Match preview: Queen of the South versus Dunfermline Athletic

Kickoff time, ticket prices and where to watch

Ticket prices:

Adults: £16
OAP/Concession (Student, age 16-21): £9
Under 16: £5

Match information:

Saturday 7 October 15:00pm at Palmerston Park.

Team news

Queen of the South:

Dan Carmichael (injured).

Dunfermline Athletic:

David Hopkirk, Joe Cardle and Michael Paton (injured).
Dean Shiels (suspended).

Referee

Stephen Finnie.

Last game ref involving one of the sides:

St Mirren 3-1 Queen of the South (2Y).

What Queen of the South are saying

“We have got a lot of guys who could all claim to start. Players have been staking a claim and you’ve got to deal with the disappointment of guys who can’t make the team. It is better than having selection issues because of injuries but it’s not great to tell guys they’ve not made the team. Some of them can’t do any more to get into the team. We need to make sure the guys who aren’t in the team buy into the mentality it’s a squad game.” (Gary Naysmith, manager)

What Dunfermline are saying

“You can see the league is going to be go right to the end with a lot of teams being really similar. Every team is a hard game, there are no easy games. The majority of teams are very strong and very similar so I can see a lot of twists and turns over the course of season.” (Allan Johnston, manager)

Line ups last time out

Table

Screen Shot 2017-10-03 at 14.16.15

Other fixtures

Screen Shot 2017-10-03 at 14.15.48

Former Queen of the South players

David Hopkirk (2012-13)
Michael Paton (2008)
Nicky Clark (2011-13)

Former Dunfermline Athletic players

Andy Stirling (2014-15)
Callum Fordyce (2015-17)
Scott Mercer (2012-15)
Shaun Rooney (2015-16)

Last four meetings

Championship:

06/05/17. Queen of the South 0-1 Dunfermline Athletic.
07/03/17. Dunfermline Athletic 1-1 Queen of the South.
17/12/16. Queen of the South 2-2 Dunfermline Athletic.
27/08/16. Dunfermline Athletic 0-1 Queen of the South.

Keys to the game

Offence (goals) –

Queen of the South: 4th (14)
Dunfermline Athletic: 1st (22)

Defence (goals) –

Queen of the South: 5th (11)
Dunfermline Athletic: 3rd (9)

Clean Sheets –

Queen of the South: (2)
Dunfermline Athletic: (3)

Away/Home Table –

Queen of the South: 5th
Dunfermline Athletic: 2nd

Away/Home goal average –

Queen of the South: 3.00
Dunfermline Athletic: 3.50

Away/Home both teams scored:

Queen of the South: 67%
Dunfermline Athletic: 50%

Prediction

Queen of the South 1-2 Dunfermline Athletic

Odds

Queen of the South: 1.50
Draw: 2.60
Dunfermline Athletic: 2.36

Best bet

Dunfermline Athletic to win and both teams to score: 5.00


You can follow @MichaelWood_SJ on Twitter.

 

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Match preview: Dunfermline Athletic versus Dundee United

The Pars face their hardest test to date in what is unquestionably the biggest match in the Championship tomorrow afternoon.

The Tangerines are one of three teams that Athletic failed to beat last season: Hibernian; (no longer in the league) and Falkirk (already defeated them) were the others. Even, if they put in a lackluster performance, it will not matter a jot as long as it comes with three points.

A win would cement the title contenders tag given that they returned to form with back-to-back 3-0 victories over St Mirren and Brechin City after a defeat to Greenock Morton in embarrassing circumstances.

Victory is as equally important for United as they started well with nine points and two clean sheets before being dethroned in Paisley. Successive draws versus part-time Dumbarton and ninth-place Bairns preceded a return to winning ways against the Ton, which has seen them stabilise in the playoff spots.

Kickoff time, ticket prices and where to watch

Ticket prices:

SRJ Windows South Stand: Adults £20, Concessions £14
All other stands: Adults £18, Concessions £12
Away Stands: Adults £18, Concessions £12, U12s £5

Match information:

Saturday 30th, 15:00 at East End Park.

