Dunfermline Athletic 5 - 1 Dumbarton: Nicky Clark nets four in thumping win

Nicky Clark scored four goals
Nicky Clark scored four goals
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As with previous meetings between these two sides this season, this game produced a glut of goals – but whereas in other encounters they had been shared around, yesterday the count was emphatically in Dunfermline’s favour.

The tally now stands at 24 in four games, but it is the precious three points which eases the Fifers that bit further away from the Championship drop zone, while ensuring that Dumbarton remain very much mired in the dogfight, that were the big reward from this result.

It was also a day of personal triumph for Dunfermline striker Nicky Clark who, after an indifferent spell with Rangers, seems to have fully rediscovered his scoring touch as he chipped in with a remarkable four goals in this game. In a further noteable, he notched up his hat-trick with a trio of headers either side of the interval.

The mould for this game was set early on with the home side making a blistering start and enjoying rich pickings by going on the offensive against a dishevelled-looking Dumbarton rearguard. Kallum Higginbotham set up the opening goal after only seven minutes following a tidy exchange of passes with Michael Moffat in which the latter drifted over a cross for Clark to nod into the net from six yards.

Despite the final scoreline Dunfermline were guilty of squandering a fair number of chances before Paul McMullan doubled their lead just beyond the midway point of the first half with a superb angled strike.

It appeared that the visitors might be on the point of imploding at this stage with team-mates Mark Docherty and Stuart Carswell having an angry exchange in the aftermath of McMullan’s goal which culminated in the latter walking off the field. After some momentary confusion Sam Stanton was then introduced in a seemingly unplanned substitution.

Initially they did manage to steady the ship. Robert Thomson tested Sean Murdoch with a downward header and the follow-up save by the Dunfermline goalkeeper from David Smith was outstanding. However, there was never the sense that they were likely to retrieve the deficit. An extraordinary second-half goal burst by Clark – with a further three goals fired in within 25 minutes – confirmed their fate. A near perfect performance by the Fifers was barely blemished by a late Daniel Harvie consolation goal.