OUT OF THE FLAME AND INTO THE MIRE
After the joy and elation of last season's historic campaign, the times down at East End these days seem to be getting bleaker and bleaker as the weeks and months roll on. The memories which accompanied truly historic wins against Rangers and Caley, to name but two, seem to now be paling into the shadows thanks, in turn, to a depressingly familiar losing feeling which sadly goes hand in hand with being a Pars supporter these days.
Today's no-score home draw with Livingston was yet another disappointing drab in what has been a truly disappointing season for the Pars fans. In a performance which appeared lethargic and clueless, the Pars failed to break down a poor Livingston side - a factor which seemed to be the straw that broke the camel's back for a number of Pars fans, a number of fans going on to vent their fury in a number of very vocal anti-Davie Hay chants. Sitting just two points off the bottom, it's not hard to understand why a strong sense of disillusion has gripped the East End Park masses of late.
Whether or not fans agree with the protests is clearly open for debate, however one thing is certainly for sure; something must be done about the current situation and sharpish! Despite suffering a much-publicised injury 'crisis' of late, the Pars starting side was only, in essence, two players short of Hay's supposedly strongest side - Thomson and Shields missing out through injury. Any other injured player's participation in the side would have to be considered fairly doubtful.
When the Pars never looked like winning the encounter, the same can be said of a poor Livingston side who appeared timid and lacking pace or drive. Although, in fairness, the vistor's failure to score was in part down to a string of solid defensive displays by the Pars back four. The Pars back four - Ross, Labonte, Skerla and Wilson - seemed to be able to sope with anything the Livi attack could throw at them, consequently leaving Pars keeper Derek Stillie with very little to do. Scott Wilson and Aaron Labonte in particular were impressive for the Pars, with both unfaultering in their strength and commitment to the cause. The former - Wilson - displayed tremendous leadership qualities when attempting to grab spur the Pars onto victory and continued to show the kind of form which has made the big defender an integral part of the Pars side in recent months.
The same plaudits however, with the exception of possibly Gary Mason, cannot be awarded to the Pars midfield who were, for the most part, out-fought and out-witted in the centre of the park. Wide players Gary Dempsey - clearly unsuited to the left wing - and Barry Nicholson looked desperately short of match fitness, resulting in a somewhat pace-deprived Pars attack. An out-of-sorts Darren Young was also somewhat of a disappointment for the Pars in an area of the pitch where games are all so frequently won and lost - although after his recent excellent performances you can only hope to dismiss Young senior's poor display as a one-off.
Sponsors Man Of The Match Andy Tod (?!) was once again asked to fulfill an unfamiliar - although it must be becoming all the more familiar to the big man as the weeks role on - target man role and although Toddy's performance was nowhere near as impressive as his terrific Easter Road performance only nine days ago, the big man once again put in a tirless shift for the cause. Tod's strike partner Billy Mehmet - returning from injury - also showed tremendous commitment - and not to mention skill - in what was another very decent performance from the youngster. On another day - although not this season - you couldn't help but feel that Mehmet could have come away from the game with two or three goals.
Although, pick at the bones as often as you like, with the fans becoming increasingly restless, and time fast running out, the task of lifting the gloom from East End Park seems to be getting harder and harder by the week. A 0-0 home draw up against a fellow relegation struggler simply isn't survival form. The big derby days against Falkirk next season seem to slipping further and further away with each week!
Man Of The Match - SCOTT WILSON - Another impressive display from the defender who continues to grow in confidence with each performance.
PARS - Stillie 6, Ross 7, Labonte 8, Skerla 8, Wilson 8, Nicholson 5, Dempsey 5 (Butler 7), Darren Young 5, (Hunt 5) Mason 7, Mehmet 8, Tod 7.