Team news

Dunfermline Athletic:

Jean-Yves M’voto, Joe Cardle and Michael Paton (injured).

Dundee United:

Lewis Toshney, Paul Quinn, Scott Fraser and Tam Scobbie (injured).
Patrick N’Koyi, Paul McMullan and William Edjenguele (doubts).

Referee

Don Robertson.

Previous games refereed involving either team this season –

League Cup:

Dundee 2-1 Dundee United (5Y).

What Dunfermline Athletic are saying

“They are not going to sit in, they will come and have a go. That will suit the way we play as well. Dundee United have good players, guys like James Keatings – a top player, Scott McDonald has lots of experience so we know that we are going to have to defend really well if we have any chance of winning the game. We have been defending very well, we have not lost a lot of goals and we are still a threat going forward as you can see by he number of goals we have scored.” (Allan Johnston, manager)

What Dundee United are saying

“Saturday was good. The week before at Falkirk we sort of got our shape right in terms of how hard they need to work when we don’t have the ball and I think that gives you a platform. The improvement was there on Saturday, we looked really threatening up top — having James Keatings and Scott McDonald playing together helps, they gave us a good partnership and focal point of the team.” (Ray McKinnon, manager)

Line ups last time out

Table

Screen Shot 2017-09-25 at 12.35.51

Complete fixture list

Screen Shot 2017-09-25 at 12.35.43

Former Dunfermline Athletic players

Paul McMullan (2016-17)

Former Dundee United players

Callum Morris (2014-16)

Last five meetings

Championship:

10/09/16. Dunfermline Athletic 1-3 Dundee United
08/11/16. Dundee United 1-0 Dunfermline Athletic
28/01/17. Dunfermline Athletic 1-1 Dundee United
11/04/17. Dundee United 1-0 Dunfermline Athletic

Challenge Cup:

12/11/16. Dunfermline Athletic 0-1 Dundee United

Keys to the game

Record against common teams played:

Dunfermline Athletic

W: 5 L: 1
F: 20 A: 5
CS: 3

Dundee United

W: 3 D: 2 L: 1
F: 5 A: 5
CS: 3

Pars have won all three at home, United winless and scoreless in last two away games.

Over/Under 2.5 goals in 100% of matches at East End Park.
Over/Under 2.5 goals in 33% of matches on the road for the Arabs.

Top scorers:

Dunfermline Athletic – 

Cardle 6
Higginbotham 3
McManus 3
Clark 2
Hopkirk 2

Minutes per goal: 156

Dundee United – 

McDonald 3
Keatings 2

Minutes per goal: 142

The only time that McKinnon went to a 4-3-3 this season they lost to St Mirren and were found lacking in the centre of the pitch with Fraser Fyvie and Willo Flood behind Sam Stanton. A 4-4-2 seems to suit them best with Keatings and McDonald up top. Those two are the best strike partnership in the league. The former Raith Rovers manager just needs to find the creativity to supply service to the attack and they will be a difficult force to reckon with. That may come when Fraser returns, but until they need more from Billy King and McMullan. Johnston has always been happy to employ a 4-4-2 that can manifest as 4-1-3-2 against weaker sides. The key to their success is how they perform on the counter and with United looking to attack that may just play into their hands if they can excel on defence.

Prediction

Dunfermline Athletic 1-1 Dundee United

Odds

Dunfermline Athletic: 1.75
Draw: 2.50
Dundee United: 1.62

Best bet

Both teams to score: 0.66


You can follow @MichaelWood_SJ on Twitter.

Match preview: Brechin City versus Dunfermline Athletic

This weekend, Pars and City, top versus bottom, best offence against worst defence, full-time in opposition with part-time. However you want to bill it, both sides will take to the field for three Championship points in Angus.

In theory, Allan Johnston’s men should win, but, theories can be disproven, and you do not need a mind the likes of Stephen Hawking to hypothesise that Darren Dods would take the 0-0 at kick-off.

