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Monthly Digest - April 2003

Despite his goal for the Irish Under 21s against Georgia, Noel Hunt fails to make the starting line-up for his country's game away to Albania. Ireland lose 1-0, Hunt making a 76th minute substitute appearance.
Scott Thomson sees a surgeon about the ankle ligament problem that has plagued him since the winter break. 
Promising 15 year old Guy Kerr signs for the Pars despite competition from Chelsea.
As part of the Leonardo Da Vinci project, Dunfermline have been paired with Olympiakos CFP, and the Under18 team plus two coaches will spend three weeks with the Greek side as part of their pre-season training programme.
An experienced Under 21 team loses 3-0 to Aberdeen at Pittodrie.
Stevie Crawford plays 55 minutes of Scotland's game away to Lithuania before being substituted injured. The Scots lose 1-0.
Revised plans to build a business centre at the south west corner of the ground between the Norrie McCathie and Main Stand, are given the go-ahead. Work on the four floors of rentable office accommodation will start at the beginning of the close season. Planning permission for the 60 bed hotel in the south east corner was also granted, but work is several years away yet.  
The Athletic relaunch their official web site.  
Definitely out for the Motherwell game are  Scott Thomson, Andre Karnebeek, Andrius Skerla and Gary Dempsey, whilst Lee Bullen and Stevie Crawford were both rated doubtful by the manager.
Date: 5th April 2003 Opposition: Motherwell Score (H/T): 3-0 (1-0)
Competition: Sc Premier League Venue East End Park Attendance: 4,086
Scorer: [1-0] Hampshire (18), [2-0] Nicholson (60), [3-0] Hunt (78)
Yellow Cards: Wilson (DAFC), Leitch, Lasley (Motherwell)
Red Card: Vaughan (Motherwell)
Pars Team: Stillie; Nicholson, MacPherson, Wilson (Capt), Grondin; Bullen (Hunt 66), Brannan, Mason, Kilgannon; Hampshire (McGroarty 83), Brewster (Hamilton 71).  Subs not used: Ruitenbeek, McGarty.
Motherwell: Dubourdeau; Cowan, Corrigan, Vaughan, Partridge, Hammell; Lasley (Fagan 80), Leitch (Craig 80), Adams; Lehmann, McFadden (Clarkson 73).  Subs not used: Woods, Kinniburgh
Referee: D Somers
This was a comfortable win for Dunfermline, although in the early stages Motherwell had the opportunity to score. DA took the lead after Brewster chased a long Brannan ball causing Dubourdeau to knock it into the path of the oncoming Steven Hampshire who scored his first goal of the season. Lasley saw an effort roll along the line, before the ball was cleared up the other end where Vaughan, after several attempts, brought down Brewster. Not surprisingly the referee produced a red card. The sending off effectively ended 'Well's challenge, but it took until 15 minutes into the second half before the Pars extended their lead. Brewster flicked the ball on for Nicholson, and the midfielder coolly slotted past the keeper. The best goal was saved for last, as Hunt volleyed a pinpoint shot past Dubourdeau, allowing him the opportunity to show the home support his trademark celebration for the first time.    
Pos   Pld W D L F A Pts
4 Kilmarnock 32 14 8 10 43 44 50
5 Dunfermline Ath 32 13 5 14 48 55 44
6 Dundee 32 9 12 11 42 47 39
At his post match conference Jimmy Calderwood felt that the game turned in his team's favour in a critical one and half minute period in the first half when Motherwell almost scored just before Vaughan was sent off. The win guaranteed the Pars a top six place for the second successive season.
The Athletic's Under 21 team are denied a rare win after Hearts equalise in the final minute to make the final score 1-1 at Forthbank. Jim Hamilton scored the Pars goal from the penalty spot in 81 minutes.
Scott Thomson is ruled out for the remainder of the season. 
