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):