It is not inconceivable that Athletic could come a cropper here. Taking their eye off the ball is the only criticism you can have of the Fifers this season (Morton 3-2 being the prime example). There is a statistical outlier that could give the homers hope, they were the last squad to come from two goals down to win until the Ton did so, three weeks back. In addition, during the 2014/15 campaign, Ray McKinnon led the Glebe Park outfit into the playoffs, due – in part – to being undefeated against the away team.

Kickoff time, ticket prices and where to watch
 
Ticket prices:

Parent & Child: £18 (plus £2 for each additional school-age child in family party)
Adults: £15
Adult Concession (over 65’s and under-18’s) : £8

Match information:

Saturday 23 September 15:00pm at Glebe Park.

Team news

Brechin City:

Euan Smith (injured).
Aron Lynas (suspended).
Andy Jackson and Elliot Ford (doubtful).

Dunfermline Athletic:

Joe Cardle and Michael Paton (injured).

Referee

John McKendrick.

Last game ref:

Queen’s Park 0-5 Raith Rovers (2Y)

What Brechin City are saying

“It would be a big psychological boast to get our first win. The players would deserve it as a reward for their hard work so far. We are definitely getting closer.” (Darren Dods, manager)

What Dunfermline are saying

“When you go into games expecting to win, it is dangerous. We have to make sure that we have the right attitude. We will not be at East End Park where we have a big stadium and fantastic pitch. You have to adjust to that and the most important thing is a good performance to make sure that we get the win. Every game is massive but these ones are crucial, we have got to win against teams like Brechin.” (Allan Johnston, manager)

Line ups last time out

Table

Screen Shot 2017-09-18 at 10.30.54

Complete fixture list

Screen Shot 2017-09-18 at 10.30.36

Results

Brechin City:

Queen of the South (A) 4-1
Livingston (H) 2-2
Dundee United (A) 1-0
Inverness Caledonian Thistle (A) 0-4
Falkirk (H) 1-1
Dumbarton (A) 2-1

Dunfermline Athletic:

Livingston (A) 1-1
Inverness Caledonian Thistle (H) 5-1
Falkirk (H) 3-1
Dumbarton (A) 0-4
Greenock Morton (A) 3-2
St Mirren (H) 3-0

Former Brechin City players

Euan Spark (2016-17)
Finn Graham (2012-16)

Former Dunfermline Athletic players

Andy Ryan (2013)
Michael Paton (2008)

Last five meetings

Challenge Cup:

03/09/16. Brechin City 1-5 Dunfermline Athletic.

League One:

26/03/16. Dunfermline Athletic 3-1 Brechin City.
20/02/16. Brechin City 1-2 Dunfermline Athletic.
05/12/15. Dunfermline Athletic 3-1 Brechin City.
08/08/15. Brechin City 1-6 Dunfermline Athletic.

Keys to the game

  • Dunfermline are scoring at a clip of three goals a game, Brechin have conceded at atleast two without a clean sheet. 
  • The Pars are not shabby in defence either. Only, Dundee United have conceded less and earned more clean sheets. 
  • City are listless in attack, only fellow part-timers, Dumbarton look more barren up top. Yet, they put two past them the previous weekend. None of their centre forwards have found the net.

Prediction

Brechin City 0-2 Dunfermline Athletic

Odds

Brechin City: 3.40
Draw: 2.85
Dunfermline Athletic: 0.80

Best bet

Dunfermline Athletic (-1): 1.05


You can follow @MichaelWood_SJ on Twitter.

Dunfermline’s pre-season transfer window analysis

Name Jean-Yves M’voto

Age: 29

Position: Centre Back

Less than a week after Raith Rovers were relegated, he made the journey along the A92 to East End Park to become their first signing of the window.

The reining Rovers player of the season brings a no-nonsense attitude, and his positioning to clearing balls into the area is what the Pars have lacked for quite some time. This ability has likely come from his predominantly English lower league career which pertains a lot of “hoofball” and physical battles with big, burly centre forwards.

