Ladbrokes League 1
Saturday 2nd December 2017
Queen’s Park 2 (Donnelly 18', 51')
East Fife 1 (Duggan 15')
Queen’s Park XI: White, Summers, McGhee, Iredale, Burns, McVey, Fotheringham, Leitch (Duff 70’), Galt, Mortimer (McLennan 86’), Donnelly (Docherty 77’)
Subs: Cummins, Gibson, Brady, Whelan
Booked: Summers, Fotheringham, Galt
East Fife XI: M Hurst, Dunsmore, Kane (Linton 68’), Page, Piggott, Docherty, Lamont (Flanagan 83’), Smith, Wilkie, Millar (G Hurst 68’), Duggan
Subs: Goodfellow, Watson, Wilson, Willis
Booked: Dunsmore, Piggott
Referee: Stephen Finnie
East Fife travelled to the national stadium to face Queen’s Park in Ladbrokes League 1 but left empty-handed after a performance that was in stark contrast to that which had put Airdrieonians to the sword last weekend. For the first time this season Manager Darren Young was able to name an unchanged starting line-up with the only change being fit-again Scott Linton replacing Ben Reilly on the bench.
The home side had the first opportunity of the match on 6 minutes when Sean Burns found an opening down the left and curled in a shot but it was an easy take for East Fife ‘keeper Mark Hurst. At the other end, Kevin Smith picked out Mark Docherty on the left-hand side of the penalty box but his cross was deflected into the arms of Michael White.
Queen’s Park had had the better of the opening exchanges but it was the visitors who found themselves in front on 15 minutes. Chris Duggan latched onto a long-ball over the top from Aaron Dunsmore and lifted the ball over the ‘keeper for his 8th goal of the season. East Fife weren’t ahead for long, however, after Billy Mortimer worked some space for himself down the left and cut the ball back for Luke Donnelly who found the back of the net from 18-yards. The home side could have been in front a few minutes later but Donnelly failed to take advantage of a promising position after David Galt’s initial shot was blocked.
Docherty sent in a free kick from 40-yards for East Fife on 30 minutes which Smith managed to get on the end of but his back header was collected by White. Smith had another chance 5 minutes later when he got on the end of Docherty’s cross from the left but was unable to find the target.
East Fife weren’t at the races in the opening 45 minutes and big improvements were needed in the second period.
The visitors were awarded a free kick 25-yards from goal shortly after the re-start. Smith stepped up and cleared the wall but his strike didn’t have enough power behind it to trouble White. Queen’s Park took the lead on 50 minutes when Robbie Leitch sent in a cross from the left with the outside of his foot which East Fife failed to deal with which allowed Donnelly to claim his second of the afternoon with a strike from 15-yards.
The home side were well in the ascendency and should have added to their lead just before the hour mark with Gregor Fotheringham got on the end of a free kick but his shot rebounded off the crossbar before the whistle went for a foul on the ‘keeper. Mortimer was next to go close the home side when he was sent through 1-on-1 with Hurst but was unlucky to see his shot come back off the post.
East Fife were looking for a way back into the game and were close to an equaliser on 74 minutes when a free kick from near the corner flag was cleared by the Queen’s Park defence but only as far as Docherty on the edge of area but his goal-bound effort was deflected behind by Burns. The visitors had one last chance to salvage something from the game inside injury time but Jonathan Page was denied by a point-blank save from White but, in truth, the equaliser would have been far more than East Fife deserved for the game.
East Fife had, quite rightly, taken a lot of praise for their performance against Airdrieonians but were unable to reach the same standards this week as Queen’s Park ran out deserved winners.
East Fife head to Glasgow on Saturday to face Queen’s Park hoping to continue where they left off after last week’s impressive 6-1 victory against Airdrieonians.
Although the Methil men will be approaching this game with confidence, they will be aware that the Spiders inflicted a defeat in the earlier encounter this season at Bayview Stadium back in September. Hampden has also not been the happiest of hunting grounds in recent years for the Fifers, with just one win since 2004 in their favour.
