Hibs 0-1 Dunfermline

Austin McCann puts Dunfermline ahead
Austin McCann puts Dunfermline ahead
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Hibs crashed to yet another Easter Road defeat as a goal from ex-Hearts star Austin McCann brought Dunfermline’s eight match run without a win to an abrupt end.

McCann struck within three minutes, left with the simple task of turning the ball into the net from close-range as the home defence was posted missing.

This latest defeat prompted boos directed at chairman Rod Petrie as the final whistle neared and afterwards angry fans gathered outside the main stand to voice their displeasure.

Unsurprisingly, Hibs boss Colin Calderwood went with the same starting line-up that had done so well at Celtic Park last week but he must have been questioning his faith in those players as Dunfermline struck with only two minutes and 11 seconds on the clock.

And again it was the most simple of goals, Paul Willis firing in a deep cross from the right which found McCann coming in all alone at the back post to direct the ball into the roof of the net.

It almost got worse for Hibs a minute later as David Stephens’ passback had Graham Stack on the move to beat the on-rushing Ryan Thomson to the ball, the goalkeeper thumping the ball off the Pars’ midfielder and, thankfully for him, to safety.

Hibs had been clearly rattled but they slowly got their passing game together although all they had to show for the opening half-hour were a couple of scuffed shots from Junior Agogo which were easily taken by Paul Gallacher while Liam Buchanan demonstrated the confidence flowing through the Fife side with an audacious attempt to lob Stack from distance although he was well off target.

It was the fingertips of Stack, though, which kept Hibs only one goal in arrears, the goalkeeper throwing himself full length to his left to push away Ryan Thomson’s netbound volley after he had latched onto Sean O’Hanlon’s headed clearance.

However, Hibs almost got themselves back on level terms right on the stroke of half-time, Gallacher unable to do more than push a Leigh Griffiths’ shot into the path of Garry O’Connor who looked certain to score only for Andy Dowie to save the Pars with a tremendous last-ditch block.

Hibs were finding it difficult, though, to find a way through a resolute Dunfermline defence, referee Craig Thomson waving away loud claims for a penalty kick as Dowie charged down Danny Galbraith’s cross before Griffiths went close with a looping header which Gallacher turned over.

The Edinburgh club were beginning to force the Pars onto the back foot and Griffiths was again only inches out with a low shot which zipped wide of the far post while O’Connor sent a first time shot from the on-loan Wolves youngster just off target.

O’Connor brought out the best in Gallacher with 71 minutes gone, the striker’s header from Wotherspoon’s cross destined for the top corner until the goalkeeper just managed to throw himself up to touch it over.

A second goal for Dunfermline, though, would prove fatal for Hibs and had McCann been slightly more alert four minutes later Jim McIntyre’s side could well have had it, the scorer of that early goal caught on his heels as Willis’ cross came through a ruck of players to him at the back post.

Gallacher again came to the Pars rescue, beating away a Wotherspoon shot with the Hibs youngster wasting an opportunity from the rebound as he blasted the ball high over the bar.

Hibs: Stack, Wotherspoon, O’Hanlon, Stephens, Hanlon, Stevenson (Towell 72), Osbourne, Galbraith, Agogo (Sproule 67), O’Connor (Sodje 79), Griffiths. Subs not used: Brown, Scott, Palsson, Welsh.

Dunfermline: Gallacher, Dowie, Potter, Keddie, Burns, R Thomson, Willis (Cardle 80), Graham, McCann, Kirk (Hardie 83) Buchanan (McDougall 70). Subs not used: Smith, Boyle, Byrne, Young.

Referee: Craig Thomson