Today we look back at a game from March 1988 between the Pars and our opponents this weekend, Morton. Both teams were involved in a relegation battle in the Premier Division, with 7 League games remaining.
MORTON 0, DUNFERMLINE 3
FINE FARE LEAGUE - PREMIER DIVISION
WEDNESDAY 23 MARCH 1988
UK news: after 129 years, the Liberal Party ceased to exist after it merged with the Social Democratic Party, to become the Social and Liberal Democratic Party.
Pop music: Aswad's 'Don't Turn Around' ended Kylie Minogue's 5 week run at number 1 with 'I Should Be So Lucky'.
Football news: Liverpool defender Mark Lawrenson announced his retirement from playing, aged 30, and was appointed manager of Oxford United. Lawrenson was in the job for 25 games, winning only 4, before resigning. In Scotland, Rangers were knocked out of the European Cup at the quarter final stage, defeated 3-2 on aggregate by Steaua Bucharest.
Meanwhile, on a spring evening in Greenock, Dunfermline took on hosts Morton in a meeting of the 2 lowest placed sides in the Fine Fare Premier Division.
Four days previously, the Pars had ended a horrific run of 8 League games without having scored a single goal, with a resounding 6-1 home win over Dundee. Two of the scorers from that game, Mark Smith and Stevie Morrison, would find the net again at Cappielow.
Pars boss Jim Leishman named an unchanged starting 11, the team featuring players who had been part of the Leishman journey over the past 5 years (Bobby Robertson, Morrison) together with new boys Willie Callaghan - son of the Pars great of the same name, and goalkeeper Hans Segers.
Goals by Smith and Morrison put Dunfermline into a good position going into half time. Morton, who had conceded 81 League goals prior to this game, were a different side after the break. Their hopes of avoiding relegation reiled on a run of victories in the remaining games, coupled with the teams above them losing almost every match. It was a forlorn hope but they could not be accused of lack of effort in this game, after being outplayed in the first half they dominated the second period without being able to score. The game was over when Callaghan scored his first Pars goal to make it 3-0, which is how the game ended.
The league positions for both clubs did not change by the season's end 6 weeks later. Morton were relegated with 16 points (in the era of 2 points for a win), winning only 3 League games all season. Dunfermline would win just once more in the final 6 games to finish 5 points behind third bottom Falkirk, with 28 points. It was a disappointing end to a 3 year period that saw the club win consecutive promotions into the top division. However, they would be back 12 months later after winning the First Division in season 1988/89.
Pars line-up v Morton (player in background image - Stuart Beedie):
Today we look back at a game from November 1999 between the Pars and our opponents this weekend, Falkirk. Both teams were challenging for the First Division (now Championship) title with Dunfermline looking for a new manager after the sacking of Dick Campbell.
FALKIRK 1, DUNFERMLINE 3
SCOTTISH FIRST DIVISION
20 NOVEMBER 1999
Despite the Dunfermline team sitting in second place in the First Division table, looking for a quick return to the Premier League after relegation 6 months before, manager Dick Campbell was fired by chairman John Yorkston in early November 1999. Campbell's assistant, Jimmy Nicholl, was placed in temporary charge of the team. He would revert back to his role of assistant when Jimmy Calderwood was appointed manager at the end of November.
Nicholl had lead the team to win and a draw in his 2 games in charge, and the Pars travelled to Falkirk in confident mood to take on the third placed Bairns.
Dunfermline took an early lead when Stevie Crawford's cross from the left was met by Owen Coyle, who hooked a shot into the net from 15 yards after 2 minutes. Falkirk keeper Myles Hogarth then made a good save from a Coyle free kick.
By this time, Brockville was crumbling - half of the terracing at the away end being closed due to safety concerns. This restricted the crowd to 4229 at the old ground, which would eventually be demolished in 2003. It was at the away end that Scott Crabbe almost equalised, with a free kick that went narrowly wide of Ian Westwater's post.
Falkirk equalised in the 50th minute when their captain (and future Par) Davie Nicholls rose to head home a corner. The Pars soon regained the lead - from Stewart Petrie's low cross, Crawford laid the ball off to Coyle, whose shot was charged down but fell perfectly for Crawford to net from 6 yards, with 56 minutes gone.
From almost exactly the same spot, Crawford got his second and Dunfermline's third in the 69th minute with a header from a Scott Thomson cross to seal the 3 points. Crawford, on loan from Hibs, would score 7 goals in his first 5 games of the loan spell, which lasted to the end of that season, at which point he signed a permanent deal to remain at the club. The team ended that season in second place, the last time an automatic promotion would be awarded to the second tier runners up. They returned to the top flight without improving on the sacked Campbell's league position.
Pars line-up v Falkirk (player in background image - Chris McGroarty):