A game that will not live long in the memory gives the Pars a first point of the League season
Without captain Callum Morris, whose absence was only confirmed when the team emerged to warm up, plus top scorer Nicky Clark and fellow striker Declan McManus, the Pars got out of the Tony Macaroni Arena with a barely-deserved point on the opening weekend of the Championship season. Certainly on the basis of the first half, when Dunfermline were dire, Livi will be disappointed not to win the game. There was also a late penalty save from Sean Murdoch that prevented a Pars defeat.
Allan Johnston brought in new signing Fraser Aird, as expected, in right midfield, with Kallum Higginbotham moving up front in the absence of the suspended McManus. The only other change from last week's game against Hearts was Big Jock M'Voto replacing the injured Morris. The Pars team gave a guard of honour pre-match to Livi, who unfurled the League 1 winning flag (although the flag initially stuck and an embarrassing scene seemed to be on the cards until it eventually opened).
The home side almost scored in the opening minute when Sean Murdoch palmed away a Josh Mullin shot, with the Pars defence having to be alert to prevent Livi getting to the follow up. It soon became clear that Dunfermline were out of sorts and missing the creativity that was so evident last week. Long balls lumped up the pitch to Callum Smith were achieving nothing, yet the policy continued regardless. Joe Cardle and Kallum Higginbotham, the main creative sparks of the team, were putting in a lot of effort with little end product. The centre midfield of Michael Paton and Big Nat was ponderous and off the pace, while debutant Aird was having a very poor game, which culminated in him being substituted before half time having played a part in Livi's opening goal, failing to track his marker, allowing Scott Pittman to shoot and put Livi 1-0 up after 30 minutes.
The second half was a marginal improvement. Ryan Williamson's gallops down the right wing became more common, while there was more urgency in the team's play, raising the performance level from mediocre to average, but no more than that.
Dunfermline should have had a penalty when sub David Hopkirk was shoved in the back. Referee Alan Newlands, who had a poor game, then decided to award the Pars a penalty after 62 minutes when Joe Cardle was seemingly fouled. Higgy took the kick and scored with ease.
Dean Shiels came on for Smith but suffered from the same lack of decent service. Referee Newlands then bottled out of sending off Livi's Declan Gallacher who first stamped on, then pushed, Joe Cardle. The referee summoned both players and did what all hopeless referees do in that situation - booked them both.
Just when a point seemed certain, Big Jock M'Voto gave away a penalty with 5 minutes remaining, needlessly tripping Josh Mullen in the box. Sean Murdoch rescued a draw for his team with a fine save from Mullen's spot kick.
The away support, who easily outnumbered the home fans by at least 2 to 1, were let down by as poor a Pars display as we have seen in the League for some time. The team set a higher standard than this in the Hearts game, and it is to be hoped that this performance will just be a fading memory in the weeks ahead, with the team capable of much better.
Pars starting 11 & subs:
Tomorrow: in the absence of the normal match photo gallery, which will be back for the next game, a first ever Pars Review matchday vlog will be uploaded.
Photos & edits in this article by Pars Review.