Manager Darren Young was understandably delighted with his side’s last outing with some terrific build up play on display, coupled with clinical finishing in another entertaining game for the home support. The Bayview gaffer was also heartened at being able to list a full squad for the first time in several weeks, with only Scott Linton and Pat Slattery likely to miss out tomorrow through injury.
It would be fair to say that Queen’s Park have not enjoyed the best of starts to the campaign but Gus McPherson will be determined to steer his team clear of the relegation zone and start climbing the table. Last Saturday saw them give a good account of themselves at Stark’s Park against promotion challengers Raith Rovers before going down to two second-half goals.
Travelling fans should be aware that the new Queensferry Crossing will be closed to southbound traffic, with the possibility of delays for vehicles using the alternative route via the Forth Road Bridge.
Six months ago, if East Fife weren’t at home, nothing much was happening at Bayview.
Since September, 3 × 7-a-side and 3 × 5-a-side pitches are being used every night of the week with youngsters and adults playing or training. The pitch is used by East Fife Youth Academy, East Fife Girls and Ladies, Kennoway Star Hearts, St Andrews United, Walking Football and Over 35s as well as several block private bookings and regular new enquiries.
A week past Sunday (19th November) Fifers For The Community (FFTC) and East Fife hosted the second CEFSSA fun 4's and super 5's festival and from 10am – 2 pm more than 300 youngsters played on the new pitch and 300-400 parents and families enjoyed food and drink in the club lounge. Teams from East Fife, Glenrothes Athletic, Kennoway, Glenrothes Lions, Real Fife, Kelty Hearts, Strollers, Thornton Locos and Templehall took part.
Last Sunday (26th November), a charity match in remembrance of Owen Nisbet, a local 11-year-old who passed away recently from a short illness. Ex-players from all four Fife teams took part including Paul McManus, Craig Lumsden, Gilbert Allan, Andy Tod and Mark McCulloch took part. Prior to the main match, a couple of 7-a-side games between East Fife Youth Academy and Kennoway teams, with which Owen had been associated, took place. FFTC offered use of the pitch, and East Fife FC the changing rooms, free of charge.
This year marks the 70th anniversary of East Fife’s first League cup triumph in the 1947-48 final. Part 2 of the League Cup winners story was featured in The Bayview on Saturday.
The eight qualifiers along with East Fife for the quarter-finals were Aberdeen, Falkirk, Rangers and Hearts from Division A and also Hamilton Accies, Leith Athletic and Stenhousemuir from Division B. The founders’ intention was that teams from the top division would meet teams from lower division over two legs with the winners progressing to the semi-finals. That had happened in 1946-47 but because of post-war exigencies it was decided that the quarter-finals in 1947-48 would consist of only one meeting.
As in the previous season, the Fifers were drawn against Hearts. The match was at Tynecastle on 27th September. It turned out to be a cracking game. The major change in the Fife side from the sectional ties was the return of George Aitken at left half.
Dougie Davidson opened the scoring in the fifth minute with former Bayview Youth Club player, Ken Currie, equalising for Hearts five minutes later. Davie Duncan put the Fifers ahead again in the 75th minute from a penalty. Two minutes from time Currie restored equality, his late goal necessitating extra-time. Archie Kelly who had guested for east Fife during the War put the maroons into the lead for the first time in the 98th minute. Skipper Tommy Adams was the Fife hero, his two late goals producing a 4-3 victory. Hearts – Paton, McSpayden, McKenzie, Laing, Parker, Dougan, McFarlane, Currie, Kelly, Urquhart, Williams. East Fife - Niven, Laird, Stewart, Philp, Finlay, Aitken, Adams, D Davidson, Morris, J Davidson, Duncan. Twelfth man – Gilmour.
