John Potter's team recorded a fully deserved victory over Rangers at Kelty Hearts' New Central Park yesterday afternoon. The 2pm kick-off for the SPFL Development League match drew a crowd of around 150 and they were treated to an enjoyable game, with Dunfermline being the better of the teams.
Two over-age players were included in the Pars starting line-up: Callum Fordyce and John Herron. The team was along familiar lines with many of the talented young Pars players who have been so impressive in the Development League games this season, including captain Johnny Galloway, who was included as a substitute in the first team at the weekend for the first time.
It was Rangers who had the first chance - and what proved to be their best chance of the 90 minutes - when Pars keeper Cammy Gill made a superb save from an effort by Serge Atakayi from a few yards out. Dunfermline then took the game to their opponents, with a Ciaran Lafferty header forcing a great save from Rangers keeper Kieran Wright. Callum Fordyce then had a header hit the bar from a Scott Lochhead cross.
Lafferty was injured midway through the half, and with no strikers on the bench, he was replaced by winger Brandon Luke, with Scott Lochhead moving further forward to support Callum Smith in attack. Galloway was then struck in the face with the ball when one of his his team mates lashed the ball away after conceding a corner kick, without seeing Galloway. Although he carried on, Galloway was withdrawn at half time, with Evan Horne taking his place in midfield.
Callum Smith, still just 16 years old, won a penalty for Dunfermline in the 47th minute when he was brought down a yard inside the penalty box. Smith took the kick himself, and his calm finish past Wright put the Pars ahead.
Dunfermline continued to attack, with a Conner Duthie shot from 20 yards missing the goal by inches, and then Brandon Luke showed great skill to get down the wing and saw his shot saved by Wright.
Rangers were breaking away occasionally but found the Pars defence well-marshalled by Fordyce. Cammy Gill's handling was excellent when called upon. John Herron had a good game on his return from injury and may come into contention for the first team game against Raith this weekend.
The victory may have been narrow, but there was no doubting that the better team won.
Dunfermline are now in ninth place in the 17 team SPFL Development League, with 15 points from 10 matches, and with a game in hand over 3 of the teams above them in the table.
Starting line up below, plus match photo gallery.
Sub used: Brandon Luke, Evan Horne and Paul Allan, replacing Ciaran Lafferty, Johnny Galloway and John Herron.
Photo gallery: All photos by Pars Review.