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Monthly Digest - December 2002

Gary Mason signs a new 2 year contract.
Date: 4th December 2002 Opposition: Dundee United Score (H/T): 4 -1 (3-0)
Competition: Sc Premier League Venue East End Park Attendance: 4,432
Scorer: [1-0] Brewster (4), [2-0] Brewster (37 pen), [3-0] Walker (41), [4-0] Nicholson (55), [4-1] McIntytre (61)
Yellow Cards: Miller (Dundee Utd)
Pars Team: Stillie; Skerla, Wilson, Walker; Bullen, Nicholson, Thomson, Dair (Dempsey 83, Hampshire 88), Kilgannon (McGroarty 83); Crawford, Brewster. Subs not used: Ruitenbeek, McGarty.
Dundee United: Gallagher; Wilson, Laughlan (Duff 55), McCracken, Paterson; Easton, Miller, Lilley (Carson 59), McIntyre; Hamilton (Smart 63), Thompson. Subs not used: Combe, Cummings.
Referee: K Toner
The Athletic easily disposed of a poor United side, before taking their foot off the gas and allowing the Taysiders back into the game. Dunfermline opened the scoring in just 4 minutes when Nicholson cut the ball back for Brewster to slot home from just 3 yards. After Walker was fouled in the box, referee Toner awarded a penalty kick, which was duly converted by Brewster for his second. Walker headed home number three just before the break, and the Pars were on easy street. Ten minutes into the second half and Nicholson's shot from the edge of the box took a deflection and beat Gallagher for the fourth. With the game won, Dunfermline eased up, and for the remainder of the game, United were the more dominant team. However, all they had to show for their efforts was a McIntyre goal which turned out to be nothing more than a consolation for the Arabs.
Pos   Pld W D L F A Pts
2 Rangers 18 15 3 0 56 13 48
3 Dunfermline Ath 18 9 3 6 34 34 30
4 Hibernian 18 8 1 9 25 27 25
Hopes of signing Jack de Gier during the winter break appear to have receded following the striker's recall to the FC Twente first team. The Pars intend to bring Noel Hunt the 19 year old Shamrock Rovers striker across to East End Park for training next week.
Having passed through the disciplinary points total, Scott Wilson misses the Partick game through suspension. Other than the injured Gus MacPherson, Jimmy Calderwood has a full squad to chose from.
Date: 7th December 2002 Opposition: Partick Thitle Score (H/T): 0-4  (0-2)
Competition: Sc Premier League Venue Firhill Attendance: 4,110
Scorer: [0-1] Britton (5), [2-0] Burns (45), [3-0] Burns (62), [4-0] McLean (70)
Cards: Mason (DAFC)
Pars Team:

Stillie; Skerla, Thomson, Walker (McGroarty 56); Bullen, Nicholson, Mason (Dempsey 75), Dair (Hampshire 64), Kilgannon; Crawford, Brewster. Subs not used: Ruitenbeek, McGarty.

Partick Th:

Arthur; Craigan, Chiarini, Archibald; Lilley, Mitchell, Paterson, Hardie, Milne; Burns (McLean 62), Britton (Waddell 89). Subs not used: Budinauckas, Morris, McKinstry