The win took East Fife through to the semi-finals in which their opponents were Aberdeen at Dens Park on 11th October. Not surprisingly Scot Symon selected the same eleven but with Jimmy Canavan as twelfth man. In a hard-fought game the only goal came in the 80th minute courtesy of arch-marksman Henry Morris. Aberdeen – Johnstone, Cowie, McKenna, McLaughlin, Waddell, Taylor. Kiddie, Harris, Williams, Baird, Millar.
The other winning semi-finalists were Falkirk who had defeated Rangers, also 1-0, at Hampden which was the venue for the final on 25th October. Again, East Fife were unchanged with Canavan as twelfth man. Jerry Dawson, the ex-Rangers keeper and future East Fife manager, was the Falkirk custodian with Archie Aikman, a Bayview guest during the War, at centre forward. The attendance was 52,781. Dawson and his Methil counterpart, John Niven, were the star-performers of the afternoon with both keeping clean sheets throughout the 120 minutes.
Falkirk – J Dawson, Whyte, McPhie, Bolt, R Henderson, Whitelaw, Fiddes, Fleck, Aikman, J Henderson, K Dawson.
The sides met again the next Saturday, 1st November. Once more Scot Symon was happy to name the same twelve players with Canavan the man left out. The Bairns made two changes with Gallacher and Allison replacing Whitelaw and Fleck respectively. The attendance this time was 30,664.
East Fife began strongly with Tommy Adams finding the net in the 8th minute. Davie Duncan added a second some ten minutes later. Aikman reduced the leeway on the half-hour. Duncan notched his second in the 79th minute and completed his hat-trick with three minutes left on the clock. So, Tommy Adams was presented with the cup which came to Methil for the first time with Davie Duncan entering the history book as the first player to score a hat-trick in a League Cup Final.
Ladbrokes League 1
Saturday 25th November 2017
East Fife 6 (Wilkie 25’, 51’, Duggan 29’, Lamont 39’, Kane 58’, Hurst 79’)
Airdrieonians 1 (Stewart 1’)
East Fife XI: M Hurst, Dunsmore, Kane, Page, Piggott, Docherty (Watson 76’), Lamont, Smith (Flanagan 65’), Wilkie (G Hurst 70’), Millar, Duggan
Subs: Goodfellow, Wilson, Reilly, Willis
Airdrieonians XI: Mason, McIntosh, MacDonald, McGregor, Cairns, Watt, Stewart, Conroy, Hastie (Brown 68’), Furtado, Fry (Russell 46’)
Subs: Edwards, Alan, Ferguson, Higgins, Truesdale
Referee: Gavin Duncan
Airdrieonians were the visitors to Bayview but left empty-handed as East Fife put in their most completed performance of the season as they ran out comfortable 6-1 winners in a game that they completely dominated. Manager Darren Young made two changes to the side the beat Clyde last time out with Mark Hurst and Jordan Piggott, both missing at the request of their parent clubs last week, returned in place of Ryan Goodfellow and Kyle Wilson.
East Fife didn’t get off to the best of starts, however, as the visitors grabbed a goal inside the opening minute. Ryan Conroy’s corner from the far side was met by Scott Stewart in the centre of the goal who flicked the ball into the net. Not the ideal start for the home side but that was to be the one and only time they were troubled.
East Fife had the chance to draw level on 4 minutes when good foot-work for Mark Lamont down the right and cut inside before feeding Chris Duggan 6-yards from goal. Duggan’s shot was pushed away by Diamond’s ‘keeper Kelby Mason but only as far as Kyle Wilkie but he couldn’t get enough power behind his strike and Mason was able to collect. An equaliser was coming and it duly arrived on 25 minutes. Terrific build-up play saw Duggan get in behind the Airdrie defence and latch onto a ball from Mark Docherty; his initial shot was blocked but the rebound fell to Wilkie who composed himself before slotting past Mason from 6-yards.
