Ladbrokes League 1
Saturday 4th November 2017
Raith Rovers 1 (Vaughan 29’))
East Fife 0
Raith Rovers XI: Smith, Thomson, McHattie, Herron, Murray, Spence (Zanatta 64’), Robertson, Buchanan, Vaughan, Barr, Matthews
Subs: Brian, Watson, Berry, Osei, Court, McKay
East Fife XI: M Hurst, Docherty, Dunsmore, Piggott, Page, Willis (Mutch 82’), Slattery, Millar, Lamont (Flanagan 83’), Duggan, Reilly (Smith 71’)
Subs: Goodfellow, Wilson
Referee: Stephen Finnie
East Fife travelled to Stark’s Park for the second Fife derby of the season against League leaders Raith Rovers but left empty-handed when their effort and performance deserved at least a point. Manager Darren Young made two changes to the side that beat Arbroath last time out with Ben Reilly and Kieran Millar replacing Greg Hurst, who picked up a training ground injury on Friday, and Kyle Wilkie, who lost his appeal against the red card shown to him last week.
East Fife had a strong shout for a penalty inside the opening two minutes when Chris Duggan was impeded by Ross Matthews inside the area but referee Stephen Finnie was uninterested and waved away the claim. Even early on in the match the visitors had shown their full-time hosts this this game wasn’t going to be as easy for them as their last encounter.
Lewis Vaughan sent a free kick from 20-yards over the bar on 13 minutes before the same player failed to clear the wall with another set-piece 5 minutes later, this time from 25-yards. In between those chanced Paul Willis picked out Mark Docherty unmarked 25-yards from goal but his volley flew narrowly wide of the left-hand post.
East Fife were beginning to grow into the game and went close again on 23 minutes when Mark Lamont curled a left-footed narrowly over the bar on 23 minutes. The visitors then had a second penalty shout turned down when Kevin McHattie appeared to handle the ball inside the area but, in truth, it looked more ball-to-hand and definitely not deliberate.
The visitors were dealt a blow, however, on 29 minutes when they failed to clear their line and the ball broke nicely for Vaughan to prod the ball past Mark Hurst. If the home fans were expecting the flood-gates to opening like they did at Bayview they were in for a shock as East Fife were agonisingly close to equalising less than a minute later. Good play by Chris Duggan saw him hit the by-line and fire the ball in across the 6-yard box and only a touch from Raith ‘keeper Graeme Smith prevented Lamont from levelling the game. The chance wasn’t gone, however, the ball coming back into the danger area but Willis, at full-stretch, couldn’t get enough on the ball allowing McHattie to clear off the line.
A Raith corner on 38 minutes was cleared as far as Bobby Barr on the edge of the box but the former Fifer blasted the ball way over the bar. At the other end, a nice turn from Lamont in the middle of the park plated in Willis but he dragged his left-footed shot wide of the right-hand post. A very competitive opening 45 minutes with both teams largely cancelling each other out, only one mistake the difference between the sides.
East Fife started the brightest after the break; Duggan picking up a loose pass 25-yards from goal and tried to play in Kieran Millar but the Raith defence was able to clear. The visitors were awarded a free kick on the far-side touchline on 53 minutes which Willis manged to get on the end of but was unable to direct his header towards goal.
In a rare adventure forward in the second half, Vaughan squandered a good opportunity for the home side when he blasted high and wide from 10-yards. Duggan saw his long-range effort clear the crossbar on 67 minutes before an East Fife free kick on the far-side touchline level with the 18-yard box was cleared as far as Millar on the edge of the area but his shot was blocked at close range.
East Fife were continuing to press as the game entered the final 10 minutes; Duggan going close with a header when he was picked out by Lamont with a cross from the right. The visitors then had their best chance of the match with minutes left to play when they were awarded a free kick on the edge of the 18-yard box, 5-yards from the by-line after substitute Nathan Flanagan was pulled back by McHattie. Kevin Smith was agonisingly close to getting on the end of Docherty’s free kick at the near post which would have almost certainly beaten Raith ‘keeper Smith and given the visitors a share of the points which was the least they deserved but it wasn’t to be.
The game may not have had much in the way of chance but it was a highly competitive contest between two evenly matches sides and on another day East Fife may have come out on top.
