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.