While he is not an upgrade on Ben Richards-Everton’s potential as a ball-playing defender or Callum Fordyce’s leadership qualities, his ability to come on late in a game and attempt to close it out may prove vital across the course of the campaign.

As a third choice option, he is perfect. Callum Morris and Lee Ashcroft would not necessarily wow in the top flight, but they are a capable partnership to challenge for the Championship title.

Name: Fraser Aird

Age: 22

Position: Right Back/Right Midfield

Eyebrows were raised with this signing because it did not seem that they needed another wide player in what was a position of great depth and quality.

Yet, as a different option at full back, and even as a wing back (in a 3-5-2) he may be worth the punt as a backup to Ryan Williamson.

The boyhood Rangers fan achieved his dream of playing for the club as he won their young player of the year award in the 2013-14 campaign, a season in which he helped them to the League One title. He also scored at Easter Road for Canada against his parents’ home country, Scotland.

It is time to kick on though, after a stint in his homeland with Vancouver Whitecaps, he found himself on the outs with then Gers manager, Mark Warburton and landed at Falkirk in January. At the Bairns he only started five games at right midfield before he was moved on in May.

Name: Aaron Splaine

Age: 20

Position: Centre Midfield

Splaine was one from left field on the face of it, but when you dig down you can see why Allan Johnston was keen to give him a chance to prove himself. Johnston had previously seen him in the youth setup at Queen of the South and took him to Kilmarnock.

A foot injury hampered him after his release from Killie and went to trial at the start of the year to Burnley and Leeds United while Stranraer involved him in the development team.

Splaine believes that one of his strongest attributes is his work ethic, and that is clear as you watch him on the field as he is eager to close down opponents to tackle them and win possession of the ball.

By no means is he a starter in this team, but he is more suited to what the manager wants as opposed to Lewis Spence, who never seemed to be Johnston’s ideal central midfielder.

Name: Dean Shiels

Age: 32

Position: Secondary Striker

Shiels is being utilised out of position due to the lack of depth in the centre of the park. Yet, his experience and ability has not seem him perform under par as a number eight.

The squad is a good age, but they lack those experienced heads of playing in the top flight. Shiels has done so with Hibernian and Kilmarnock and with him being soon to be 33, he is the eldest of the 22 first-teamers.

Giving the fact that he has won everything shy of the Scottish Cup and the Premiership and played over 100 top-flight games. He can bring those experiences of a winning mentality to the dressing room, and that can only be a positive.

Name: Andy Ryan

Age: 22

Position: Centre Forward

The former Accies striker is the first player Dunfermline spent a transfer fee on since his former teammate at New Douglas Park, David Hopkirk.

He hit the ground running with a double against Arbroath in the Challenge Cup as he showed glimpses of being a younger version of Nicky Clark; in that of being an instinctual finish whose positioning in the box is second to none at this level.

It is a step up from knocking 37 goals past part-time opposition the last two seasons in his last 58 starts. Although, if Clark can do it then so can Ryan. His goals to start ratio is remarkable at 0.56 whereas Clark sits at 0.48.

He will have to bide his time to be a regular in the starting XI, but he will have his chances in a position of the park that is full of quality.

Name: Declan McManus

Age: 23

Position: Centre Forward

Johnston had always wanted to recruit McManus ever since he arrived at the club. Yet, after helping Greenock Morton to the League One title, he moved on from Aberdeen to Fleetwood Town but soon found himself back at Cappielow.

After the season end, he missed out on his target again as Steven Pressley loaned him out to Gary Locke’s Raith Rovers as he would become the first choice striker at Stark’s Park.

It was third time lucky though as he became the second player to arrive via Kirkcaldy following Yves M’voto. It took a little convincing to get the support on side. Yet, his goals against Falkirk, Hearts and St Mirren have appeased even the most ardent of doubters.

