PARS 2 Arbroath 0

KEVIN NISBET was at the double as Dunfermline recorded their second successive home victory against Arbroath tonight.

The 22-year-old's second half brace, for his eighth and ninth goals of the campaign, enabled Stevie Crawford's men to bounce back from their weekend defeat at Dundee United.

After a first half that saw both teams cancel each other out, Nisbet's opener just before the hour mark rewarded the hosts for a much brighter second period.

Their dominance was rewarded further when, with 12 minutes to go, he finished well for his second as Athletic moved on to 13 points, pulling clear of bottom two clubs Alloa and Partick Thistle, while jumping above Morton and Saturday's opponents, Queen of the South, to sixth place.

The home side made two changes from Saturday's 2-0 reverse to Dundee United at Tannadice.

Ryan Scully, on his 27th birthday, returned in goal in place of Cammy Gill, while Kevin Nisbet was restored in attack alongside Andy Ryan in place of Harry Cochrane, who was named amongst the substitutes.

The visitors, who defeated Dunfermline by a single goal at Gayfield in August, arrived at East End on the back of an impressive 3-1 win at another of Campbell's former clubs, Partick Thistle.

They were captained by former Dunfermline defender, Jason Thomson, and was joined in defence by ex-Cowdenbeath man Thomas O'Brien, while former Blue Brazil and Raith Rovers forward, Greig Spence, was on the bench.

That put last season's League One champions onto 14 points - four ahead of the Pars - in fifth place ahead of kick-off, while Crawford's men went in search of a second successive home victory.

They almost had the chance to make the perfect start inside three minutes after a good passage of play.

Lee Ashcroft started the move, sending the ball forward to Greg Kiltie, who did well to control and lay it off to Nisbet.

He spread the play wide right for Ryan Dow, whose tantalising ball across the six-yard box was just ahead of Ryan, who needed treatment after taking a knock in the aftermath.

That, however, was that for much of the opening quarter - although Scully needed treatment after taking a hit while dealing with a Bobby Linn cross under pressure - but a flashpoint erupted midway through the half.

A late challenge by O'Brien took out Ashcroft, who took exception to the foul and squared up to his opponent.

As players from both sides waded in, referee John McKendrick yellow-carded both - with the Lichties man perhaps fortunate, as his tackle and reaction could both have merited bookings.

Frustration at what was perceived to be a leniency by the man in the middle was festering in the crowd, who were unhappy at his decision not to speak to Josh Campbell after he caught Paul Paton with a high boot.

Whilst the Pars skipper was being checked by the physios on the touchline, the Lichties went on the attack, with on-loan Aberdeen man, Miko Virtanen, eventually sending a hopeful effort from distance well wide.

His was the third name to be taken by McKendrick, as fouls and bookings seemed to be the main talking points of the opening half an hour, aside from Ashcroft heading harmlessly over from a Kyle Turner corner.

Kiltie did manage to find a sight of the goal, with a shot that was blocked for a corner, and other than Campbell slashing a shot well off target for Arbroath, that was it for the opening 45 minutes.

There was, at least, an effort on target within two minutes of the restart as Kiltie's centre was controlled by Nisbet, who managed to shoot on the half volley, only for Derek Gaston to clutch comfortably.

Paton was next to have a go for Dunfermline, missing the target after the ball fell his way from a corner kick, while Nisbet curled just wide from 18 yards, only for the offside flag to go up in any case.

Ryan then tried his best to make something happen with a ball from the left for Kiltie inside the box but, 12 yards out, the Kilmarnock loanee lost his footing as he went to strike.

However, just as the clock ticked towards the hour mark, the Pars made the breakthrough.

Paton's ball over the top was picked up by Ryan on the right who, after making his way to the edge of the penalty area, showed great vision to square it for Nisbet, who made no mistake from around 15 yards.

That was the former Raith Rovers striker's first goal since September's 3-0 win at Partick Thistle - and first on home soil since the 2-2 draw with Dundee on the opening day.

Dunfermline were appealing for a penalty when Ryan appeared to be pulled down at the back post at a corner, but the referee wasn't interested as Paton fired the loose ball wide from the edge of the area.

The former Airdrieonians attacker, in his last act before being substituted for Tom Beadling - making his 50th Athletic appearance - led a swift break with Turner.

The ball fell his way just inside the area but, unfortunately for him, his effort was straight at Gaston.

Scully was called into rare action to save a Campbell free-kick, before Kiltie appeared to be shoved over at the edge of the box, but no free-kick was awarded.

Another late challenge, this time by McKenna on Dow, resulted in another yellow card as the game slipped away from the visitors.

Turner and Nisbet both had further opportunities to add to Dunfermline's tally, but they'd done enough to seal a second win in three games.

Pars: Scully, Comrie, Ashcroft, Martin, Edwards, Dow, Paton, Turner, Kiltie, Ryan, Nisbet.

Subs: Beadling, McGill, Devine, Coley, Cochrane, Fenton, Gill.

Arbroath: Gaston, Thomson, Hamilton, Little, O'Brien, McKenna, Murphy, Donnelly, Campbell, Virtanen, Linn.

Subs: Whatley, Gold, Doris, Kader, Spence, Stirling, Jamieson.

Referee: John McKendrick.