Ladbrokes League 1
Saturday 6th January 2018
East Fife 0
Airdrieonians XI: Ferguson, Brownlie, MacDonald, McGregor (Leighton 88’), Watt, Edwards (Russell 77’), Stewart, McIntosh, Hastie (Brown 68’), Furtado, Fry
Subs: Higgins, Kerr, Truesdale, Cowie
East Fife XI: Goodfellow, Dunsmore, Docherty, Kane, Page, Lamont (Slattery 71’), Millar, Linton, Duggan, Wilkie (Mutch 83’), Flanagan
Subs: Reilly, Willis, M Hurst
Referee: David Lowe
East Fife travelled to the Excelsior Stadium to face Airdrieonians and left with a share of the points following un uneventful 0-0 draw. With Manager Darren Young absent, assistant Tony McMinn made one change to the side that narrowly lost to Raith Rovers last time out with Nathan Flanagan, playing his last game for East Fife, replacing the injured Greg Hurst in the starting line-up.
The home sidestarted the brightest and had their first sight of goal in the first minute when Former Fifer Luke Watt curled in a free kick that East Fife ‘keeper Ryan Goodfellow was forced to tip over the bar. Airdrieonians were on the attack again moments later when Jake Hastie was sent clear down the left but dragged his shot wide from 20-yards. The visitor’s first attack of the game came following a nice interchange between Chris Duggan and Mark Lamont but Lamont was unable to find the target with his right-footed strike. Watt sent a long-range effort over the bar on 9 minutes before David Brownlie’s close range header was held by Goodfellow on 16 minutes.
Lamont stole the ball in midfield and raced in on goal on 18 minutes but his drive was deflected into the arms of Diamond’s ‘keeper Rohan Ferguson. Willis Furtado got on the end of a cross from the right but headed straight at Goodfellow and Hastie blasted well over as the home side failed to capitalise on their superior possession
East Fife grew into the half and Mark Docherty just cleared the crossbar with a volley from 20-yards just before the half hour mark after good play by Flanagan down the right before Watt, comfortably the host’s best player, dragged another shot wide in the last meaningful action of the half.
An improved East Fife side appeared after the interval and were unlucky not to take the lead shortly after the re-start when Docherty’s header was cleared off the line by Kieran MacDonald. Josh Edwards spurned a good opportunity for the home side on 52 minutes when he pulled Furtado’s cut-back wide of the near-post.
Wilkie was denied by a great save from Ferguson on 66 minutes in what proved to be the best chance either side had of getting on the score sheet on 66 minutes. Furtado should have done better on 72 minutes when he found himself in space but blasted high and wide from close range before Flanagan’s strike on the turn narrowly cleared the crossbar. There was little to write home about in the last 20 minutes however, substitute Ross Mutch almost grabbed the winner for the visitors in injury time when he latched on to a long ball by the Airdrieonians deference just did enough to put him off.
Not a game that will live long in the memory but a welcome clean sheet for East Fife who picked up points on the road for only the 4th time this season.
Ladbrokes League 1
Tuesday 2nd January 2018
East Fife 2 (Wilkie 20’, Linton 56’)
Raith Rovers 3 (Robertson 8’, Linton O.G. 25’, Zanatta 78’))
East Fife XI: Goodfellow, Dunsmore, Kane, Page, Linton, Docherty (Mutch 85’), Lamont (Flanagan 87’), Wilkie, G Hurst (Smith 45’), Millar, Duggan
Subs: Slattery, Reilly, M Hurst
Booked: Kane, Linton
Raith Rovers XI: Smith, Thomson, Murray, Davidson, McKay, Roberston, Vaughan, Matthews, Zanatta, Spence, Buchanan (Court 72’)
Subs: Watson, Bell, Hendry, Osei, Lennox
Booked: Vaughan, Zanatta
Referee: Gavin Ross
East Fife kicked off 2018 by welcoming local rivals Raith Rovers to Bayview but it was the visitors who claimed all three points after a highly competitive encounter. Manager Darren Young made two changes to the side that drew with Arbroath last time out with Aaron Dunsmore and Kyle Wilkie returning to the side replacing Kevin Smith and Jordan Piggott.
