A look back at the month of September - the weekend away in Borehamwood and 4 games in the Championship.
The month began badly with a 3-0 home defeat by Inverness. This was the nadir of the team's defensive woes: 12 goals had been conceded in 4 Championship games by the time the final whistle blew on 1 September. Thankfully, things would improve defensively as the month progressed.
The second game of September involved a Friday night/ Saturday morning overnight bus ride down south to Hertfordshire to see the Pars take on Boreham Wood FC in the Irn Bru Cup. A poor match (0-0) ended with Dunfermline going through to the next round after winning a penalty shoot out. Almost 700 Pars fans were at the game and it was a hugely enjoyable trip. The first clean sheet in 9 League and Cup games was to signal a period of games where only one (very preventable) goal would be conceded over the rest of the month. Performances were still lacking in invention, though.
THE MODERN DAY GOALKEEPER
On his Instagram page titled 'The Modern Day Goalkeeper' (click here to see it), Lee Robinson reinvents the style and concept of goalkeeping in some well-edited videos. He has brought elements of his theories into actual games, with mixed results: a failed volley clearance at Cappielow saw him drop the ball then pick it up outside his penalty box, and then later in the game let a soft goal in when palming a shot into his own net - on the same week as his website instructed budding goalkeepers on 'stab away' shots on goal. Thankfully, he cut out the unnecessary flourishes in his next game, against Partick Thistle, and ended the month with just 3 clean sheets in 5 games.
NO FRILLS DEFENDING
Mark Durnan had a good September by concentrating on the basics of his game. Bizarrely employed as a defensive libero by Allan Johnston in the 3-0 home defeat to Inverness at the start of the month, this almost kamikaze-type ploy was soon ditched and the big centre half kept things simple over the following 4 games, when the team's defensive record tightened up greatly.
Many of us wondered why Allan Johnston signed another midfielder - as opposed to a defender - near the end of the transfer window, when Malaury Martin was brought in on loan from Hearts. The Pars squad, already full of midfield options, was now being supplemented with a player who hadn't played a full first team match since August 2017. By the end of the month we had our answer: the Frenchman, still lacking full match fitness, started the last 2 games of the month and impressed in both (rated the best Pars player in both games on this site (see articles here and here). He has shown composure on the ball and is also keen to direct his team mates, using the experience he has gained in a career that saw him captain the French national sides from ages Under 17 through to Under 21.
HOPES FOR OCTOBER
- Faissal to score his first League goal
- the defensive form to continue
- more creativity and energy shown over 90 minutes
- restricted use of long balls