Andy Kirk glanced in a late header as Dunfermline staged a thrilling comeback to earn a point at St Mirren.

Nigel Hasselbaink shot the Buddies into an early lead, only for Jordan McMillan to curl in a lovely equaliser.

Steven Thompson crashed in two powerful headers either side of half time before David Graham pulled one back.

Thompson found the top corner with a strike for his hat-trick before Liam Buchanan did the same from long range and Kirk nodded in the leveller.

A quite incredible game leaves Dunfermline six points behind second bottom Hibernian, who play on Sunday, as they battle to avoid relegation from the Scottish Premier League.

And, despite their striker bagging an impressive hat-trick and twice leading by two goals, St Mirren were unable to improve their record of just one win in 2012.

Pars manager Jim Jefferies had declared victory a must and both sides were commited to attack right from the off, although some sloppy defending contributed to the high goals-tally.

Hasselbaink was left all alone as Paul McGowan picked him out with a pass for the opening goal on four minutes. The Dutchman was then able to turn inside Alex Keddie and slotted the ball past Chris Smith.

Steven Thompson netted a hat-trick for St Mirren

Steven Thompson netted a hat-trick for St Mirren

Kyle Hutton twice threatened for the visitors but Lee Mair's sliding block stopped the first effort and the on-loan Rangers midfielder then shot wide from 15 yards.

Dunfermline kept pressing and Graham hit the inside of the post with a powerful drive from 20 yards before Keddie headed wide.

The deserved equaliser came in the 24th minute when right-back McMillan cut inside and fired an excellent left-footed effort into the far corner of the net from 25 yards.

McGowan met Graham Carey's cross inside the six-yard box and his header bounced down off the turf and against the crossbar, while Thompson could not net the rebound.

Kenny McLean, Carey and McGowan threatened from long range as Saints regained the upper hand and Thompson headed home from six yards after a wonderful cross from Carey.

Early in the second half, Thompson delivered another blow when he beat Andy Dowie to Dougie Imrie's right-wing cross and headed into the roof of the net.

But Graham pulled one back with 56 minutes gone with a cool finish following a smart one-two with Hardie.

Dunfermline pushed on again but Thompson completed his treble when David van Zanten dispossessed Joe Cardle deep inside the Pars half before laying the ball off to the striker to fire into the top corner from 15 yards.

The visitors refused to let their heads go down and the impressive Hutton won the ball in the centre circle to allow Graham the chance to send Buchanan free.

The pass and touch appeared to take the forward too wide but he unleashed a powerful strike that swerved out of Craig Samson's reach and into the near top corner.

The small band of travelling fans went wild when Andy Kirk managed to glance in a header from close range and the substitute fashioned two more late chances without hitting the target.

St Mirren manager Danny Lennon: "As a neutral watching that would have been absolutely fantastic.

"It was a thoroughly entertaining game with good goals and end-to-end action.

"But as St Mirren manager I'm absolutely livid not to take maximum points after having the game sewn up on a number of occasions.

"We didn't keep possession and do the right things. I'm very, very angry because it was a wonderful opportunity missed."

Dunfermline manager Jim Jefferies: "You could see the way the team was set up, we played virtually four attackers because it was a game we were desperate to win.

"For the last 10 minutes I have gone 3-4-3. We have thrown Kirk on and just went for it.

"After the goal he has a chance and if he hits the target we are winning the game.

"At 3-1 down and 4-2 down in the position we are in you would be delighted with the response of the players. I am over the moon with their response to get something.

"It was a win we were wanting but if Hibs lose tomorrow that's a point closer.

"It's another game away and it makes it a wee bit tougher, but it doesn't mean it's impossible."

