Dunfermline 1 Hibs 3

THERE was plenty of promise from the Pars before Hibs stepped up a gear to ease to victory in this friendly clash at East End Park.

Dunfermline have signed 10 new players and one of them, centre back Euan Murray, nodded them in front before a second half comeback, with goals from Adam Jackson, Daryl Horgan and Florian Kamberi, gave the capital side the win.

Stevie Crawford’s new look team didn’t take long to make their mark in this game with a goal in the fourth minute.

It had all stemmed from a raid on the right when Andy Ryan was hauled back by Sean Mackie. The resulting free kick was pulled back for Paul Paton and his fierce drive flocked off a Hibs head for a corner.

Dunfermline kept the pressure on and forced another set-piece which was swung in by Ryan and met by Murray at the back post with his header giving goalkeeper Chris Maxwell no chance.

The front four of Josh Coley and Ryan Dow on the flanks with Ryan and Kevin Nisbet up front looked promising for Dunfermline and they carried a threat to the Edinburgh side.

Dow floated a cross into the middle that Nisbet climbed high to attack but he was just denied by Darren McGregor.

Hibs had woken up and started to spray the passes around, with Stevie Mallan sending a warning with a drive that sped just wide.

The Premiership side looked hesitant in defence though and a mistake gave Ryan the ball on the edge of the area. A quick pirouette and Coley burst into the box, but he seemed to be moving too fast for the ball which got caught under his feet.

He should have pulled the trigger himself and by the time he picked out Nisbet, the striker was being closed down and his shot was deflected over the bar.

Tom James forced Ryan Scully to push his low drive round the post, McGregor flashed a header wide and the Dunfermline goalie made a fine one-handed stop to deny Joe Newell as the Easter Road side upped the pressure. 

Dunfermline still posed problems though and Ryan broke free, marauding forward and having a crack from 25 yards but his aim was off.

Nisbet had a downward header saved from another Dow delivery and Dunfermline were good value for their half-time lead.

They quickly lost that advantage to a fortuitous Hibs goal in the 48th minute. Sub Adam Jackson looked like he was re-adjusting as a corner fell behind him and he stuck out a boot to direct the ball over his head and into the corner of the Pars net.

Scully made another good save to prevent McGregor’s back post header finding the net and Nisbet adopted a shoot on sight policy, immediately swivelling and pulling the trigger after Mackie’s slip gave him a sniff of goal.

The ball sailed wide and he made way for Gabby McGill as both sides rang the changes on the hour mark.

Scully got Lee Ashcroft out of jail in the 67th minute. He was short with a header back to the goalie and Kamberi was on it in a flash.

Luckily for the Athletic skipper Scully stuck out a palm to prevent the shot getting past him.

The subs took some of the fluency out of the game and that may explain the ease with which Daryl Horgan escaped down the Pars right flank. He sped into the box and was barged in the back by Ashcroft in the 72nd minute.

The ref pointed to the spot and Horgan buried the penalty low to Scully’s right.

There was almost an immediate response with Dunfermline sub McGill firing a shot through the legs of McGregor. It looked like the ball would nestle in the bottom corner but Maxwell flung out a hand to divert the ball wide.

Hibs stretched their lead in the 76th minute with Horgan crossing for the unmarked Kamberi to direct a header back across Scully and into the corner of the net.