Ladbrokes League 1
Saturday 16th December 2017
East Fife 1 (Duggan 36’)
Ayr United 4 (Rose 57’, 72’, Moore 75’, Shankland 88’)
East Fife XI: M Hurst, Dunsmore, Piggott, Page, Linton, Millar, Docherty, Lamont, Wilkie, Smith (G Hurst 76’), Duggan
Subs: Goodfellow, Kane, Reilly, Wilson, Mutch, Willis
Booked: Page, G Hurst
Ayr United XI: Hart, Higgins, Boyle, Rose, Ferguson, Geggan. Forrest (McGuffie 80’), McDaid (Gilmour 45’), Adams (Moore 45’), Moffat, Shankland
Subs: Faulds, Avci, Murphy, Reid
Referee: John McKendrick
East Fife welcomed League 1 leaders Ayr United to Bayview for the last home game of 2017 but it was the visitors who left with all three points following a second half fight-back. Manager Darren Young was able to name an unchanged team from the side that drew with Stranraer last time out with the only changes being Ben Reilly and Chris Kane replacing the injured duo of Craig Watson and Nathan Flanagan on the bench.
Ayr had completely overrun East Fife the last time the sides met down at Somerset Park in September but the home side showed early on there was to be no such repeat this time with Kyle Wilkie unlucky not to open the scoring inside 2 minutes when he got on the end of Chris Duggan’s cut back 2-yards from goal but unable to make a clean connection under pressure from Declan McDaid and the Ayr defence was able to clear. At the other end, Alan Forrest latched onto a cross field pass and cut inside but his right-footed strike flew past the right-hand post.
East Fife should have taken the lead on 8 minutes when a long-throw from Scott Linton made its way to Kevin Smith 10-yards from goal only to see his strike come back off the crossbar before Jonathan Page headed the rebound over the bar. Smith had another opportunity minutes later when he got on the end of Mark Lamont’s cross from the right but was unable to direct his header on target. Chris Higgins sent a header wide for the visitors on 20 minutes before East Fife were unable to take advantage of another good opportunity; this time Lamont sending his shot wide from the edge of the box on 34 minutes.
A goal was coming for the home side and it duly arrived on 36 minutes when Duggan got on the end of a nice reverse pass from Aaron Dunsmore to slot past Ayr ‘keeper Jordan Hart for his 10th goal of the season. McDaid and Higgins both cleared the bar as the visitors looked for a way back into the match before the break but neither effort was going to trouble Mark Hurst in the East Fife goal.
An excellent first half from East Fife who more than deserved their half-time lead but they were to rue their missed chances as Ayr took control after the re-start.
Lawrence Shankland had two opportunities for the visitors with free kicks from 25-yards; the first, on 52 minutes, took a deflection on its way over the bar before the second one was headed behind for a corner 3 minutes later. An equaliser looked certain for the visitors and it arrived on 57 minutes when Michael Rose found the back of the net with a header from 5-yards. Good play by Dunsmore and Wilkie down the right saw the latter send in a cross that made its way to Scott Linton at the back post; his shot was blocked and cleared as far as Mark Docherty who forced Hart into a good save with a volley from 20-yards.
Ayr took the lead on 72 minutes when Rose grabbed his second of the match when he tapped in at the back post following a corner by Forrest before substitute Craig Moore doubled their lead a couple of minutes later when he found himself in space inside the box to slot past Hurst. Linton was agonisingly close to pulling one back for East Fife on 80 minutes with a free kick from 25-yards which looked set for the bottom corner only to see it rebound off the post with Hart well beaten.
Duggan looked like he had scored his second of the game on 86 minutes with a spectacular overhead kick from 12-yards which took a deflection off an Ayr defender but Hart somehow managed to claw the ball clear on the line before Shankland sealed the points for the visitors 3 minutes from time with a shot from 25-yards.
Ayr United were worthy of their win however East Fife were left, once again, to rue missed chances as the 4-1 score line was harsh on a side which deserved so much more for their performance.
It’s two home games in a row for East Fife as they welcome the current league leaders Ayr United to Bayview Stadium tomorrow afternoon. The Honest Men arrive in fine form, having won their last eight games and will provide a stiff test for the Fifers as they hope to continue their recent home record.
Manager Darren Young was left to rue missed opportunities when his side were on top in last week’s 1-1 draw with Stranraer, although the consensus was that the Stair Parkers were certainly worth a share of the spoils over the piece.
The men from Ayrshire have had the better of recent meetings between the teams, coming out on top in each of the last six encounters, including a 3-0 win back in September at Somerset Park. Indeed you have to go back almost to the day four years ago find East Fife’s last success, a 3-2 win down in Ayr. David White was the hero for the Methil men on that occasion, crashing home a last gasp winner after coming back from 2-0 down. Scott McBride was the other player on target with a double, including one from the penalty spot.
