Dunfermline 2-2 Hibernian: Match Report
Hibs still chasing first league win
Hibernian carelessly let slip a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 at Dunfermline in an exciting Clydesdale Bank Premier League clash at East End Park.
Ivan Sproule gave the visitors the interval lead with a 37th-minute strike which striker Garry O'Connor doubled six minutes after the break.
But Pars midfielder Ryan Thomson pulled a goal back a minute later before Easter Road defender Paul Hanlon appeared to deflect Jason Thomson's effort in to his own net to hand the Fifers a share of the spoils which at one point had looked unlkely.
Lashing rain and live television, in part, contributed to a poor crowd of 4,116 for the lunch-time kick-off which saw the visitors begin in positive style.
In the fourth minute, following a Martin Scott corner from the right, the ball eventually fell to Sproule, but he cleared the crossbar by some distance with a snatched shot from just eight yards out.
The encounter quickly degenerated in to little more than a frantic series of challenges and mis-placed passes with neither side gaining control.
In the 16th minute Dunfermline defender Jason Thomson sent Andy Kirk in to the box, but the ball ran away from the striker near the by-line and his attempted cut-back was easily mopped up by the Hibs defence.
Two minutes later the Leith men were cut open again when Pars midfielder David Graham sent Jason Thomson through, but his unconvincing drive from 10 yards hit the side-netting.
The home side had their best chance in the 27th minute following a corner from the left by Joe Cardle.
Hibs failed to clear their lines and the ball was helped on to Pars defender Alex Keddie by Ryan Thomson, but his half-hearted volley from 10 yards limped past Graham Stack's right-hand post.
The home side by that point had the edge, but in the 34th minute Kirk had to stretch too far at the back post to get his head on a searching Cardle cross and the ball flew wide.
Three minutes later, and out of the blue, Sproule struck for the Easter Road men.
With the Pars' defence all over the place as Hibs came down the right, O'Connor fed the Northern Irishman and from 10 yards he slid his shot past Paul Gallacher and into the far corner of the net.
After a swift counter-attack seconds from half-time Sproule had another effort deflected for a corner.
The second-half did not take long to show an improvement.
Three minutes after the break Stack did well to stop Austin McCann's deflected cross creeping in at the top corner and Keddie almost got on the end of Cardle's corner which flashed across the six-yard box.
Moments later O'Connor should have made it 2-0 when he was put clean through by Griffiths, but Gallacher got down to his left to push the side-footed drive round the post for a corner.
Sproule flighted the ball in from the right and Sean O'Hanlon's header was goal-bound until McCann headed the ball off the crossbar.
But Hibs had the bit in their teeth and in the 51st minute O'Connor slammed a shot from the edge of the box past the flailing Gallacher and was then booked for taking his shirt off in celebration.
A minute later Dunfermline were back in the game when Ryan Thomson ran along the edge of the Hibs penalty area before leaving Stack flat-footed with a low shot.
The home fans shouted for a foul when Cardle went to the ground in a challenge by Richie Towell, but referee Calum Murray was having none of it.
Andy Barrowman then replaced Kirk before heading a Graham cross over the crossbar from barely five yards out, then O'Connor and Griffiths were surprisingly replaced by Akpo Sodje and Junior Agogo respectively and the double substitution seemed to quickly backfire.
In the 62nd minute Dunfermline levelled when Stack parried a Cardle shot into the air for Jason Thomson to volley back across the goal and the ball came off Hanlon and flashed into the net.
Both teams went looking for the winner which provided an exciting finale.
In the 78th minute Barrowman again missed the target with a header, this time from a Jason Thomson cross before Stack made another decent save down low from Cardle.
There was to be no more scoring, but Dunfermline will claim a moral victory as Colin Calderwood's struggle at Hibs continues.
Dunfermline 2-2 Hibernian: Match Report - view commentary, squad, and statictics of the game as it happened.
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