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Monthly Digest - January 2004

Chris McGroarty returns to East End Park after being loaned to Clyde early in the season. He made twelve starts for the Bully Wee in his four months at Broadwood.
Missing from the squad for Livingston were Scott Thomson through suspension, Craig Brewster who was injured after just 15 seconds of the Partick game, and Aaron Labonte (hamstring). Scott Wilson pulled out of the squad just before the game with flu. 
Date: 3rd January 2004Opposition: LivingstonScore (H/T): 2-2 (1-1)
Competition: Sc Premier LeagueVenue East End ParkAttendance: 5,155
Scorers: [0-1] McNamee (14), [1-1] Nicholson (36 pen), [1-2] Makel (62), [2-2] Crawford (80)
Yellow Cards: Skerla, Tod (DAFC), McAllister, Pasquinelli, Quino (Livingston)
Pars Team: Stillie; Skerla, McDermott (Hunt 69), Tod, Bullen, Nicholson, Darren Young, Dempsey, Mason (Grondin 75); Crawford, Derek Young Subs not used: Ruitenbeek, Byrne, MacNicol
Livingston: McKenzie, McNamee, Andrews, Rubio (Fernandez 59), Dorado, McAllister, Makel, Lovell, O’Brien (Quino 77), Pasquinelli (Brittain 89), Lilley. Subs not used: Main, McLaughlin
Referee: M McCurry
Once again Dunfermline had the opportunity to move into third place if they could beat Livingston at home. However Livi took the lead in just 14 minutes when the DA failed to defend a throw in. Pasquinelli worked his way into the left side of the Pars penalty box before cutting back a great ball for David McNamee to despatch into the Athletic net from 6 yards. The Pars equaliser came as a result of a rush of blood from Oscar Rubio who inexplicably decided to handle the ball in the box. Barry Nicholson did the necessary form the spot. DA improved their performance in the second half but it was Livi that scored the second goal after 62 minutes. A Derek Stillie clearance was headed down the right wing by Andrews. Fernandez picked out Makel as he burst through into the box and the Englishman powered passed Andy McDermott to shoot in Livingston's second goal of the match. With the visitors looking the better of the two teams, it was something of a surprise when substitute Noel Hunt out jumped Andrews for a long ball and the ball broke to Stevie Crawford who stroked it past McKenzie. Dunfermline finished the better of the two teams but were unable to get the third goal which would have given them full points.
Pos  Pld W D L F A Pts
3 Hearts 18 9 3 6 26 22 30
4 Dunfermline Ath 19 8 6 5 25 27 30
5 Motherwell 19 6 6 7 20 22 24
Jimmy Calderwood was unhappy at his team's showing against Livi, saying: "we found it difficult building up from the back today. In midfield we weren't as sharp as we usually are. It is just annoying when they make you go for it all the time; great for the public I suppose, but for managers it is a bit annoying."
Australian defender Andy McDermott leaves the club after his short term contract expired. He came into the team for the game against Livi as a short notice replacement for the ill Scott Wilson and played well.
Livingston are the latest team to take a pot at East End Park's artificial surface. A number of Livi players required treatment after the game which were apparently attributable to the pitch.
Dunfermline's Under 21 team crashed to a heavy 6-2 defeat in their game against Livingston at New Douglas Park Hamilton. Labonte equalised to make the score 1-1 and Noel Hunt netted a consolation strike with 15 minutes remaining.
Jimmy Nicholl is favourite to be appointed manager of Northern Ireland after chairman John Yorkston grants their FA permission to speak to the Pars Number Two. 
Plans to form a partnership with Lithuanian team FC Kaunas have been shelved. John Yorkston said he was not happy with what he had seen and had decided not to proceed with the venture.
Jimmy Calderwood reported a clean bill of health ahead of the Cup game. Once again the manager revealed his hopes for a good cup run, saying "every time you start a cup run, you like to give the supporters a wee lift." Before the match striker Craig Brewster reminisces on the cup winning goal he scored for United ten years ago.
Date: 10th January 2004Opposition: Dundee UnitedScore (H/T): 3-1 (2-1)
Competition: Scottish CupVenue East End ParkAttendance: 6,164
Scorers: [1-0] Crawford (16), [2-0] Crawford (36), [2-1] McInnes (38), [3-1] Brewster (49)
Yellow Cards: Wilson (DAFC)
Pars Team: Stillie; Skerla, Wilson, Thomson; Nicholson, Derek Young (Bullen HT), Darren Young, Mason, Dempsey (Tod 81); Crawford (Hunt 67), Brewster. Subs not used: SY Thomson, MacNichol
Dundee Utd: Gallacher; Wilson, McCracken (Paterson 20), Archibald, Duff; Miller (Holmes 81), Dodds, Easton; Samuel (Scotland 57), McLaren Subs not used: Jarvie, Anderson.
