Match preview: Brechin City v Dunfermline

Tomorrow, Dunfermline Athletic travel to Brechin in this top versus bottom League One clash.

Glebe Park hosted the Pars on the first day of the season, where they suffered a 6-1 loss. It was the Fifers first away victory in five attempts (the last being 1994) at the venue. In the reverse, they reduced the margin of defeat to two, while once again scoring a consolation.

In the past, Dunfermline has been rampant in their matchups, winning 31 of the 47. Suffering defeat on just eight occasions. Last year, the East End Park outfit faltered against City. Losing the head-to-head record against their part-time opponents. In the end, Ray MacKinnon led them to a playoff berth and Pars finished a disappointing seventh.

However, MacKinon had left for Stark’s Park in the offseason and Darren Dods came in after a mass exodus. This likely explains the reason why the Angus outfit is in 10th position.

Allan Johnston’s side has been better away from home. They have picked up more points, goals and clean sheets. In the process, they are now 10 unbeaten on the road, having been beat just the once. That being the last minute Leighton McIntosh goal at Balmoor back in August.

City has won four matches in the league – including the win at Stranraer. They inflicting Peterhead to their only loss at Balmoor. Then at ninth-placed Forfar and a home victory over Cowdenbeath.

Last week, the home side salvaged a draw in stoppage time against the Blue Brazil. Former Par, Chris Kane had headed Cowden ahead but came back through Jonathan Tiffoney. Then Dean Brett knocked his side ahead before sub Scott Shepherd levelled in 90 plus minutes.

Speaking to DAFC.co.uk, Johnston commenting on the 3-2 win over Ayr United. The manager said:

“I didn’t have time to think about how I felt at 2-0 down. It was that five minute period when there were goals flying in everywhere from both teams and then a man getting sent off.

“We did start the game well that is why it was so frustrating to lose a goal from a corner and then making a blunder for the penalty. That happens sometimes but the boys responded well. I cannot ask for much more.

“When you look at our big players in big games, I think they produced again and that speaks volumes for the players. It was a six-pointer and a great comeback. It shows you the quality of the boys that we have got, the belief that they have got but it means nothing if we don’t win this weekend.

“Playing against the bottom team who will be fighting for their lives will be difficult games since they will be scrapping for points. We have got to make sure that we are looking to get the three points.

“Brechin is getting a lot of draws and scoring goals as well but they are fighting for their lives. They have improved, I saw them a couple of weeks ago against Stenny when they should have won the game. They were a wee bit unfortunate but we have players who can hurt the majority of teams. It will be an interesting game.”

There are unavailable players for both sides. Lewis Martin picked up a strain in training on Thursday. While Ryan Williamson is edging closer to game time in the Development League. And Callum Fordyce has had an operation and will start rehab shortly.

While Brechin is unable to field Lewis Spence against his parent club. Centre-back Darren McCormack and attacking midfielder David Weatherston’s chances are 50/50. On the plus side, Paul McLean is match fit again and looks set to make a return to the heart of the home defence.

Last Time Out:

Dunfermline 4-4-2 (v Ayr United):
Murdoch;
Reid, McKay, Richards-Everton, Talbot;
Paton, Geggan (c), Falkingham, Cardle (Hopkirk 87);
Moffat, El Bakhtaoui (Wallace 81).

Bench: McCabe, Byrne, Rooney, Martin, Hutton (GK).

Brechin 4-4-2 Diamond (v Cowdenbeath):
Smith;
Tiffoney (Johnston 76), Dods, Culjak, Dyer;
Fusco,
Spence, Dale,
Weatherston (Shepherd 40);
Jackson, Thomson.

Bench: Montgomery (AM), McLean (CB), Molloy (CM), Smith (AM), O’Neil (GK).

Look to Brechin fielding a 4-5-1 and look to hit the Pars on the counter. They will need to use Dunfermline’s weaknesses from set-pieces (both attacking and defending) to their advantage. If they do so, they may well take something from the game.

The referee will be Mike Runcone.


You can follow @MichaelWood_SJ on Twitter.

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