Glenrothes suffered a blow in the race for second place after going down to local rivals Dunfermline again at Carelton Park last Saturday.
Two earlier meetings this season had gone the way of the McKane Park men by narrow margins so a close contest was anticipated and in this respect, expectations were met.
Both sides were evenly matched but Shaun Gray caused a little anxiety for Glens’ fans when he was caught deep in the 22m area on fielding a Dunfermline kick but he was helped out by the pack who recycled the ball and allowed it to be cleared.
Gray nearly made up for this, finishing off a flowing Reds passing move with a clever kick of his own which Dunfermline’s Owen Bright did well to knock into touch on his 5m line with Ross Anderson poised to strike.
Dunfermline opened the scoring when referee Bryan Johnston awarded a penalty 30m from goal for a high tackle and Adam Fraser bisected the uprights with his kick. Fraser doubled the lead with another penalty minutes later as the Reds were penalised for illegally entering a ruck on their 10m line.
Michael Delorey had looked very sharp, pressurising his opposite number at every opportunity and the two scrum halves were involved in a flare up late in the half when Alex Jenkins tore Delorey’s jersey off and the Reds player reacted angrily. Johnston showed both players yellow cards, giving them 10 minutes to cool off on the touch line.
On the stroke of half time, Dunfermline scored a try near the left corner following one of the few prolonged passing movements of the half. Cormac Wcislo received the ball, dummied Kain Duguid to buy a little time before passing infield to Graeme Low and looping round his centre before touching down. Fraser was unsuccessful with the kick leaving the score 0-11 in Dunfermline’s favour .
The second half opened with the Reds on the front foot and Dunfermline defending resolutely. A wild pass from the recently restored Delorey in the direction of Daryl Warrender bounced into touch to relieve the pressure briefly. The resulting lineout however ended with a penalty for the Glens which Delorey took quickly and the ball moved into midfield where the looping Duguid dived over by the left hand post. The stand-off picked himself up and converted his own try to cut the deficit to four points.
Neither side could find the composure necessary to add to their score and the game ended with a 7-11 victory for Dunfermline. Dunfermline’s coach said there were three teams in the league distinctly better than the others. While Strathmore will deservedly win the league, the Glens will rue two league losses to Dunfermline with only five points separating them over the two games. Second place in the league is now Dunfermline’s to lose with the Glens likely to be consigned to third place.
Veteran centre Ryan Venters was announced as man of the match as thoughts turn to next week’s fixture away to Alloa.