Referee: H Dallas
Dunfermline progressed through to the fourth round of the cup after comfortably beating United in the third. It took Stevie Crawford just 16 minutes to open the scoring. He netted from six yards after Gary Dempsey slipped the ball to him rather than shooting himself. Darren Young forced Gallagher to tip the ball over the bar, and then DA had a strong claim for a penalty after Dempsey was brought down in the box by Paterson. Crawford then scored his second after a Brewster pass was missed by Archibald allowing the Scotland striker to run 45 yards before slipping the ball past Gallagher. United struck back in just 90 seconds. A Mark Wilson cross was knocked back to Derek McInnes and his powerful shot took a deflection off Skerla to beat Stillie to make the score 2-1. Any worries that United would fight their way back into the game were quickly dispelled just four minutes into the second half when Craig Brewster scored a peach of a goal. Beating two men in the centre circle, Brew sent the ball wide to Crawford, who returned the ball to the centre for the striker to smash the ball first time past Gallagher to put the Pars 3-1 up. DA had further opportunities to score a fourth but when Dempsey was replaced by Andy Tod with ten minutes remaining, the emphasis was on keeping the lead, something the Pars did without too much trouble.
At the post match press conference Jimmy Calderwood was pleased with his team's performance, "in phases it was a very good performance. We keep going on about the two of them up front but the third goal probably sums them up. It was absolutely magnificent." 
The draw for the fourth round of the Scottish Cup sends Dunfermline to Broadwood to play Clyde on the 7th of February. After hearing the draw, JC said, "It could have been easier and it could have been a lot worse. History shows that we usually lose these kind of games. We have been warned after Ayr United and getting beat at St Mirren in the League Cup and getting well beaten at St Johnstone this season."
Celtic Under 21s defeat the Pars 2-0 at New Broomfield. Momo Sylla scores both goals.
Full back Chris McGroarty signs for St Mirren who are managed by former Par Gus MacPherson. The youngster had spent the first half of the season on loan at Clyde.
Reports that Sean Kilgannon had gone to Gillingham on trial or loan were denied by Jimmy Calderwood
After a string of good performances, Craig Brewster is presented with the Bank of Scotland SPL Player of the Month award for December 2003. The award is the first time in his career that the popular striker has received an award of this nature.

19 year old goalkeeper Keiron Renton from Blackburn Rovers spent the week on trial at East End Park, and according to JC "has done alright and hasn't done himself any harm at all". However no decision has been made on the youngster's future.

A potential keeper crisis was averted ahead of the visit to Rugby Park when Derek Stillie returned after missing training due to illness. Number two keeper Marco Ruitenbeek was also out of action due to an achillies injury. Despite these worries JC has a full squad to choose from for the trip to Ayrshire.
Date: 17th January 2004Opposition: KilmarnockScore (H/T): 1-1 (0-1)
Competition: Sc Premier LeagueVenue Rugby ParkAttendance: 5,715
Scorers: [0-1] McSwegan (29 pen), [1-1] Crawford (64)
Yellow Cards: Dindeleux (Kilmarnock)
Pars Team: Stillie; Skerla, Wilson, Tod; Nicholson, Darren Young (Derek Young 78), Thomson, Mason, Labonte; Crawford (Dempsey 87), Brewster. Subs not used: Ruitenbeek, Hunt, Byrne.
Kilmarnock: Dubourdeau; Greer, Shields, Dindeleux; Fowler, Locke, McDonald, Dodds (Invincible 78), Fulton; McSwegan, Nish (Boyd 70). Subs not used: Meldrum, McLaughlin, Hay.
