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East Fife were still seeking their first win of their League Cup campaign as they played host to Buckie Thistle on Tuesday night. The insanely hot conditions added an element of challenge to playing the Highland League outfit who are coming off the back of numerous successful seasons. The Fifers were also looking at breaking the “B” curse after losing our three previous encounters against non-SPFL sides who’s name began with the letter B.

Following the score draw against Alloa Athletic last week, Stevie Crawford made 3 changes to the starting eleven, with Pat Slattery, Jude Smith and Jack Healy all starting. The absence of Stewart Murdoch made way for Scott Mercer to take the captain’s armband.

Buckie showed their intent early on as they created a few good chances which amounted to nothing. The first real chance fell to the hands of the green and white hooped visitors in the 22nd minute. A series of tragic events at the back for East Fife led to Buckie Thistle gaining possession in the box, Scott Adams then took a touch to compose himself before chipping the ball over a stranded Smith into the corner of the net, putting Buckie 1-0 up to the disbelief of the fife faithful.

Buckie Thistle didn’t sit back after the goal as Macaskill saw his shot saved from close range by Smith. Jack Healy was the first to enter the referees book for a cynical tackle on Munro. 

Buckie doubled their lead on 36 minutes, when Macaskill, on the edge of the box, passed to a completely unmarked Adams just inside the penalty area, who excellently places the ball into the top corner past a diving Smith. 

With half time approaching, East Fife were desperate to pull one back, as Shepherd found himself on the left flank and played a pass into the feet of Kieran Millar, however his shot was well saved by Buckie ‘keeper Balint Demus. The referees whistle went for half time after a very disappointing first half of football for the Fife.

At half time Buckie thistle made a triple substitution in attempt to see the game through and seal the win. East Fife made a single substitution where Healy made way for Ryan Schiavone. 

Less than a minute into the half East Fife already had a sight of goal thanks to a long throw from Aaron Steele which was met by Kieran Millar who managed to escape from his marker, but he could only head the ball into the hands of Demus.  

After a large amount of pressure was pilled on to Buckie from East Fife early on, the Methil men managed to get one goal back after Shepherd beats Demus to a through ball, before rounding the keeper to score into a completely empty goal making the game 2-1. East Fife, clearly now in the ascendancy, managed to draw the match level two minutes later with Steele’s long throw once again posing a major threat, this time finding the head of Mercer who elegantly steered the ball into the bottom corner. 

East Fife were a lot more dominant in the second half and were presented with another golden chance when Mercer’s cross was well met by Schiavone at the near post, the attempt, however, was put behind for a corner. In the 77th minute Buckie collected two yellow cards in quick succession after a few unnecessary challenges from the Jags. A short while later, the Steele-Mercer combo proved to be prolific once again when another long throw into the mixer was met again by Mercer and placed into the same corner as before putting East Fife into a well-deserved 3-2 lead. 

With 8 minutes to go the coaches made the final change of the night for the Fife with Mikey Cunningham coming on to replace Shepherd. Buckie were the last to see a sight of goal in the 94th minute, attempting to give a sucker punch to the Fife team, Murray’s effort was blazed well over the bar from inside the box to relief of the East Fife supporters. Directly after Chris Fordyce blew up for full time ending the 4 month winless drought in competitive matches in a very exciting fashion. A good comeback from the team provided a great deal of entertainment for the Fife faithful, who clearly enjoyed the evening.

Andrew Laing