FORFAR Athletic put a dent in The Pars play-off hopes last night with a 3-1 win over the Fife side at Station Park.
Loons boss Dick Campbell made two changes to the side that defeated Ayr United on Saturday with Gavin Swankie back in the first 11 and Mick Dunlop promoted from the bench.
Jim Jeffries made three changes to The Pars side that lost their final league game of the season to Airdrie United. Ryan Wallace and Callum Morris were both absent while Ross Millen was dropped to the bench.
With the home side the underdogs they proved their merit throughout most of the first half with their first chance coming just a minute in. An Iain Campbell corner was met by Mick Dunlop who passed to Dale Hilson who just squeaked the ball past the post.
Three minutes later The Pars’ Alan Smith found himself clear of the Loons defence but sent the ball straight to Loons ‘keeper Darren Hill.
Moments later a Josh Falkingham corner came close for the visitors but it was cleared well by the home defence.
But despite flashes of inspiration from Dunfermline the rest of the half was dominated by the home side. Six minutes in good work from Swankie down the left found Willie Robertson who missed by millimetres.
At the 20 minute mark another I. Campbell free kick fell to Robertson who passed to Templeman who fought through the visiting defence to reach Swankie who was frustrated again to see the ball go wide.
Three minutes later disaster almost struck for the home side when the ball deflected off of Michael Bolochoweckyj but Hill was quick on his feet to save a potential own goal.
A minute later Stephen Husband sent a powerful shot from 35 yards straight into the arms of the home ‘keeper.
On the half hour mark Robertson saw his 30-yard thunderbolt caught well by Michal Hrivnak. A minute later it was clear that Forfar would break the deadlock sooner rather than later when another shot, this time from Hilson, just scraped past the post.
Three minutes later Forfar’s efforts were well rewarded when they eventually found the back of the net. A shot by Hilson deflected off of the visiting ‘keeper before falling to the feet of Robertson who cooly slotted the ball in from close range.
Three minutes later it looked like it could be the second for the Station Park side with good play by Malin who jinked the ball across to Ross Campbell only for him to miss by inches.
But a minute later the Loons increased their deficit to two when Templeman rose to meet an I. Campbell header and gave Hrivnak no chance as he nodded the ball home to make it 2-0.
With less than 10 minutes of the half to go Forfar continued to push.
And they were rewarded with less than a minute to go when excellent play by Swankie saw him smoothly pass the ball across the open goal to meet Templeman who duly headed in again to make it 3-0 before the break.
Half Time: Forfar Athletic 3 , Dunfermline Athletic 0
At the start of the second half Dunfermline looked determined to make amends but the first real chance for Smith was tipped away by Hill.
In the 57th minute Malin had a clear shot at goal but the visiting ‘keeper moved well to deny Forfar a fourth.
Two minutes later Robertson stumbled at close range and allowed Hrivnak to stop the ball rolling in.
Templeman called Hrivnak into action once again 65 minutes in but the ‘keeper fell to tip away the ball. In the resultant corner taken by I. Campbell, Dunlop just headed over the bar.
Three minutes later a Smith free kick for The Pars was headed clear by Bolochoweckyj as the visitors started to fall apart again.
With 20 minutes to go Forfar were awarded a free kick when Kerr Young pushed over Templeman as frustrations rose. The ball fell to Dunlop who fired over to Templeman who’s attempt at a bicycle kick sailed over the bar.
In the 74th minute the home side continued to push for their fourth but Hrivnak denied them once again after a powerful 25-yard drive by I. Campbell.
Minutes later a good run by Dunfermline’s Ryan Thomson came to nothing when he found himself overpowered by the home defence with no support from his teammates.
In the 84th minute Bolochoweckyj brought down Whittle with the visitors awarded a free kick taken by Husband. And it turned out to be the catalyst for their only goal of the game as he fired in past the home defence to make it 3-1.
Despite a final push for a four goal the home side settled for their 3-1 win as they go into the second leg on Saturday.
Forfar: Hill, Dunlop, I. Campbell, McCulloch, Bolochoweckyj, Robertson, R. Campbell (Kader 72) , Malin (Brown 82), Templeman, Swankie, Hilson (King 87) . Subs not used: Sellars, Salmon.
Dunfermline Athletic: Hrivnak, Geggan, Whittle, Young, Potter (Millen 80), Kane (Dargo 63), Byrne, Husband, Smith, Falkingham, Thomson. Subs not used: Martin, El Bakhtaoui, Goodfellow.