Ladbrokes League 1
Saturday 9th September 2017
East Fife 0
Queen’s Park 1 (Millen 56’ (P))
East Fife XI: M Hurst, Dunsmore, Docherty, Watson (Page 82’), Duggan (Wilson 78’), Wilkie, G Hurst, Gordon, Linton, Flanagan, Willis (Lamont 67’)
Subs: Goodfellow, Kane, Millarm Slattery
Queen’s Park XI: Muir, Millen, Burns, Iredale, Cummins, Bailey, Gault, Green (McVey 69’), Donnelly (Orr 67’), Brady, Fotheringham (Docherty 81’)
Subs: Duff, Wharton, Gibson, Summers
Referee: Alan Newands
East Fife welcomed Queen’s Park to Bayview aiming to get their season back on track following the disappointing derby defeat two weeks ago but it was the visitors who took all three points back to Glasgow curtesy of a 56th minute Ross Millen penalty. Manager Darren Young made two changes to the side that lost to Raith Rovers last time out with Kieran Millar and Ryan Goodfellow making way for Scott Linton and new loan-signing Mark Hurst.
East Fife had the better of the opening exchanges, Ben Gordon heading a corner goal wards inside 5 minutes but the visitor’s defence were comfortably able to clear the danger before Nathan Flanagan sent an inviting cross into the box with 10 minutes on the clock but no one was able to get on the end of it. The first real chance of the match fell the way of the home side when Greg Hurst stole the ball off Michael Bailey inside the area but was off-balance when he pulled the trigger and the ball flew wide of the left-hand post.
The visitors almost took the lead in spectacular fashion on 24 minutes when Sean Burns, spotting the keeper off his line, unleashed a volley from 35-yards that sent Hurst scrambling back towards his goal but the ball landed on the roof of the net. Anton Brady should have put Queen’s Park ahead 3 minutes later when he broke down the right and cut inside but his tame shot was comfortably saved by Hurst. At the other end, Paul Willis should have done better when the ball was teed up for him after good play by Kyle Wilkie down the left but his shot was straight at Muir. The home fans thought they had taken the lead moments later when Chris Duggan latched onto a long ball and knocked the ball passed former Fife Willie Muir only to see the ball trickle agonisingly wide of the left-hand post.
Willis was involved again on 33 minutes when, following a free kick on the far side touchline, the ball fell to him at the back post but blasted over with the goal at his mercy. East Fife finished the half the stronger side with Flanagan, in particular, causing the Queen’s Park defence problems down the right but a combination of good defending and poor finishing saw the half finish goalless.
The home side started the second period with a bang and were extremely unlucky not to find the net on four occasions shortly after the restart. First Spider keeper’ Muir uncharacteristically mis-controlled on the edge of the area but Duggan, normally lethal in these situations, couldn’t take advantage before Greg Hurst struck the woodwork from 25-yards before Muir got a strong hand behind Flanagan’s follow-up to tip it over the bar. Muir denied Flanagan for a second-time moments later to keep out his 20-yard effort.
East Fife were left to rue their missed chances on 55 minutes when David Gault latched on a short back-past by Mark Docherty and was taken out by ‘keeper Mark Hurst giving referee Alan Newlands little option but to point to the spot. Ross Millen, who doesn’t miss many, stepped up and sent Hurst the wrong way to give the visitors the lead against the run of play. Flanagan had the opportunity to level the match minutes last when he got in behind the Queen’s Park defence but could only lift the ball over the bar from 5-yards.
Muir was on hand again to keep out East Fife, this time getting down well low to his right to deny Greg Hurst from close range. Flanagan was creating plenty of opportunities for himself but this time saw his effort from 25-yards sail over the bar on 71 minutes as the home side pressed for an equaliser. It was all one-way traffic at the stage however the visitors were looking dangerous on the counter-attack and Gault should have done better on 75 minutes when a cross from the right by Millen found him at the back post but sent his header, unchallenged, well wide.
Jonathan Page was introduced as an additional area threat with 8 minutes left to play but East Fife were struggling to break down a stubborn Spider backline. They did have one final chance from a dangerous looking corner into injury time but the ball evaded everyone and went out for a goal-kick much to the relief of the travelling fans who saw their team pick up their first win of the season.
East Fife were the better side for much of the game and had more than enough chance to win the game but a combination of poor finishing and individual mistakes results in a second home defeat on the bounce.