Date: 9th April 2003 Opposition: Rangers Score (H/T): 0-3 (0-2)
Competition: Scottish Cup Venue Ibrox  Attendance: 24,752
Scorer: [0-1] Lovenkrands (4),  [0-2] Ferguson (19), [0-3] Arteta (54)
Yellow Cards: Grondin (DAFC)
Pars Team: Stillie; Bullen, Skerla, MacPherson (Kilgannon HT), McGroarty; Nicholson, Brannan (Grondin 73), Mason, Hampshire; Crawford, Brewster (Hunt 61). Subs not used: Ruitenbeek, McGarty.
Rangers: Klos; Ricksen, Amoruso, Malcolm, Numan (McCann 65); Arteta, Ferguson (Arveladze 73), Konterman; de Boer (Caniggia 67), Mols, Lovenkrands. Subs not used: McGregor (GK), Hughes
Referee: J Underhill
Once again a very disappointing performance by Dunfermine in Glasgow. Steven Hampshire wasted a chance to put Dunfermline into the lead, just before a Stillie throw to Skerla was intercepted by Lovenkrands who accepted the gift to score from the edge of the box. Time - four minutes. Worse followed in 18 minutes when Barry Ferguson found himself all alone in the box to head past Stille. It was all Rangers, and any attacks Dunfermline mounted were lightweight and easily dealt with by the home defence. Nine minutes into the second half and Arteta chipped the ball over Stille and into the net despite a desperate lunge from Skerla. 
JC was once again an angry man after the Rangers defeat claiming that "we're a better team than we showed tonight."
Ahead of the Aberdeen game, JC bemoans the number of defensive players who have picked up long term injuries in the second half of the season.
Date: 12th April 2003 Opposition: Aberdeen Score (H/T): 0-1 (0-1)
Competition: Sc Premier League Venue Pittodrie Attendance: 10,033
Scorer: [0-1] Sheerin (9)
Yellow Cards: Brannan, Bullen (DAFC), Tosh (Aberdeen)
Red Card: Brannan (DAFC)
Pars Team: Stillie; Skerla, MacPherson (McGarty 64), McGroarty, Bullen; Nicholson, Brannan, Mason, Grondin (Hunt 59); Crawford, Brewster (Hamilton 69). Subs not used: Ruitenbeek, Hampshire
Aberdeen: Kjaer; Anderson, Deloumeaux, McGuire; Hart (Payne 77), Tosh (McNaughton 64), Sheerin, Tiernon, Clark; Derek Young, Hinds. Subs not used: Preece, D'Jaffo, Michie
Referee: I Brines
Another poor away performance with defensive frailties costing the Pars dearly once again. The only goal in the game came in 9 minutes after Bullen and Skerla between them failed to clear a ball on the flanks. Skerla's poor clearance only reached Paul Sheerin and Stillie could only watch as his superb shot rifled into the top of the net. Chris McGroarty had a good chance but his effort was easily saved by Kjaer. In the second half Dunfermline had chances, as did Aberdeen but all came to nothing. To make the task even more difficult, Brannan picked up his second yellow card on the hour mark for a two footed challenge on Hart, leaving the Pars to play out the last half hour with just ten men.
Pos   Pld W D L F A Pts
4 Kilmarnock 33 14 8 11 43 46 50
5 Dunfermline Ath 33 13 5 15 48 56 44
6 Dundee 33 10 12 11 44 48 42
Post match JC said, "it was the same old story from us, suicidal defending from us again. We were dominating the game, there was no problem.....then Bullen didn't open his body."
Another Under 21 game and another defeat, this time 2-3 to Hibernian at home. Noel Hunt scored both the Pars goals.
Two more players arrive at EEP on trial. 19 year old Australian defender Patrick Kisnorbo and 19 year old Middlesbrough midfielder Anthony Storey, both impress but there are a lot of other clubs reported to be interested in the pair. Another pair of unnamed trialists arrive the following week from Premiership clubs Newcastle and West Ham.
After a delay due to Celtic's unhappiness at being asked to play an Old Firm fixture just days after their EUFA Cup semi final second leg, the final set of fixtures are eventually released. The Pars play Hearts at EEP in the first of the five games, and Rangers at Ibrox in the last.
Rather than scour the English lower divisions, JC hopes to be able to pick up players released by Premiership clubs during the close season.