Referee: W Young
After a poor start this game turned into a good contest. Although Dunfermline had the best of the early pressure, Killie came into the game and McSwegan shot narrowly over the crossbar. The danger signals were there and in the 29th minute Kilmarnock took the lead from a Gary McSwegan penalty. Labonte lost possession as he tried to work his way out of defence, and the ball was quickly sent high into the left side of the box where Nish controlled it well and tried to get around Andrius Skerla. Unfortunately the Lithuanian used a hand as the Killie striker advanced and there was no dispute over Willie Young's inevitable decision. Derek Stillie went to his right but the ball went to the other side. DA started the second half in better shape and forced two early corners. Dubourdeau produced two good saves from Thomson before Stillie produced a great double save which was to be the turning point of the game. Minutes later the equaliser arrived. Skerla ventured forward to feed Thomson with a ball that he sent wide left for Labonte. The youngster's cross was headed out only as far as Gary Mason. His shot bounced up off the pitch and Stevie Crawford dived in to head low into the net. Although the Kilmarnock defence appealed for offside, the flag stayed down and the Pars were right back in it. Stillie produced further excellent saves, and in the end a draw was seen as a fair result.
Pos  Pld W D L F A Pts
3 Hearts 20 10 3 7 28 24 33
4 Dunfermline Ath 20 8 7 5 26 28 31
5 Livingston 20 6 8 6 22 22 26
Post match Jimmy Calderwood considered that a draw was a fair result, although he felt his team didn't play to their strengths, saying "it was nowhere near the performance that we had last week, that is the annoying thing." 
Despite appearing to be favourite for the Northern Ireland manager post, Jimmy Nicholl fails to get the post which is awarded to Lawrie Sanchez. The Northern Ireland FA claimed that they had offered a good package but had failed to agree terms with both Nicholl and Dunfermline. Jimmy was disappointed at the news and said, ''somehow, I expected it. I was willing to make financial sacrifices myself. But I like working where I am. Good luck to Lawrie and the players.''
The Under 21 team beat Kilmarnock 3-0 at East End Park thanks to two goals from Noel Hunt and one from Gary Dempsey.
The Scottish Premier League have decided to increase the number of substitutes on the bench from next season from five to seven. Also the Under 21 League will become a Reserve League with no age restriction. The SPL will also penalise teams going into administration by docking them ten points. If Dundee remain in administration at the end of May, they could be the first team to be affected.
Billy Mehmet is called up to the Republic of Ireland Under 21 squad to face Italy, Madeira and Spain in a series of friendly internationals from 23rd to 28th February. Billy qualifies as a result of his grandfather being Irish.
Dunfermline players will be wearing earpieces in Under 19 and Under 21games as part of a UEFA sponsored experiment. Only the captains are required to wear the devices which allows the manager to relay instructions during games. 

Goalkeeper Marco Ruitenbeek has announced that he will be leaving the club he joined from Go Ahead Eagles back in July 2000 saying "I won’t be playing for Dunfermline after the end of this season." Whilst Marco is keen to continue playing football he may return to Holland to work in his father's printing business. 

Jimmy Calderwood revealed that he had enquired about signing the former Dundee player Fabian Caballero, but the Argentinean's demands were too high for the Pars.
Fans' favourite Greg Shields rejoins Dunfermline from Kilmarnock on a 3 1/2 year contract. Meanwhile Marco Ruitenbeek is  considering a move in the opposite direction, and  Lee Bullen is tipped to join Motherwell during the January transfer window.. 
It was reported in the media that after the Motherwell game, sections of the artificial surface will be replaced, a suggestion that amused Chairman John Yorkston. "We are not lifting the park or moving it. We are probably moving one or two panels. We have got a hundred spare panels there and we rotate them. That is all we will do - we have done it before and we will do it again."
Date: 24th January 2004Opposition: MotherwellScore (H/T): 1-0 (0-0)
Competition: Sc Premier LeagueVenue East End ParkAttendance: 5,270
Scorers: [1-0] Derek young (73)
Yellow Cards: Darren Young (DAFC), Craigan (Motherwell)
Pars Team: Stillie; Nicholson (Shields 35), Skerla, Wilson, Thomson; Derek Young, Darren Young, Mason, Dempsey (Tod 84); Crawford, Brewster (Labonte 75) Subs not used: Ruitenbeek, Hunt
Motherwell: Corr; Quinn, Craigan, Corrigan, Hammell; Lasley (MacDonald 79), Adams, O’Donnell, Dair; Clarkson, Burns. Subs not used: Bollan, Fagan, Kinniburgh
Referee: D McDonald
Motherwell were forced to make a late change after goalkeeper Gordon Marshall injured himself during the warm-up, replacing him with youngster John Paul Corr. However the Pars failed to put the stand-in goalie under any real pressure as Motherwell defended in numbers. Although Dunfermline had most of the pressure, there was little action of note in the first half with the best effort falling to Andrius Skerla who sent his shot just wide. Greg Shields replaced the injured Barry Nicholson in 35 minutes, and received a rousing welcome from the home support who were clearly pleased to see him return. After Stillie was forced to pull off a great save at the feet of David Clarkson, Scott Wilson came close in 60 minutes with a header that was cleared off the line. The only goal came in the 73rd minute. The Motherwell defence failed to clear a Gary Dempsey corner, and Wilson's return ball was met with an overhead kick from Crawford and then a similar finish from Derek Young in the six yard box. Despite being forced to defend deep in their own half for the last ten minutes of the game, DA held firm to open up an eight point gap between themselves and fifth placed Livingston.