East Fife were in front minutes later when Duggan was put through by Kevin Smith. Mason was out quickly to block but the ball spun back up over the ‘keeper into the net. Smith was inches away from adding his name to the score sheet on 32 minutes when he sent a volley narrowly wide of the right-hand post. The home side had their tails up and could have added to their lead when first a penalty shot was waved away by referee Gavin Duncan after Duggan looked to have been bundled over inside the area before the visitors were saved, somewhat questionably, by the referee’s whistle after Mason had spilled a corner.
The game was over before the break when great link up between Duggan and Piggott saw the latter play in Lamont who gave Mason no chance with a strike from 20-yards into the bottom left-hand corner for his second goal of the season. East Fife had one final opportunity before half-time when Lamont worked some space for himself on the right before firing on a cross which Kieran Millar managed to get on the end of but his header was straight at Mason.
A completely dominant first half for the home side who were looking very dangerous every time they had the ball.
East Fife continued their dominance at the start of the second half and extended their lead on 51 minutes. Docherty’s free kick from 10-yards inside the Airdrieonians half was cleared by Cairns but only as far as Duggan who lifted the ball back into the danger area and Wilkie was on hand to claim his second, and East Fife’s 4th, of the afternoon. Duggan was unlucky not to double his tally for the match when he was fractions away from dispossessing Mason who had delayed in clearing a pass back.
In a rare venture into the East Fife half, Jake Hastie tried his luck from 20-yards but the ball flew past the outside of the post. The home side made it 5-1 shortly before the hour mark when following another set piece. Docherty’s free kick wasn’t properly dealt with by the Airdrieonians defence and the ball fell to Wilkie 20-yards from goal. His effort took a deflection on its way through to Mason but Chris Kane was on hand to steer the ball into the net with a back heel that wrong-footed the ‘keeper.
With 10 minutes left to play, substitute Greg Hurst added a 6th from close range when he got on the end of a cross from Nathan Flanagan. Hurst was agonisingly close to adding a 7th a few minutes from time when his volley from 25-yards just curled away at the last moment for what would have been the pick of the goals.
East Fife have now won their last 4 home matches scoring 17 goals in the process. Up next is a trip to the National Stadium to face League 1’s bottom side Queen’s Park who have been a bit of a bogey team for East Fife of the last few year but they go into the match full of confidence after a resounding win.
Tomorrow afternoon Airdrieonians make their first visit of the season to Bayview Stadium. After reaching the play-offs in May, the Diamonds have got this campaign off to a slower start than they would have hoped for, although their cause has not been helped by the transfer of striker Andy Ryan to Dunfermline Athletic. There have also been changes off the park to contend with; the departure of Mark Wilson in the summer, former East Fife manager Willie Aitchison taking over on a temporary basis, before the appointment of current manager Stevie Findlay at the end of September.
Nonetheless, the Lanarkshire men have demonstrated that on their day they are a match for anyone in this division, as Stranraer found to their cost in their last league outing two weeks ago when a Ryan Conroy double helped earn a fine 2-0 win. They have also been one of the few teams to date to take points from league leaders Ayr United.
Bayview boss Darren Young will be happy to be back on home “turf” after three consecutive games on the road. Although disappointed by the defeats at Raith Rovers and Forfar Athletic, there were some good spells of possession from his side in both games. Last week’s Scottish Cup victory against Clyde at Broadwood saw the Fifers take their opportunities in front of goal, while equally importantly, denying their opponents at the other end of the park.
Better news too for the Bayview faithful on Saturday was the return of captain Kevin Smith to the starting line-up and the appearance of defender Craig Watson as substitute after several weeks absence through injury.
Recent encounters between the sides have been difficult to predict, with both teams performing better away from home. The only meeting this season saw the Fifers come out on top thanks to a Mark Docherty penalty, while Airdrieonians secured an impressive 4-0 victory on their last visit to Methil with the aforementioned Andy Ryan hitting a hat-trick.
Supporters of both clubs are reminded that they are welcome to enjoy refreshments at the stadium bars before and after the game.