How the hardy souls watching this game at East End Park yesterday were made to suffer – and that wasn’t just because of the near Arctic conditions. A paucity of entertainment and incident would have had most shuddering even in T-shirt weather and only in the closing stages did the hosts come remotely close to achieving their objective of closing the four-point gap separating themselves from Morton and the final Championship promotion play-off spot.
Having maintained that potentially important advantage it was no surprise that the visitors’ Jim Duffy was able to take comfort from what was otherwise an inhospitable 90 minutes. “I’m delighted with the point,” he said. “The wind made it really difficult today.
“Dunfermline probably had the majority of the game, but our determination and organisation got us a point. It wasn’t a classic but the attitude of the players was terrific.”
In fairness, both sets of players could not be faulted for effort. Neither seemed sanguine about settling for a share of the spoils and there was plenty of energy expended on trying to bring pressure to bear on each other’s rearguard. Alas that is more or less where the positives run out of road.
The action at either end was a near continuous loop of honest endeavour ending with the ball being directed straight to the feet of an opponent. Some might have appreciated the task of chasing a misplaced pass just to ward off the cold, but a rousing spectacle it did not make.
It started promisingly with the hosts’ Nicky Clark forcing Derek Gaston into a stretching save in the first minute. However, the next time the visitors’ goalkeeper was called to test his reflexes was over an hour later, when he had to palm away Kallum Higginbotham’s venomous volley. Declan McManus should have put away the loose ball to give the Pars the breakthrough but instead he stumbled over.
This did at least signify a bit of an upturn in the action as the second half entered the final quarter with Dunfermline making a better directed effort to narrow the points margin on the visitors. Lewis Martin was unfortunate to see an angled volley smash off the bar and McManus smacked the upright shortly afterwards.
Backing up their luck with some no frills defending Morton saw the game out, but having mustered barely any attempts on target themselves, this fell into the category of a valuable but instantly forgettable point earned.
“It’s always a hard game against Morton,” said a somewhat frustrated Dunfermline manager Allan Johnston. “We need to be more clinical.”