FORFAR Athletic put a dent in the Pars’ play-off hopes last night with a 3-1 win over the Fife side at Station Park.
Scorers - Forfar: Robertson 34, Templeman 37, 45; Dunfermline: Husband 84
Referee: C Allan
Loons boss Dick Campbell made two changes to the side that defeated Ayr United on Saturday with Gavin Swankie back in the eleven and Mick Dunlop promoted from the bench.
Jim Jeffries made three changes to the Pars side that lost their final league game of the season to Airdrie United. Ryan Wallace and Callum Morris were both absent while Ross Millen was dropped to the bench.
The home side’s first chance came just a minute in, when an Iain Campbell corner was met by Mick Dunlop who passed to Dale Hilson who just squeaked the ball past the post.
Three minutes later the Pars’ Alan Smith found himself clear of the Loons defence but sent the ball straight at Loons keeper Darren Hill.
Moments later a Josh Falkingham corner came close for the visitors but it was cleared well by the home defence.
But, despite flashes of inspiration from Dunfermline, the rest of the half was dominated by the home side.
At the 20-minute mark another Iain Campbell free kick fell to Robertson who passed to Templeman who fought through the visiting defence to reach Swankie who was frustrated again to see the ball go wide.
It was clear that Forfar would break the deadlock sooner rather than later and they were rewarded when a shot by Hilson deflected off visiting keeper Hrivnak before falling to the feet of Robertson, who cooly slotted the ball in from close range.
Three minutes later the Loons increased their lead when Templeman rose to meet an Iain Campbell ball and give Hrivnak no chance as he nodded the ball home to make it 2-0.
As time ran out in the first half, Forfar continued to push and they were rewarded with less than a minute to go when excellent play by Swankie saw him smoothly pass the ball across the open goal to meet Templeman who duly headed in again to make it 3-0 before the break.
At the start of the second half Dunfermline looked determined to make amends but the first real chance for Smith was tipped away by Hill.
In the 57th minute Gavin Malin had a clear shot at goal but the visiting keeper moved well to deny Forfar a fourth.
Two minutes later Robertson stumbled at close range and allowed Hrivnak to stop the ball rolling in.
In the 74th minute the home side continued to push for their fourth but Hrivnak denied them once again from a powerful 25-yard drive by Iain Campbell.
Minutes later a good run by Dunfermline’s Ryan Thomson came to nothing when he found himself overpowered by the home defence with no support from his team-mates.
In the 84th minute Bolochoweckyj brought down Whittle with the visitors awarded a free kick taken by Husband. And it turned out to be the catalyst for their only goal of the game as he fired in past the home keeper to make it 3-1.
Despite a final push for a fourth goal, the home side settled for their 3-1 win as they go into the second leg on Saturday.
Alastair Donald, Forfar Athletic chairman, said: “It was a joy to watch and I think 3-1 flattered Dunfermline. There were a lot of chances that we could have taken but, let’s be honest about it, we are quite happy and we are looking forward to a magnificent day on Saturday.”
Forfar: Hill, Dunlop, McCulloch, Bolochoweckyj, I Campbell, R Campbell (Kader 71), Robertson, Malin (Brown 82), Hilson (King 86), Templeman, Swankie. Subs not used: Salmon, Sellars.
Dunfermline: Hrivnak, Geggan, Young, Potter (Millen 79), Whittle, Falkingham, Husband, Byrne, Kane (Dargo 63), Smith, Thomson. Subs not used: Goodfellow, Martin, El Bakhtaoui.