Dunfermline 0-0 St Mirren

By Annie McGuireBBC Sport Scotland

Dunfermline made a goalless return to the Scottish Premier League as goalkeeping heroics ensured a share of the points at East End Park.

Saints keeper Craig Samson's spectacular save denied Martin Hardie before his Dunfermline counterpart Paul Gallacher saved a Steven Thompson penalty.

Hardie threatened for the hosts with another free kick.

A crowd of 5,035 saw the Pars return to the SPL after a four-year absence.

After a slow start, St Mirren appeared to throw off any rustiness from the summer break and created a flurry of chances around the 20-minute mark.

Darren McGregor and David Van Zanten both came close, the former St Mirren captain John Potter denying his old side with a crucial block of the Irishman's shot from Teale's corner.

It was Nigel Hasselbaink who came closest to breaking the deadlock though, when he was teed up beautifully by St Mirren's new Dutch defender Jerome Tesselaar; his resulting shot heading narrowly over the bar in the 23rd minute.

That appeared to re-invigorate Dunfermline and their first real chance came in the 38th minute.

Martin Hardie was gifted an almost perfectly positioned free kick 25 yards out which produced a spectacular save from Samson.

A curling shot appeared to be dropping just under the bar before the St Mirren keeper pushed it onto the goal frame and over.

The respite for the wearied Pars fans was all too brief though when St Mirren were awarded a penalty seconds later: John Potter judged to have fouled Thompson inside the box.

Thompson took the resulting spot kick himself, but was too casual in his delivery.

A short run-up and a tame shot allowing Gallacher to make a single-handed save and keep things level heading into half-time.

After the restart, it was more of the same. St Mirren dominating possession but unable to convert chances into goals.

A reshuffle in midfield saw Teale swapping flanks to the right, Paul McGowan moving outside and Thomson now in the centre ahead of skipper Jim Goodwin, who was assured in the holding role.

And in the 51st minute Teale had another chance to earn the Buddies' first three points of the season, poking the ball just wide as the hosts struggled to deal with a free-kick into the box.

The Dunfermline manager Jim McIntyre made a change shortly afterwards, introducing Andy Barrowman and Paul Burns.

And the Pars did contain St Mirren more effectively than in the first half, but another foul from John Potter gifted St Mirren a free kick in the 67th minute - Steven Thompson continuing a frustrating evening when the ball fell to him on the edge of the six yard box and he was again off target.

The chances for Dunfermline were fewer and further between, but Hardie had the home fans on their feet with 13 minutes remaining, when another swerving free-kick brushed the side-netting and heading just millimetres wide.

The St Mirren striker Hasselbaink ensured a less-than-warm send off from the Pars fans after he was booked when he appeared to stand on Alex Keddie's foot after the Dunfermline player had released the ball.

The Dutchman nearly silenced the crowd with a curling effort but it was too central and Gallacher held.

Dunfermline enjoyed one of their more comfortable spells in the closing stages but still could not carve out any chances leaving both sides to rue missed chances in the opening 45 minutes.

Top Stories