Pos  Pld W D L F A Pts
3 Hearts 21 11 3 7 30 24 36
4 Dunfermline Ath 21 9 7 5 27 28 34
5 Livingston 21 6 8 7 22 23 26
Whilst it wasn't the best of games, JC was happy with the result saying, "We got the break. I think we deserved to win it because of our first half performance. It is a big three points for us and takes us away from Motherwell. They frustrated Hearts a couple of weeks ago and they did well against Rangers last week. They did well again today but we got the victory."
It looks like Dunfermline will be without either of its two first team goalkeepers next season. Jimmy Calderwood stated he had failed to reach agreement with Derek Stillie and that he would be departing along with Marco Ruitenbeek who has expressed his intention to return to Holland at the end of the season.
Gavin Masterton is set to sell his stake in Stadia Investment Group. The company owns East End Park and leases it back to the football club. Stadia has also been involved in developments at Livingston FC.
Lee Bullen who is set to move from Dunfermline, states that his failure to sign a new contract was not down solely to cash, but due to his desire to play first team football. Rumours linking Barry Nicholson and Stevie Crawford with moves away from EEP have been laughed off by chairman John Yorkston.
Scott Wilson is set to sign a new contract which will keep him at East End Park until 2007.
Craig Brewster misses the trip to United as a result of an ankle injury picked up in the game against Motherwell.
Date: 31st January 2004Opposition: Dundee UnitedScore (H/T): 0-1 (0-0)
Competition: Sc Premier LeagueVenue TannadiceAttendance: 5,564
Scorers: [0-1] McIntyre (57)
Yellow Cards: Derek Young (DAFC), Innes (DUFC)
Pars Team: Stillie; Shields, Skerla, Wilson, Thomson; Nicholson (Dempsey 84), Darren Young, Mason (Hunt 68), Labonte (Tod HT); Crawford, Derek Young Subs not used: Ruitenbeek, Byrne
Dundee Utd: Gallacher; Innes, McCracken, Archibald; Wilson, Kerr, Dodds, Miller, Robson; McLaren (McInnes 63), McIntyre (Easton 90) Subs not used: Bullock (GK), Duff, Scotland
Referee: K Clark
With Hearts game against Livingston called off due to the weather, this was another opportunity for Dunfermline to claim third spot. However, once again an inept away performance meant that the points failed to return to Fife. The first half was a fairly even affair, with both teams having the opportunity to score. Stevie Crawford was unfortunate with a turn and shot that Gallagher did well to save. However, the second half was a completely different affair with the Pars losing their way completely. It was no therefore no surprise when United took the lead in 57 minutes. Charlie Miller twisted and turned on the left corner of the penalty box. Scott Wilson tracked him but could not cut out the pass that was fed through for Jim McIntyre to net from 10 yards. Crawford had a good chance on the hour mark from a free kick which hit the side netting. Despite sounding the cavalry charge, the Athletic failed to make any impression on a strong United defence and were deservedly beaten.
Pos  Pld W D L F A Pts
3 Hearts 21 11 3 7 30 24 36
4 Dunfermline Ath 22 9 7 6 27 29 34
5 Livingston 21 6 8 7 22 23 26
At the post match press conference, Jimmy Calderwood accuses his players of hiding from the ball saying, "we keep telling them and warning them. You've got to come to these places with the desire to win a football game and not just talk about it in the dressing room. Especially the way the conditions were today, you have got to be brave and even if you are having a bad game you still have to look for the ball. If you have had four bad passes in the beginning you still have to try the fifth one. You have to win tackles and we never got any sparkle from anybody. JC also suggested that some of his players were not up to the task. "We are going for Europe obviously. First the top six and then for Europe so you know you are setting the bar higher and higher all the time. Maybe some of them can't handle it."