Dunfermline supporters enjoyed a happy homecoming at East End Park as the Pars swept Dumbarton aside 5-1.
The Fifers, who played all of their pre-season friendlies and Premier Sports Cup ties away from home prior to Saturday’s visit of the Sons, were performing in front of fans on the Halbeath Road for the first time since March 7, 2020.
On that occasion, on-loan Celtic kid Jonathan Afolabi scored in a 1-1 draw against Queen of the South.
— Dunfermline Athletic (@officialdafc) July 17, 2021
Sixteen months later and with a new manager in place, 1000 paying punters were back in their seats in the glorious Dunfermline sunshine as Peter Grant’s charges ran riot.
Strikes from Nikolay Todorov, Dom Thomas, Craig Wighton and Kevin O’Hara added to a Gregor Buchanan own goal as fans were given their first look at the vibrant, intense, attacking brand of football Grant intends to deploy.
A Ross Maclean strike was cold comfort for the League One side.
The comprehensive triumph sees Dunfermline ascend to the top of Premier Sports Cup Group H with six points by virtue of a superior goal difference to St Mirren — but the Buddies do have a game in hand.
Two goals in 172 seconds
It took just 52 seconds for the first home goal of the Grant era to ripple the net, albeit with plenty of help from the hapless Sons.
Visiting goalkeeper Sam Ramsbottom parried a low Kyle Macdonald delivery against the leg of the on-rushing Todorov, resulting in the ball cannoning over the line for the Bulgarian’s third — and most fortuitous — Pars strike.
Dunfermline doubled their advantage two minutes later when Thomas wriggled free inside a congested penalty box and lashed a clinical drive beyond the shellshocked Ramsbottom.
The hosts were playing at a hellacious pace, as promised by gaffer Grant, and made it three shortly after a mandated water break in the sweltering 24-degree heat.
Wighton got in on the act with a powerful header from close range, albeit he could barely miss due to the accuracy of the delivery from the superb Kyle Macdonald — a constant, marauding threat at right wing-back.
Gregor Buchanan, the ex-Falkirk defender at the heart of the Sons back-line, had a moment to forget after the break when he inadvertently lashed a Josh Edwards cross into his own net to make it 4-0.
In fairness to the big stopper, had he left the ball then Todorov would have slammed home.
There was a fleeting moment of solace when Maclean took advantage of some sloppy defending by on-loan Dundee United kid Ross Graham to slot a low shot beyond Deniz Mehmet from the edge of the box.
O’Hara completed the scoring with a point-blank header but, once more, it was Macdonald who deserves much of the credit after bombing down the right flank and picking out the striker perfectly.