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Falkirk 3-3 Dumbarton

SPFL Tier 2, Falkirk Stadium, 31/1/15.

Well, this was an odd game. I’d have taken a point before the start but didn’t think we’d even score; never mind get something out of this. What with Colin Rhyming Slang offski – apparently in the huff about not being given the vacant assistant manager’s job (though his record in charge of the under 20s was, frankly, dire) – Chris Kane back to parent club St Johnstone and Garry Fleming suspended, I couldn’t see where goals might come from, especially since that’s been our failing this season.

Unsurprisingly Falkirk had most of the early posssession but when a set piece came back out to him loanee centre back Stuart Findlay sent over a beautiful cross and Scott Taggart hit the net then 1-0 was dreamland.

It didn’t last. What felt like a minute later the ball broke to an unmarked Falkirk attacker in the box. 1-1. Then we lost the sort of goal that happens to teams in relegation bother. Two ricochets on the way through and the final shot deflected into the net off the attempted block by Findlay.

Falkirk again had most of the second half. But a Scott Linton throw-in wasn’t cleared and fell for debutant loanee Darren Petrie and he didn’t panic and slash at it, but still smashed it past the keeper.

What a difference a goal makes. Our five minute spell of ascendancy ensued and after good work on the right by Mark Gilhaney, the ball came over for Mitch Megginson to cut it back into the path of Archie Campbell who steered it into the far corner.

While we might have scored another on the break as Falkirk had to press for the equaliser and Scott Agnew did have an effort just over the bar they were always going to get one more chance. (If the ref had had his way, he said, darkly, they would have had more than one. Even a Falkirk fan on the Pie Shop said some of his decisions were plain wrong.) It duly came with ten minutes to go.

Still we rode it out and gained an unlikely point. Four attempts on goal, three on target, three goals. About time we had such a ratio.

As well as Darren Petrie – solid in midfield and took his goal very well – it was also my first view of fellow loanee Dylan Easton, who runs about a bit like Josh Falkingham but has none of that player’s irritating qualities. Dylan had a tendency to over-elaborate but had confidence, dig, some sublime touches and is capable of the superb pass.

All in all I’m much more relaxed than I was this time last week in the wake of the home thumping by Livingston, not least because of the dumping of the 3-5-2 for this game in favour of 4-2-2 (or was it 4-4-1-1 or 4-5-1?)

Dunfermline Athletic 0-3 Cowdenbeath (agg 1-4)

SPFL Tier 2 Play-off Final, second leg, East End Park, 18/5/14

A feast of televised football all round this week, this one courtesy of BBC Alba – as indeed was Sons win in the corresponding play-off two years ago.

I missed the first goal (I switched on in time to see the different angle replays) as I had been putting up towel rails and mirrors to make the new place seem a bit more homely and less stark. The good lady said it was like a sensory deprivation house when we moved in, all white walls and nothingness.

Dunfermline had their keeper to thank for only being one down at half time as he made two very good saves in that time. Dunfermline had a lot of the ball but didn’t do much with it. The same pattern prevailed in the second half; really the home team only had two long range efforts on goal in the whole game. Cowdenbeath always looked sharp on the counter attack but their second came from a corner that wasn’t cleared properly. A mistake by Josh Falkingham (you shouldn’t laugh, really you shouldn’t) let Cowden in for their third and it was game over.

Cowdenbeath were pretty impressive, I don’t remember them being as good the two times I saw them live this season. Maybe we didn’t let them play.

But two other part-time teams in the division gives the Sons a more than fighting chance of staying up again, which is what I’d settle for right now.

Dunfermline Athletic 3-4 Dumbarton

SFL Div 1, East End Park, 23/3/13

Astonishing!

The scale of this result can be measured by the fact that Dunfermline had won their last 12 games against us and we hadn’t won at East End Park since 1986.

1-0 down at halftime I couldn’t see it coming. We weren’t 2-0 down long enough for me to be too despondent but at 3-1….?

Fortunately Chris Turner hit an absolute belter to make it 3-2 almost straight afterward and that sowed seeds of doubt in the home team.

We actually had a good first ten minutes but fell out of it for the rest of the half apart from Chris Turner having an effort chalked off for offside. I was in line and he looked OK to me. Not the last time the linesman was to be derided.

Their first goal came from when Nick Phinn was pushed off the ball in our half and they ran up and scored. Stephen Grindlay seemed to be beaten very easily.

