Winter, 1982: Dunfermline Athletic find themselves near the foot of the Scottish First Division. After 12 League games, the Pars had one just once; today we look at the 13th fixture in that season's League campaign, against our opponents this weekend, Alloa.
ALLOA 2, PARS 2
SCOTTISH SECOND DIVISION
6 NOVEMBER 1982
Pars boss Tom Forsyth had been appointed in September 1982 following the dismissal of Pat Stanton and a short period under interim (and future Alloa boss) Jimmy Thomson. Forsyth, a dour disciplinarian, had failed to improve on the results of his predecessors. By early November, the First Division League table looked like this (image taken from a scrapbook I kept from the period):
Alloa were enjoying a good season under manager Alex Totten, sitting sixth in the table and defeated only once at home. The Wasps team featured ex-Par Kenny Thomson, who had been released by Dunfermline in the summer of 1982, prematurely in the opinion of many, after 12 years' service. Thomson would go on to play a further 10 seasons in the Scottish League, retiring aged 41 in 1992.
The Alloa team were on top for most of the first half and went into a 2-0 lead with goals from Alan Holt and Davie Houston. The Pars defence were unable to cope with Alloa's wingers - Arthur Grant on the right and Stuart Munro on the left, and Hugh Hamill was lucky to only receive a yellow card after he pulled back Munro after the winger out-paced him and was about to run in on goal.
After barely threatening the Alloa goal, Dunfermline pulled a goal back in the 25th minute when Rab Stewart crossed for Bobby Forrest to head home.
The second half began with Dunfermline pressing for an equaliser. Stewart had claims for a penalty turned down after the ball struck Thomson's hand in the Alloa penalty box. Grant Jenkins seemed certain to get the Pars' second after a mazy run through the Alloa defence which ended with a shot that was hit wildly past the post.
The equaliser came after 61 minutes and it was something of a gift from the Alloa defence. Wasps keeper Donald Hunter miskicked a clearance, which was gathered by Stevie Morrison, who struck the ball firmly past the Alloa keeper.
Stewart almost got a winner for Dunfermline but narrowly failed to connect from a Morrison pass. Alloa were still a threat and Munro's dangerous run down the left ended with the winger passing to David Lloyd, whose shot was well saved by Hugh Whyte. Despite more Pars pressure, there were no more goals.
In the weeks following this game, the Pars' miserable run of results continued, including an embarrassing 6-0 defeat against the Wee Team on 3 January. The season ended with only 7 victories in total, and the team were relegated to the Second Division. Tom Forsyth stayed in charge until October 1983 when he was sacked after a poor start to the Second Division campaign. The next Pars boss would be a 29 year old ex-player who, in time, would turn the club's fortunes around completely after so many years in the doldrums: Jim Leishman's era would see Dunfermline return to the top flight and banish the memory of the disastrous Stanton and Forsyth seasons.
Pars line-up v Alloa (player in background image - Hugh Whyte):