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Monthly Digest - February 2003

           
Date: 1st February 2003 Opposition: Heart of Midlothian Score (H/T): 0-3 (0-1)
Competition: Sc Premier League Venue Tynecastle Attendance: 11,281
Scorer: [0-1] Severin (45), [0-2] Wales (48), [0-3] McKenna (90)
Yellow Cards: Wilson, Bullen (DAFC), McKenna (Hearts)
Red Card: Wilson (DAFC)
Pars Team: Stillie; Skerla, Wilson, Walker (Hunt 58); Bullen, Nicholson (Dempsey 78), Brannan, Dair, Hampshire (Kilgannon 58), Brewster, Crawford. Subs not used: Ruitenbeek, MacPherson.
Hearts: Moillanen; Maybury, Pressley, Webster, Mahe (McCann 83); Stamp, MacFarlane, Severin, Valois, McKenna, Wales. Subs not used: Gordon (GK), De Vries, Kirk, Boyack, McCann
Referee: D McDonald
Another poor showing from Dunfermline at Tynecastle, and once again they were largely the architects of their own downfall. Having survived for most of the first half, Severin sneaked in at the far post with a diving header to put Hearts one up right on the half time whistle. The defence was again at fault for the second, when Wales fooled three defenders, and the keeper, to roll the ball into the net. After Wilson got his marching orders in 80 minutes for a second bookable offence, there was no way back for the Athletic. Hearts got their third right on full time, when a poor clearance cannoned off a Hearts player into the path of McKenna, who had an easy task to score. There were few good performances for Dunfermline, although Noel Hunt again caught the eye after coming on as a substitute.       
Pos   Pld W D L F A Pts
4 Kilmarnock 26 11 6 9 31 36 39
5 Dunfermline Ath 25 11 3 11 39 45 36
6 Hibernian 25 10 4 11 36 38 34
JC was not a happy man after the Hearts match, and apologised to new signing Ged Brannan for his team-mates performance. The manager also expressed concern that the goals had dried up. 
The Under 21s finally win a game, beating St Johnstone at McDiarmid Park 4-2. Duncan Stewart with a hat-trick and Colin Nish scored the goals.
A late problem concerning the number of loan players over 21 threatens to scupper the signing of Arsenal's David Grondin
Stevie Crawford gets another call-up by Berti Vogts to the Scotland squad, for the friendly against Ireland at Hampden.
Chris McGroarty returns to the bench, but Gary Mason and Scott Thomson remain sidelined by injury. The three new signings, Hunt, Brannan and Grondin are all ineligible for the Livingston game, as they had not been signed before the Scottish Cup third round registration deadline.
           
Date: 4th February 2003 Opposition: Livingston Score (H/T): 2-0 (0-0)
Competition: Scottish Cup Venue East End Park Attendance: 3,155
Scorer: [1-0] Brewster(67), [2-0] Brewster (90)
Yellow Cards: Bahoken, Bingham (Livingston)
Pars Team: Stillie; Bullen, Skerla, Wilson; Hampshire, Nicholson, Dempsey, Dair, Kilgannon (MacPherson 79); Brewster, Crawford. Subs not used: Ruitenbeek, Karnebeek, McGroarty, McGarty
Livingston: McEwan; Rubio (McMenamin 71), Andrews, Bahoken; Brinquin, Quino, Lovell, Cherif (Bingham 63), O'Brien; Wilson (Camacho 77), Zarate. Subs not used: Creer (GK), Snowdon
Referee: A Freeland
After a dreadful first half, Dunfermline finally moved up a gear in the second to win through to meet Hibernian in the fourth round. Both of Brewster's goals were as a result of the mistakes by young Livi goalkeeper, Dave McEwan. The first came after Skerla picked out Brewster on the edge of the box. The striker didn't hit his shot that well, but the ball spun off McEwan's glove and into the net. The second came in injury time when the keeper fluffed his kick-out straight to Brewster in the centre circle. Seeing that McEwan was off his line, Brewster lofted the ball forty yards into the net for a tremendous finish to what had been a very ordinary game.   
The victory over Livingston means that Dunfermline now face Hibernian at home in the fourth round of the cup. Sky TV will also cover the Hibs game, earning the club another 82,500.
After a problem with the loan signing of David Grondin, Arsenal come to the Pars rescue by releasing the Frenchman. As he is then an unattached player he is free to sign for Dunfermline, which he does for 18 months.
RAC Auto Windscreens continue their sponsorship of the Pars, with a new two year deal.
Manager Calderwood holds a press conference to introduce his recent new signings, Noel Hunt, Ged Brannan and David Grondin. 
With Scott Thomson and Gary Mason continued absence through injury, all three new players (Hunt, Brannan, Grondin) are included in the starting line-up to face Rangers. 
           
