East Fife head to Clackmannanshire tomorrow, to take on Alloa Athletic at the Indodrill Stadium. The Wasps currently occupy eighth position in Division One, but are capable of providing a challenge for a top four place given the talented squad that manager Jim Goodwin has at his disposal.
Although Alloa went down last Saturday to Stranraer at Stair Park, they will have been heartened by gaining a draw away to high-flying Arbroath in their previous outing.
Bayview boss Darren Young meanwhile is looking back to last weekend’s pulsating 5-4 victory against Albion Rovers with a mixture of pride in his players and a determination to iron out defensive lapses. The Fifers showed unbelievable character and resolve to overturn a 4-2 deficit, with three goals in the last ten minutes, including two in injury-time, to see off one of the form teams in the league.
East Fife have found tomorrow’s opponents a difficult nut to crack in the Wee County in recent times, losing all three games there last season against an impressive Alloa side who could consider themselves unfortunate not to gain promotion. March 2011 saw the last three points gained on the road against the Wasps, with a Craig Johnstone double and a Bobby Linn goal doing the damage. Darren Young’s men will however take heart from their only meeting so far this campaign, when Greg Hurst was on target to secure a 1-0 win at Bayview Stadium.
Ladbrokes League 1
Saturday 14th October 2017
East Fife 5 (Duggan 4’, Docherty 42’ (P), G Hurst 80’, 90+3’, Linton 90+1’)
Albion Rovers 4 (Marr 8’, Reid 54’, Vitoria 68’, Trouten 78’)
East Fife XI: M Hurst, Dunsmore, Watson (Wilkie 26’), Kane, Linton, Millar, Slattery, Docherty, Flanagan, Duggan (Smith 71’), G Hurst
Subs: Willis, Wilson, Reilly, Goodfellow, Lamont
Albion Rovers XI: Bowman, Reid, Marr, Perry, McLaughlin, Fisher, Holmes, Davidson, Higgins (McMullin 84’), Shields (Vitoria 68’), Trouten
Subs: Guthrie, Potts, Lightbody, McLeish, Watters
Referee: Craig Charleston
Where to start?
On-form Albion Rovers were the visitors to Bayview on Saturday but it was the home side who claimed all three points following a nine-goal thriller. Manager Darren Young made one change to the side that lost to Ayr United last time out with Greg Hurst replacing Jonathan Page who was suspended following his red card two weeks ago. There was also a welcome return for club captain Kevin Smith who took his place on the bench after missing the start of the season through injury.
The visitors were unbeaten away from home this season coming into the match and having beaten league leaders Raith Rovers last time out, the Fifers knew this would be a tough encounter. Both sides showed their support for Show Racism the Red Card’s annual fortnight of action prior to kick off.
Alan Trouten should have given the visitors the lead inside the first minute when he beat the offside trap but couldn’t direct his header on target. Rovers were left to rue that miss when Chris Duggan latched onto a long ball from Mark Docherty to lob ‘keeper Graeme Bowman from 20-yards to give East Fife the lead. East Fife ‘keeper Mark Hurst pulled off a good save to deny former Fifer Gary Fisher moments later but the lead didn’t last long with Jason Marr levelling the match minutes later when he got on the end of Chris Higgin’s corner to head past Hurst on 8 minutes.
Duggan had a couple of opportunities to add to the scoring when first some good footwork saw him skip past Ross Davidson and cut inside only to see his shot blocked from close range by the Rover’s defence before he headed narrowly wide after getting on the end of Aaron Dunsmore’s cross from the right. East Fife weren’t having things all their own way, however, with Davidson’s chip clearing the bar following a short corner.
The home side should have extended their lead minutes before the break when Nathan Flanagan got to the by-line and lifted in a cross the was only partially cleared but Scott Linton blasted over from 8-yards with the goal at his mercy. Duggan was continuing to cause problem for the Rover’s defence down the right with a nice turn taking Marr out of the game before being body checked by Alan Reid inside the area giving referee Craig Charleston no option but to point to the spot. Docherty stepped up and sent Bowman the wrong way to score his 5th goal of the season.
A cracking first half but few could have predicted what was to come in the next 45!
