Four goal Hibs ensure SPL safety

When then game kicked off, you could have cut the tension at Easter Road with a knife. Fifteen minutes later the fifteen thousand Hibs fans were wondering what the fuss had been about after Matt Doherty, Eoin Doyle and Garry O’Connor had fired Pat Fenlon’s men into a three goal lead. A second half Paul Hanlon volley which hit the underside of the bar and bounced out but was inexplicably given as a goal by the east stand linesman was enough to ensure SPL football in Leith next season, and send Jim Jeffries’ Dunfermline back to the first division.

Fenlon made three changes to the side which beat Aberdeen last Wednesday. Influential captain James McPake returned from injury and replaced goalscorer Sean O’Hanlon, whilst Lewis Stevenson replaced George Francomb and the suspended Leigh Griffiths was replaced by former Sligo Rovers striker Eoin Doyle.

Hibs got off to the perfect start after five minutes when Lewis Stevenson was fouled and the resultant free kick by Tom Soares was headed on by McPake to Matt Doherty who got away from his marker to head the ball past Smith in the Dunfermline goal.

Dubliner Doherty was the provider for the Hibs second goal after getting the break of the ball on the right and chipping across for Doyle to head home for his first SPL goal since joining the club in January.

On fifteen minutes, the home fans were ecstatic when Hibs were awarded a penalty after Austin McCann was adjudged to have fouled Paul Hanlon in the box. Garry O’Connor made no mistake from the spot and even the most optimistic Pars fan knew that their hopes of survival were gone.

Jim Jeffries men did fight back and made a few chances with Jordan McMillan bringing out a fine save from Mark Brown before the break.

Hibs continued where they had left off in the second half and Isaiah Osbourne laid the ball on a plate for Doyle to tap in but the unmarked striker completely missed the ball as it whizzed across the six-yard box.

A Doyle header was cleared off the line by Gary Mason before Hanlon’s well-struck volley hit the crossbar and clearly bounced down several inches in front of the line but to the amazement of the Dunfermline players, the linesman awarded a goal, sparking jubilation amongst the Hibs faithful.

After the game, a delighted Pat Fenlon said: “We were very good from start to finish. It’s a great relief for everyone at the club. We’ve got some really good players, we just need to get confidence in them and you can see that coming into them over a period of time and they’re gaining more confidence every time we play.”

Hibs: Brown, McPake, Kujabi, Hanlon, Doherty, Soares, Stevenson, Claros, Osbourne, Doyle, O’Connor, Subs Grant Sproule, Francombe, Murray, O’Donovan, O’Hanlon, Towell

Dunfermline: Smith,  McCann, Boyle  Dowie, McMillan, Kerr, Mason,Hardie, Hutton, Kirk,  Graham Subs  Fernandez, Young, Cardle, Willis, Dougal, Barrowman  Buchanan

Attendance  15,281

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