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Monthly Digest - March 2002

Manager Calderwood bemoans the state of the pitches in Scotland and the lack of suitable training facilities.
Making his return to the team for the game against Livingston after a six week lay-off, is goalkeeper Marco Ruitenbeek.
Date: 2nd March 2002 Opposition: Livingston Score (H/T): 1-1 (0-0)
Competition: Sc Premier League Venue: East End Park Attendance: 5,032
Scorers: [1-0] Bullen (51)
Cards: Skerla, Ruitenbeek (DAFC), Quino (Livingston)
Pars Team: Ruitenbeek; Skerla, Nicholls, Thomson; Dair, Nicholson, Ferguson (Skinner 89), Mason, McGroarty (Kilgannon 85); Bullen, Hampshire (N'Diaye 79).Subs not used: Thomson (GK), Panopolous.
Livingston: Culkin; Hart, Anderson, Andrews, Bollan (Lowwndes 63; Wilson (Caputo 75), Tosh, Fernandez, Bingham (Xausa 83), Quino, Santini. Subs not used: McEwan, Petersen.
Referee: H Dallas
A fairly dull game with the Pars taking all three points which keeps them in touch with Hearts and Kilmarnock in fifth and sixth place. The only goal of the game came after a good run from Chris McGroarty. Hampshire and keeper Culkin both missed the cross, and there was Lee Bullen at the far post to hit the ball high into the net.
Pos   Pld W D L F A Pts
6 Hearts 30 11 6 13 39 39 39
7 Dunfermline Ath 30 10 7 13 35 51 37
8 Dundee United 30 8 8 14 29 52 32
Having spent the weekend in Fife, Andre Karnebeek returns to Holland to think over his future. JC has offered the defender a two year contract. Gronnigen and Rosenborg are also believed to be interested 
Dunfermline have taken French goalkeeper Fabien Audard , from SC Bastia, on trial for a few days. Audard will play in the Under 21 game against Aberdeen this week. If  the 25 year old impresses, he could be signed on loan for next season. Meanwhile, Scott Y Thomson has signed a new contract for a year , as a goalkeeping coach.
The manager and Jimmy Nicholl have again been south looking at players 
Date: 9th March 2002 Opposition: Kilmarnock Score (H/T): 2-0 (0-0)
Competition: Sc Premier League  Venue: East End Park Attendance: 5,618
Scorers: [1-0] N'Diaye (66), [2-0] Hampshire (76)
Cards: San Juan, Dargo (Kilmarnock)
Pars Team: Ruitenbeek; Bullen, Skerla, Thomson, McGroarty, Panopolous (Dair 56), Nicholson, Ferguson (Skinner 87), Kilgannon (N'Diaye 56); Hampshire, Crawford. Subs not used: SY Thomson, Nicholls.
Kilmarnock: Marshall; Fowler, Innes, Hessey, Hay; Canero, Mahood, Mitchell (Pizzo 78), San Juan; Dargo, McLaren (Boyd 87). Subs not used: Meldrum (GK), Canning, McDonald
Referee: M McCurry
After a poor first half the Pars moved into top gear with an excellent second half performance. The catalyst for change was the introduction of substitutes N'Diaye and Dair. The big Senegalise striker produced a superb performance, and was on the spot to score with a header from close-in, after a Nicholson free-kick had found Bullen's head. N'Diaye came close to scoring his second, with a chip that just went over. The second goal duly arrived 10 minutes later, when  a Bullen low cross deceived N'Diaye and Crawford in the centre, but fell for Hampshire to shoot home. Further opportunities came the Pars way, but none could be taken. The win sees Dunfermline move into the top six for the first time since August.
Pos   Pld W D L F A Pts
5 Kilmarnock 31 11 8 12 36 40 41
6 Dunfermline Ath 31 11 7 13 37 51 40
7 Hearts 31 11 6 14 41 42 39
Discussions are underway with Midlesborough with a view to signing Sean Kilgannon. The youngster has expressed his desire to win a longer deal with Dunfermline. A decision whether to sign Mike Panopoulos will be made in a fortnight.  
Despite reports elsewhere that Andre Karnebeek has signed JC remains tightlipped, preferring instead to concentrate on the Aberdeen game. The manager also hopes to complete the signing of French keeper Fabien Adard.
Pars Under 21s draw 1-1 with Aberdeen at New Bayview. Gus MacPherson scored in his first game back after injury. Clearance to play trialist keeper Audard was not received in time.
As from next season, the North West stand will not be given over to Old Firm fans. At present the stand is available for home supporters to use for all games bar those involving the OF, a decision which angered many. 
Andrius Skerla will not have to travel to Israel with the Lithuanian squad, after their international match was called off.
Mason and MacPherson return to the squad for the crucial game against Aberdeen. Skinner and Panopoulos drop out. The team leave Dunfermline to travel north on the Friday evening, after an afternoon training session.
Date: 16th March 2002 Opposition: Aberdeen Score (H/T): 0-1 (0-1)
Competition: Sc Premier League  Venue: Pittodrie Attendance: 13,764
Scorers: [0-1] Mike (7)
Cards: McAllister (Aberdeen)
Pars Team: Ruitenbeek; Mason, Skerla, Thomson, McGroarty, Bullen (Kilgannon 76), Nicholson, Ferguson (MacPherson 38), N'Diaye; Hampshire (Dair HT), Crawford. Subs not used: Thomson (GK), Nicholls.
