The 2 teams with the most draws in the Championship played out a highly competitive game, with the points shared at East End Park. Dunfermline showed once again that the basis for a promotion push next season is there within the current starting 11, only requiring greater strength in depth within the squad. There was much to give great encouragement for the future, with the defence particularly solid, and captain Andy Geggan just shading this site's Man of the Match award.
The game began with the Pars fielding the same team that ended Morton's long unbeaten home run last week. Hibs, 10 points clear at the top of the division before kick-off, had Scotland cap John McGinn in midfield, and "emergency loan" Efe Ambrose at right back. The Pars defence had to be alert in the opening minutes with the visitors putting together some good passing moves but finding the Geggan-Morris-Ashcroft-Talbot line hard to cross.
McGinn gave Hibs the lead after 12 minutes with a shot from outside the box that angled across Sean Murdoch's goal and just out of the Pars keeper's reach. Soon after, Michael Moffat became the first of 3 Dunfermline players who had to leave the pitch due to head knocks, joined seconds later by Nicky Clark. Referee Greg Aitken took an eternity to allow Clark back onto the field, while the Moff had to go for stitches, leaving the team with 9 players, and unable to capitalise on a Paul McMullan breakaway due to lack of bodies in attack. The referee then harshly booked Callum Morris and then Nat Wedderburn for challenges that were no worse than other incidents that did not produce yellow cards for other players.
The remainder of the half was fairly even, and the Pars team were applauded off despite being a goal down.
Hibs had an early chance in the second half, when a McGinn piledriver was saved by Murdoch, and played across the box by Jason Cummings to an offside Brian Graham.
Dunfermline begn to press the Hibs defence with the Moff once again linking up play superbly. Although not hititng the net regularly, Moffat is possibly in the form of his career in footballing terms, an excellent player who is critical to the team's attacking play.
Hibs manager Neil Lennon was unhappy with almost every decision or passage of play that did not favour his team. His behaviour was that of a spoiled child in a toy store, throwing tantrums and at one point actually throwing off his jacket onto the track and then hurling another unidentified item onto the pitch, in anger.
Lennon was then angered further by the award of a penalty to the Pars after 59 minutes. The ball struck Hibs' Lewis Stevenson on the arm and from the resultant kick, Kallum Higginbotham scored although Hibs keeper Ofir Marciano got a hand to the shot.
Sean Murdoch was having another very good game, and he was required to make a great save from a Dylan McGeoch shot from 20 yards. Paul McMullan, who had a frustrating game, found the Moff with a well-placed cross, which the Pars striker hit first time only to see Marciano save his goal-bound shot.
Murdoch and his defence were on top, and with Nat Wedderburn on top form in midfield, the team were well worth their point. The game ended with players and fans satisfied with a hard-fought draw. All except Lennon, who argued with the referee and then a linesman, on his way back to the tunnel.
Pars starting 11, with marks out of 10:
All photos and edits by Pars Review.
Full match photo gallery will be posted tomorrow.