Lineup, Bookings (3) & Substitutions (5)

St Mirren

  • 01 Samson
  • 02 van Zanten
  • 05 Mair
  • 14 McAusland
  • 06 Goodwin
  • 17 Mclean
  • 23 Carey
  • 27 Imrie Booked (Teale - 73' )
  • 09 Thompson
  • 10 McGowan
  • 11 Hasselbaink (Reilly - 73' )

Substitutes

  • 12 Smith
  • 04 McGregor
  • 07 Murray
  • 08 Thomson
  • 15 Mooy
  • 21 Teale
  • 39 Reilly

Dunfermline

  • 20 Smith
  • 03 McCann
  • 06 Keddie Booked
  • 15 Dowie
  • 26 McMillan Booked (Cardle - 46' )
  • 02 Kerr
  • 04 Mason (Kirk - 85' )
  • 08 Hardie
  • 24 Hutton
  • 11 Graham
  • 19 Buchanan (Barrowman - 77' )

Substitutes

  • 27 Fernandez
  • 07 Cardle
  • 22 Willis
  • 23 Thomson
  • 09 Barrowman
  • 10 Kirk
  • 12 McDougall
Ref: Brines
Att: 3,616

Match Stats

Shots

15 15

On target

6 9

Corners

3 4

Fouls

12 11

Live Text Commentary

90:00 +3:04 Full time

Full Time The final whistle is blown by the referee.

90:00 +2:02

Steven Thompson is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Chris Smith restarts play with the free kick.

90:00 +1:36

Foul by Austin McCann on Thomas Reilly, free kick awarded. Jim Goodwin takes the direct free kick.

90:00 +1:21

David Graham crosses the ball, clearance made by Marc McAusland.

90:00 +1:03

Andy Kirk produces a right-footed shot from inside the area that goes over the bar.

90:00 +0:33

The ball is delivered by Joe Cardle, Marc McAusland makes a clearance.

90:00 +0:14

Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Joe Cardle, clearance by Jim Goodwin.

90:00 +0:01

Andy Kirk takes a shot. Blocked by Marc McAusland.

89:20

Paul McGowan takes a shot. Save by Chris Smith.

87:39

Assist on the goal came from Joe Cardle.

87:39 Goal scored

Goal! - Andy Kirk - St Mirren 4 - 4 Dunf'mline Andy Kirk scores a headed goal from inside the penalty area. St Mirren 4-4 Dunfermline.

87:27

The ball is crossed by Joe Cardle,

87:04

Gary Teale sends in a cross, save by Chris Smith.

86:47

Corner taken short by Gary Teale.

86:38

The ball is swung over by Gary Teale, Austin McCann manages to make a clearance.

85:06

The ball is delivered by Joe Cardle, Craig Samson makes a save.

84:11 Substitution

Substitution Gary Mason leaves the field to be replaced by Andy Kirk.

81:45

Gary Mason produces a cross.

81:17

David van Zanten concedes a free kick for a foul on Mark Kerr. Austin McCann restarts play with the free kick.

79:25

Unfair challenge on Gary Teale by Austin McCann results in a free kick. Marc McAusland takes the direct free kick.

78:26

Free kick awarded for a foul by Gary Teale on Joe Cardle. Free kick crossed left-footed by Austin McCann.

77:05

Long range effort by Graham Carey goes harmlessly over the bar.

77:05 Substitution

Substitution Andrew Barrowman comes on in place of Liam Buchanan.

77:05 Booking

Booking Alex Keddie is cautioned by the ref for dissent.

76:43

Unfair challenge on Marc McAusland by Andy Dowie results in a free kick.

75:53

Joe Cardle delivers the ball, Marc McAusland manages to make a clearance.

72:21

Jim Goodwin takes the free kick.

72:21 Substitution

Substitution Nigel Hasselbaink goes off and Thomas Reilly comes on.

72:21 Substitution

Substitution Gary Teale comes on in place of Douglas Imrie.

72:21

Alex Keddie challenges Steven Thompson unfairly and gives away a free kick.

72:14

The ball is swung over by Austin McCann, Lee Mair makes a clearance.

70:06

Assist on the goal came from David Graham.

70:06 Goal scored

Goal! - Liam Buchanan - St Mirren 4 - 3 Dunf'mline Liam Buchanan grabs a goal from the edge of the penalty box to the top right corner of the goal. St Mirren 4-3 Dunfermline.