Young defender Mark McGarty is offered a new contract despite being almost shown the door earlier in the season.
Andrius Skerla receives his call up to the Lithuanian Squad to play Romania in Vilnius at the end of the month.
Stevie Crawford is included in a shortlist of four for the Scottish 'Player's Player of the Year'. Other nominees are Ranger's Barry Ferguson and Bobo Balde and Henrik Larrson of Celtic.
Stevie Crawford rejects offers of a new contract, but insists that he's keen to stay with Dunfermline. Meanwhile St Mirren are reported to want Gus MacPherson to be their Player Manager. Chairman John Yorkston said the Athletic would not stand in the Buddies way.
A 3-2 defeat at home to Kilmarnock ensures that the Athletic's Under 21 team remains firmly rooted to the foot of the table. Jason Dair and an own goal from Killie keeper Colin Stewart were the scorers. There was further bad news as several players picked up injuries in the game, Chris McGroarty (shin), Sean Kilgannon (calf), Noel Hunt (dead leg), Gary Dempsey (back), and Jim Hamilton (head kick).
Stevie Crawford earns another call up to the Scotland squad for the friendly against Austria.
At the AGM it was reported that the club's loss of £1.3 million was an improvement on the previous year's loss of £3 million. There was also dismay at poor attendance's. 
Eight players are out of the Hearts game, goalkeeper Derek Stillie, Chris McGroarty, Gary Dempsey, Jim Hamilton, Scott Thomson, Andre Karnebeek, Ged Brannan and Scott Wilson. The latter two are both suspended as well as being injured, whilst McGroarty, Dempsey and Hamilton all picked up their injuries in the Under 21 fixture against Kilmarnock. Stillie’s injury, which occurred in training, means a return to first team action for Dutchman Marco Ruitenbeek.
Date: 26th April 2003 Opposition: Heart of Midlothian Score (H/T): 0-0 (0-0)
Competition: Sc Premier League Venue East End Park Attendance: 6,698
Scorer: [0-1] Pressley (57 pen)
Yellow Cards: Webster (Hearts)
Pars Team: Ruitenbeek: McGarty, Skerla, Bullen, Dair (Walker 72), Hampshire, Nicholson, Mason, Grondin (Kilgannon 60), Crawford, Brewster (Hunt 54). Subs not used: Murdoch, MacPherson
Hearts: Moilanen: Maybury, Pressley, Webster, McCann; Valois, McFarlane, Severin, Stamp, Weir (Kirk 64), De Vries (McKenna 64). Subs not used: McKenzie, Boyack, Simmons
Referee: K Clark
This was a very poor performance with the team looking a pale imitation of the Dunfermline side that was challanging for third place before Christmas. Little of interest happened for most of the game, with the sole goal coming from a Steven Pressley penalty, conceded after Bullen brought down De Vries. The end of the season can't come soon enough for the Pars support.
Pos   Pld W D L F A Pts
4 Kilmarnock 34 15 8 11 44 46 53
5 Dunfermline Ath 34 13 5 16 48 57 44
6 Dundee 34 10 12 12 44 49 42
Post match the manager felt that amateur defending once again cost his team the game.
There's no Scottish ' Player's Player of the Year' award for Stevie Crawford as Rangers' Barry Ferguson picks up the title.
Ged Brannan returns to Wigan after his loan period is cut short. With a year remaining on his contract down south, the Pars could not afford to hold onto the former Motherwell player.
Dunfermline qualify for the Fife Cup final with a 3-0 win over Cowdenbeath at Central Park. Brewster, Bullen and Hunt were the scorers.
Gus MacPherson is offered a two year deal as a player/Assistant Manager by St Mirren. Although Gus still has a year to run on his contract at EEP, the club will not stand in his way if he decides to take up the offer.
Stevie Crawford is dropped from Scotland's starting line-up against Austria at Hampden. The front-man came on at half time as Scotland crashed to an embarrassing 2-0 defeat. Andrius Skerla plays just 26 minutes of Lithuania's friendly against Romania in Kaunas.