Aberdeen: Kjaer; McNaughton, Anderson, McGuire, McAllister; Darren Young, Derek Young (Clark 54), Bisconti, Winters; Mike (Tiernan 79), Mackie. Subs not used: Preece, Whyte, Thornley.
Referee: R Orr
A frustrating afternoon for Dunfermline at Pittodrie. For the first half hour the Pars, particularly in defence, were woeful. The only goal of the game came after a low cross deceived Hampshire in the middle of the goal, before hitting off Mike and bouncing into the goal between Ruitenbeek and the post. After Ferguson, who was having a dreadful game, was replaced by MacPherson the Pars tightened up, and went on to be the better of the two teams in the second half. Despite N'Diaye causing the Aberdeen defence all sorts of problems, no opening could be found, and with Hearts beating Hibernian, the battle for a top six place will go to the wire.
Pos   Pld W D L F A Pts
5 Hearts 32 12 6 14 43 43 42
6 Kilmarnock 32 11 9 12 37 41 42
7 Dunfermline Ath 32 11 7 14 37 52 40
8 Dundee 32 10 7 15 35 48 37
Hearts unexpected victory over Hibernian, means that they move above the Pars and Kilmarnock into fifth place. The battle for the final top six place now goes down to the final game. Dunfermline must win, and hope that either Rangers beat Kilmarnock at Ibrox on Wednesday night, or that St Johnstone beat Hearts at Tyncastle on Saturday.
Captain Ian Ferguson showed his displeasure at being substituted against Aberdeen by removing his shirt, and throwing it at the bench. Later the skipper admitted Calderwood had been right to substitute him as he was playing poorly.
Andre Karnebeek finally signs until 2004 for Dunfermline. The defender is expected to play in the Under 21 game against St Johnstone on Wednesday night. However, not signing is French keeper Fabien Audard, who is not prepared to settle for playing second fiddle to Marco Ruitenbeek.  
Another player signing on the dotted line is Sean Kilgannon, who has signed a three year contract  Youngster Marc McGarty returns to EEP after his two month loan spell at Raith Rovers.
Stevie Crawford is named in Berti Vogts first Scotland squad, but surprisingly there is no place for Barry Nicholson.
Dunfermline U21s beat Hearts 1-0 at East End Park on Monday night. Colin Nish scores. Two nights later and the U21s are in action again at McDiarmid Park against St Johnstone. The Pars win 3-1, with Colin Nish scoring a hat-trick. New signing Andre Karnebeek is unable to play, as his SFA clearance was not received in time.
The death was announced of former Pars skipper Jim Fraser, aged 55. 
With Kilmarnock being beaten 5-0 by Rangers on the Wednesday night, Dunfermline's task against Dundee is now known. A win is the only result that matters. 
Date: 23rd March 2002 Opposition: Dundee Score (H/T): 2-0 (1-0)
Competition: Sc Premier League  Venue: East End Park Attendance: 7,299
Scorers: [1-0] Nicholson (33), [2-0] Crawford (52)
Cards: MacPherson (DAFC), Ketsbaia, Carranza (Dundee)
Pars Team: Ruitenbeek; Skerla, Skinner, Thomson; MacPherson, Nicholson, Ferguson (Karnebeek 78), Mason, McGroarty; Bullen, Crawford (Hampshire 86). Subs not used: SY Thomson (GK), Dair, Nish.
Dundee: Speroni; Smith, Del Rio, Torres, Wilkie; Artero (MacKay 68), Rae, Ketsbaia, Beghetto (Carranza 45); Caballero (Kemes 73), Sara. Subs not used: Langfield (GK), Garrido.
Referee: J Underhill
With kick-off delayed by 9 minutes to allow the larger than normal crowd time to enter, the Pars went into the game knowing that a victory would see them play out the rest of the season in the top six. The Pars went at Dundee with all guns blazing and just after the half hour mark, Stevie Crawford laid the ball back to Barry Nicholson, who sent a looping shot into the Dundee net. With Gary Mason keeping tabs on dangerman Ketsbaia, seven minutes into the second half, Stevie Crawford ran onto a Bullen header to slip an angled shot past Speroni, for number two. For the last twenty minutes, Dundee pushed Dunfermline back into defence, but despite a few near misses, the Pars stood firm to make the top six. There was tremendous support from the crowd throughout the game, a point commented on by a number of players. 
Pos   Pld W D L F A Pts
4 Livingston 33 13 10 10 40 35 49
5 Dunfermline Ath 33 12 7 14 39 52 43
6 Hearts 33 12 6 15 44 46 42
7 Kilmarnock 33 11 9 13 37 46 42
The two nil win over Dundee not only secures a post split top six place, but coupled with Hearts defeat to St Johnstone, propels the team into fifth place. The possibility of a European place is mentioned by the manager and chairman.
As a reward for making the top six, the players will have their end of season holiday to Magaluf paid for by the club.
Defender John Potter moves to Clyde, and at the end of his three month loan spell, Mike Panopoulos returns to Portsmouth, where he his promptly released.
Stevie Crawford makes the starting line-up for Scotland's game against France. Stevie turns in a reasonable performance, but on the wrong end of a 5-0 hammering, few Scottish players shine.
Former Pars Greg Shields and Andy Tod return north on loan to Kilmarnock and Hearts respectively.
 Jimmy Calderwood has been named  SPL Manager of the month.