68:28

Corner taken left-footed by Graham Carey, Headed effort from close range by Steven Thompson goes wide left of the goal.

68:16

Kenny McLean produces a cross, Andy Dowie manages to make a clearance.

66:55

The assist for the goal came from David van Zanten.

66:55 Goal scored

Goal! - Steven Thompson - St Mirren 4 - 2 Dunf'mline Steven Thompson finds the net with a goal from deep inside the penalty box to the top left corner of the goal. St Mirren 4-2 Dunfermline.

66:39

The ball is swung over by Graham Carey.

65:51

Martin Hardie is caught offside. Indirect free kick taken by Craig Samson.

65:45

A cross is delivered by Austin McCann.

63:46

The ball is sent over by Graham Carey.

63:03

The referee blows for offside. Craig Samson restarts play with the free kick.

60:13

Corner taken right-footed by Joe Cardle from the left by-line, Martin Hardie has a headed effort at goal from close in which goes wide right of the target.

60:06

David Graham delivers the ball, clearance by Marc McAusland.

59:23

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Jim Goodwin by Mark Kerr. Free kick taken by Craig Samson.

58:42

Chris Smith restarts play with the free kick.

58:42 Booking

Booking Douglas Imrie receives a caution for unsporting behaviour.

58:31

Foul by Douglas Imrie on Mark Kerr, free kick awarded.

56:57

Free kick awarded for a foul by Kyle Hutton on Paul McGowan. Jim Goodwin takes the direct free kick.

55:56

Martin Hardie provided the assist for the goal.

55:56 Goal scored

Goal! - David Graham - St Mirren 3 - 2 Dunf'mline Goal scored by David Graham from inside the six-yard box to the bottom left corner of the goal. St Mirren 3-2 Dunfermline.

54:28

Outswinging corner taken left-footed by Graham Carey from the left by-line, Austin McCann manages to make a clearance.

53:54

Joe Cardle sends in a cross.

52:28

Martin Hardie is caught offside. Craig Samson restarts play with the free kick.

52:10

Paul McGowan concedes a free kick for a foul on David Graham. Direct free kick taken by Andy Dowie.

51:23

The ball is delivered by Graham Carey, Alex Keddie manages to make a clearance.

50:28

A cross is delivered by Graham Carey, Gary Mason gets a block in.

49:30

Nigel Hasselbaink sends in a cross.

48:38

Paul McGowan concedes a free kick for a foul on Kyle Hutton. Kyle Hutton restarts play with the free kick.

47:06

Douglas Imrie provided the assist for the goal.

47:06 Goal scored

Goal! - Steven Thompson - St Mirren 3 - 1 Dunf'mline Steven Thompson finds the net with a headed goal from close range. St Mirren 3-1 Dunfermline.

47:03

The ball is delivered by Douglas Imrie,

46:33

Kenny McLean delivers the ball, Austin McCann makes a clearance.

45:01

The match restarts for the second half.

45:01 Substitution

Substitution Joe Cardle comes on in place of Jordan McMillan.

45:00 +2:10 Half time

Half Time The half-time whistle blows.

45:00 +1:18

Foul by Martin Hardie on Marc McAusland, free kick awarded. Direct free kick taken by Craig Samson.

45:00 +0:56

Paul McGowan takes a shot and went wide left of the net.

45:00 +0:17

Foul by Nigel Hasselbaink on Gary Mason, free kick awarded. Chris Smith takes the direct free kick.

45:00 +0:09

A cross is delivered by Nigel Hasselbaink, Alex Keddie makes a clearance.

44:24

Gary Mason takes a shot. Save by Craig Samson.

43:47

Austin McCann crosses the ball.

43:38

Austin McCann produces a cross, Marc McAusland gets a block in.

42:30

Assist on the goal came from Graham Carey.

42:30 Goal scored

Goal! - Steven Thompson - St Mirren 2 - 1 Dunf'mline Steven Thompson grabs a headed goal from close in. St Mirren 2-1 Dunfermline.