Date: 8th February 2003 Opposition: Rangers Score (H/T): 1-3 (0-1)
Competition: Sc Premier League Venue East End Park Attendance: 8,754
Scorer: [0-1] McCann (37), [1-1] Brewster (49), [1-2] Amoruso (71), [1-3] Cannigia (90)
Yellow Cards: Skerla, Karnebeek (DAFC), Amoruso (Rangers)
Pars Team: Stillie; Bullen, Skerla, MacPherson (Kilgannon 80), Grondin; Nicholson, Brannan, Dair (Karnebeek 72); Crawford; Hunt (Hampshire 64), Brewster. Subs not used: Ruitenbeek, Dempsey.
Rangers: Klos; Moore, Amoruso, Numan; Ross (Malcolm 33), Ricksen, Ferguson, Arteta (Caniggia 78), McCann; Arveladze (Mols 84), de Boer. Subs not used: McGregor (GK), Bonnissel
Referee: H Dallas
The 3-1 scoreline flattered Rangers as Dunfermline put in a tremendous performance. The opener had an element of luck and controversy about it. From a short corner, McCann swung the ball towards goal and with Stillie being impeded by Arveladze, the ball drifted into the net. Just after the start of the second half the Pars equalised. Hunt, who had caused the Rangers defence all sorts of trouble saw his shot stopped by Klos, but the ball fell to Brewster at the edge of the box who hit the net with a powerful volley. Hunt was then stretchered off after being fouled by Numan. The Glasgow giants took the lead in 71 minutes when an Amoruso free kick rocketed into the net. With DA seeking the equaliser, a counter attack by the visitors saw Cannigia scored with a header at the other end, right on the final whistle. 
 
Pos   Pld W D L F A Pts
4 Kilmarnock 27 11 6 10 31 39 39
5 Dunfermline Ath 26 11 3 12 40 48 36
6 Hibernian 26 10 4 12 37 40 34
Despite the defeat, JC took positives from the Rangers game saying that his team had a tremendous first half and that he was pleased with the way they had come back after the previous weekend's defeat against Hearts.
Berti Vogts calls up three Pars players to face Turkey away. They are Scott Wilson, Barry Nicholson and goalkeeper Derek Stillie.
The Under 21 team loses 3-2 to Partick Thistle at Firhill after being two goals up. Steven Hampshire and Sean Kilgannon score the goals.
Missing from the squad to face Hibernain are Andre Karnebeek, Chris McGroarty, Mark McGarty and captain Scott Thomson. Thomson returned to training during the week, but suffered an adverse reaction. Gary Mason returns after missing five games with an ankle injury.
           
