East Fife played their final game of the Premier Sports Cup group stage against Ross County in Dingwall. Despite already knocked out, the travelling supporters were hoping that Stevie Crawford would bring a win back home to Fife.
Ross County were the highest ranked team within the group stage as they narrowly missed out on European football last season and needed a win to guarantee progression through to the next round. The manager made 2 changes to the win midweek with Ryan Schiavone starting and Murdoch reclaiming the captain’s armband after his absence earlier in the week.
The Staggies kicked off the game with a dominant style of play and high intentions of winning. Early on County had most of the possession although the East Fife back line stood strong against the Premiership opposition.
East Fife’s best chance of the game came in the 22nd minute when Scott Shepherd received the ball on the left side bye-line. Shepherd passed across goal to Schiavone however the County defender narrowly got to the ball first and cleared it out of play.
Ross County took the lead on the 26th minute when the ball was laid off to Victor Loturi and he rifled home a powerful effort into the top corner past Smith to give the Staggies the lead. Murdoch picked up the first yellow card of the game after his rash tackle on Owura. The Dingwall side doubled their advantage with around 5 minutes left of the half. Yan Dhanda, on the right side of the box, played a square pass to centre for Ben Purrington, who scored despite Smith getting a touch on the ball. 5 minutes later, the referee blew the half time whistle.
The Second half started poorly for the Fife. After less than a minute in East Fife had conceded a third when Dhanda skipped past the East Fife midfield and played to ball out to William Akio on the right-hand side who squared it to Jordy Hiwula-Mayifuila to tap in making the game 3-0. Two minutes later Ross county scored a fourth when Akio, again on the right side, cut the ball back, to Owura Edwards who slots home into an open net. A short while after, Ross County and Owura added another when he picking up a loose ball at around 25 yards and drilled a screamer into the far top corner further extending Ross County’s lead.
On the 55th minute Ross County added a 6th following to a goalmouth scramble with numerous County players seeing shots blocked before Kazeem Olaigbe pounced on the ball closely in front of goal and scored.
Olaigbe scored his second, and Ross County’s 7th when he than glided into the box getting into a decent shooting position before smashing the ball into the roof of the net.
With 15 minutes of the game to go, Crawford made his first substitution with Schiavone making way for Pat Slattery. 5 minutes later Mikey Cunningham came on for Shepherd. The rest of the game was mostly Ross County holding the ball in their half, seeing out the game and route to the round of 16 before the referee blew for full time. The team will need to quickly put this results behind them as the first game of league football is next Saturday as we take another trip up north to play Elgin City in what will be a far more even affair.