4 goal Nicky Clark spearheaded a clinical Dunfermline performance as the first competitive game of the season resulted in an emphatic win. The team lined almost as predicted (goo.gl/DPsi2L) except for the missing Aaron Splaine, who was replaced by Michael Paton. The starting 11 included every available player over the age of 20 with the exception of substitute Jean Yves M'Voto.
Elgin were pitiful, but that should not detract from the ruthlessness of the Pars attack and the complete domination that we enjoyed for the entire game. Credit has to be given, as pre-match there were doubts as to the ability of the current team to dispose of a lower league opponent in such a clinical way.
The goals came mainly in the first half, with Clark scoring a hat-trick of headers, from crosses by Kallum Higginbotham (twice) and Ryan Williamson, after 10, 20 and 35 minutes. Paton also drilled in a shot from 15 yards in between Clark's second and third goals, in the 33rd minute.
Only the main stand was open for the game, and the majority of Pars fans were housed in the west (home) end of the stand. It was to that end of the stadium that the team attacked in the second half. After 48 minutes Clark got his fourth goal, connecting first time with a shot from a low-driven Higginbotham corner. Although there was to be no repeat of the first half goals total, it was not due to lack of effort. The team did not go easy on their hopelessly-outclassed opponents - there were goal attempts from Higginbotham, Joe Cardle and substitute Scott Lochhead. The other young substitute given game time, Callum Smith, could have added a sixth when he shot straight at the goalkeeper after good play by Cardle. Smith did get on the scoresheet, in the final minute, when he took a precise pass from Lochhead, looked up, and placed a shot in the corner of the net - his first goal in senior football. For those of us who saw Lochhead and Smith in last season's Under 20s team, this was an especially pleasing moment.
While Clark was clearly man of the match, mentions must also go to Higginbotham, who had 3 assists, and Declan McManus, who despite not scoring, worked tirelessly and was well-received by the crowd when he was withdrawn in the 80th minute.
Pars starting 11, plus substitutes:
Tomorrow: full match photo gallery.
Photos: Pars Review
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