PARS 3 Morton 0

ATHLETIC doubled their tally of home league wins, and more than doubled their East End goals for column, by comfortably seeing off Greenock Morton.

A quick-fire opener from Aidan Keena and a Faissal El Bakhtaoui penalty - his first league goal of the season - put Allan Johnston's men 2-0 up at the interval before James Craigen fired home a third goal late on.

After registering just one league win at home, scoring just twice in the process, before this game, it was a welcome success for Dunfermline and one that eases the pressure on their manager.

They went into it with just one win in six but a powerful first half, in which they dominated a disappointing 'Ton side, gave them the platform for victory.

Johnston made two changes from last weekend's defeat at Ross County to his starting line-up.

The suspended Kallum Higginbotham, and Malaury Martin, dropped out to make way for James Craigen and Aidan Keena, while Tom Beadling - whose last appearance, and only his third of the season, came against Dundee United last month - returned to the bench.

Although Bob McHugh headed wide for the visitors in the opening moments, it was Dunfermline who struck first in just the fourth minute.

Robbie Muirhead collected the ball on the left-edge of the penalty area and shot for goal, only for his effort to hit the inside the post.

But the rebound fell kindly to Keena who, from six yards, had the relatively simple task of popping the ball into the net.

It was just the third goal for the Pars at home in the Championship this season - and the first since a 1-0 win over Partick Thistle in September - yet, four minutes later, they came agonisngly close to adding another.

A wicked, inswinging free-kick from Jackson Longridge was met brilliantly by Muirhead, whose glancing header cannoned off the far upright.

As the ball bobbled around inside the box, it eventually dropped to Danny Devine to shoot, but his effort, remarkably, looped up and struck the crossbar.

It was an excellent start by Athletic and, although Chris Millar tested Lee Robinson with a deflected drive, the home side looked threatening whenever they moved towards the 'Ton box.

They had another opportunity soon afterwards when a break on the right saw Keena send a fine ball across the box to Joe Thomson, but the midfielder couldn't generate enough power in his first-time effort as visiting keeper Derek Gaston gathered.

Dunfermline continued to press and, after some good work by Keena and Muirhead in recycling the ball to Jackson Longridge, the full-back unleashed a fine drive that Gaston did well to save after it took a deflection on the way through.

Thomson had another go in the follow-up, shooting wide, as you sensed the home side growing in confidence.

Keena tested Gaston with a fine turn and shot from 25 yards that was, fortunately for Morton, straight at the keeper but, with four minutes to half-time, Dunfermline doubled their lead.

El Bakhtaoui took advantage of a slip midway inside the visitors' half and, as he ran towards the box, he checked his run and the falling Buchanan sent him crashing to the deck.

The French-Moroccan forward took the ball off Craigen and, although Gaston guessed correctly, the spot-kick was confidently dispatched into his bottom left corner.

It was the on-loan Dundee star's first goals in a Dunfermline shirt since he netted two in a 7-1 Betfred Cup romp at Brechin City in July - 17 games ago.

His strike partner, Hearts loanee Keena, had another chance immediately after the restart when he was played through on goal but, after checking inside around 18 yards out, Gaston saved.

Charlie Telfer was sent on just before the hour in place of Kerr Waddell for the Cappielow side and he almost came up trumps with a fine effort from the edge of the area that the home defence did well to block.

The second period was lacking in goalmouth incident compared with the first, although Keena tried his luck with a speculative effort from distance, and Bob McHugh headed harmlessly over for Morton.

There was half a chance as the clock ticked into the final 10 minutes as Craigen sent El Bakhtaoui scampering on the left, but Gaston held his effort after he checked inside on his right, but a third goal arrived with five minutes to go.

El Bakhtaoui's flick sent Muirhead racing clear and, while his effort was saved after he made his way into the box, the rebound fell for Craigen to smash home and seal three welcome points for Dunfermline.

Pars: Robinson, Williamson, Ashcroft, Devine, J. Longridge, Craigen, Vincent, Thomson, Muirhead, El Bakhtaoui, Keena.

Subs: L. Martin, Beadling, Morrison, Hippolyte, M. Martin, McCann, Gill.

Morton: Gaston, Kilday, Iredale, Buchanan, Waddell, Millar, McAlister, Thomson, McHugh, Tidser, Tumilty.

Subs: Telfer, Tiffoney, Maclean, Armour, McKeown, Lyon, Scully.

Referee: John Beaton.