He offers something different to Clark, Ryan and Callum Smith that is the ability to hold the ball up and bring Kallum Higginbotham and Joe Cardle into play. He is also the perfect foil for Clark as he can do the running for the former Rangers striker.


You can follow @MichaelWood_SJ on Twitter.

Match preview: Dunfermline Athletic versus St Mirren

In what is unquestionably the biggest match in the Championship this afternoon, the teams sat atop of the perch will take to the field as the Pars aim to topple the Saints.
Kickoff time, ticket prices and where to watch
Ticket prices:
SRJ Windows South Stand: Adults £20, Concessions £14
All other stands: Adults £18, Concessions £12
Away Stands: Adults £18, Concessions £12, U12s £5
Match information:
Saturday 19th, 15:00 at East End Park.
Team news
Dunfermline Athletic:
Michael Paton (injured).
St Mirren:
No injuries and suspensions.
Referee
Craig Thomson.
Previous Dunfermline Athletic games refereed –
League Cup:
Heart of Midlothian 2-2 Dunfermline Athletic, 1-3 PENS (2Y).
What Dunfermline Athletic are saying
“St Mirren will come and have a go which will suit us as well. Hopefully that will leave us space to go and attack with our good players and create chances and score goals.” (Allan Johnston, manager)
What St Mirren are saying
[On being top of the table] “It is enjoyable, I stressed to the players to enjoy it. I am not going to play it down completely because you need to enjoy it, it can change very quickly. Getting promoted from this league is very difficult but I would suggest it is probably a while that we have been top of the league at a meaningful time. Do we want to stay there? Of course we do. We have targets, short-term ones and long-term ones, that we work towards every day. The players are aware of them, they have bought into them, they set them.” (Jack Ross, manager)
Line ups last time out

Table

Screen Shot 2017-09-12 at 16.14.43

Complete fixture list

Screen Shot 2017-09-12 at 16.14.31

Former Dunfermline Athletic players

Gavin Reilly (2016-17)
Josh Todd (2016 trial)
Gregor Buchanan (2014-15)
Jack Ross (2010-11)
Jamie Langfield (2004-05)

Former St Mirren players

Allan Johnston (2009-10)
John Potter (2005-11)

Last four meetings

Championship:

24/06/16. Dunfermline Athletic 4-3 St Mirren
19/11/16. St Mirren 2-0 Dunfermline Athletic
14/01/17. Dunfermline Athletic 1-1 St Mirren
11/03/17. St Mirren 0-0 Dunfermline Athletic

Keys to the game

Fourth and six best defences, although only Dundee United have more clean sheets (2).

Only Ray McKinnon has picked up more Championship points (52) than both Allan Johnston (51) and Jack Ross (47) since the former defender’s appointment last October.

4-4-2 v 3-4-2-1

Top two offences in the division.

Prediction

Dunfermline Athletic 2-2 St Mirren

Odds

Dunfermline Athletic: 1.51
Draw: 2.62
St Mirren: 1.84

Best bet

Over 3.5 goals: 1.90

Both Dunfermline home games and St Mirren away matches have featured at least four goals. There was nine in the two fixtures between the sides at East End Park last season.


You can follow @MichaelWood_SJ on Twitter.

Match preview: Greenock Morton versus Dunfermline Athletic

Kickoff time, ticket prices and where to watch
 

Ticket prices:

Adult: £20
Concession (over 65s, students, 17-20 year olds: £17
Child (12-16): £7
Child (under 12): £0

Match information:

Saturday 9 September 15:00pm at Cappielow Stadium.

Team news

Greenock Morton:

(injured).

Dunfermline:

No injuries or suspensions.

Referee

Kevin Clancy.

