Pars midfielder Rhys McCabe was relieved to have got the goal that for a long time looked as though it would never come at wind-swept Cheaper Insurance Direct Stadium on Saturday.
His side had scored a single goal in open play in the previous six encounters and 80 further minutes had ticked past when a Dumbarton clearance came his way.
He recalled that, around twenty five metres from goal, he had immediately known what his intention was. “I had it in my head when the ball came out that I was shooting.”
McCabe had been prominent in the action and said: “I had had a couple of shots in the first half that I probably caught a bit too well. I was lucky with this one that I didn’t catch it too good. But it has managed to find the bottom corner!”
The effect of the result was that, thanks to the effect of goal difference on both sides, the Pars have climbed above Queen of the South into fifth place while the Sons have sunk beneath St Mirren and on to the play-off rung.
While not arithmetically ensuring another season in the Ladbrokes Championship, McCabe felt the result had been a big one for the club, saying: “We’re delighted to get the three points and the vital result on the league table. Given the teams round about us, I think we can say that we’re safe.”
He assured the fans, however, that there would be no let-up in the three remaining games, against Falkirk, Morton, and Queens.
“We’re still playing for our own pride and professionalism. Plus we have to go out with the correct attitude, put on a performance for the fans that support us week-in, week-out, give them a good end to the season.”
The Pars had got lucky in the first half when a mix-up in defence put Sons’ Gregor Buchanan into a ‘must score’ position, but somehow he hit the crossbar.
Playing into the wind from the first whistle Dunfermline had to rely on close link-up play to work their way upfield. That let them win the corner count but they failed to find the net.
Using the wind and a longer ball strategy after half-time, they dominated possession but the home defence mopped things up until McCabe struck.
Five minutes from time sub David Hopkirk made it two, sticking home a nice pass from Paul McMullen.
Pars manager Allan Johnston said: “David’s goal came from a really good move and a really good striker’s finish. He’s had a frustrating season – a lot of injuries – so it’s great to see him get a goal and hopefully he gets a big lift from that.”