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4 Dunfermline talking points: Can dogged defensive display at Dundee United galvanise Pars?

James McPake side left Tannadice on Saturday with a share of the points for the second time this season.

Sam Fisher shackles Tony Watt in the first period
Dunfermline's Sam Fisher shackles Tony Watt of Dundee United. Image: SNS

Dunfermline can take a lot of encouragement from their 0-0 draw versus Dundee United.

Earlier in the season, the Pars were denied all three points thanks to a late equaliser from Matthew Cudjoe.

Hearts were in mouths on Saturday when Archie Meekison let fly from a similar position at a similar time in the game but Dunfermline keeper Deniz Mehmet was there to claw the ball away.

It was a well-deserved point for the Pars who now have a run of winnable home games coming up.

Ewan Otoo in close attention to Dundee United's Kai Fotheringham
Ewan Otoo in close attention to Dundee United’s Kai Fotheringham during Dunfermline’s draw at Tannadice. Image: SNS

Courier Sport looks at the talking points from Saturday’s 0-0 draw with Dundee United.

Malachi Fagan-Walcott

It was an impressive debut for the Cardiff City loanee, who was part of a young back three that received a lot of praise from his manager.

There were a few slack passes here and there but many other times when Fagan-Walcott stayed calm under pressure to pick out a team-mate.

The 21-year-old started on the right of a back three in a slightly lopsided formation.

Michael O’Halloran was pushing high from right-wingback meaning there were times Fagan-Walcott was left exposed against one of the league’s most dangerous players.

But Glenn Middleton, but he was kept relatively quiet by the Pars debutant.

Sam Fisher

As impressive as Fagan-Walcott and Ewan Otoo were, Sam Fisher took on the organisational role in the heart of the back three.

The former Dundee defender put in a man-of-the-match performance on Saturday after two concussions in three weeks, seven stitches and having to have his nose reset.

Earlier in the week, Fisher told the press that he was “genuinely buzzing” to get the all-clear to play without a mask.

Dundee United's Archie Meekison is denied against Dunfermline
Dunfermline’s Sam Fisher constantly put his body on the line versus Dundee United. Image: SNS

Post-match, Dunfermline manager James McPake revealed that Fisher was allowed to play without face protection but was still advised to do so.

Fisher put his head on everything that came into the box, cleared a certain goal off the line andĀ almost gave his side the lead on the stroke of half-time with the best strike of the game.

Matching the league leaders

The SPFL Trust Trophy match versus Dundee United was a bit of a write-off for Dunfermline given their selection issues but in each of the three Championship matches they have competed.

Two draws – one so very nearly a win – at Tannadice is not to be sniffed at. The margins were also very fine at home when Chris Mochrie fired in a late winner.

Saturday’s 0-0 draw was a real team performance and hopefully one that can galvanise them.

Dunfermline came close to breaking the deadlock a couple of times on Saturday but it’s not the win they crave and it is now six matches without a win.

Four of those have been on the road, however, with two recent postponements at East End Park.

Three consecutive home matches against Morton, Queen’s Park and Arbroath are a great chance to start looking up the way again.

Reinforcements expected

McPake has been clear that reinforcements will be required and with transfer deadline day approaching, there is at least one piece of business he wants to be tied up before then.

After that, the loan window remains open until the end of February but the Pars boss doesn’t want to be waiting until the end of the month to get deals over the line.

That would leave him with their services for just a couple of months, giving them little time to make an impact.

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