Scottish Championship
HibernianHibernian2DunfermlineDunfermline2

Hibernian 2-2 Dunfermline Athletic

By Brian McLauchlinBBC Scotland
Hibs goalkeeper Ofir Marciano made a series of excellent saves to deny Dunfermline
Hibs goalkeeper Ofir Marciano made a series of excellent saves to deny Dunfermline

Hibernian maintained their seven-point lead at the top of the Championship despite surrendering a two-goal lead at home to determined Dunfermline.

Martin Boyle fired the hosts into an early lead and won a penalty, converted by Jason Cummings on 24 minutes.

A dreadful mistake from David Gray allowed Paul McMullan to pull one back for the Pars soon after.

Kallum Higginbotham powered in the equaliser and some fine saves from Ofir Marciano denied the visitors a win.

Hibs, boosted after their magnificent performance in midweek when knocking city rivals Hearts out of the Scottish Cup, began the match with great pace, passion and power.

John McGinn began the move for the opener, winning the ball in midfield before spreading the play wide to Cummings. The club's top scorer sent in a searching cross to the back post where Boyle ghosted in to volley home.

Cheered on by a crowd of 14,437, Neil Lennon's side continued to dominate and only brave defending from Callum Morris denied Cummings from doubling the lead.

The pace of Boyle was causing all sorts of problems fort the visitors and the winger brought about the second goal when Jason Talbot tugged on his shirt as he squirmed along the byline, giving referee John Beaton a simple task in awarding a penalty.

Cummings made no mistake in sending Sean Murdoch in the Dunfermline goal one way and the ball the other for his 18th goal of the season.

Dunfermline though had lost only one of their last 14 matches and quickly responded to cut the deficit.

A simple ball through the middle was missed completely by Hibernian captain Gray and the impressive McMullan strode through to drill the ball beyond Marciano.

Martin Boyle celebrates scoring for Hibernian against Dunfermline
Martin Boyle's back-post tap-in put Hibs ahead

And the on-loan from Celtic midfielder was only denied an equaliser thanks to a wonderful one handed save by Marciano.

Tempers were beginning to run high and Fraser Fyvie and Higginbotham were cautioned by Beaton. Pars striker Michael Moffat was lucky not to join them after grabbing Fyvie by the throat as the players came together.

There was a further blow for Lennon before the break when Liam Fontaine limped off and, with no recognised centre-half on the bench, midfielder Marvin Bartley came on as the replacement.

Within 30 seconds of the second half getting under way the Fife club deservedly drew level.

Moffat was afforded time to send in an awkward lofted cross that was allowed to bounce nicely for Higginbotham to lash in from eight yards out, giving Marciano no chance.

Allan Johnston's side now had the belief they could go on and pick up all three points and only the woodwork and the feet of Marciano denied them the lead.

Andy Geggan cut the ball back for Moffat who, from six yards, blasted the ball against the crossbar, via the arm of Marciano, with Nicky Clark then having the rebound blocked on the line by the Hibernian keeper.

The home defence were at sixes and sevens and McMullan fired a cross into the box that hit Clark on the chest and drifted just over.

Both sides were going forward at every opportunity but as the clock ticked towards 90 minutes neither were able to create another clear cut opportunity in a thrilling contest.

A third consecutive league draw will frustrate Lennon but no ground was lost in the race for promotion since Dundee United, Morton and Falkirk each picked up a solitary point as well.

Hibernian head coach Neil Lennon: "I'm very pleased. You can see we're dead on our feet, and that's our third centre-half out injured as well. The goals were avoidable, but we started brilliantly.

"The momentum changes when you lose Liam and give a goal away, then my goalkeeper made some world-class saves.

"We've been superb defensively all season but we were poor today, and that's tiredness more than anything else.

"But all-in-all, we're seven points clear, off the back of a mentally and physically draining night on Wednesday, they've given me everything."

Dunfermline manager Allan Johnston: "We gave away really cheap goals and made it really difficult for ourselves but I thought the boys showed great character to come back, create the opportunities and score the goals.

"You can't afford to give teams like Hibs a two-goal start, but second-half, some of the chances we created were different class.

"I think we're disappointed not to take all three points. Their keeper was man of the match, the saves he made, so it's good we made opportunities like that against a top team."

Line-ups

Hibernian

Formation 4-4-2

  • 1Marciano
  • 2Gray
  • 24McGregor
  • 5FontaineSubstituted forBartleyat 34'minutes
  • 16StevensonBooked at 84mins
  • 17Boyle
  • 8FyvieBooked at 45minsSubstituted forCraneat 65'minutes
  • 7McGinnBooked at 37mins
  • 22ShinnieSubstituted forKeatingsat 89'minutes
  • 9Holt
  • 35Cummings

Substitutes

  • 6Bartley
  • 19Keatings
  • 29Graham
  • 31Laidlaw
  • 43Crane
  • 48Martin
  • 52Donaldson

Dunfermline

Formation 4-4-2

  • 1Murdoch
  • 6GegganBooked at 84mins
  • 22Morris
  • 12Ashcroft
  • 3Talbot
  • 18McMullan
  • 21HerronBooked at 63mins
  • 8Wedderburn
  • 20HigginbothamBooked at 45mins
  • 9Moffat
  • 37Clark

Substitutes

  • 5Fordyce
  • 7Paton
  • 10Hopkirk
  • 11Cardle
  • 16McCabe
  • 17Reilly
  • 43Hutton
Referee:
John Beaton
Attendance:
14,437

Match Stats

Home TeamHibernianAway TeamDunfermline
Possession
Home45%
Away55%
Shots
Home13
Away11
Shots on Target
Home6
Away4
Corners
Home7
Away6
Fouls
Home15
Away10

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Hibernian 2, Dunfermline Athletic 2.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Hibernian 2, Dunfermline Athletic 2.

  3. Post update

    Delay over. They are ready to continue.

  4. Post update

    Delay in match John Herron (Dunfermline Athletic) because of an injury.

  5. Post update

    Jason Talbot (Dunfermline Athletic) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  6. Post update

    Foul by Grant Holt (Hibernian).

  7. Substitution

    Substitution, Hibernian. James Keatings replaces Andrew Shinnie.

  8. Post update

    Corner, Dunfermline Athletic. Conceded by Martin Boyle.

  9. Post update

    Corner, Hibernian. Conceded by Lee Ashcroft.

  10. Booking

    Lewis Stevenson (Hibernian) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  11. Booking

    Andrew Geggan (Dunfermline Athletic) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  12. Post update

    Foul by Andrew Geggan (Dunfermline Athletic).

  13. Post update

    Lewis Stevenson (Hibernian) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  14. Post update

    Delay over. They are ready to continue.

  15. Post update

    Corner, Hibernian. Conceded by Lee Ashcroft.

  16. Post update

    Foul by John Herron (Dunfermline Athletic).

  17. Post update

    John McGinn (Hibernian) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  18. Post update

    Attempt saved. John McGinn (Hibernian) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner.

  19. Post update

    Attempt missed. Nicky Clark (Dunfermline Athletic) left footed shot from the centre of the box is too high.

  20. Post update

    Attempt saved. Nicky Clark (Dunfermline Athletic) header from very close range is saved in the centre of the goal.