Dunfermline remain on course for the League One championship with their home victory over Stenhousemuir taking them six points clear of title rivals Ayr United.
Much of the credit for what was a hard fought win over a resolute Warriors side must go to goalkeeper Sean Murdoch, who produced an outstanding save 15 minutes from the end which proved to be the defining moment in the game.
Pars substitute Shaun Rooney then fired home the winning goal just three minutes later.
Murdoch had enjoyed a relatively quiet afternoon up until that point but dived to block a point-blank effort from Stenny midfielder Kieran Millar.
“I’m happy to be called upon to make saves like that” said Murdoch, an ever present for the Fifers since he signed from US League side Rochester Rhinos in the summer.
“Today it proved crucial as we went on to win the game. As a goalkeeper, you have to be focused throughout the game and its not just about making saves and shot stopping. You have deal with crosses, backpasses and generally organising your defence.
“We’ve been consistent defensively this season. There have been a lot of clean sheets and the goals against column looks good. We know we can score goals and, if we can keep clean sheets, then nine times out of ten we’ll win the game.
The Pars began the game strongly with Andy Geggan, Josh Falkingham and Michael Moffat all coming close to opening the scoring in the early stages but they appeared to lose the impetus as the first half progressed and the visitors squandered a glorious chance when Mark Gilhaney, who had come on to replace the injured Jason Scotland, shot wide when left with only Murdoch to beat.
Murdoch’s save from Millar helped swing the pendulum in Dunfermline’s favour however and Rooney, a half-time replacement for the stricken Marc McAusland, pounced on a loose ball in the penalty area and lashed a low shot past Stenhousemuir keeper Matty Gould.
“Sean’s a quality goalkeeper” said Pars boss Allan Johnston.
“You need someone like him who can be called upon to produce saves like the one he made today.”