Oli Anderson previews today’s match against Dumbarton
This weekend, the Fifers play host to league Leaders Dumbarton, after a successful trip to Coatbridge last week saw us take all three points back to Methil.
The Sons are on top of the cinch League Two tree, with 47 points from 22 games. Stirling Albion are still keeping up chase though, with 43 from just 21 games. The Fifers on the other hand, are quite some distance back still. We find ourselves up to 6th after our recent good results, on 30 points from 24 games, currently within 3 points of the playoff places. Unfortunately, we are not out of the woods just yet, as we are only 7 points clear of bottom placed Bonnyrigg Rose, though the gap is slowly stretching between East Fife and the Relegation Zone.
In Dumbarton’s last 6, they have amassed 13 points from the 18 available. With our last clash on Christmas Eve one of their 4 wins in the last 6. They did drop points to Stenhousemuir though, in a 1-1 draw, and were even beaten 2-1 by Ray Mackinnon’s currently rampant Forfar Athletic side.
In Fife’s last 6, we have accumulated 8 points from the 18 available, winning 2, drawing 2 and losing in 2. Our last two games have been an incredible improvement on our recent form, taking all three points home from Coatbridge, while being unlucky not to take all three points in the clash against Stirling, the last time we were at home.
East Fife returned to winning ways last weekend, with another strong performance, as they ran out 1-0 winners against Albion Rovers.
The action started quickly, as the opening, and winning goal, came just after 5 minutes of football. St Johnstone loanee Alex Ferguson glided past two Albion defenders and slotted an inch perfect through ball to Ryan Schiavone, who fired past Leighfield with ease.
Fife then settled into the game well, and marshalled the game from the back, particularly Aaron Steele who after he found his feet, completely nullified Albion Rovers’ star man Charlie Reilly. Steele’s performance won him the League Two Player of the Week on Twitter’s SPFL Past and Present page, and also granted him the nickname of “The Black and Gold Cafu”.
East Fife were very affective playing on the counter with the composed backline clearing up every half-chance which came for the Rovers. Their best chance since the goal came shortly before the half time whistle, an East Fife corner whipped in by Aidan Denholm found the feet of Sam Denham, but his shot was only good enough to cannon off of goalkeeper Leighfield’s chest.
Half Time- East Fife 1-0 Albion Rovers.
The second half was certainly more favourable for Albion Rovers. The hosts created several chances at the start of the half and were unlucky not to draw level in the early stages.
Their first chance came from a corner kick, which was not able to be cleared. After a muddle in the box, a shot was fired towards goal, but Schiavone was there to poke it off the line at the very last second.
Just before the hour mark, Albion had another golden opportunity, a cross came in from Charlie Reilly, and bobbled along the goal line, whistling past both posts on its way past.
10 minutes later, the Rovers had a free kick from the corner of the 18-yard box, though the cross came in and passed through everyone.
The 80th minute marked the return of long-term absentee Connor McManus who came onto the park and played like he had never been away with his composure.
Into stoppage time, substitute Scott Shepherd was played over the top and eventually brought down inside the box, leaving referee Scott Lambie no choice but to point to the spot. Scott Shepherd stood over the penalty himself, but Leighfield produced a great save to deny the forward.
In the astonishing 6 minutes of added time, which felt like an eternity, Jonathan Page made his (second) debut for East Fife, signing on deadline day, and looking assured at the back as he helped East Fife see out their win.
The Sons ran out 2-1 winners last weekend at the Rock, against 3rd placed Annan Athletic. Dumbarton started fast going 1-0 up inside 5 minutes, through ex-Fifer Ryan Wallace. Though this did not stop the Galabankies, who controlled the majority of the ball during the day in what was a back-and-forth encounter.
The second half started well for Annan, who clinched their equaliser through Tommy Goss less than 10 minutes into the second period. Unfortunately for Annan, it was all for naught, as with 10 minutes on the clock, Russell McLean fired the Sons back in front, securing all 3 points for the league leaders.
There are more challenging decisions to be made from McDonald today, as Stewart Murdoch has returned to the selection pool after missing the last 3 matches through injury. On top of this, Kieran Miller’s suspension has now been served and he too is available for selection. St Johnstone loanee Taylor Stephen remains out injured.
It was a Nightmare before Christmas for the Fifers as they fell victim to a 2-0 loss to the league leaders Dumbarton.
The Sons started well, with ex-Fifer Ryan Wallace putting a shot wide in the opening five minutes. Kalvin Orsi made a great run to create the chance as he completely outclassed both Liam Newton and Liam Parker over the course of the game.
East Fife looked shaky defending set pieces, and Dumbarton Captain Gregor Buchanan caused havoc from every arial ball into the box. The first came after 20 minutes and was narrowly missed by the oncoming defender.
The second of the flurry came ten minutes later, after Allan Fleming pulled of a great stop to deny a Wallace header from inside the 6-yard box. The ball was fizzed in with venom from the corner, and a leaping Buchanan was only good enough to leave the crossbar reverberating.
The resulting stramash led to a throw-in which brought Dumbarton’s opener. East Fife were all caught ball watching, as the Captain’s looping header found itself in the back of the net. With ten minutes left in the half, East Fife looked totally lost.
Straight away from kick-off, Fife full-back Scott Mercer was called upon to make a great sliding tackle, denying a square ball into the penalty area.
The first half fizzled out, but the second have started with a bang, Dumbarton extending their lead in the game. Stewart Murdoch tried to pass the ball to a fellow defender, but it landed right in the path of Ryan Wallace, who’s through-ball was perfect for David Wilson, who coolly struck past Fleming.
East Fife became very wasteful with the little time on the ball that they had, being very easy to dispossess in the match.
Their first of two great chances came when a ball was laid off for Trouten on the penalty spot, but unfortunately the front man never used his wealth of composure and experience and blasted his shot over the bar.
East Fife’s only other chance came from a free kick right on the edge of the box, with 15 minutes to play. The ball was laid off by Healy to St Johnstone loanee Alex Ferguson, whose curled effort was kept out by an excellent save from ex-Fife goalie Brett Long. That was the last chance of the game, meaning Fife spent another week without a win.
East Fife are back in their away kit this week, donning the pink shirt with black shorts and socks. The ‘keeper will wear the all turquoise kit for the tie.
The away side will be clad in all white for the tie while the Sons’ goalkeeper will be dressed in all grey for the match.
Our on-pitch official for today will be Peter Stuart. His two assistants running the lines are Michael Banks and Barry Reid.
There will be no cash turnstiles for the game this weekend, and we encourage supporters to purchase their tickets online in advance. You can also get tickets from the club, either in person, or over the telephone at 01333 426323. Parent and Child tickets must be bought directly from the club office.
Season tickets will be valid for the game.
Turnstiles will be open from 2pm.
Parent & Child- £21
Parent & 2 Children- £24
All child members of EFCFC & EFG&WFC have been granted free admission with a paying adult or as part of an organised group for all of our home league matches this season! Tickets for this are organised through EFCFC. We hope to see as many of you present as possible, to help support the team.
Unfortunately for our fans in the UK and Ireland there will be no livestream for the clash this weekend. However, for our global audience, the game can be watched on EFTV with a monthly or Season pass.
The stadium bar will be open from 12.15pm for pre-game refreshments. The pie stalls will open prior to kick-off and will also be open at half time. Both cash and card are accepted.
The Bayview Programme issue 17 is available from vendors outside of the stadium for £2.50. Also, half time draw tickets will be available pre-match.