42:27

Graham Carey delivers the ball,

41:27

Centre by Gary Mason, save by Craig Samson.

40:35

Jim Goodwin concedes a free kick for a foul on Kyle Hutton. Andy Dowie takes the direct free kick.

40:19

The ball is crossed by Steven Thompson.

36:07

Paul McGowan has an effort at goal from long range that misses to the right of the target.

34:41

Long range shot by Douglas Imrie goes wide right of the goal.

32:48

David Graham gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Kenny McLean. Direct effort from the free kick comes in from Graham Carey.

31:33

Kenny McLean takes a shot. Chris Smith makes a save.

30:42

The free kick is swung in left-footed by Graham Carey, Alex Keddie makes a clearance.

30:42 Booking

Booking Jordan McMillan goes into the referee's book for unsporting behaviour.

30:13

Foul by Jordan McMillan on Douglas Imrie, free kick awarded.

28:52

Marc McAusland gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Martin Hardie. Mark Kerr takes the free kick.

28:23

Close range shot by Steven Thompson misses to the left of the target.

28:04

The ball is sent over by Graham Carey, Header from close in by Paul McGowan hits the post.

27:45

Mark Kerr takes a shot. Craig Samson makes a save.

27:15

Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Mark Kerr, clearance made by Steven Thompson.

27:08

The ball is swung over by Austin McCann, blocked by Douglas Imrie.

26:02

Liam Buchanan is caught offside. Free kick taken by Craig Samson.

25:56

David Graham crosses the ball.

25:30

Foul by Douglas Imrie on Mark Kerr, free kick awarded. Direct free kick taken by Mark Kerr.

23:13

Assist on the goal came from Mark Kerr.

23:13 Goal scored

Goal! - Jordan McMillan - St Mirren 1 - 1 Dunf'mline Jordan McMillan scores a goal from outside the penalty area to the bottom left corner of the goal. St Mirren 1-1 Dunfermline.

20:57

Martin Hardie delivers the ball, Headed effort from deep inside the area by Alex Keddie misses to the right of the target.

20:15

Marc McAusland concedes a free kick for a foul on Martin Hardie. Free kick crossed by Austin McCann, clearance made by Jim Goodwin.

17:59

David Graham has an effort at goal from a long way out hitting the post.

17:01

Martin Hardie is caught offside. Lee Mair takes the indirect free kick.

16:08

Nigel Hasselbaink sends in a cross, save by Chris Smith.

14:55

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on David van Zanten by Austin McCann. Graham Carey produces a cross, Steven Thompson produces a header from inside the area that goes over the crossbar.

13:49

Liam Buchanan sends in a cross, Jim Goodwin makes a clearance.

12:57

Centre by Austin McCann, save made by Craig Samson.

12:42

Unfair challenge on Alex Keddie by Steven Thompson results in a free kick. Free kick taken by Andy Dowie.

11:43

Kyle Hutton has an effort at goal from deep inside the area missing to the left of the target.

9:53

Corner taken by Mark Kerr from the right by-line, Headed effort from inside the area by Alex Keddie misses to the left of the target.

9:42

Kyle Hutton takes a shot. Lee Mair gets a block in.

7:51

Centre by Graham Carey.

6:15

Jim Goodwin fouled by Martin Hardie, the ref awards a free kick. David van Zanten takes the free kick.

3:48

Paul McGowan provided the assist for the goal.

3:48 Goal scored

Goal! - Nigel Hasselbaink - St Mirren 1 - 0 Dunf'mline Nigel Hasselbaink finds the back of the net with a goal from inside the penalty area to the bottom left corner of the goal. St Mirren 1-0 Dunfermline.

0:49

Unfair challenge on Kyle Hutton by Kenny McLean results in a free kick. Andy Dowie restarts play with the free kick.

0:30

Martin Hardie takes a shot. Blocked by Jim Goodwin.

0:00

The match has kicked off.

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