Ladbrokes League 1, Bayview Stadium, Saturday 18th February 2017
East Fife 3 (Smith 28’, Kane 31’, Duggan 69’(P))
Brechin City 2 (Jackson 34’, Dyer 54’)
Man of the Match: Chris Duggan.
East Fife XI: Goodfellow, Slattery, Kane, Page, Kerr, Lamont (Insall 55’), Brown (Reilly 90’), Duggan, Smith, Penrice, Paterson.
Subs Not Used: Hurst, Austin.
Booked: Duggan, Page.
Brechin City XI: Smith, McLean, Dyer, Rodger, Hill, C.O’Neil (Ford 84’), Trouten, Dale, Jackson, Watt (Caldwell 72’), Graham.
Subs Not Used: Fusco, Lynas, McCormack, Dods, P.O’Neil
Booked: Hill, Watt, Jackson.
Referee: David Munro
East Fife took on Brechin City and claimed all three points after a hard-fought and bruising encounter at Bayview. Manager Barry Smith made two changed to the team that narrowly lost in the Scottish Cup last weekend with Chris Kane and Mark Lamont replacing the injured duo of Luke Watt and Scott Robinson. New signing Ben Reilly took his place on the bench alongside Jordan Austin, Jamie Insall and Mark Hurst.
The first 20 minutes passed without too much incident; Liam Watt fired wide from 5-yards for the visitors and Kane’s shot from distance flew over the bar for the home side. The first real action in front of goal occurred on 24 minutes when Chris Duggan turned his marker and fired in a shot from the right that Brechin ‘keeper Graeme Smith held at the second attempt. Nicki Paterson’s free kick from 25-yards kissed the bar on its way over on 26 minutes before Kevin Smith opened the scoring for the home side on 28 minutes with another free kick, this time a couple of yards closer to goal, that left Graeme Smith rooted to the spot.
East Fife were two up 3 minutes later when the Brechin defence failed to clear Paterson’s free kick and Kane fired home at the back post. The visitors managed to pull one back before the break when Andy Jackson found space in the box to fire past Ryan Goodfellow with the aid of a deflection.
The visitors were level 9 minutes into the second half when a defensive misunderstanding allowed Willie Dyer find the back of the net from 10-yards. Instead of being rattled by losing their two goal advantage, East Fife began to push forward and ‘keeper Smith did well to turn Kevin Smith’s 30-yard strike behind for a corner as the clock ticked past the hour mark. Kane turned a Paterson corner narrowly wide before the home side were awarded a penalty when second-half substitute Insall was taken out in the box by Gareth Rodger. Duggan stepped up to score his 4th goal in three matches.
Duggan almost added a 4th on 69 minutes when he got on the end of Ross Brown’s cut back but his shot was deflected wide. Graeme Smith was forced to turn Paterson’s free kick behind for a corner before Alan Trouten was dismissed for the visitors after a mistimed tackle on Duggan who was breaking forward. Paterson had another attempt with a free kick form the corner of the box, this time it flew narrowly past the post. Paterson then picked up the second red card of the afternoon for a late challenge on Rodger in injury time.
9 league games unbeaten; 6 wins, 3 draw and into the play-off positions.
After the match Manager Barry Smith spoke to East Fife TV:
“We were made to work hard for it; Brechin put us under a lot of pressure. From our point-of-view, game management at 2-0 could have made the game a lot easier but credit to Brechin for their fight-back. I think it showed the spirit in the team again after them pegging us back to 2 each to win the game 3-2 showed the spirit in the team.”
“We said at half-time that they had to stand up and be counted because it was a physical game and they more than did that and in amongst that we scored some good goals as well. We’d worked on thing through the week, as we always do, and we knew where we would get some joy and fortunately it worked for us again today and long may that continue.”