How Steven Lawless was key to Dunfermline's win over Hamilton as John Hughes eyes Mark Connolly replacement

After the 5-0 loss to Greenock Morton last week, Dunfermline Athletic star Steven Lawless called on his team-mates to follow his former club Livingston. To show “desire, hunger...a dirty side”.

Ryan Dow celebrates making it 1-0 for Dunfermline against Hamilton. (Photo by Rob Casey / SNS Group)
Ryan Dow celebrates making it 1-0 for Dunfermline against Hamilton. (Photo by Rob Casey / SNS Group)

The 30-year-old led from the front as the Pars secured a vital three points at the bottom of the Championship with a 1-0 win over Hamilton Accies, courtesy of Ryan Dow’s first-half effort.

A recent addition to the Dunfermline squad, Lawless was a constant pest off the right-hand side of attack and the best player on the park. But for all his conniving and tormenting, the gritty side of the game from the team was most important.

That was best summed up by the winning goal.

A Josh Edwards cross from the left was met by Lewis McCann but expertly saved by Joe Hilton, only for Dow to bundle the ball across the line.

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“I was looking for redemption from last week,” he said. “I said to them to go and prove people wrong – play on the hurt and pain of what happened at Morton.

“They want to be winners and it’s about playing with courage and character. We worked so hard to get this performance.”

Yet, the game could have been very different if Mihai Popescu had taken a great chance for Accies after some woeful marking at a corner.

The best chances then fell to the Pars. Matty Todd saw a fizzing effort kept out by a strong Hilton hand prior to the opening goal. Then after the break Dow saw a fierce shot blocked brilliantly by Matthew Shiels.

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But it was that courage, that grit, that desire which saw the win over the line. Lawless in attack and Mark Connolly, playing his last game for the club, at the back leading by example.

Hughes confirmed the club were looking at a replacement for the centre-back who will be sorely missed.

For Accies, it was a disappointing afternoon with former Pars winger Kai Kennedy booed onto the park by the home support as he made his second debut of the season.

Manager Stuart Taylor said: "We wanted to continue the unbeaten run but we had to remember why we were on it.

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"We just didn't do that in the first half and, down to that, we didn't deserve anything.”

Dunfermline Athletic (4-3-3) – Fon Williams; Comrie, Connolly, Donaldson, Edwards; Allan (Martin 79’), Pybus, Todd; Lawless, McCann, Dow (MacDonald 81’).

Hamilton Accies 4-3-3() – Hilton; Hamilton, Popescu, O’Reilly, Shiels (MacDonald 58’); Virtanen, Mimnaugh, Hughes; Smith (Munro 81’), Winter (Kennedy 65’), Ryan.

Referee: B. Madden

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Attendance: 556

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