Ladbrokes League 1
Saturday 28th October 2017
East Fife 3 (Duggan 56’, 67’, Lamont 67’)
Arbroath 1 (Linn 16’)
East Fife XI: M Hurst, Dunsmore, Docherty, Page, Piggott, Lamont (Smith 80’), Slattery, Wilkie, Willis, Duggan (Mutch 89’), G Hurst (Reilly 82’)
Subs: Goodfellow, Wilson
Booked: Page, Duggan
Arbroath XI: Hutton, Gold, Hamilton, Little, O’Brien, Whatley, Linn, Yule, Swankie (Hester 80’), McCord (Kader 81’), Denholm
Subs: Prunty, Henry, Douglas
Referee: Gavin Ross
East Fife continued their impressive home form with a comfortable victory over Arbroath in round 11 of Ladbrokes League 1. Manager Darren Young made two changes to the side that went down to Alloa Athletic last time out with Mark Lamont and Jonathan Page, returning from suspension, replacing the injured duo of Kieran Millar and Nathan Flanagan.
The game kicked off in conditions more usual found at Arbroath’s home ground of Gayfield Park with a strong wind blowing from the Dubbieside end of Bayview and the home side had to deal with both an Arbroath side who had scored 27 goals already this season and playing against the conditions in the first half.
The visitors had the better of the opening exchanges with first Gavin Swankie finding the side netting with a shot from the left before former Fifer Bobby Linn took advantage of some slack defending to fire in a shot that forced ‘keeper Mark Hurst into a good save at his near post. Linn then gave Arbroath a deserved lead with some nice play on the edge of the area before skipping past a couple of East Fife defender and slotting past Hurst on 16 minutes.
The home side’s first chance of the match came on 24 minutes when Greg Hurst won a foot race against David Gold and cut the ball back to Kyle Wilkie on the edge of the area but his shot was straight at David Hutton in the Arbroath goal. East Fife were beginning to find their feet and only a timely intervention from Lichtie’s captain Mark Whatley prevented Chris Duggan from having an attempt on goal from 8-yards after good work by Aaron Dunsmore down the right.
Arbroath then had a glorious opportunity to double their lead just after the half-hour mark when a quick break saw them with a man advantage inside the East Fife half but Thomas O’Brien chose to take on the shot himself, which was blocked, when he had teammates better placed. Danny Denholm then squandered a good opportunity from a free kick 25-yards from goal but sent the set-piece way over the bar.
A difficult first half for the home side playing against the wind but there were plenty of encouraging signs for Darren Young heading into the second period.
The warning signs were on the door early in the second half for Arbroath when Mark Lamont’s corner from the far-side rebounded off the crossbar with Hutton beaten. The home side were getting closer; first a great ball into the box by Docherty just failed to find a teammate before a good break down the right from Hurst saw his shot flash across the face of goal on 58 minutes.
An equaliser was coming and it duly arrived on 59 minutes when Duggan beat the offside trap to latch onto a long ball from Page, raced in on goal and slotted past Hutton at his near post for his 5th goal of the season. Arbroath players and fans were adamant that the ball had taken a deflection on its way into the net but replays showing no such deflection.
Wilkie should have given East Fife the lead on 63 minutes but he failed to capitalise on some pretty poor defending from the visitors, overrunning the ball and allowing the Arbroath defence to clear. A second goal did arrive, however, 3 minutes later when Dunsmore left Colin Hamilton in his wake and sent it an inch perfect cross into the box that Duggan steered into the net at the back post for his 4th goal in 3 matches at Bayview. The home side then added a third almost immediately from the kick off. Hurst changed down a clearance from Whatley which fell kindly for Duggan who, unselfishly, tried to return the ball to Hurst, Ricky Little got in the way but could only clear as far as Paul Willis 20-yards from goal. East Fife attackers were lining up to shoot and it was Mark Lamont who calmly curled the ball into the bottom corner for his first East Fife goal since August 2016.
A damper was put on East Fife’s afternoon when Kyle Wilkie was sent off by referee Gavin Ross for a challenge on Arbroath’s Colin Hamilton. It looked a harsh decision at first glance and replays show that Wilkie’s challenge was neither high or two-footed.
The man-advantage gave the visitors a lift and they could have pulled a goal back through Swankie on 78 minutes but for a great challenge from Piggott inside the 6-yard box. Arbroath were unable to threaten the East Fife goal and it was the home side who had the last chance of the game through substitute Kevin Smith but his shot from the left-hand side was straight at Hutton.
A fantastic result for the home side, a great team effort and a much-needed confidence boost going into the derby next week.