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Monthly Digest - November 2003

The fall out from the cash-flow story continues to rumble on in the press. Depending on which paper you read, it's either a big deal and Dunfermline are in real financial trouble (Daily Record), or it's what it really is, a temporary cash-flow problem due to a delay with cash payments owed to the club (every other paper). The Board of Directors, and manager have denied that the club is in financial difficulties. 
Following Tuesday night's CIS Cup capitulation in Perth, manager Jimmy Calderwood makes a couple of changes to the line up against Dundee United. Returning to defence is Andrius Skerla, with new signing Andy McDermott handed a starting place after impressing in the Under 21s on Wednesday.
Date: 1st November 2003Opposition: Dundee UnitedScore (H/T): 2-0 (0-0)
Competition: Sc Premier LeagueVenue East End ParkAttendance: 5,078
Scorers: [1-0] Thomson (59), [2-0] Mehmet (90)
Yellow Cards: Robson, Innes (Dundee Utd)
Pars Team: Stillie; Skerla, Wilson, Thomson; McDermott, Nicholson, Darren Young, Mason, Dempsey (Labonte 84); Crawford, Brewster (Mehmet 84) Subs not used: Ruitenbeek, McNicol, Byrne
Dundee Utd Gallagher; Innes, McCracken, Archibald; Wilson, Duff, McInnes, Easton (Kerr 77), Paterson (Robson 65), McIntyre, McLaren (Samuel 52) Subs not used: Jarvie, Griffin
Referee: D McDonald
After the disappointment of the CIS Cup game at McDiarmid Park in midweek, this was an excellent performance from Dunfermline. With the Pars having created a load of chances, it was United that had the best opportunity to go ahead when Duff missed a superb opportunity from close range. With fears of another Kilmarnock type defeat mounting, Scott Thomson broke the deadlock with a superb header that gave Gallagher no chance. It was all Dunfermline from then on, but it took until the 90th minute for substitute Billy Mehmet to wrap up the win with a well taken solo effort.
Pos  Pld W D L F A Pts
5 Motherwell 10 4 3 3 13 12 15
6 Dunfermline Ath 10 4 3 3 10 10 15
7 Hibernian 11 4 3 4 12 15 15
JC was pleased with his team's performance after the match. "I thought it was one way traffic. We were probably only out of control for five minutes of the game. We controlled the game; created umpteen chances and it looked as though it was never going to go in for us. It was same against Kilmarnock but we eventually got the goal"
The Second Division Championship winning team from 1985/1986 are re-united at East End Park in the first Legends Re-united event to be organised by Jim Leishman. With legends like John Watson, Ziggy Bowie, Shaggy Jenkins and Bobby Forrest being interviewed, quizzes and videos, the afternoon  is voted a success. 
The Under 21 team wins 2-0 at Tannadice, thanks to goals from Kilgannon and Mehmet. Former Par Owen Coyle is red carded after picking up a second yellow card. 
UEFA have promised to pay the first installment of the money for the artificial surface within ten days. The delay in paying resulted in the cash flow crisis that excited certain sections of the tabloid press.
Dundee United chairman Eddie Thomson East End loser becomes the latest to critisise the plastic pitch. 
Stevie Crawford is called up for the Scotland squad to face Holland in the vital Euro 2004 play-off games in Glasgow and Amsterdam.
As well the long term injured trio of Andy Tod, Derek Young and Noel Hunt, Barry Nicholson misses out on the trip to Parkhead as a result of an injury sustained on the training ground.
Date: 8th November 2003Opposition: CelticScore (H/T): 0-5 (0-1)
Competition: Sc Premier LeagueVenue ParkheadAttendance: 58,328
Scorers: [0-1] Hartson (23), [0-2] Hartson (77), [0-3] Wallace (81), [0-4] Varga (83), [0-5] Larsson (87)
Yellow Cards: Mason, Thomson (DAFC)
Pars Team: Stillie; McDermott (Brewster 72), Skerla, Wilson, Thomson; Bullen, Darren Young, Mason (Dempsey 61), Labonte; Crawford; Mehmet (McGarty 88) Subs not used: Byrne, Ruitenbeek.