East Fife make the shortest of journeys west tomorrow afternoon for what is undoubtedly the Ladbrokes SPFL match of the day as they take on local rivals Raith Rovers at Stark’s Park.
The Kirkcaldy club have been in fine form since being relegated via the play-offs from the Championship last season and have recruited well under former Fife gaffer Barry Smith. Raith currently occupy top spot in the table, two places and five points ahead of the men from Methil.
East Fife boss Darren Young was delighted with the 3-1 victory against free-scoring Arbroath last Saturday in challenging conditions at Bayview Stadium. His charges managed to contain their opponents playing against the wind in first half before turning in an impressive performance after the break to secure the points. Raith Rovers meanwhile drew 1-1 at Station Park against Forfar Athletic, their cause not helped by the dismissal of influential defender Iain Davidson.
It has to be said that Raith Rovers have held the upper hand in this fixture in recent years, with the 5-0 defeat at Bayview in August qualifying as a game to forget for the Bayview faithful.
Strict segregation will be in force tomorrow, with East Fife supporters occupying the McDermid (North) Stand. Concession tickets must be purchased from the away ticket pod, which will be open from 2pm. Full paying adults can pay at the gate.
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How long have you been an East Fife supporter and what was your first game?
My Grandad Fred took me to my first game which was against Forfar at the old Bayview in 1993. East Fife won 3-2 and I was hooked from that moment on.
Most memorable moment following East Fife?
When we won the league at Firs Park in March 2008, beating East Stirling 3-0. We were the first team in the whole of Britain to win a league title that season and it was very special.
Least favourite moment following East Fife?
Well I’m still recovering from the match earlier this season against Raith at Bayview! That was a very painful experience. There is nothing more depressing than being annihilated at home against your most bitter rivals but hopefully we will get our revenge in the other matches this season.
I also have to mention all the defeats we have had against Cowdenbeath. Our record against them over the last twenty years is quite frankly shocking.
Favourite player (present)?
That would have to be Kevin Smith. He is incredibly talented and if it hadn’t been for some really bad luck with injuries over his career then he would have certainly played at a much higher level than he has.
Favourite player (all time)?
It is difficult to single one player out. There are a few candidates. However, if I had to just pick one player, it would be Dave Beaton. He was a warrior who commanded huge respect.
Best East Fife goal you’ve seen?
Craig O’Reilly’s beauty which knocked St Mirren out of the League Cup in 2007 - it was an absolute screamer!
Pick your all-time East Fife 11 (players you’ve seen)
GK: Lindsay Hamilton
Defenders: Jock McStay, Dickie Gibb, Dave Beaton, Steven Tweed
Midfielders: Gilbert Allan, Arnold Dwarika, Robert Pritz, Steve Archibald
Strikers: Robert Scott, Kenny Deuchar
Subs: Mark Ridgers, Johnny Smart, Stevie Campbell, Bobby Linn and Paul McManus
Favourite Scotland game?
Scotland’s victory against France in Paris back in 2007. James McFadden’s wonder strike from 30 yards out was out of this world, and will be forever etched in the memory.
Favourite Scotland player (all-time)?
Colin Hendry was everything you would want in a central defender. He was nicknamed ‘Braveheart’ for good reason and he would run through a brick wall for Scotland.
When do you think Scotland will next qualify for a major tournament?
It’s a lot tougher than it used to be and it’s incredible to think that we haven’t qualified since 1998 when I was a young lad at Kirkland High School. However, if the likes of Northern Ireland and Iceland can qualify then there is no reason why we shouldn’t be able to do so. The level of player perhaps isn’t what it used to be but then how many superstars do Northern Ireland have? Good organisation and excellent team spirit both go a long way.
Ronaldo or Messi?
Messi probably, but neither could lace Arnold Dwarika’s boots!
Favourite away ground?
I have always enjoyed visiting Somerset Park – it’s a proper old school ground.
If you could change one football rule, what would it be?
I wouldn’t change any football rules but what I would change is the league set up in Scotland. I would like to see the structure revamped with more teams in the Premier League.
Will supporters please note that the free bus for the Raith Rovers game is now full and no more bookings can be accepted.
If you had visited Bayview Stadium on Saturday night past, you would have been in for a big surprise! To greet you was our Barmaid, Kelly, who no doubt would have served you with bloodcurling alcohol!Our other staff were also ready to haunt you with service at The Club's Halloween Party!