his line as the ball was first cleared off the line by Joe Cardle, and ending in Richards-Everton's error.
Hutton then made a tremendous save from a long range rasping shot from John McGinn to keep the score at 1-0 at half time.
The second half saw the Pars show far more attacking threat, with Ryan Williamson having several bombing runs down the right, Kallum Higginbotham excelling in an attacking right midfield role, and Joe Cardle a constant menace to the Hibs defence. Referee Willie Collum unbelievably denied Dunfermline a penalty when Big Ben's shirt was almost hauled off his back; then the referee bizarelly failed to punish Hibs striker/idiot Jason Cummings, who ran across Rhys McCabe's path as he was about to strike a free kick from outside the box. Cummings (25 goals last season, the same number as his IQ) did not break from the defensive wall, which would have been a booking, but instead ran from behind and across the ball just as the kick was taken. Collum took no action, not even allowing the kick to be taken again.
Dunfermline levelled the game with a superb goal after 57 minutes. Williamson played the ball in from the right to Joe Cardle. The winger showed skill and composure in playing an inch perfect pass through to Gavin Reilly, who placed the ball past Hibs keeper Ross Laidlaw, for his first competitive goal for the club.
Just as the Pars looked to be the most likely to score again, came Fordyce's blunder, when his legs seemed to become tangled with the ball at his feet. He made only slight contact with the ball, which fell straight to Cummings, who couldn't miss.
A draw would have been a fair outcome. The frustration felt by many at the end was not due to the injustice of losing a game that saw the home side's two avoidable goals.
Pars line-up with marks out of 10 for each player: