By David Buick
Dunfermline welcomed Inverness to East End Park for this opening day Scottish Championship fixture, winning 3-1.
It was the visitors who started well and took the lead inside two minutes. Daniel MacKay whipped in a great cross to find Nikolay Todorov at the back post who slammed the Highlanders ahead.
Dunfermline responded well and found the equaliser through captain Euan Murray who powerfully met a Dom Thomas corner to fire the Pars level. Having gone into the break level, the game was finally poised in the second half.
It was the Fifers who came up trumps however, as Ryan Dow put them in-front, capitalising on a loose ball in the box to finish. With Inverness looking to find an equaliser the game became stretched, it was Dunfermline who benefitted from this as Declan McManus broke well and got his first goal of his second spell at the Pars to seal the three points for Stevie Crawford’s men.
Here are three things we learned on an impressive afternoon for the home team.
Pars start in style with impressive home win
Murray, Dow and McManus sent their side on the way to an opening day victory as the Pars continued their good early season form from the Betfred Cup with victory over John Robertson’s side.
Many have tipped Crawford’s men to have a good season and the home side certainly did nothing to dispel those suggestions. A second half tactical tweak by Crawford saw the Pars switch to a 4-2-3-1 with Dow playing behind McManus and it was from that point on the Pars made the game their own.
Considering how poor their record was against Inverness last season, the Pars fans will be delighted their side have put a marker down on the opening day. Four wins out of four so far with nine goals scored and just the one conceded, Pars fans will be starting to feel that this could be a special season at EEP.
Thomas and Murray combine yet again for the Pars
Last Friday night’s game at East End Park saw Thomas and Murray twice combine at set-pieces as the Pars captain scored the games two goals. Pars fans were absolutely delighted when the two combined again midweek away to Kilmarnock, but surely few of them could quite believe what they were watching as yet again this afternoon the two combined.
That is now four for the season for the Pars captain who got on the end of Thomas’s corner to equalise in the first half. This fruitful partnership yet again provided the goods as the Murray enjoys a great goalscoring start to his tenure as Pars captain.
Lack of striking options proves costly for John Robertson’s side
Inverness went into the game without Miles Storey and Shane Sutherland, leaving Todorov as the only fit striker to start. Todorov got his side off to a fantastic start with a very early opening goal and the signs were pointing towards a good afternoon for Caley.
However, less than 10 minutes after his goal, Todorov was subbed off after suffering an injury. With no strikers left on the bench, Robertson was forced to rethink his shape with James Vincent coming on in midfield.
This left Inverness with a front two of wingers Dan MacKay and James Keatings. In truth, Inverness never really looked like scoring after that and with their three main strikers all missing it’s hard not to feel sorry for Robertson’s side.
The lack of quality and depth upfront was even more apparent towards the end as Caley tried to get themselves back in the game without a natural goalscorer on the park. Inverness supporters will feel that on another day and with some options up front, that they could have taken a positive result. Robertson will be hoping to have some strikers back soon.