Games reffed:

Europa League qualifiers

Ruzomberok 0-1 SK Brann (3Y)
Bröndby IF 0-0 Hajduk Split (4Y, 1Y/R)

Premiership

Celtic 4-1 Heart of Midlothian (4Y)
Aberdeen 2-1 Dundee (4Y)

League Cup

Livingston 4-2 (pen) Partick Thistle (2Y)
Motherwell 4-0 Greenock Morton (1Y, 1R)
Dundee 4-5 (pen) Dundee United (4Y)
Hibernian 5-0 Ayr United (1Y)

What Greenock Morton are saying

“You want teams to come off the bus knowing that Cappielow is going to be a really tough place for them to go and if they can somehow get a point they should be happy with it. We should be disappointed when teams leave Cappielow with a point. You want to win every single home game because in this league, they are big games. (Jim Duffy, manager)

What Dunfermline are saying

“We played them numerous times last season. They are a hard team to beat, they have a lot of pace upfront and obviously they score from setpieces. Thomas O’Ware scored 11 goals last season and that is incredible for a centre half. We are going to have to defend well. (Allan Johnston, manager)

Line ups last time out

Table

Screen Shot 2017-08-28 at 12.01.15

Complete fixture list

Screen Shot 2017-08-28 at 12.01.03

Results

Greenock Morton:

Dumbarton (A) 0-0
St Mirren (H) 4-1
Inverness Caledonian Thistle (A) 1-1
Livingston (H) 0-1

Dunfermline Athletic:

Livingston (A) 1-1
Inverness Caledonian Thistle (H) 5-1
Falkirk (H) 3-1
Dumbarton (A) 0-4

Former Greenock Morton players

Declan McManus (2014-15 and 2016).

Former Dunfermline Athletic players

Robert Thomson (2013).

Ross Forbes (2014-15).

Last four meetings

Championship:

29/04/17. Dunfermline Athletic 3-1 Greenock Morton.

25/03/17. Greenock Morton 0-1 Dunfermline Athletic.
10/12/16. Dunfermline Athletic 2-1 Greenock Morton.
17/09/16. Greenock Morton 2-1 Dunfermline Athletic.

Keys to the game

Only Greenock Morton have failed to score in more games than Dumbarton.

Dunfermline have scored the most in the league and are equal in terms of defensive record with Morton, only Dundee United have more clean sheets (2).

Prediction

Greenock Morton 1-2 Dunfermline

Odds

Greenock Morton: 1.61
Draw: 2.50
Dunfermline Athletic: 1.93

Best bet

Dunfermline to win and both teams to score: 5.25


You can follow @MichaelWood_SJ on Twitter.

Match preview: Dumbarton versus Dunfermline Athletic

This weekend, in the shadow of the Dumbarton Rock, two teams with contrasting fortunes will take to the field for the fourth match day of the Championship season.
 
So far, the Sons have one win in all competitions with a single goal victory against Rangers under 20s, 10 days ago. Elsewhere, they were pointless in the League Cup, held Morton at home, relinquished the lead in Grangemouth for a point and defeated at Palmerston.
 
Athletic started this campaign much better than last. They topped their Betfred Cup group and have accumulating as many points (7) as they had on October 22, 2016. If they were to beat Highland League champions, Buckie Thistle, on Tuesday, they would be in the third round of the Challenge Cup afore the end of August.
 
There is a clear top and bottom half of the table at this early stage. The part-timers would accept fifth at this moment because survival is everything for them. They have no reason to panic yet, but a marquee win could see them kick on. Dunfermline will not want to be the team in that situation.
Kickoff time, ticket prices and where to watch

Ticket prices:

Adults – £20
Concessions – £12
Parent and child – £28


Match information:

Saturday 26 August, 15:00pm at Dumbarton Stadium.

Team news

Dumbarton:

Grant Gallagher and Mark Stewart (injured).

Dunfermline:

Nicky Clark (fitness).

Referee

Barry Cook.

Games reffed:

Premiership

St Johnstone 1-0 Partick Thistle (2Y).

League One

Alloa Athletic 1-1 Raith Rovers (4Y).

League Cup

Inverness Caledonian Thistle 3-0 Brechin City (3Y).
Dumbarton 1-3 Ayr United (1Y).
Albion Rovers 8-6 (pens) Hamilton Academical (4Y, 1 pen).