Supporters of both clubs are reminded that they are welcome to enjoy refreshments at the stadium bars before and after the game.
How long have you been an East Fife supporter and what was your first game?
My first game was against Queen of the South in 1990 – my Dad and my Aunt took me along and we won 2-0. I went the following Saturday for a 1-1 draw against Arbroath and that was me for life! In those days Willie Broon was King/God.
Most memorable moment following East Fife?
If I had to pick one it would be Kenny Deuchar’s promotion -sealing goal in 2003. Having watched 90 pretty turgid minutes with my heart-rate at about 120 bpm and that wee dink into the back of the net was an incredible way to end the match and the season – I don’t think Bayview Stadium’s made a noise quite like it since! I got carried away to the point where I elbowed a friend of mine in the face celebrating…. Going on the pitch afterwards to celebrate and shake the players’ hands was great too, and that on-pitch celebration has been repeated a few times since!
Least favourite moment following East Fife?
Probably the 2nd leg of the play-off final against Stirling Albion in 2014. Having won the first game with a proper battling performance away, to lose so meekly in the home game and go down was pretty terrible. Honourable mention for the play-off final second leg in 2007 too, which, I think, is the only East Fife match I’ve ever left before full-time.
Favourite player (present)?
Jonathan Page hands down. Probably the best centre-back in our league, and a proper organiser of the defence as well. Leads by example. Mark Docherty’s been great since he arrived too – never afraid to get stuck in and take a well-judged yellow card for the team where appropriate.
Favourite player (all time)?
This is so tricky – but I think I’ll go for Robert Scott. Scotty scored so many goals in the mid-90s. I’m relying on memories from 20 years ago but I seem to remember him being especially lethal in the Steve Archibald era. He was at Bayview for a long time too so the fans had a proper rapport with him.
Best East Fife goal you’ve seen?
This one’s been the same answer since the day it happened in 1996 – Benny Andrew against a Chris Waddle-containing Falkirk in a 3-1 win in the league. That was our only home league win that season too. I just remember his goal being an absolute screamer from the edge of the box (possibly on the half-/volley) right in the top left-corner at the Bayview Bar end at old Bayview Despite being a forward, Benny didn’t score a lot of goals so it was a bit of a rare treat.
Favourite Goal Celebration?
I can’t remember any particularly mad goal-celebrations down the years – again I’d probably say Kenny Deuchar in 2003 – him and the rest of the players going mental as the 1900 or so East Fife fans after getting the winner against Queen’s Park was a sight to behold.
Pick your all-time East Fife 11 (players you’ve seen)
Lindsay Hamilton, Richard Gibb, Dave Beaton, Jonathan Smart, John McStay, Steve Archibald, Arnold Dwarika, Bobby Linn, Paul Stewart, Robert Scott, Kenny Deuchar.
Subs: Willie McCulloch, Scott Robinson, Steven Tweed, Gilbert Allan, Gary Naysmith.
Liam Thomson was the year above me ay Parkhill Primary – no surprise out teams are pretty similar!
Favourite Scotland game?
Just to be different I’m going to not go for either France games in the Euro 2008 qualifiers, and instead say the 3-1 home win against Ukraine in that campaign. All three Scotland goals were excellent – Lee McCulloch’s is an absolute peach – and other than Shevchenko’s goal Ukraine were hardly in it. A comprehensive outclassing of a good quality opponent – a rare feat for Scotland!
Favourite Scotland player (all-time)?
Of players in my life-time, John Collins wins hands down – he was absolute class whenever he played in dark blue. He wasn’t blessed with James McFadden’s penchant for moments of genius, but was a strong, consistent performer for a number of years. I remember him being particularly good against England at Wembley in 1999m and he tipped once round the post nicely against the Dutch at Euro 1996 as well.
When do you think Scotland will next qualify for a major tournament?
I think we can do it in 2020, assuming we get the right man in the door and the SFA get the chequebook out and /or think outside the box. There. I’ve said it, so we’ll probably fail miserably now! Maybe the fact Hampden is now hosting 4 games in the finals will provide an extra wee incentive to get us through.
Ronaldo or Messi?
Messi. Definitely the more naturally talented of the two.
Favourite away ground?
I really miss Firs Park. It was a ramshackle delight overlooked by a Currys and a Land of Leather, but it had so much character. And thinking of it always brings back happy memories of winning the league in 2008 as well.
If you could change one football rule, what would it be?
Not so much a rule change, but I would really like to see referees properly laying down the law when players surround them. A top-class referee sticking a yellow in 6 guys’ faces at the same time in a prominent
game would soon bring that practise to an end.