Celtic: Douglas; McNamara, Balde (Mjallby 83), Agathe, Lennon, Petrov (Sylla 83), Varga, Maloney (Wallace 72), Larsson, Sutton, Hartson Subs not used: Hedman, Gray
Referee: M McCurry
The scoreline suggests that Dunfermline were on the receiving end of another Old Firm hammering, but that couldn't be further from the truth. Until the substitution of Craig Brewster for Andy McDermott the Pars were holding Celtic to just one goal, but then the roof fell in. Hartson had given Celtic the lead when he knocked home a Agathe cross, but that was one of their few first half chances. Just after an hour's play, a tremendous Mehmet strike was touched onto the crossbar by Rab Douglas and there was a feeling that perhaps DA could get back into the game. However the substitution of McDermott for Brewster had the opposite effect and the roof caved in, and goals in quick succession from Hartson, Wallace, Varga and Larsson made the final result look like something it wasn't. 
Pos  Pld W D L F A Pts
7 Hibernian 12 4 4 4 14 17 16
8 Dunfermline Ath 11 4 3 4 10 15 15
9 Kilmnarnock 12 3 2 7 14 28 11
At the post match press conference, Jimmy Calderwood explained how his team had managed to get beaten 5-0. "We were still getting beat one nil so we changed it. We opened up a wee bit after 70 minutes. We gave Celtic the space and they took it. After a well organised performance for 70 minutes we ended up getting beat 5-0".
Following his dismissal against Dunfermline in an Under 21 fixture, former Par Owen Coyle is accused of racially abusing Dunfermline's Richie Byrne. Both Dunfermline and Byrne deny any such incident and will appear on Coyle's behalf when the case is heard by the SFA.
The Pars Under 21 team's good run comes to an end with a 2-0 defeat to Celtic at East End Park.
There is no place in the Scotland line-up for striker Stevie Crawford as Holland are beaten 1-0 at Hampden. In the disastrous second leg Amsterdam when the Scots went down 6-0, the Pars striker came on as a half time substitute. Head Coach Jimmy Calderwood appears as an 'enemy' on Dutch television's coverage of the Scotland Holland games.
Contract discussions are opened with Scott Wilson and ten other players whose contracts expire at the end of the season. 
The late payment of 130,000 from UEFA for the installation of the artificial surface which caused the recent cash flow problem has been received.
Youssef Rossi's sorry stay with the Pars appears to be coming to an end at last as Raja Cassablanca prepare to make an offer for the Moroccan.
There's better news on the injury front as Derek Young ends his long spell on the sidelines with being named as a substitute against Dundee. It is hoped that Andy Tod and Noel Hunt will return to the Under 21s next week. On the down side, Andrius Skerla had to sit out the Dundee game due to a groin strain sustained at training on the Friday.
Date: 22nd November 2003Opposition: DundeeScore (H/T): 2-0 (0-0)
Competition: Sc Premier LeagueVenue East End ParkAttendance: 5,490
Scorers: [1-0] Crawford (52), [2-0] Crawford (64)
Yellow Cards: Sara, Ravanelli (Dundee)
Pars Team: Stillie; McDermott, Wilson, Thomson, Grondin (Bullen 84); Nicholson, Darren Young, Mason, Dempsey; Crawford, Brewster (Derek Young 84). Subs not used: Ruitenbeek, Labonte, Mehmet
Dundee: Speroni; McKay, Wilkie, Mair; Sara, Brady (Linn 76), Smith, Hernandez (Cameron 37), Novo, Ravanelli, Caballero. Subs not used: Langfield, Fotheringham, Carranza
Referee: S Conroy
After a stuttering start when passes all too often went astray, Dunfermline settled and produced another excellent second half performance to secure all three points. Dundee had the better of the first half and almost took the lead when a low Ravenelli shot was tipped round the post by Stillie. It took the Pars 38 minutes before they earned their first corner, but Speroni was rarely tested by the shot shy forwards. After the break it was a different matter, and when Stevie Crawford fired home with a low shot in 52 minutes, the Athletic didn't look back. Number two came after Ravenelli fouled Dempsey on the wing and from the resulting free-kick, Crawford's bulleted header gave Speroni no chance. Although Dundee continued to fight, it the Athletic remained tight at the back and took all three points.
