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.
East Fife are on their travels again tomorrow as they head to the town of St Thomas of Canterbury to take on an Arbroath side who have recorded some impressive victories in the campaign so far. After three consecutive wins, Dick Campbell’s men suffered a narrow defeat in their last outing on Saturday, going down 2-1 to promotion challengers Raith Rovers at Gayfield.
Bayview boss Darren Young was not a happy man following last week’s 3-2 defeat against Albion Rovers at Cliftonhill Stadium. Despite a bright opening and a fine goal from Aaron Dunsmore the Fifers fell out of the game, with the Coatbridge side ending up deserving winners at the end of ninety minutes play. Gruelling conditions and a spate of illness in the build-up to the game might have been mitigating factors, but the Gaffer was adamant that the overall performance was not good enough from a side capable of so much better.
East Fife’s record in recent years against the Red Lichties has been decent, although every game has been fiercely contested, and the Bayview faithful will head north knowing that a return to the form that saw their favourites triumph 3-1 at Bayview back in October will be necessary to secure the points tomorrow.
Ladbrokes League 1
Saturday 23rd December 2017
Albion Rovers 3 (Shields 23’, Trouten 25’, McLaughlin 72’)
East Fife 2 (Dunsmore 6’, G Hurst 27’))
Albion Rovers XI: Potts, Lightbody, McLaughlin, Reid, Perry, Holmes, Fisher, Davidson, Shields, Trouten (Higgins 31’), Victoria (Watters 85’)
Subs: McMullin, McLeish, Guthrie, Trialist, Hopkins
East Fife XI: M Hurst, Dusnmore (Kane 38’), Docherty, Page, Piggott, Lamont (Reilly 65’), G Hurst, Millar, Linton, Duggan, Wilkie (Mutch 80’)
Subs: Wilson, Flanagan, Goodfellow
Referee: Barry Cook
Inconsistency again proved to be East Fife’s downfall as they slipped to their second successive defeat after a promising opening 45 minutes against Albion Rovers at Cliftonhill Stadium. Manager Darren Young made one change to the side that lost to Ayr United last time out with Greg Hurst replacing injured captain Kevin Smith in the starting line-up.
It was the visitors who started brightest with Kyle Wilkie having a sight of goal on 4 minutes after good play by Mark Lamont down the right but he dragged his shot wide of the left-hand post before East Fife took the lead a couple of minutes later. Jonathan Page picked out Aaron Dunsmore wide of the right who cut inside before sending a left-footed shot past Rovers’ ‘keeper Daniel Potts for his first senior goal.
The home side began to grow into the game and had their first chance on 18 minutes when Alan Trouten had an attempt on goal but his strike was never going to trouble Mark Hurst in the East Fife goal. Graeme Holmes was next to have a go but couldn’t find the target with a shot from 25-yards. Rovers levelled the game on 22 minutes when Hurst misjudged a shot from Conor Shields before Alan Touten put the home side in front a couple of minutes later when he finished off a quick break from Scott McLaughlin down the left.
They weren’t in front for long, however, when Greg Hurst capitalised on a poor clearance from Potts to pass the ball into an empty net on 27 minutes. Joao Victoria flashed a shot across goal for the home side on 31 minutes before Potts saved comfortable held a free kick from Lamont at the other end as half time approached.
Albion Rovers should have been back in front shortly after the re-start when Shield’s shot was well blocked by Hurst only for Victoria to head the rebound wide of target. By now the home side were in the ascendency and had another chance on 57 minutes when former Fifer Gary Fisher was unlucky to see his 25-yard drive rebound off the post. The visitors almost grabbed an equaliser in bizarre fashion when Holmes attempted clearance rebounded off Chris Duggan and looked headed for the bottom corner but Potts was alert to scramble the ball clear.
Lamont sent a shot over the bar on 62 minutes before the home side scored what proved to be the winner when McLaughlin found the bottom corner with a free kick from the edge of the box on 72 minutes.
East Fife faded badly in the second half after a promising opening 45 with the home side running out deserved winners in the end.
Home Support tickets for our match on Tuesday 2nd January (3pm kick off) are on sale now.
You can purchase over the phone, via our internet shop or in person at Bayview (office open on Friday 29th December 9am to 3pm & Tuesday 2nd January from 10am).
Adults - £15
Concessions (over 60) - £12
Under 16s - £5