PARS 0 Inverness Caledonian Thistle 0

ATHLETIC are still awaiting their first win of the Championship season despite a much-improved performance against league leaders Inverness Caledonian Thistle.

After three defeats from four, Dunfermline boss Peter Grant went back to basics, deploying a back four, and the changes worked from a defensive viewpoint.

The Pars were better organised - although Owain Fon Williams was called into first half heroics to deny Robbie Deas and Shane Sutherland - and couldn't be faulted for their work-rate and effort, as they kept a first league shut-out of the campaign.

In Kai Kennedy, they had a real bright spark in attack, but Nikolay Todorov and Craig Wighton both missed tremendous second half chances to win it.

Grant will undoubtedly take plaudits from arguably their best league display so far, which included the second half introduction of the much discussed Dom Thomas, but they are still winless and at the foot of the league.

The Pars, who were afforded a warm reception by the 3,158 crowd at full-time, are two points behind both Hamilton, the visitors to East End next week, and Morton, ahead of testing trips to Raith Rovers and Queen of the South thereafter.

However, if they can add an attacking punch to performances like this - Dunfermline are still awaiting an East End league goal - then there is hope they can turn things around.

There were two changes made to the team that started last weekend's defeat at Ayr United, with Grant reverting to a back four.

Ross Graham dropped out of the squad entirely, and Leon Jones was named on the bench, as Vytas Gaspuitis and Kai Kennedy started.

Aaron Comrie, Gaspuitis, Paul Watson and Josh Edwards lined up across the backline as Dunfermline sought to arrest a three-game run of conceding three goals.

It was a positive start in the early stages - backed by a supportive crowd - as Gaspuitis narrowly headed wide from an Edwards corner, but they had Fon Williams to thank for keeping them level after a quarter of an hour.

A ball into the Athletic box caused panic and Deas got a shot away from 12 yards, which took a big deflection on its wau through.

Dunfermline's Welsh international had to adjust his feet quickly and produced a superb block, before quickly reacting to then stop Sutherland at the near post.

Todorov, after Kevin O'Hara had chased down a high ball, tried his luck to no avail from the edge of the area for the hosts, before Comrie had to be alert to block Manny Duku as he attempted to fire an effort at Fon Williams from the left of the penalty area.

As the half drew to a close, on-loan Rangers winger Kennedy sparked into life - and had a strong case for a penalty.

Picking the ball up around halfway, he showed superb skill and speed to race away from and dance beyond the attentions of numerous Inverness players, making his way into the box.

As he attempted to shoot, he went down after what looked like a shirt pull, but referee David Munro waved play on.

Dunfermline kept the move alive and tried to find him again, where he again hit the deck under pressure, but once more nothing was given, before Kirk Broadfoot headed wide for Caley from Tom Walsh's corner.

At the interval, O'Hara was substituted in place of Wighton, but it was Billy McKay - sent on in the first half for Sutherland - who went close for the visitors, with a hooked effort from Duku's flick-on deflected wide.

Ryan Dow had a shot blocked, and Kennedy fired one wide, for the Pars while Duku headed over at the other end as both teams continued to search for a way through, and in the 69th minute, Dunfermline introduced Dom Thomas.

The fans' favourite, who was at the centre of a lot of chat over his future and a potential fall-out with Grant, was sent on in place of Dan Pybus to try and unlock the visiting rearguard.

Within moments, however, Walsh had sent a deflected effort not too far wide, before McKay went even closer with a rasping drive from the edge of the box.

Substitute Thomas almost had the dream introduction with a well-taken right-foot shot at the edge of the box, which was blocked superbly by an Inverness defender, as Dow was moved to an infield position.

Then, with 13 minutes to go, Dunfermline had the best chance of the match.

It was a brilliant pick-out from Wighton, who moments earlier had an effort himself, to find Todorov.

Six yards out, the former Inverness striker met the ball well with his head but, unfortunately, it was straight at Ridgers, who made a brilliant block before dropping onto the rebound.

That was the Bulgarian's last involvement, as he made way for Reece Cole, with the game firmly in the balance going into the final 10 minutes.

The substitute's first real involvement was to pick up a booking for a tackle at the edge of the box, after Thomas had had a shot blocked at the other end, while there was almost a chance for Cole.

Wighton raced on to a long ball, which Ridgers came out and cleared to the midfielder, who didn't fancy an audacious effort from range and the momentum was lost.

Then, in stoppage time, Cole sent Wighton racing in behind the Caley defence and, with only the keeper to beat, he couldn't get the better of Ridgers, who blocked his effort across goal from 12 yards.

But, try as they might, their efforts were in vain as they had to settle for a point, and continue their wait for a first Championship win this season.

Pars: Fon Williams, Comrie, Gaspuitis, Watson, Edwards, Dow, Pybus (Thomas 69), Dorrans, Kennedy, O'Hara (Wighton 45), Todorov (Cole 82).

Subs not used: MacDonald, Allan, Jones, Mehmet.

Booked: Pybus (37), Todorov (43), Watson (49), Cole (86).

Inverness CT: Inverness: Ridgers, Deas, Devine, Carson, Doran (Harper 45), Sutherland (McKay 36), MacGregor, Walsh, Broadfoot, Allardice, Duku (Welsh 71).

Subs not used: Duffy, Jamieson, McAlear, McKay.

Referee: David Munro.

Attendance: 3,158.