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First Division: Dunfermline spring back to top spot

Dumbartons Steven McDougall slides in to tackle Dunfermlines Josh Falkingham. Picture: SNS

Dumbartons Steven McDougall slides in to tackle Dunfermlines Josh Falkingham. Picture: SNS

  • by CRAIG P STEWART
 

Dunfermline saw off hosts Dumbarton 1-0 to reclaim the lead in the First Division on goal difference from Morton with manager Jim Jefferies contemplating the difference a week can bring.

Last Saturday the East End Park side lost 4-2 at Greenock and fell to third place, five points behind their hosts, and it seemed that a title challenge may fizzle out against a backdrop of financial concerns.

However, a midweek derby win over Raith Rovers, coupled with the success over the Sons, has seen title talk re-emerge with Jefferies lavishing praise on his players for their effort despite uncertainty at the club.

The winning goal came after just 50 seconds when Alex Whittle sent in a low cross that home centre back Alan Lithgow failed to clear and Andy Barrowman netted from five yards.

Dumbarton, showing a determined spirit under recently appointed manager Ian Murray which had brought wins over Falkirk and Morton, had chances to equalise but Garry Fleming and Steven McDougall both sent efforts straight at Paul Gallacher and Jim Lister’s shot was deflected onto a post.

Dunfermline had further chances as well with a curling effort from Shaun Byrne being touched over by a leaping Jamie Ewings and Andy Geggan sending a 35-yard effort whistling just wide in the second half.

Jefferies said: “That was a terrific three points and it was good to think back to a week ago when there was a gap and people started writing us off. Two wins and seven days later we are top of the league but there is still a long way to go.”

“Morton, Partick Thistle and ourselves will all drop points but we will continue to be involved.”

The East End Park boss added: “The players deserve great credit for how they have handled the financial side of things as they have been paid in bits and pieces recently.

“Hopefully it will all be sorted out soon, but I think that to take the club back to the top with that background says a lot about the players.”

Dumbarton manager Murray said: “We made a terrible start but six points from our last three fixtures is good going. People know that they are in for a game against us and if we are going to get beat I would prefer it to be like that.”

Morton sit in second place after coming from behind to draw 1-1 against a Cowdenbeath side that have led in their last four games only to settle for four draws.

The Blue Brazil handed starts to new loan signings Liam Caddis, Sam Stanton, and Kane Hemmings and it was St Johnstone player Caddis who scored eight minutes from half time when he picked up a pass from player/ manager Colin Cameron to net past Derek Gaston.

Morton ensured a share of the spoils when Peter MacDonald marked his first start of the season by lashing home six minutes after the interval.

Partick sit two points behind albeit with two games in hand after Livingston scored in injury time to earn a 2-2 draw.

Thistle took the lead on 25 minutes when Kris Doolan squeezed the ball in from a narrow angle, but Livingston quickly replied through an Anthony Andreu effort from 20 yards.

Steven Craig then nodded in an Aaron Sinclair cross before half time, but a frantic closing period which began when Jordan Morton hit the bar saw Livi level.

Sean Welsh then hit the woodwork for Thistle, however he was dismissed a minute from time with Livingston making the extra man count quickly as Marc McNulty scored after build up play from Stefan Scougall.

Raith Rovers climbed back into fourth place thanks to a 2-0 success over Airdrie with Brian Graham scoring in the first half and Pat Clarke doubling their lead in the second. Hamilton Accies and Falkirk drew 1-1 at New Douglas Park with Lyle Taylor putting the Bairns ahead on 13 minutes when he pounced on a loose ball to score.

However, Falkirk lost Jonathan Flynn to a red card just before the hour mark for a tug on Gary Fisher’s jersey and Hamilton’s efforts to draw level were finally rewarded ten minutes from time when substitute Darian MacKinnon shot home after a goalmouth scramble.

 

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