The match was level once again on 53 minutes when Reid rose highest to turn Higgin’s free kick past Hurst and into the net. Kyle Wilkie went close to restoring East Fife’s lead on 56 minutes with a snap shot from the edge of the area that just cleared the bar. Joao Victoria was introduced for the visitors just after the hour mark and it proved to be an inspired substitution when he gave Albion Rovers the lead for the first time in the match following a mix up in the home defence. Victoria almost added his second of the match moments later but was denied by a goal line clearance from Docherty
Victoria turned provider next when he laid the ball off for Alan Trouten to pass the ball into an unguarded net to give the visitors a 2-goal lead with 12 minutes to play. Few would believe what was about to unfold!
East Fife pulled one goal back shortly after the re-start when Docherty’s free kick was poorly cleared by the Albion Rovers defence and Greg Hurst was on hand to tap home from 5-yards. The visitors were hanging on while East Fife continued to press for an equaliser and it duly came as the clock ticked past 90 minutes. Aaron Dunsmore was bundled over by McLaughlin 20-yards from goal and up stepped Scott Linton to curl a near-perfect free kick over the wall into the top right-hand corner to level the match.
East Fife had recused a point but they weren’t done yet! Greg Hurst was denied by some last-ditch defence by Marr after a complete mix-up between the defender and his goalkeeper. What happened next will go down in East Fife folklore. Dunsmore won the ball on the half-way line, laid the ball off for Docherty the pick up again on the right-hand touchline following a nice flick-on from Flanagan before hitting the by-line and squaring the ball across the face of goal. Smith kept the ball alive at the back post before Hurst bundled the ball over the line with the last kick of the ball to spark mass celebrations in the home end.
A fantastic game that will be remember for years to come.
High flying Albion Rovers are our visitors to Bayview Stadium tomorrow, bringing the curtain down on the first quarter of the campaign. The men from Cliftonhill currently occupy third place in the league, three points ahead of East Fife. Manager Brian Kerr has seen his side record some impressive victories, including a 2-1 success against league leaders Raith Rovers a fortnight ago. Rovers have brought in a number of new players since the sides last met, notably Alan Trouten, who has been in fine form so far, finding the net on a regular basis. Other new signings include former Clyde trio Sean Higgins, Ross Perry and Scott McLaughlin.
Bayview boss Darren Young used the international break to rest a few players, whilst also providing game time for others in the Fife Cup tie at home to Cowdenbeath. Particularly pleasing was the return of club captain Kevin Smith to action for the first time this season after undergoing an operation during the summer.
Smith could be looking at a return to the squad for tomorrow’s match, with Jonathan Page missing out through suspension after receiving a red card two weeks ago at Somerset Park against Ayr United.
The Fifers managed two wins to Albion Rovers’ one in the meetings between the sides last season, with all four games keenly contested.
Supporters of both clubs are reminded that they are welcome to enjoy refreshments at the stadium bars before and after the game.
What was the name of the footballer who scored a hat-trick on his international debut but was never selected to play for his country again? This question has undoubtedly cropped up in pub quizzes all over the country, and the answer, if you didn’t already know, is East Fife’s Henry Morris!
Henry was born in Dundee on 17th December 1919, and was relatively late in stepping up to the Senior game at the age of twenty-six; his football development having been delayed by active service during World War Two.
Before the war, Henry had turned out for Lochee Central, where he formed a striking partnership with inside-forwards Jake and Dougie Davidson, a trio which was destined to fill the same role at Bayview during East Fife’s Halcyon days. Indeed, all three were transferred from Lochee to Dundee Violet during the summer of 1939, where the lethal striking force scored an incredible 36 goals in just four games, with Morris netting four times and the Davidson brothers a goal apiece in a league match against East Craigie at Glenesk Park on 11th August. Such was the attraction of the high-scoring Violet team at this time, an incredible crowd of 6,270 paid to see the ‘Pansies’ take on Dundee Harp at Glenesk Park that same month!
After being de-mobbed at the end of the Second World War, all three players teamed up once again at Dundee Violet, but it wasn’t long before the senior talent scouts came calling. On Friday 7th June 1946, East Fife fought off a host of Scottish and English clubs, including Dundee United and Blackpool, to land the signature of Henry Morris, who was joined a week later by Violet team-mate Dougie Davidson. Doug’s brother Jake, however, opted instead to sign for Dundee United, thus breaking up the striking partnership.