Date: 15th February 2003 Opposition: Hibernian Score (H/T): 3-1 (2-0)
Competition: Sc Premier League Venue Easter Road Attendance: 9,175
Scorer: [1-0] Mason (20), [2-0] Crawford (40), [3-0] Crawford (56), [3-1] O'Connor (67)
Yellow Cards: Grondin (DAFC), O'Neil (Hibs)
Red Card: Brannan (DAFC)
Pars Team: Stillie; Skerla, MacPherson, Wilson; Bullen (Dair 72), Nicholson, Brannan, Mason, Grondin; Crawford (Hunt 87), Brewster. Subs not used: Ruitenbeek, Hampshire, Dempsey.
Hibernian: Colgan; Fenwick, Townsley, Zambernardi; Orman (McManus HT), O'Neil (Arpinon 75), Brebner, Murray, James; Paatelainen, O'Connor (Riordan 80). Subs not used: Andersson, Doumbe
Referee: M McCurry
Before this game, even the most optimistic Pars supporter would have had difficulty believing that his team could beat Hibernian twice in a season at Easter Road. But that's exactly what Dunfermline did, and the victory was all the more remarkable considering they played the entire second half with just ten men. Gary Mason, making his return to the team after injury opened the scoring in 20 minutes, when his shot from the edge of the box took a deflection to beat Colgan. Crawford doubled the lead twenty minutes later, when beat Townsley in a chase to the ball to slip it past the advancing keeper. Right on half time, Brannan was justifiably dismissed for two footed tackle, and suddenly from being on a comfortable position, the Pars looked vulnerable. However, just 11 minutes into the second half, and Stevie Crawford scored his second, sliding home a Bullen cross. Hibs tried everything to get back into the game, and although O'Connor pulled one back, it wasn't enough and the defence, and Derek Stillie in particular, thwarted their efforts. After not having won a league game at Easter Road in 41 years, Dunfermline have now managed the feat twice in a season.  
 
Pos   Pld W D L F A Pts
3 Hearts 28 13 7 8 47 42 46
4 Dunfermline Ath 27 12 3 12 43 49 39
5 Kilmarnock 27 11 6 10 31 39 39
Not surprisingly it was a delighted Jimmy Calderwood that spoke to the press after the match, but he is keen for his team to improve their form away from East End Park. He said, "I think it was fully deserved. We know we are a very good team at East End Park, we have not been good enough away from home in the three years that I have been here. We should be winning a lot more away games if we want to get to where we are planning to get to."
Missing from the team to play Motherwell are suspended midfielder Ged Brannan, and the injured  Scott Thomson, Andre Karnebeek, Chris McGroarty and Lee Bullen. Sean Kilgannon also misses out having received whiplash injuries from a car crash he was in on the Monday.
The match against Motherwell passes a number of pitch inspections throughout the day, with the game finally being given the go-ahead at 4pm despite the pitch being heavily sanded.
 
Date: 19th February 2003 Opposition: Motherwell Score (H/T): 1-2 (0-1)
Competition: Sc Premier League Venue Fir Park Attendance: 3,741
Scorer: [0-1] Pearson (19), [0-2] Craig (50), [1-2] Crawford (52)
Yellow Cards: Nicholson (DAFC), Adams (Motherwell)
Pars Team: Stillie, Skerla, MacPherson (McGarty 83), Wilson, Grondin; Dempsey (Hampshire HT), Nicholson, Mason, Dair (Hunt 70); Crawford, Brewster. Subs not used: Ruitenbeek, Walker
Motherwell: Dubourdeau; Corrigan, Vaughan, Partridge, Cowan (Ramsay 67), Fagan, Adams, Pearson, Hammell, Craig, Clarkson (Lasley 88). Subs not used: Woods, Khaled, Kinninburgh.
Referee: D Somers
Not the best of nights for Dunfermline, as they missed a great chance to reduce Hearts lead to four points. Not for the first time this season, the first goal lost by Dunfermline came from a corner, with Pearson heading home from ten yards. The second goal was also a defensive nightmare with Wilson, MacPherson and Skerla failing to stop Clarkson and Craig from running through on goal, with the latter scoring. DA pulled one back just two minutes later with a close range Crawford effort, and Dunfermline put pressure on the 'Well goal. Despite hitting the post and forcing Dubourdeau into making some great saves, the Pars could not find the net again and another away defeat resulted.
Pos   Pld W D L F A Pts
3 Hearts 28 13 7 8 47 42 46
4 Dunfermline Ath 28 12 3 13 44 51 39
5 Kilmarnock 27 11 6 10 31 39 39
In his after match interview, Jimmy Calderwood was apoplectic with his teams performance, saying, "We were trying to play 'nancy' football and we were getting caught. We really have to have a good look at the bottle of some of our players. There is a big doubt. There never seems to be a problem at East End Park. Travel sickness or something; I don't know what it is but you have to have bottle to win games like this and we never had that in the first 45 minutes. We are not good enough to go and ponce about in games especially on pitches like that, with all respect Motherwell played to their strengths."
The injury list begins to take on a familiar feel with Scott Thomson, Lee Bullen, Andre Karnebeek and Chris McGroarty all missing out once again.
Just prior to the Hibs game, Gary Dempsey replaced Steven Hampshire who had injured his back in the warm up.
 