Pos  Pld W D L F A Pts
4 Motherwell 12 5 4 3 15 13 19
5 Dunfermline Ath 12 5 3 4 12 15 18
6 Livingston 13 4 5 4 14 14 17
Post match Jimmy Calderwood commented on the playing surface on which a number of players seemed to have had trouble keeping their footing: "It was very difficult today, for some reason or other it was very wet and in the first ten minutes it was difficult. A lot of people say it is to our advantage but it is not to anybody's advantage when it is like that." As is becoming the norm for managers who find themselves on the losing side Dundee Manager Jim  Duffy considered that the pitch was OK for training on, but not for playing competitive matches.
Pre-match against Dundee and spectators were treated to the surreal sight of Sammy the Tammy, a purple dinosaur, Dumbledore the wizard from Harry Potter, a nine foot inflatable Santa and a Robbie Williams impersonator. The bizarre combination had come together as they were switching on the town's Christmas lights later that evening.
Just two days after the game against Dunfermline, Dundee are placed into administration with debts of 20 million and losses of 100k per week. 25 members of Dundee's staff are sacked including big names Fabrizio Ravenelli, Craig Burley, Juan Sara and Fabien Caballero. Like Motherwell before, Dundee's plight sends shock waves throughout the Scottish game.
The Under 21 game against Dundee was postponed.
As two directors resign, three new ones are appointed. Former chairman Roy Woodrow and Graham Thomson depart, with Rodney Shearer, David McIntyre and Ed Smyth joining the board.  
Date: 25th November 2003Opposition: MotherwellScore (H/T): 2-2 (2-0)
Competition: Sc Premier LeagueVenue Fir ParkAttendance: 4,220
Scorers: [1-0] Crawford (14), [2-0] Brewster (39), [1-2] Pearson (70), [2-2] Corrigan (93)
Yellow Cards: Brewster, Tod (DAFC), Hammell, Clarkston (Motherwell)
Pars Team: Stillie; McDermott (Labonte 82), Tod, Wilson, Thomson; Nicholson, Darren Young, Mason, Derek Young (Dempsey 75); Crawford, Brewster (Mehmet 41). Subs not used: Ruitenbeek, Grondin.
Motherwell: Marshall; Corrigan, Partridge, Craigan, Hammell; Clarkson, Leitch (Dair 49), Lasley, Pearson; Adams, Craig (Burns 59). Subs not used: Corr (GK), Quinn, Fagan
Referee: A Freeland
Before the game, most supporters would have been happy to have taken a point from their visit to Motherwell. However, the manner in which a two goal lead was thrown away made the result feel more like a defeat. In the opening seconds DA forced Gordon Marshall to save a Thomson free-kick, but them Motherwell came into the game and the pressure was on Dunfermline. The Pars took the lead in 14 minutes when Brewster hit the post before Crawford touched the rebound over the line. The second Athletic goal was similar, but this time Crawford hit the post, and Brewster was on hand to touch home the rebound. Unfortunately that was almost the end of the game for Brewster as he limped off to be replaced by Billy Mehmet. Two goals up, the Pars should have been in command, but unfortunately that old failing of sitting too deep came back to haunt them and Motherwell dominated the entire second half. With 70 minutes gone, Andy Tod slipped allowing Pearson plenty of space to shoot past Stillie to give the Lanarkshire team hope. Motherwell continued to heap pressure on the visiting defence and it was no surprise when two minutes and twenty seconds into time added on Martin Corrigan headed home the equaliser from a Hammell cross. Not surprisingly, the home fans were delirious with delight.   