As usual at this time, the Club is offering half price season tickets which are valid from 2nd January 2018 (Raith Rovers match). You may call the office, e mail or buy on line from our internet shop. www.eastfifeshop.com
The offers are as follows -
Adult = £122.50
Concession = £97.50 (60 years and over + mature student)
Child = £40 (under 16)
Parent and Child = £150
Parent and 2 Children = £162
Ladbrokes League 1
Saturday 9th December 2017
East Fife 1 (Duggan 23’)
Stranraer 1 (Wallace 70’)
East Fife XI: M Hurst, Dunsmore, Piggott, Page, Linton, Millar, Docherty, Lamont (Mutch 88’), Wilkie (H Hurst 81’), Smith (Willis 65’), Duggan
Subs: Goodfellow, Flanagan, Watson, Wilson
Booked: Docherty, Dunsmore, Millar
Stranraer XI: Belford, Hamill, Barron, Neill, Dick, Beith (Robertson 90’), Bell, Anderson (Okoh 86’), turner (Woods 66’), Thomson, Wallace
Subs: McLaren, Stoney, McGowan, Lang
Referee: Steven Kirkland
East Fife welcomed Stranraer to Bayview in Ladbrokes League 1 encounter where both sides played out a highly competitive 1-1 draw. Manager Darren Young made one change to the side that lost to Queen’s Park last time out with Chris Kane making way for Scott Linton, who made his return from injury. The visitors sat 1 point and 1 place behind East Fife prior to kick off and both teams proved evenly matched over the 90 minutes.
Stranraer started the brightest and had their first sight of goal inside the opening minutes when former Fifer Ryan Wallace found himself in space but dragged his shot wide of target. Stranraer threatened again after 15 minutes but Kyle Turner could only fire straight at Mark Hurst from 20-yards. The home side were growing into the game and were so close to opening the scoring on 17 minutes when excellent play by Kyle Wilkie inside the area and laid the ball off for Chris Duggan who was denied by a fine save from Stranraer ‘keeper Cameron Belford low to his left. Duggan went close again a few minutes later, this time his shot deflected behind for a corner.
A quick break from Stranraer saw Liam Dick find himself in space on the edge of the area and should have made more of the opportunity but fired in a shot that was straight at Hurst on 22 minutes before East Fife opened the scoring moments later. A lovely pass inside from Aaron Dunsmore picked out Duggan who found the bottom right-hand corner for his 9th goal of the season. Duggan had the chance to double the lead on 29 minutes when he got on the end of a corner from Scott Linton but sent his header wide at the near post. Duggan found space down the right to fire in a cross along the 6-yard box which was cleared as far as Mark Docherty on the edge of the area but he just missed the target shortly before the break.
The second period started with a moment of controversy when Duggan latched on to a poor back-pass from Steven Bell and was left with only Belford to beat only to be flagged off-side. East Fife had started the second half the way they had finished the first and Mark Lamont almost added to the lead just before the hour mark when his cross from the right hit the post before ricocheting off Stranraer defender Jamie Hamill and tricking past the post. Belford produced a fine double save from the resulting corner when first he kept out Kevin Smith’s header and the back post before denying Jonathan Page with the follow-up.
Smith had a glorious opportunity to put the game to bed on 63 minutes when he was picked out by Duggan but sent his shot wide from 12-yards with only Belford to beat. East Fife were left to rue their missed chance as the visitors were now in the ascendency. Hamill was denied by a good save from Hurst before Wallace levelled the game on 70 minutes when he found the back on the net from 25-yards; a deflection taking the ball away from Hurst. Angus Beith looked to have given Stranraer the lead on 76 minutes but was denied by a goal line clearance from Dunsmore before Hurst pulled off a sensational save to keep out a strike from Paul Woods that looked destined for the top corner 7 minutes from time. Stranraer finished the game with 10-men when Liam Dick was dismissed after picking up his second yellow of the afternoon for a foul on Ross Mutch.
Overall, a draw was probably a fair result with both sides having their goalkeepers to thank for keeping them in the game. Next up for East Fife is a home tie against league-leader Ayr United.
Stranraer make the long trip from Galloway for their first visit of the season to Methil tomorrow afternoon. They arrive on the back of an impressive victory against Arbroath at Gayfield last Saturday and remain well placed to challenge for a promotion play-off position.
Manager Darren Young was forthright in expressing his frustration following his side’s performance and defeat to Queen’s Park at Hampden Stadium in their last outing, with the most disappointing aspect being that it followed an outstanding 6-1 win in the previous game at home to Airdrieonians.
The Bayview boss will however be aware that East Fife’s recent home form has been excellent, with 17 goals scored in the last four games, whilst guarding against complacency ahead of the clash. He will also be relieved that the injury situation would appear to have improved with only Pat Slattery remaining sidelined.
Stranraer came out on top when the two sides last met on the opening league game of the campaign back in August at Stair Park, a second-half Jamie Hamill goal earning a 1-0 win for the hosts.
Supporters of both clubs are reminded that they are welcome to enjoy refreshments at the stadium bars before and after the game.