East Fife made the journey north to take on Angus club Arbroath in the SPFL Trust Trophy 3rd round. The Methil men were off the back of a midweek 2-1 loss to Stenhousemuir. The team were keen to put in a quality performance to give the travelling supporters something to cheer about.
Three changes were made to the starting squad that lost to Stenny. Kieran Millar was serving the first of a 2-match ban following the red card he gained midweek with Taylor Steven and Liam Parker missing out due to being cup tied along with Aaron Steele who picked up a knock during the week. Pat Slattery, Joao Balde and Liam Newton were added to starting line-up.
The game got underway, and it was the Championship side who were earliest out of the blocks, winning a penalty after only 9 minutes. The ball was fired into the box from the left and Sam Denham, misjudging the movement of Hilson, tripped the Lichties forward inside the area, with the referee awarding a penalty. Michael McKenna as the designated penalty taker stepped up and sent Fleming the wrong way, putting Arbroath 1-0 up.
A few minutes after, Arbroath kept up the pressure and scored another. McKenna played a lofted ball over the top which Fleming came well out of his box to clear however the clearance only went as far as Scott Allan who laid the ball off to Hilson who had an empty net to aim at, doubling Arbroath advantage inside twelve minutes.
After a fairly uneventful 30 minutes, East Fife began to ramp up the pressure before half time as the Fifers had a few good chances to get a goal back before the break. The first being in the 41st minute when Trouten took the ball past his man and laid it off to Balde on the edge of the area however his shot was cannoned over the bar and out for a goal kick.
East Fife had an even better chance 2 minutes later as Scott Shepherd wins the ball off Scott Allan and found himself in space down the right with to cuts the ball back to Trouten who’s shot bounces back off the post and is cleared out for a corner. Seconds later the half time whistle goes.
Half-Time: Arbroath 2-0 East Fife
East Fife got the first chance of the second half shortly after the restart when Balde flicked the ball on to Healy cutting through the middle of the defence, however his lobbed effort was narrowly over the bar and onto the roof of the net. 3 minutes later, Arbroath had a good chance to add a third when Hilson broke froward however as Hilson pulled the trigger, Denham was on hand to execute an incredible last-ditch tackle to stop the ball rippling the net.
In the 77th minute, the management team made the first East Fife change of the game as Ryan Schiavone came on for Liam Newton. Instantly after the substitution, Arbroath had a corner which was very close to becoming a wonder goal, as Isiaka’s acrobatic effort is saved well by Fleming.
East Fife scored a lifeline with a minute of the 90 remaining. With Balde and Healy breaking forward, Balde returned the ball to Healy on the edge of the box who unleashed an effort that leave the Arbroath goalkeeper flatfooted to pull a goal back. However this turned out to be only be a consolation moments after the referee blows his full time whistle ending a game.
A significantly improved performance for East Fife in the second half however its Arbroath who qualify for the fourth round of the SPFL Trust Trophy. The fifers can now focus on their league campaign now with the next fixture is a home game against 2nd place Stirling Albion at Bayview.
Full-Time: Arbroath 2-1 East Fife
Report by Andrew Laing
Arbroath Team: Gill, Oakley, Hamilton, Stewart, Hancock, Gold, McKenna (Isiaka 45'), Jacobs, Fosu, Hilton (Corfe 78'), Allan (Linn 78')
East Fife Team: Fleming, Murdoch, Mercer, Slattery (Cunningham 88'), Denham, HEaly, Newton (Schiavone 77'), Balde, Ferguson, Shepherd, Trouten
Referee: Graham Grainger