In Henry’s first season at Bayview, 1946/47, the centre-forward scored an amazing 36 goals in 37 competitive appearances; but things were to get even better the following season following the signing of old partner Jake Davidson, who had failed to hold down a regular place in the Dundee United first team during his year at Tannadice. The old trio were now back together again, and season 1947/48 saw Henry Morris score 59 goals in 48 appearances with the Davidson brothers weighing in with 32 goals between them; all three ending the campaign with a League Cup winners’ medal and a ‘B’ Division Championship medal to show for their efforts!
Although playing against tougher opposition in the top flight during season 1948/49, and without the assistance of Doug Davidson for most of the campaign following the player’s transfer to Blackpool in October 1948, Henry Morris still managed to find the net no fewer than 25 times in 37 appearances. It was inevitable that Henry’s scoring exploits would come to the attention of the international selectors, and the player was finally called up for international duty for the Home International Championship match against Ireland at Windsor Park in Belfast on 1st October 1949, which was also to double as a qualifying match for the 1950 World Cup in Brazil.
On the Tuesday preceding the match, Henry and East Fife team-mate George Aitken met up with the rest of the Scotland party at Broomielaw Quay in the centre of Glasgow, where they battled their way through hordes of young autograph hunters and newspaper reporters before boarding the steamer Royal Ulsterman, bound for Belfast. Asked on the quayside how he felt about getting called up to the national team, Henry modestly replied: “I’ll do my best not to let Scotland down”.
Henry certainly didn’t let the team down, as after just two minutes’ play he got his head on to a cross from Willie Waddell to put the Scots ahead. It was a dream start to his Scotland debut and, into the bargain, Henry had written himself into the history books as the first British player to score a World Cup qualifying goal! And it wasn’t to end there, with Henry Morris scoring another two second half goals to complete a debut hat-trick which, along with two goals from Rangers’ Willie Waddell and further strikes from Derby’s Billy Steel, Hibs’ Lawrie Reilly and Third Lanark’s Jimmy Mason, was more than enough to sweep the Irish aside and record a remarkable 8-2 victory.
Having made such an impressive Scotland debut, one would naturally assume that Henry Morris would once again line up alongside East Fife team-mate George Aitken in Scotland’s next international at Hampden on 9th November 1949. Morris was not in the team that beat Wales 2-0, however, and it was assumed by many that the player had been snubbed by the international selection committee, but this is not quite true. The facts of the matter are that Henry picked up an injury in a league match against Motherwell just days before the Wales match, which effectively ruled him out. By the time he had regained his form, the Scotland centre-forward position had been claimed by Hearts’ Willie Bauld, which effectively spelled the end of Henry’s international career.
Despite a fall-out with East Fife just weeks after playing for his country, during which speculation was rife that he had played his last match for the club, Henry remained at Bayview until April 1953, during which time he picked up a second League Cup winner’s medal in 1949 and made an appearance in the 1950 Scottish Cup Final. He ended his senior career following brief spells at Dundee United and Portadown in Northern Ireland.
Henry passed away in Kirkcaldy in March 1993, aged 73.
East Fife are back on the road this weekend as we make the trip to the west coast to face Ayr United.
The Fifers are on a good run of form at the moment with back-to-back wins against Airdrieonians and Forfar Athletic who were comfortably dispatched last time out. Kyle Wilkie, Mark Lamont and Paul Willis are in line for a return to the squad for this weekend after missing the last match with captain Kevin Smith the only player unavailable to manager Darren Young. Ayr United got back to winning ways last weekend with 2-0 victory over Queen’s Park after 4 defeats on the bounce.
Recent meeting between the sides don’t make for easy reading for the Fifers. The last meeting between the sides was on the final day of the 2013/2014 season at Somerset Park. East Fife were sitting second bottom of League 1 going into the match, one point ahead of 10th placed Arbroath, and to match their result to avoid automatic relegation. Things didn’t go to plan with Ayr running out 4-1 winners thanks to a hattrick from Craig Malcolm and a 75 minutes strike from Brian Gilmour with Liam Buchanan grabbing a late consolation for the visitors. East Fife were saved from automatic relegation on this occasion as Arbroath failed to take anything from their match with Airdrieonians.
Our last win over Ayr United was back in December 2012 when, after being 2-0 down at the break, a tremendous second half comeback saw us claim a 3-2 victory at Somerset Park curtesy of a double from Scott McBride and a last-minute winner from centre-half David White.
The hosts are holding their annual armed forced day tomorrow and invite service personnel to the game for free on production of a valid ID and if they are in uniform.