Four things we learned about: Dunfermline Athletic v Queen’s Park


1) Lee Ashcroft and Lewis Martin have the makings of a good partnership

Ashcroft has established himself as the standout centre back at East End Park after a shaky start for the former Kilmarnock defender. Whereas Martin is now ready for the challenge of playing centrally and was not being shrugged off when battling with the opposition for territory. This is a positive, as he has been tipped to move from out wide when he first broke into the side some years ago. At the moment, the pair have made no mistakes and look composed which is much needed going forward. The last advantage of these two is that they do not have ideas above their own stations and play the simple balls.

2) The Pars cannot breakdown a team that sets up to hit on the counter

This has been an ever present and not just of the Allan Johnston reign. Athletic play too slow and resort to lumping it when they cannot frustrate a team that knows they are the lesser side. Instead of persisting to knock it around from flank to flank in an attempt to stretch the 10 men then thread the ball in behind he defenders they whack it into the virtually none existent space down near the corner flags. Possession is nine tens of the law, and on any given matchday the teams that has more of the ball win more than they lose. So, instead of this direct nature of thumping it to a non-existent target man, look to play around these teams and look to drag them out of position.

3) Second half showed the way Allan Johnston should and wants to play

Farid El Alagui always brightens up the day. The French centre forward fails to lose an aerial contest with his opposite number, and his two goals were well-taken thanks to his presence up top. Being a former winger himself, Johnston loves his squad to hit the ball out wide and swung into the box for the strikers to get on the end of. This is imperative as without him, the Pars struggle as Gavin Reilly and Nicky Clark are far too similar to compete for the promotion playoffs in the Championship.

4) The fact that an established starting XI has not emerged is worrisome

Right back is still troublesome, the center of midfield is not quite clicking yet, and they cannot get the best out of Joe Cardle or Kallum Higginbotham – the two most talented members of the team. We are now into October, the first quarter of the league season is almost behind us, as is six cup games. A solution needs to be found, and quickly or this campaign may run away from Dunfermline, and it may become a year of what ifs instead of what haves. The manager may just have bite the bullet and change the formation to get the best out of his players.

You can follow @MichaelWood_SJ on Twitter.


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