The visitors had overrun East Fife during their previous encounter at Bayview earlier in the season but there was to be no such repeat this time around and indeed it was the home side that threatened first when Dunsmore’s cross from the right was met by Greg Hurst at the back post but the ball wouldn’t sit up for him and the Raith defence were able to clear inside the first minute. An East Fife corner on the far side was scrambled clear by the visitor’s defence on 6 minutes before they opened the scoring in the 8th minute when David McKay picked out Greig Spence with a cross-field pass that was headed down into the path of Scott Robertson. Robertson’s shot was blocked by Ryan Goodfellow in the East Fife goal but the ball spun up and into the back of the net.
Unlike the previous encounter, the home side didn’t crumble and were close to levelling with quarter of an hour played when Chris Duggan’s cross looked as though it had landed perfectly for Hurst by Raith ‘keeper Graeme Smith was out quickly to gather. East Fife’s perseverance paid off on 21 minutes when they grabbed a deserved equaliser. Mark Lamont crossed from the right but when Duggan failed to connect at the back post the Raith defence switched off allowing Scott Linton to float the ball back into the danger area and Kyle Wilkie sent a header, unmarked, past Smith for his 4th of the season.
East Fife weren’t level for long, however, as they failed to deal with a corner from Lewis Vaughan and the ball deflected into the net. Former Fifer Liam Buchanan claimed the goal but replays show the striker made no contact and the ball deflected off an east Fife defender. The home side responded well again and had a couple of opportunities to draw level again when first Chris Kane headed wide from Linton’s corner before Lamont’s cut back along the 6-yard box was blocked on the line by a combination of ‘keeper and defence.
The visitors had the first chance of the second half when Dario Zanatta cut in from the left but his right-footed drive was well held by Goodfellow. East Fife were level once again on 55 minutes when Duggan was brought down, rather clumsily, on the edge of the area by Euan Murray. Up stepped Scott Linton to curl an unstoppable free kick over the wall and into the top corner for his second of the season – an even better strike than the one he scored against Albion Rovers. Robertson was perhaps a tad fortunate to remain of the park when he pulled back Lamont when he looked like he was about to go clean through on 62 minutes – although rather bizarrely it was Vaughan who picked up the booking!
Goodfellow pulled off a fantastic point-blank save to deny Buchanan on 65 minutes at one end before Raith defender Iain Davidson breathed a sigh of relief as his clearance header just cleared his own cross bar at the other. The home side were beginning to grab control of the game and Smith had to be alter to keep out a 20-yard strike from Mark Docherty on 67 minutes before substitute Kevin Smith tried a long-range effort which deflected into the arms of ‘keeper Smith.
Lapses in concentration have been East Fife’s downfall of late and they were to be punished again with 12 minutes left to play when Vaughan robbed Linton on the far-side touchline and raced in on goal. His cut back fell to Zanatta who found the back of the net, albeit with the aid of two deflections. East Fife were a post-width away from drawing level for a third time with 2 minutes left on the clock when Nathan Flanagan’s left-footed shot came back off the upright, hit Graeme Smith and rolling along the goal line before the ball was eventually cleared.
A great effort from East Fife and worth a share of the points but lapses in concentration again proving costly.
Congratulations to manager Darren Young & his partner Louise on the birth of their son. Everyone at East Fife is thrilled for them!
Yesterday’s game v Airdrieonians marked the last East Fife appearance for Nathan Flanagan before he returns to St. Mirren following the completion of his loan spell.
Nathan joined the club in July 2017 from the Championship side and made his debut against Peterhead in the Betfred Cup before 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 victory over Forfar Athletic in September that stands out as a particular highlight of his time at Bayview – the Angus side finding him virtually unplayable that day!
Nathan leaves with our best wishes for the remainder of the season and beyond.
East Fife are on their travels again tomorrow, heading west to Monklands, to take on a rejuvenated Airdrieonians at the Excelsior Stadium. The Diamonds are unbeaten since their last encounter with the Fifers in November when supporters of both sides will need no reminding, for different reasons, of a 6-1 win for the men from Methil.
