Draw with Pars dents Hibs’ bid for Under-20 title

Tom Gardiner scored for Hibs
Tom Gardiner scored for Hibs
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HIBS’ hopes of winning the SPFL Under-20 League title suffered a serious blow after they were held 3-3 by Dunfermline at East End Park.

While last night’s result moved the Hibees two points clear at the top, second-placed Celtic have two games in hand while Rangers, in third spot, have three.

James McPake, returning from injury, scored an own goal but also netted with a late header to grab a share of the spoils.

ibs started strongly and, with nine minutes gone, Paul Cairney crossed for Lewis Allan to head home via a deflection.

However, the home side grew into the game, and equalised through McPake’s own goal on 24 minutes. Scott Mercer hit a free kick, which took multiple deflections en route to goal, the last hitting the returning defender.

The Pars established themselves as the dominant side, with Ryan Williamson and Declan O’Kane close to scoring.

But Tom Gardiner headed home from a corner for the visitors, giving his side a 2-1 lead going into the break.

After the break ,Dunfermline hit back instantly, Williamson slotting in from close range with 47 minutes gone.

Despite creating chances, Hibs side could not score and were made to pay for their profligacy when Shaun Byrne skipped past the challenge of McPake in the box, before placing the ball beyond the reach of Paul Grant with 11 minutes remaining.

McPake equalised soon after, his header from Cairney’s corner bulleted past the helpless Ryan Goodfellow in the 81st minute.

Danny Handling and Euan Smith both spurned good opportunities afterwards, meaning the Leith side missed out on a crucial three points.

Hibs Under-20s: Grant, Black, Baptie (Sinclair, 57), Smith, Gardiner, McPake, Cairney, Crane, Allan, Handling (McCaffrey, 86), Zoubir (Todd, 63). Unused substitutes: Perntreou, Dunsmore, Wilson, Martyniuk.