Their second was dreadful defending. Their forward went through about three half-arsed tackles before hitting it in the corner.

Two minutes later a great passing move saw the ball hit across goal by Paul McGinn and Steven McDougall was free just beyond the back post to score our first against Dunfermline this season.

This was immediately after Jim Lister had come on for Nick Phinn. He made a difference. The home centre backs knew they were in a game then.

Their third was a joke. The through ball that led to it saw two Dunfermline players offside both of whom subsequently touched it, one playing it forward to another while both were well beyond the defenders. The linesman’s flag stayed resolutely down. He made gestures to suggest a defender was playing them on on the far side. Utter rubbish. The rest of the match was filled with Dumbarton fans shouting at him and raising ironic cheers when he finally did flag someone offside. (It’s what we pay our money for.)

The equaliser came from a defender dwelling on the ball and Jim Lister chasing him down, he then picked out Scott Agnew with a cut back, not the more obvious ball across the box. Aggie finished cleverly back the way it had come. Dreamland.

It then got better.

Our fourth was another intricate passing move finished off by Steven McDougall, calmness personified in the box, beating his man before slotting it past Paul Gallacher.

Dunfermline pressed for the few minutes remaining but we always managed to get bodies in the way or tackles in.

Up to today we had only 4 points out of the last 21 and the Murray magic seemed to have gone. Now it’s 7 out of the last 24. Even with Dunfermline’s troubles this must give the lads great confidence.

Games come thick and fast now, starting at home on Wednesday, then two in a row at Hamilton.

Edited to add:- Chris Turner was lucky to stay on the field after his deliberate hack at Josh Falkingham. I know Falkingham’s an annoying wee so-and-so but serious foul play is serious foul play no matter who it’s committed against.

Dunfermline Athletic 4-0 Dumbarton

SFL Div 1, East End Park, 24/11/12

I was going to say no complaints, but…. see below.

I was going to say the better team won but… the faster, stronger, fitter team won. Does that make them better? I suppose it does. They were in the Premier last season after all and we were in Div 2.

We were okay for a while; even forcing their keeper to make more saves than Stephen Grindlay had up till their first goal. I was in line and thought Josh Falkingham was offside but he was also totally unmarked. The game was then effectively all over.

I shouldn’t have said to GordyBrow when the teams were announced that they hadn’t given Josh Falkingham’s full name. He replied, “I suppose that’s ‘diver’ followed by something rude.” I said, “Yes.”

The second goal was a joke. James Creaney failed to cut out a ball to the winger and then the cross wasn’t collected by Grindlay – he’s always been terrible for spilling low crosses – and came off Andy Graham’s leg to screw towards the line. He just failed to clear it before it crossed. Exactly the sort of thing that happens to you when you’re way adrift at the bottom of the league.

So here’s the complaint. In the second half I’d thought it was Falkingham who ran through one on one with Stephen Grindlay, pushed the ball past him and fell down. From where I was it certainly looked a dive. Falkingham is famous for it. It turns out it was Joe Cardle who couldn’t stay on his feet. Whoever, the ref gave the penalty and showed Grindlay a red card to boot. Down to ten men and a penalty to come…

I say again; when a penalty is given, in what sense has a goal scoring opportunity been prevented? A penalty and a red card and a goal is a triple punishment. Too many times does something like this spoil a game. It didn’t affect the outcome here, Dunfermline were always going to win, but often it can.

Jim Lister was withdrawn to allow Jamie Ewings to face the pen which he almost got to. 3-0 down with ten men against the joint league leaders was only going to end one way.

Curiously we played better after that. Onebrow opined Dunfermline had stopped playing. But we were left cruelly exposed whenever we sallied upfield.

Their fourth was a peach. Due to the man shortage Joe Cardle was one on one on Nicky Devlin with no extra cover, duly took it past him and curled a beauty behind Jamie Ewings into the corner.

It seems we don’t have the personnel to compete effectively against the better teams in this division. (And the not so good teams too?) There was a litany of weak challenges, hurried touches, misplaced passes and stretched interceptions. The players appear shorn of confidence, not wanting to take time on the ball. Chris Turner was an exception to this last, as was Steven McDougall when he came on (but like at Cowdenbeath he carried it too far and was crowded out.)

Ian Murray’s got a big job on.

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