East Fife make the long journey to Stair Park to face Stranraer tomorrow, keen to get their league campaign back on track following a disappointing defeat at home to Forfar Athletic last week.
Manager Darren Young was left frustrated after losing all three points, particularly at the loss of the avoidable second goal for the visitors. The Bayview boss has brought in no fewer than four new faces to the squad in the last few days with defender Adam Livingstone, midfielder Connor McManus and strikers Matthew Knox and Robert Jones all available for selection tomorrow. Right sided defender Aaron Dunsmore also returns, after serving a one game suspension for an accumulation of yellow cards.
Conversely, Stranraer have hit an impressive run of form, winning each of their last three games against Airdrieonians, Raith Rovers and Albion Rovers. One man to watch is forward Angus Beith who has hit the target five times in the last four outings, including a double in the 3-1 success at Cliftonhill on Saturday. The men from Stair Park have also been active in the transfer market during the January window, bringing in Ross Lyon, Dylan Dykes, Cameron Macpherson and Dean Hawkshaw in respective loan deals with Rangers, Ross County, St Mirren and Kilmarnock.
Stranraer have had the better of the two previous meetings between the teams this season, with Jamie Hamill scoring the only goal of the game on the opening day of the league campaign at Stair Park and Ryan Wallace equalising Chris Duggan’s opening goal in the return encounter at Bayview Stadium in December to earn his side a 1-1 draw.
It’s been a bust transfer window at Bayview with no fewer than 13 transfers taking place over the last month. Check out the comings and goings below
Craig Thomson was Darren Young’s first signing of the window. The 22-year-old put pen to paper on a deal following his release from St. Johnstone earlier in the month. Craig started his career at local side Kennoway United before joining the Premiership side’s youth academy in 2008, turning professional in 2011 and going on to make 27 first team appearances. Craig also completed two loan spells with Elgin City and Stranraer. Craig made is debut for East Fife as a second half substitute against Brora Ranger before making his full debut a week later against Forfar Athletic.
Goalkeeper Ben MacKenzie was next to join on a development loan from St. Johnstone. Ben has been St. Johnstone’s development side first choice 'keeper this season and joined up with the squad prior to last weekend’s game v Forfar Athletic.
Matthew Knox was the first of two development loan signings on transfer deadline day after joining from Championship side Livingston. The 18-year-old became the West Lothian side’s youngest ever player when he made his debut at the age of 16 and had already attracted attention from several top clubs including Manchester United and Liverpool.
Adam Livingstone was the second signing on deadline day when he joined on a development loan from Motherwell. The 19-year-old defender has been with the Premiership side since he was 8 and has made two substitute appearances for the Premiership side's first team this season.
Connor McManus was the first of two to put pen to paper on a deal yesterday (1st Feb). The 21-year-old midfielder signed on at Bayview after leaving Greenock Morton. Connor’s previous clubs include Queen of the South and Alloa Athletic after coming through the ranks at Celtic’s Academy.
Robert Jones was the 6th, and final, signing of the transfer window. The 22-year-old forward was most recently with Lowland League side BSC Glasgow and signs on at Bayview after appearing as a trialist.
Welcome to Bayview Guys!
Nathan Flanagan returned to St. Mirren at the start of the month following the completion of his loan spell. Nathan joined the club in July 2017 from the Championship side, making his debut against Peterhead in the Betfred Cup and going on to make 21 appearances for the club, scoring 1 goal – the 2nd in a 3-2 win v Arbroath at Gayfield in August. However, it was his man-of-the-match performance in a 3-0 win v Forfar Athletic at Bayview in September that stands out as a particular highlight of his time at East Fife – the Angus side finding him almost unplayable that day.
Jordan Piggott returned to Dundee following the completion of his loan spell. Jordan signed on an emergency loan in October and went on to make 10 appearances for East Fife following his debut against Alloa Athletic at Recreation Park, after which Manager Darren Young described his performance as “outstanding”, adding that “he’s probably got a big future in the game.
Greg Hurst joined East Fife in August and made his debut against Stranraer that month before going on to make 19 appearances. Greg found the net 5 times for East Fife including the winner against Alloa Athletic but will be remembered most for his brace in the dramatic comeback against Albion Rovers in October. Greg returned to parent club St. Johnstone in the middle of January but has since joined fellow League 1 side Forfar Athletic on loan until the end of the season.
Ben Reilly departed Bayview to join League 2 side Cowdenbeath on the 12th of January. Ben joined the club in February 2017, making his debut in a 3-2 win v Brechin City that month before going on to make 19 appearance for the club.
