Dunfermline took full advantage of Ayr United being idle as they saw off Brechin City 3-1 at East End Park to return to the top of the League 1 table and set up a Christmas cracker of a match between the top two at Somerset Park next weekend.
The win ended a six-week wait to be at the summit for a Pars side sitting level with the Honest Men on points but with a goal difference that is 16 better than Ian McCall’s men.
After some sparring with the bottom side in the league, Dunfermline showed their cutting edge by taking the lead on 34 minutes when Jason Talbot found Joe Cardle with a precise pass. The winger released Faissal El Bakhtaoui and he darted away from the defence to slip the ball under goalkeeper Graeme Smith.
The lead was doubled three minutes from half-time when Michael Paton slotted home from eight yards.
Brechin got themselves back into the game midway through the second half when on-loan Alloa striker Isaac Layne was on hand to turn the loose ball home after a header by Darren Dods was kept out by Sean Murdoch.
The Pars soon regained control with substitute David Hopkirk marking his introduction to the game within a minute as he swept the ball home.
Dunfermline manager Allan Johnston said: “We are back at the top of the table and that is where we want to stay. Our passing and workrate was excellent in the first half and I felt that we dominated the game at that time.
“The players wanted to go back to the top and you could see that in the way they went about things. We need to take that level of performance into the Ayr game as they will be looking to knock us back down quickly.”
The only other scheduled game at Albion Rovers, where Stranraer were visiting, was called off.