Tomorrow East Fife bring the curtain down on the first half of the campaign with a visit to Cliftonhill Stadium to take on Albion Rovers. The Coatbridge men were back in action in midweek after two consecutive Saturday postponements, coming away with a creditable 2-2 draw against Stranraer at Stair Park. It came as no surprise that the man on target for Rovers was Alan Trouten, his double taking his tally for the season so far to a remarkable 21 goals.
Bayview boss Darren Young was left frustrated following last week’s defeat at Bayview Stadium to Ayr United. Despite finishing on the wrong end of a 4-1 scoreline, the Fifers dominated the first-half and were on top for periods after the break only to be punished by a combination of clinical finishing by the league leaders, aided by some poor defending from the home side.
It will be the first meeting of the sides since that astonishing encounter in October when the men from Methil overturned a 4-2 deficit to win 5-4 with three goals in the last ten minutes, including two in injury time. Last season, with the current East Fife management team of Darren Young and Tony McMinn in the home dugout at Cliftonhill saw a 1-0 win apiece in two games within four weeks. Former Fifer Ryan Wallace and Jason Kerr were the match winners for their respective clubs.
Albion Rovers will be hosting a special collection for the Coatbridge food bank and we would urge everyone to contribute what they can for this very worthy cause.
Supporters are advised that the stadium bar will be open from 12.45pm.
Will supporters please note that the Club Office and Shop will be open daily to 4.45pm this week till Thursday but will open from 9.30am on Friday 22nd December 2017 to 2pm only . Thereafter, we will be closed until Wednesday 27th December at 9am.
G McQueen Alex Donaldson
In spite of the result, all sponsors thoroughly enjoyed their hospitality and received their signed balls from Ken Henderson, Commercial Director, on Saturday past.
Thank you for supporting The Fife, gentlemen! Haste ye back!
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.
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