Goalkeeper Mark Hurst returned to parent club St. Johnstone after completing his second loan spell at Bayview. Mark returned to East Fife in August, having previously completing a successful loan spell last season, and went on to take his tally of East Fife appearance to 37 which included 10 clean sheets. Highlights of his time at Bayview include a terrific double save against Livingston in March 2017 and a sensational stop to ensure East Fife claimed a point against Stranraer back in September.
Goalkeeper Thomas Cordery left Bayview to join Junior side Penicuik Athletic. Thomas signed on at Bayview in July and made his debut against Dunfermline Athletic in the Betfred Cup in July and made one further appearance against Peterhead in the Irn Bru Cup.
Paul Willis departed East Fife for League 2 side Berwick Rangers on transfer deadline day. Paul signed on at Bayview for a second spell in June 2017 and took his tally of East Fife appearance to 63 and scoring the winner against Elgin City in the Betfred Cup to take his East Fife total to 6 goals.
The club would like to put on record it’s thanks to all player who have left over the last month and wish them all the best for the remainder of the season and beyond.
Name: Scott Wotherspoon
Location: Rancho Cucamonga, California
How long have you been an East Fife supporter and what was your first game?
I have been following the Fife since 1977 and my first game, I believe, was against Hearts when we won 2-1 (or 3-1 I think!)
Most memorable moment following East Fife?
It has to be beating Hibs at Old Bayview…the crowd was electric and the players, including Marshall and Burgess, were world class!
Least favourite moment following East Fife?
Every time we lose to the Rovers…
Favourite player (present)?
Pagey! Loyal, always puts in a shift and seems to honestly care about the club.
Favourite player (all-time)?
Brian ‘Zico’ Jenkins
Best East Fife goal you’ve seen?
Paul Hunter’s goal v Cowdenbeath in 1989.
Pick your all-time East Fife 11
GK: Gordon Marshall
DF: Brian Jenkins, Davie Clarke, Jim McLaren and Gary Naysmith
MF: Tom McCafferty, Kyle Wilkie and Stevie Kirk
ST: Paul Hunter, Gordon Durie and Gavin Murray
Favourite Scotland game?
Scotland 1-0 England, Hampden Park, 1985, Richard Gough.
I was there! Jim Bett ran the show!
Favourite Scotland player (all-time)?
Roy ‘The Bear’ Aitken. No nonsense defender, the ultimate hardman.
When do you think Scotland will next qualify for a major tournament?
I’d like to stay positive and say 2020, but a lot depends on the manager.
Ronaldo or Messi?
Messi all day long!
Favourite away ground?
If you could change one football rule what would it be?
Indirect free kicks….what is the point?!
We are delighted to announce the signing of goalkeeper Ben MacKenzie on a development loan from St. Johnstone. Ben has been first choice for St. Johnstone’s development side this season and joined up with the East Fife’s squad for today’s game v Forfar Athletic.
Welcome to Bayview Ben!
We can confirm that Mark Hurst has been recalled to St. Johnstone following the completion of his loan spell.
Mark joined the club for a second time in August 2017 following a successful spell last season and went on to take his tally of East Fife appearance to 37 which included 10 clean sheets. Highlights of his time at Bayview include a terrific double save against Livingston in March 2017 and a sensational stop to ensure East Fife claimed a point against Stranraer back in September.
Everyone at East Fife would like to thank Mark for his contribution during his time at Bayview and wish him all the best for the remainder of the season and beyond.
East Fife welcome Jim Weir’s Forfar Athletic tomorrow afternoon to Bayview Stadium as they aim to put last Saturday’s Scottish Cup defeat to Brora Rangers behind them.
Manager Darren Young was forthright in his comments following the cup exit, expressing his frustration at the poor defending that resulted in conceding the only goal of the game. The Fifers dominated proceedings after the break but were unable break down a well marshalled Brora defence. The men from Station Park were last in action a fortnight ago, seeing off the challenge of Albion Rovers in the league, with goals from Mark Millar, Andy Munro and a Michael Travis double securing a 4-2 victory.
Despite the visitors’ league position East Fife know that the Loons are more than capable of providing tough opposition and will need no reminding of the outcome the last time the sides met in November, with Forfar running out 2-0 winners at Station Park. The previous encounter in September saw a much better performance from the Methil men when Chris Duggan’s early goal paved the way for a 3-0 success. Mark Docherty was the other man on target, converting two penalty kicks in an impressive display from the team.
One of the few positives from last Saturday was the appearance of new signing Craig Thomson from St Johnstone. The Aberhill based wide midfielder came on as a second-half substitute and should be a valuable addition to the squad. The return of Craig Watson from injury could also prove timely with Aaron Dunsmore set to miss tomorrow’s clash through suspension. Also available for selection is new signing, goalkeeper Ben McKenzie, who put pen to paper in a loan deal until the end of the season.
Supporters of both clubs are reminded that they are welcome to enjoy refreshments at the stadium bars before and after the game.