Dunfermline 17 Strathmore 32

MARK DOBSON admitted that his Dunfermline side didn’t perform to their capabilities as their unbeaten start came to an end.

The Blues had won their opening three competitive matches of the season – adding to eight successive victories achieved last term – ahead of this mouthwatering clash with table-toppers Strathmore.

Having played a game more, the visitors were the only other unbeaten side in Tennent’s Caledonia Division One, and it was they who maintained that record at the end of a hard-fought contest.

The afternoon started well for Dunfermline, with Craig McKenzie barging through to score a converted try, only for the Forfar side to hit back with one of their own.

Both sides then traded penalties as they remained level on the scoreboard but that changed when Strathmore crossed the whitewash for another converted score, before a second successful penalty gave them a 20-10 half-time advantage.

The home side then crossed for their second try of the afternoon, with Adam Fraser again adding the extras, but two late scores – only one of which was converted – handed the visitors victory.

“The bubble’s burst in terms of the games we’ve won in a row,” Dobson said.

“It is a massive reality check for us and, on the day, we weren’t good enough.

“We didn’t execute to the best of our ability and we made too many errors. With 20 minutes to go, the score was 20-17 and was still a contest, so to concede two late tries and let them leave with a bonus point, while we ended up with nothing, was a bitter pill for us to swallow.

“The faces of the players in the changing room afterwards reflected that disappointment. I’ve talked of the need to be clinical but, if we play below-par, then we can get beat.

“It doesn’t change our view of the season in terms of what we’re trying to achieve but I’d like to think it’s a massive warning that we’re not untouchable.”

Dunfermline go to Alloa on Saturday and the head coach wants a positive reaction from his players, adding: “Pre-game, you could feel there were nerves and expectation, but we had a positive training session on Tuesday.

“I’ve told the boys to make sure that there’s no hangover and get stuck in against Alloa, which is a tricky away trip. One bad game doesn’t define us as a team.”