Pos  Pld W D L F A Pts
4 Motherwell 13 5 5 3 17 15 20
5 Dunfermline Ath 13 5 4 4 14 17 19
6 Livingston 13 4 5 4 14 14 17
In his post match comments, Jimmy Calderwood felt that the loss of Craig Brewster through injury had played a big part in his team's failure to hold onto a two goal lead. "We missed Brewster's awareness and his touch. We couldn't really get out in the second half. We couldn't keep the ball up to get people in support, it was coming straight back to us."
Chairman John Yorkston reveals that Jimmy Nicholl has turned down offers from other SPL and First Division clubs to remain at Dunfermline. Northern Ireland are due to appoint their new boss in January and fears remain that Nic could still be the man for the job.
With Noel Hunt finally recovered from injury, for the first time this season manger Jimmy Calderwood has the luxury of a fully fit squad to chose from. Despite limping off against Motherwell, Craig Brewster is passed fit for the Aberdeen game.
Date: 29th November 2003Opposition: AberdeenScore (H/T): 2-2 (0-2)
Competition: Sc Premier LeagueVenue East End ParkAttendance: 5,294
Scorers: [0-1] Deloumeaux (24), [0-2] Booth (60), [1-2] Derek Young (61), [2-2] Bullen (74)
Yellow Cards: Wilson (DAFC), Booth, Zdrilic, Rutkiewicz, Anderson (Aberdeen)
Pars Team: Stillie; Skerla, Tod (Dempsey 62), Wilson, Thomson (Bullen 40); Nicholson, Darren Young, Mason, Derek Young (Hunt 74); Crawford, Brewster Subs not used: Ruitenbeek, McNicol.
Aberdeen: Preece; McNaughton, Anderson, Riutkiewicz, Morisson; Tosh, Heikinen (Sheerin 80), Deloumeaux, Clark; Zdrilic (Hinds 72), Booth (Mackie 86) Subs not used: Esson, Muirhead
Referee: I Brines
This was the proverbial game of two halves, played in pouring rain throughout. For the first 45 minutes Dunfermline were woeful, and it was Aberdeen that adapted much better to the atrocious conditions. After Wilson fouled Clark 30 yards out, the ball was touched to Deloumeaux who sent a 30 yard low shot past Stillie into the net. Scott Thomson was forced to go off injured after 40 minutes and the Pars cause looked lost. However the Athletic started the second half in a much more determined fashion and straight away Preece made a superb save from Brewster. Instead it was the Dons who scored their second when Booth hit a fine angled shot into the net. Almost immediately the Pars pulled one back when a Nicholson cross was headed home on the dive by Derek Young. Brewster brought out another excellent save from Preece with a close range header. In 74 minutes Lee Bullen shot the Pars back on level terms with a well placed shot. Although DA had further opportunities to take the lead, there was no further scoring and there was an air of disappointment at the end that the full three points hadn't been captured.. 
Pos  Pld W D L F A Pts
4 Motherwell 14 5 5 4 17 17 20
5 Dunfermline Ath 14 5 5 4 16 19 20
6 Livingston 14 4 6 4 15 15 18
Post match JC felt that his team had the opportunity to win, but were ultimately unlucky, "I keep saying it but with the chances we are creating, if they go in we are going to give somebody a right hammering. You have got to earn it. They showed a lot of character to come back but we should never have been in that position in the first place. The manager was left to rue the loss of four points in the last two games which could cost DA dearly come the end of the season. 
Given the horrendous conditions with torrential rain throughout, the much maligned artificial pitch was voted a success as other pitches around the country suffer badly.
Eleven Pars players whose contracts run out at the end of the season, have been warned that they will have to take pay cuts if they want to remain at East End Park. The eleven include, Derek Stillie, Craig Brewster, Marco Ruitenbeek, Scott Wilson, Lee Bullen, David Grondin, Sean Kilgannon, Mark McGarty, Scott McNicoll and Chris McGroarty.
Negotiations with contractors about the construction of a hotel and offices at EEP are reported to be fairly near to conclusion.