Conversely Darren Young’s side have not managed to reach that level of performance since that afternoon, although there were encouraging signs in Tuesday’s derby against Raith Rovers with East Fife unfortunate not to take anything from the game, going down 3-2 to their old rivals, despite having Raith on the back foot for periods of the match. Meanwhile Airdrie will also have been left frustrated at letting a 2-1 lead slip in their meeting with neighbours Albion Rovers, with a goal from Scott McLaughlin in the dying moments denying them all three points.
Manager Young will be hoping to have Jordan Piggott available again for selection with the on loan Dundee defender missing out on Tuesday after suffering a knock in the 1-1 draw at Gayfield three days earlier. Also back in the squad is popular midfielder Pat Slattery, who was able to take a place on the bench in midweek following several weeks sidelined through injury.
East Fife fans are advised that they will be occupying Section C of the main stand at the Excelsior Stadium tomorrow afternoon.
Ladbrokes League 1
Saturday 30th December 2017
Arbroath 1 (McIntosh 73’)
East Fife 1 (Docherty 90’ (P))
Arbroath XI: Hutton, Little, Hamilton, O’Brien, Yule (Gold 67’), Whatley, Martin, McCord (McIntosh 71’), Denholm, Linn (Kader 77’), Swankie
Subs: Hester, Prunty, Henry, Gomes
Booked: Yule, Martin
East Fife XI: Goodfellow, Docherty, Kane, Page, Piggott, Lamont (Flnagan 77’), Smith (Mutch 82’), Millar, Linton, Duggan, G Hurst (Wilkie 62’)
Subs: Reilly, M Hurst, Willis
Referee: Grant Irvine
East Fife kicked off the second half of the season with a trip to Gayfield Park to face Arbroath and left with a deserved and well-earned point. Manager Darren Young made three changes to the side that lost to Albion Rovers last time out with Kevin Smith, Chris Kane and Ryan Goodfellow returning to the starting line-up at the expense of Kyle Wilkie, Aaron Dunsmore and Mark Hurst.
East Fife were first to threaten when Mark Lamont picked up a loose pass inside his own half and drove forward before playing in Jordan Piggott who whipped in a cross from the right-hand touchline but Greg Hurst sent his strike past the post on 5 minutes. The home side could count themselves unfortunate no to be a head on 8 minutes when former Fifer Bobby Linn’s shot was cleared off the line by Jonathan Page.
Kevin Smith though he’d opened the scoring for the visitors on 19 minutes when he steered Chris Duggan’s cross past David Hutton in the Arbroath goal only to see the flag raised for offside – replays showing it to be a tight call. East Fife were looking dangerous going forward with Greg Hurst and Lamont having shots blocked before Smith fired in an effort that was cleared Blair Yule on 21 minutes. Linn was denied by Goodfellow at close range on 23 minutes before Gavin Swankie headed past the post for the home side just before the half-hour mark. Both sides had a couple of half chances before the break with Linn sending a free header wide of target for Arbroath before Lamont’s volley was held by Hutton.
After the break, Goodfellow had to be alter to keep out a 20-yard drive from Yule on 46 minutes before Linn found himself in space down the left and raced in on goal but dragged his shot wide of the target before Scott Linton manged to head clear Swankie’s cross at the back post with Danny Denholm waiting to pounce as the homes side started the second 45 the strongest. Yule was denied in a goalmouth scramble on the hour mark as East Fife failed to clear their lines.
Lamont picked up a cross field pass from Smith on 66 minutes and cut inside before unleashing a left-foot strike that rebounded off the crossbar from 25-yards with Hutton a spectator, the closest either side had come to opening the scoring. Duggan fired over from range on 68 minutes as East Fife now looked to be in the ascendency but it was the home side who took the lead on 73 minutes when substitute Leighton McInotsh found the back of the net from close range.
Swankie should have put the game to bed for the home side with 3 minutes left to play when he raced through 1-on-1 with Goodfellow but the ‘keeper was out quickly to block his effort. Arbroath were left to rue that miss as the clock ticked past 90 when East Fife were awarded a penalty. Superb play by Duggan robbed David Gold on the touchline before Gold tripped him up just inside the area leaving referee Grant Irvine little option but to point to the spot. Mark Docherty stepped up and found the back of the net for his 6th goal of the season. Page had a chance to win it for the visitors in injury time but headed wide of the right-hand post.
Both sides were better in the second half and both had plenty of chances to win the game but overall a draw was probably a fair result.