Pars maintained their promotion push at East End Park on Saturday with a win that leaves them just a point behind leaders Ayr United after the first quarter of the season.
Visitors Albion Rovers were arguably the better side as half-time approached, while Dunfermline’s passing had been sloppy and their insistence on playing the ball long was baffling.
Then, three minutes before the break, winger Joe Cardle turned the game in an instant, juggling skilfully on the edge of the penalty area before directing an improvised, right-foot finish past keeper Ross Stewart and into the top corner.
“We were a bit sluggish today and we played a lot better earlier in the season, but we got the result that we wanted. There’s definitely pressure on this club because we don’t think we should be playing in this league,” he said.
“You just want to keep scoring every week. That’s me beaten my all-time record already,” he said after goal number nine.
“It’s a fantastic amount for me, and if I can get up into double figures, then I’ll be absolutely delighted.”
Manager Allan Johnston added: “Joe has that touch of class and he showed what he can do for the first goal.
“You always need that second goal, though, and after we got it (through Rhys McCabe’s long-range strike), we looked quite comfortable and we were always going to win the game.
“At the end of the first series of matches, we have the best goalscoring record and the best defensive record, so you’ve got to be happy with that.”
Substitute David Hopkirk unselfishly set up Faissal El-Bakhtaoui for Dunfermline’s third goal, and Albion’s misery was completed in stoppage time when player-manager Darren Young was sent off after picking up two yellow cards barely six minutes after coming off the bench.