Date: 22nd February 2003 Opposition: Hibernian Score (H/T): 1-1 (0-1)
Competition: Scottish Cup Venue East End Park Attendance: 6,619
Scorer: [0-1] Murray (42), [1-1] Nicholson (58)
Yellow Cards: Dair, Nicholson (DAFC), Fenwick, McManus (Hibs)
Pars Team: Stillie; Skerla, MacPherson (Hunt 62), Wilson; Dair, Nicholson, Brannan, Mason, Grondin (Walker 86); Crawford, Brewster. Subs not used: Ruitenbeek, Dempsey, McGarty.
Hibernian: Colgan; Fenwick, Townsley (Jack 83), Smith; McManus (O'Connor 91), O'Neil, Brebner, Murray, James; Paatelainen, Doumbe. Subs not used: Andersson, Arpinon, Orman
Referee: S Dougal
A disappointing cup tie, with a draw about the right result. In a very lackluster first half, the best opportunity DA had was a drive from the edge of the box by Gus MacPherson, which flew narrowly over. Hibs took the lead when Brebner's cross found Ian Murray all on his own, and despite a desperate lunge by Dair, it was a simple task for the Hibs man to knock the ball past Stillie. The Pars showed more determination in the second half, and Barry Nicholson equalised with a fine side footed volley into the roof of the net from a Grondin cross. Jason Dair hit the post with an excellent shot from the edge of the box, but that was as near as the Athletic came to winning the tie. 
Although they did not win the tie, Jimmy Calderwood felt that a draw was the right result, and that he didn't fear going to Easter Road for the replay.
On the Sunday, Kilmarnock beat Partick Thistle to move up to fourth place at the expense of the Pars.
 
Pos   Pld W D L F A Pts
4 Kilmarnock 28 12 6 10 32 39 42
5 Dunfermline Ath 28 12 3 13 44 51 39
6 Hibernian 27 10 4 13 38 43 34
Dunfermline's Under 21 side draw 3-3 with Celtic, with Kilgannon, Nish and Hunt scoring the goals.
Should Dunfermline beat Hibernian in the Scottish Cup replay, they will face Rangers at home in the Quarter Final. The Hibs game is moved to the Thursday night, and will be live on Sky TV. As a result, the Partick Thistle game is moved back a day to the Sunday, meaning that over the last six months DA have had just one game at home on a Saturday at 3pm.
Barry Nicholson plays the full game as the Scotland 'Future' squad draw 1-1 in Turkey. Andy Gray scores the Scottish goal. The other Pars players in the squad, Stillie and Wilson fail to see any action.
Manchester United youngster John Rankin (19) spent the week at East End Park on trial, with a view to a move in the summer. However with the player due to spend the following week at Aberdeen, JC seems unlikely to follow up his interest.
After spending the week in Holland, Jimmy Calderwood returned to face the SFA General Purposes Committee to explain comments made during the game against Celtic at Parkhead in December. He escaped punishment when the committee found comments were not accurately attributed to him.

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