Referee: W Young
It's murder in Maryhill as the Pars turn in their worst performance for a long time, losing heavily to a Partick team that were well worth their victory. The rot set in after just 5 minutes when Britton found himself unmarked to head home. Although Dunfermline had chances to equalise, it was Thistle who went further ahead, as right on half time, Alex Burns scored number two with a shot from the edge of the box. Any hopes of a second half fightback were dashed, when ten minutes after the restart Burns picked up a loose ball from defence to drive home past Stillie. The final insult came with twenty minutes remaining when a poor Skerla header found McLean, who scored from 18 yards. 
Pos   Pld W D L F A Pts
2 Celtic 19 16 1 2 54 12 49
3 Dunfermline Ath 19 9 3 7 34 38 30
4 Hearts 19 7 6 6 28 32 27
After the Partick game the manager spoke of his disappointment at the result, but gave credit to Thistle for the way they played.
The departure of Ebbe Skovdahl from Aberdeen means that Jimmy Calderwood becomes the longest serving manager in the SPL.
Reports that the deal to bring Jack de Geir back to East End Park have floundered have puzzled Jimmy Calderwood, who believes that the striker is still available. Meanwhile young Irish player Noel Hunt trains with the club, and is reported to have impressed. Also spending a week with the club is 22 year old Swedish keeper Erland Helmström, who is currently with Hammarby. 
Stewart Petrie's testimonial match will be Dunfermline v a Pars Select on 21st January. Petrie is still considering whether to take up an offer to play in Australia.
Calderwood has expressed his concern that keeper Marco Ruitenbeek may decide to return to Holland at the end of the season.
Lee Bullen's goal against Hearts wins the BBC Goal of the Month competition for November.
It is revealed that Davie Nicholls will move to Falkirk on loan for the remainder of the season when the transfer window opens in January.
Following his knee operation, Gus MacPherson will not be ready to play again until after the winter break. Meanwhile Andre Karnebeek is nearing a return to action. Sean Kilgannon and Davie Nicholls are absent from the squad to face Aberdeen due to a sick bug. 
Date: 15th December 2002 Opposition: Aberdeen Score (H/T): 3-0 (1-0)
Competition: Sc Premier League Venue East End Park Attendance: 4,835
Scorer: [1-0] Crawford (39), [2-0] McAllister (47 og), [3-0] Brewster (63 pen) 
Yellow Cards: Mason (DAFC), McGuire (Aberdeen)
Pars Team: Stillie; Bullen, Skerla, Wilson, Thomson; Hampshire, Nicholson (Dempsey 83), Mason, Dair; Crawford, Brewster (McGarty 89). Subs not used: Ruitenbeek, Walker, Kilgannon.
Aberdeen: Preece; Anderson, McGuire; McAllister, Tiernan, Derek Young, Darren Young (Mike 77), Deloumeaux (Mike 84), McNaughton; Mackie, D'Jaffo (Michie 84). Subs not used: Esson, O'Donoghue, Clark
Referee: H Dallas
Aberdeen contributed to their own downfall in this game which was shown live on the BBC. After a fairly dull opening period,  a mistake by Anderson allowed Brewster to gain possession and set up his strike partner Crawford. Bearing in on goal, Scotland's number one striker made no mistake to beat Preece from the edge of the box. 90 seconds into the second half, and a Dair corner was headed past his own keeper. The final nail in Aberdeen's coffin came after Derek Young brought down Scott Thomson on the bye-line. Craig Brewster made no mistake with the resultant penalty to give the Pars a comprehensive victory. 
Pos   Pld W D L F A Pts
2 Celtic 20 16 2 2 55 13 50
3 Dunfermline Ath 20 10 3 7 37 38 33
4 Hearts 20 8 6 6 29 32 30
Whilst flu forces Scott Wilson to withdraw from the Scotland 'Futures' team, Barry Nicholson makes the starting line-up and plays the first half, before being substituted by Steven Hughes at half time. Scotland draw the game with Germany, 3-3.
Dunfermline Under 18s lose 3-2 to Buckie Thistle in the Youth Cup. Darren Wilson scores both goals for the Pars.  
The Under 21 team continues its poor run of form, with a 5-3 defeat at Livingston. Stewart Petrie (2), and Gary Dempsey are the Pars scorers.
Following his three days at East End Park, Dunfermline make Shamrock Rovers an offer for Irish starlet Noel Hunt. And with the transfer window approaching, Slovenian International defender Muamer Vugdalic, currently on loan at Shakthar Donetsk, is reported to be in talks with West Brom and Dunfermline. Meanwhile Jimmy Calderwood has turned down Clyde's request for Colin Nish to spend the remainder of the season on loan at Broadwood. However it is later reported that Nish has an illness which will prevent him from playing for the next few months. One move that won't be happening is Jack de Gier's return. FC Twente have turned down a request for the striker to return on loan. 
A possible move by new Aberdeen manager Steve Patterson for club captain Scott Thomson is denied by both the player himself and chairman John Yorkston.
Pars legend Istvan Kozma will return to East End Park to play in Stewart Petrie's testimonial game.
The Motherwell game falls victim to the weather and is called off after an early morning pitch inspection. Hearts victory against Dundee United means that Dunfermline slip down a place into fourth.
Pos   Pld W D L F A Pts
3 Hearts 21 9 6 6 32 32 33
4 Dunfermline Ath 20 10 3 7 37 38 33
5 Hibernian 21 9 2 10 27 31 29
Despite fears that midfielder Barry Nicholson would not be able to play for a month as a result of breaking a bone in his wrist, doctors have given him the all clear to carry on playing whilst wearing a light plaster cast. Nicholson is expected to sign an extension to his contract which will keep him at East End Park until 2006. 
Dunfermline have made a bid for Shamrock Rovers striker Noel Hunt, and although the Irish club have rejected it, it is understood that the two sides are not a million miles apart, and a deal is expected to be concluded. Calderwood denies any interest in Slovenian International defender Muamer Vugdalic.
Date: 26th December 2002 Opposition: Kilmarnock Score (H/T): 0-2 (0-0)
Competition: Sc Premier League Venue East End Park Attendance: 5,847
Scorer: [0-1] McSwegan (70), [0-2] Boyd (88) 
Yellow Cards: Wilson (DAFC), McLaren, Innes (Kilmarnock)
Pars Team:

Stillie; Skerla, Wilson, Thomson; Bullen, Nicholson, Mason (Dempsey 87), Dair (Hampshire 84), McGroarty (Kilgannon 84); Brewster, Crawford. Subs not used: Ruitenbeek, Walker


Marshall; Shields, Innes, Dillon; Fowler, Dargo (Mitchell 85), Mahood, Fulton, Canero; McSwegan (Hay 87), McLaren (Boyd 87). Subs not used: Meldrum, Sanjuan

Referee: J Underhill
It was a case of what might have been against Kilmarnock. Played in atrocious conditions, with heavy rain throughout, it was Killie who hit the Pars with two sucker punches to take full points. Playing neat football, Dunfermline had by far the majority of possession particularly in the first half, but lacked penetration. Marshall produced a number of good saves, and when a Scott Thomson trundler was cleared off the line, it was beginning to look like the game might end goalless. However in a rare foray into the Pars half, McSwegan swept the ball past Stillie to put the visitors one up. Although the Athletic tried to get back into the game, Bullen prevented the ball from going out for a throw, and in turn presented Kris Boyd with the opportunity to seal the win for Kilmarnock.
Pos   Pld W D L F A Pts
3 Hearts 22 9 6 7 34 36 33
4 Dunfermline Ath 21 10 3 8 37 40 33
5 Kilmarnock 22 9 5 8 24 33 32
Kilmarnock are the first team outside of the Old Firm to beat the Pars at East End Park for 15 months. The Rugby Park side were the last team to win there in September 2001.
Despite the defeat, Jimmy Calderwood was happy with the way his team played, claiming that had the game been a boxing match it would have been stopped at half time. 
Watching from the stands was Noel Hunt, who stated afterwards that he expected to sign within the next couple of days. Manager Calderwood confirmed just before the Celtic game that the deal had been done after Shamrock Rovers accepted the Pars offer. 
Scott Thomson is reported to be on the verge of signing a new four year contract which will keep him at East End Park until 2007.
Date: 29th December 2002 Opposition: Celtic Score (H/T): 0-1 (0-1)
Competition: Sc Premier League Venue Parkhead Attendance: 58,387
Scorer: [0-1] Larsson (19)
Yellow Cards: Mason, Walker, Skerla (DAFC)
Pars Team: Stillie; Skerla, Wilson, Walker (Dair 78); Thomson, Nicholson, Crawford, Mason (Dempsey 54), McGroarty; Brewster (Hampshire 84), Bullen. Subs not used: Ruitenbeek, Karnebeek
Celtic: Hedman; Mjallby, Valgaeren, Balde; Agathe, Lambert, Petrov (Guppy 62), Thompson; Sutton; Hartson (McNamara 75), Larsson. Subs not used: Gould, Maloney, Crainey
Referee: S Dougal
A narrow defeat at Parkhead, but for the second game in succession Dunfermline were unlucky to come away pointless. As has happened so many times before, it was Swede Henrik Larsson who scored the goal that sunk the Pars. The goal was very much a route one effort coming from a Marcus Hedman long kick out. Headed on by Hartson to Sutton, the Swede nipped in between Skerla and Stillie to steer the ball into the net. There were a few good efforts from the Pars, with Crawford and Bullen both coming close on a number of occasions. Man of the match for Dunfermline was Chris McGroarty, who had an excellent game, matching Agathe for speed and causing mayhem in the Celtic defence with his forward runs.
Pos   Pld W D L F A Pts
4 Hibernian 23 10 3 10 32 32 33
5 Dunfermline Ath 22 10 3 9 37 41 33
6 Kilmarnock 23 9 5 9 24 34 32
Manager Jimmy Calderwood is furious that referee Stuart Dougal did not see Joos Valgaeren pull back Craig Brewster as he broke clear. The defeat sees the Athletic drop to fifth in the SPL, with Kilmarnock just one point behind.
An interested spectator amongst the Dunfermline support was former Athletic player, Jack de Gier. Despite the player wishing to return to Dunfermline, JC states that nothing has changed with his current club FC Twente.
With his current club still chasing a European place, new signing Noel Hunt will join his new team-mates, on the 25th of January. The manager hints at the possibility of other new names arriving whilst the transfer window is open.
Young midfielder Kevin McLeish goes to Ross County on loan, whilst Davie Nicholls starts his loan period at Falkirk. Former Par Stephen Boyle joins up with the growing ex Dunfermline community at Brechin City.