Pars 1 Inverness 0

IN a game of little quality, Joe Thomson's goal proved to be the difference as Stevie Crawford celebrated his first win in charge.

In what could prove to be a crucial win, the midfielder's drive from distance shortly after half-time shocked Mark Ridgers in the Caley goal as the East End Park crowd were treated to a rare home win.

The pairing of Bruce Anderson and Faissal El Bakhtaoui which looked so promising against Ross County in the previous fixture was disrupted through injury. The latter never trained during the week, resulting in Anderson leading the line with Aidan Connolly.

Bakhtaoui dropped out of the squad for the versatile Connolly, one of many Dunfermline players to have been blighted by injury this season. His last start came in the 1-0 win away to Alloa Athletic on November 3.

In a dour opening 20 minutes, a lapse in concentration in the Caley backline presented Anderson the chance to race to the byline. He could have shot but opted to seek out Joe Thomson, but the striker's pass was blocked and then cleared for a corner.

The delivery from the corner was pinpoint for Thomson who had made a training ground run to the back post. His header found the palms of Mark Ridgers in between the Inverness sticks.

Anderson once again found himself chasing a through ball in the left channel, and was sent hurtling towards the advertising board by ex-Par Brad McKay. Referee Steven Kirkland was unmoved and gestured to the striker to get up off the tarmac on 22 minutes.

Kirkland came in for abuse from the home support on the half hour mark as Darren McCaulay, already on a booking for a blatant shirt pull, lunged at Connolly. To his credit, Connolly stayed on his feet, and perhaps influenced the referee's decision. Had he went to ground, a second yellow would've been likely for the winger. He was a lucky man to avoiding being sent off, and Caley boss John Robertson replaced him at the first available opportunity.

Joe Thomson was once again the heartbeat of the Pars midfield and after dispossessing Joe Chalmers, led a counter attack. He released Anderson who played it backwards to the supporting Ryan Blair who curled an effort just over the crossbar from 25 yards out.

It was the only chance of the first half that warranted a crowd reaction as the sides went in goalless.

In a season deprived of memorable moments and victories, joy has been an emotion few Pars fans have left games with. Post-match talk has revolved around missed chances and confusing substitutions, with both topics of conversation born out of frustration and a sense of what might have been. Once supporters have vented their negatives to one another, a variation of one sentence is then commonly uttered: 'At least Joe Thomson played well'.

He's been a shining light this season and is a cert for Player of the Year if his form continues to the season's end.

His driving runs from midfield, bite in the tackle and overall contribution has been excellent this year, and once again made the difference for the Pars following the break.

After riding a couple of challenges he sent a curling effort towards goal on 47 minutes from outside the box. His body shape suggested a cross may have been imminent, but he deceived a wrong-footed Ridgers in the net who seemed to let the shot squirm through his hands.

It was a bright start to the second half and lifted morale on the park and in the dugout, with Stevie Crawford still searching for his first win as Pars boss.

Connolly's return was promising and showed glimpses of what he can do. He was a pest to the opposition defence and on another day, may have had a goal of the season contender to look back on if his rasping volley from distance was inches lower.

He let fly from 25 yards after receiving possession from Ryan Blair, and both players watched on as Connolly's stunning effort cracked the bar and bounced clear on the hour.

Inverness never looked like levelling as the half wore on, but Joe Chalmers' free-kick produced a smart save from Ryan Scully, tipping it over the bar on 83 minutes.

Charlie Trafford was presented with a better chance a minute later from close range. While a left-foot strike was the better option, he opted to use his favoured right and blazed clean over and into the stands.

Pars: Scully, Craigen, Devine, Ashcroft, J.Longridge, Thomson, Beadling, Blair (Williamson 77), Vincent, Connolly (L.Longridge 69), Anderson (Durnan 90).

Subs not used: Gill, Higginbotham, Hippolyte, Todd.

Goal: Thomson (47)

Inverness: Ridges, Rooney, McCart, McKay, Tremarco (Welsh 88), Trafford, Chalmers, Walsh, Doran (Austin 64), McCaulay (McDonald 33), White.

Subs not used: Mackay, Donaldson, Macgregor, McHattie.

Bookings: McCaulay, Rooney, Trafford.

Referee: Steven Kirkland

Attendance: 4,297