Hibee History: Tony Mowbray’s switch to a three-man attack stuns Dunfermline

Derek Riordan celebrates heading Hibs level
Derek Riordan celebrates heading Hibs level
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Dunfermline 1, Hibs 4. SPL. Saturday, March 19, 2005

A three-goal spurt in nine minutes saw Hibs blow away their bleak run of form.

Yet until Derek Riordan scored in the 66th minute, there was an ominous sense that they might be heading for their fourth defeat in a row. The young striker, who had captivated the SPL before a slump in which he only scored one goal eight games before this encounter, had rounded Derek Stillie in the 56th minute only to slap the ball carelessly off the back-covering Andy Tod. But ten minutes later he made amends, rising to head Hibs level.

Initially, Hibs’ attack still had as much bite as a limp biscuit, although Garry O’Connor looked sharp when he rounded Andrius Skerla on the byeline in the 26th minute only to be hacked down. As Riordan fired in the free-kick Gary Caldwell could only glance his header off target.

Steven Whittaker was booked for a foul on Darren Young, then was caught out of position as Dunfermline broke away to take the lead. Simon Donnelly raced down the left, Gary Smith was pulled out of the centre but failed to put in a proper challenge, allowing Donnelly to roll a pass for Barry Nicholson to step up and crack in a lethal shot from 20 yards into bottom corner of Simon Brown’s goal.

Dunfermline were deservedly ahead, but Hibs boss Tony Mowbray made aggressive half-time changes as he switched to a three-man attack.

In the 66th minute, Hibs were level. Stephen Glass’ pass to Whittaker out wide was played in first time for Riordan to connect for his 19th goal of the season. Three minutes later, Hibs swept upfield again and David Murphy’s cross saw O’Connor challenge Stillie. The goalkeeper failed to hold it and Steven Fletcher picked up the loose ball to knock home.

Dunfermline began to stagger and Hibs had them reeling in the 76th when Riordan’s ball out to Murphy was cut in for Fletcher to control and turn in. Hibs were rampant now and when Fletcher put Riordan through in the 81st minute for the fourth, he turned Skerla twice before slipping the ball past Stillie.

Hibs: Brown, Whittaker, Murphy, Murray, Smith, Brown, Caldwell, Glass, Shiels, O’Connor, Riordan