Challenge Cup

Queen of the South 4-0 Airdrieonians.

What Dumbarton are saying

“Having a full week to train with no midweek game has given us the chance to work on a few things, and I am confident we will see the benefits of that against Dunfermline. We are well aware that they have made a great start, but we are looking forward to it and will make sure that if they do take anything, it will be hard earned.” (Stevie Aitken, manager)

What Dunfermline are saying

“It will be a hard game and might not be as open. They will probably sit in and try and hit you on the counterattack. They have a bit of pace going forward with guys like Mark Stewart and the boy Roy from Hearts as well. We will just have to make sure that we are organised, do not get caught on the counter and do not get caught from a setpiece because they have a lot of height in their team as well. We need to put in a similar type of performance in terms of creating chances and scoring goals.” (Allan Johnston, manager)

Line ups last time out

Table

Screen Shot 2017-08-25 at 11.25.05

Complete fixture list

Screen Shot 2017-08-25 at 11.24.07

Former Dumbarton players

Andy Dowie (2009-13).
Kyle Hutton (2012).

Last four meetings

Championship:

15/04/17. Dumbarton 0-2 Dunfermline Athletic.
04/03/17. Dunfermline Athletic 5-1 Dumbarton.
29/10/16. Dumbarton 2-2 Dunfermline Athletic.
06/08/16. Dunfermline Athletic 4-3 Dumbarton.

Keys to the game

Set pieces:

Two of Dunfermline’s three league goals conceded have come from set-pieces. One versus Livingston and the other against Inverness Caledonian Thistle.

Four of the nine conceded in the cups have also come from set-pieces. Two direct free kicks, one penalty and the other being in the second phase from a dead ball situation.

What appears to happen is that they get to a stage where they are playing well and are comfortable which allows the mistakes to creep in.

The issue with Dunfermline from set plays is that they look disorganised. No-one got out to quell the threat from a short corner at Almondvale and panic set in against Hearts when they were leading 2-1 with a few minutes left in the game.

It is still early days, and those issues should be ironed out by the individuals, but it is the only credible criticism that you can level at the team as a whole.

Jean Yves-M’Voto and Lee Ashcroft have gave away silly penalty kicks through decisions that puzzled supporters. The defenders are prone to odd mistakes that seen a high number of red cards last season. That is going to be harder to eradicate from the experienced players.

Counter attack:

Ryan Williamson likes to get forward and hit the byline; that could leave Alistair Roy and Tom Walsh to exploit that space on any potential counter (see the Falkirk goal). Callum Smith, Dean Shiels, Declan McManus, Joe Cardle and Kallum Higginbotham like to do their work in the final third which could leave Nat Wedderburn a little exposed if they push the ball through the central third of the park. Patience will be key for both sides in the game, and not start to force opportunities when they present themselves.

Breaking down the defensive set-up:

So far, Dumbarton have set up in a regular 4-4-2, 4-2-3-1, 4-5-1 and a defensive 4-4-2, which has yielded the better results this season. The back four and goalkeeper are settled with one clean sheet (tied second best) and gave up two goals (also tied second best).

Andy Dowie and Dougie Hill are an experienced pair of center backs flanked by a pair of teenagers who provide energy beside them. It is a yin and yang situation that brings out the best in them.

Craig Barr has stepped up as a number six rather than a centre half to give more solidity in the middle of the park and is paired with David Wilson, who moved from Partick Thistle this off-season.

Dean Shiels starting deeper than the wide men may be key in helping shift Barr and Wilson off their x-axis to create space for Callum Smith to manoeuvre into the open field.

The sheer quality of Dunfermline’s chance creation has seen them finish off nine chances in the space of three games and be the highest scoring team in the division may be enough to see off a good, not great Dumbarton side.

Prediction

Dumbarton 1-2 Dunfermline

Odds

Dumbarton: 2.92
Draw: 2.66
Dunfermline Athletic: 1.00

Best bet

Dunfermline to win and both teams to score: 3.00


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