The New Saints 2-2 East Fife (5-4 after penalties), Saturday 14th October 2023
Park Hall Stadium, SPFL Trust Trophy R4
East Fife failed to progress into the last 8 of the SPFL Trust Trophy, after a valiant showing saw them pipped out by Welsh Premier League Champions The New Saints by a penalty shootout. The European adventure ended, though it was a gallant effort, and was matched with an equally fantastic Fife support.
The opening five minutes saw a few chances for TNS, specifically for their talisman, Clark. The creative midfielder had two chances from range, though both shots were sent in the direction of the singing Fife support, behind the goals.
After 13 minutes of play, it was The New Saints who broke the deadlock, through a lovely passage of play. Brobbel caught his pass well and skipped by fullback Jacob Comerford. The winger chose to cut inside and fire a shot, which was well saved by Fleming, but in true striker’s fashion, TNS forward Brad Young was in the right place, at the right time, and he tucked home for the hosts.
After 35 minutes of play, East Fife levelled the scoring through Alan Trouten, who converted the rebound for his own penalty, handing the Fifers a lifeline in the tie. The chance was created by Nathan Austin, who danced round the Saints’ keeper before being dragged down inside the box.
Shepherd should have fired Fife ahead before the break, after a tidy pass from Austin, but Fife’s number 9 dragged his shot wide.
The second half started in the same manner that the first half ended, with a shot from Brobbel being fired wide of the posts, past Fleming.
After 55 minutes, Daniels had a moment of excellence as he cleared a McManus header off the line, keeping the scores level.
After 59 minutes, East Fife took the lead, in incredible circumstances. McManus converted with an acrobatic finish, following Roberts’ initial save. The chance was made yet again by Austin, who put in his best performance so far this season for the Fife in Oswestry.
In the 75th minute, TNS had a penalty kick of their own, after a hand ball in the box from Liam Newton who was trying to defend an attack. Brobbel stepped up, and finally got his reward, as he wrongfooted Fleming, setting up a nervy last 15.
With 10 on the clock, East Fife found themselves in a 3-on-3 thanks to Walls and Mitchell’s hard work, though Shepherd’s shot went wide of the post.
Walls had another chance in the dying embers, which hit the target, but was well saved by Roberts.
TNS had a free kick in the 92nd minute, in a dangerous area, though it did not challenge Fleming.
The referee appeared to be allergic to his whistle and gave a great opportunity to TNS in the 95th minute, though Young’s header was saved well by Fleming. The save brought East Fife to penalties, for the second time in the tournament, and the 4th time this season.
Cieslewicz stepped up first for TNS and slotted home, handing the hosts the advantage. Connor McManus wend first for the Fifers, and produced a swift reply, despite the ‘keeper getting a touch.
Next up was Holden, whose penalty send Fleming the wrong way, before Brogan Walls’ penalty snuck in, after Roberts got a hand on both so far.
The penalty scorer Brobbel was up next, and he slotted home, restoring the TNS advantage. Substitute Gregor Nicol was next up for Fife, and like the two before converted, after Roberts got a hold of it. 3-3.
Brad Young was next up for TNS, after scoring earlier in the contest, wrongfooted Flem to put the Saints ahead. Trouten stepped up next, and despite missing a penalty earlier in the tie, made no mistake about this one lashing it past Roberts, although the stopper guessed the right way.
The last of the regulation penalties was taken by Routledge, who rocketed the ball into the top corner, making it 5-4. And that’s how the scoreline would say, as for the 6th time on the night, Connor Roberts guessed the right way, and this time saved loanee Kieran Mitchell’s penalty, ending their European adventure in disappointing fashion.
Report by Oli Anderson
TNS - Roberts, Daniels, Hudson, Davies, Marriott, Smith (Holden 58’), Redmond (D Williams 58’), Clark (Routledge 90+4’), Brobbel, Young, J Williams (Cieslewicz 67’). Subs not used - Thompson, Baker, Dafydd, Jones, Brennan.
East Fife - Fleming, Comerford (Docherty 45’), Page, Easton, Newton (Walls 75’), Trouten, Millar, McManus, Shepherd (Hambrook 84’), Austin (Mitchell 75’), Healy (Nicol 75’). Subs not used - Beveridge, Schiavone.
Referee – Huw Jones
Attendance - 512
Highlights from Saturday's SPFL Trust Trophy match against The New Saints along with post-match reaction from Greig McDonald, Connor McManus and Jack Healy.
Oli Anderson previews today’s match against The New Saints.
This weekend, the Fifers have the opportunity to be the first Scottish Club to record a victory against European opposition in October, when they face Welsh Side The New Saints in the last 16 of the SPFL Trust Trophy. The Black and Gold have had plenty of time to prepare as their clash with Bonnyrigg Rose was postponed last weekend due to the adverse weather conditions.
This is not the first time that our opponents have faced foreign opposition this season however, as they had a crack at both the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Europa League in July of this year, however aggregate defeats to Häcken and Swift Hesperange respectively, saw them crash out in the early qualifying rounds.
Their domestic start is much more admirable however, as they are yet to lose in domestic action this season, with their most notable week coming at the beginning of August when they knocked title-rivals Connah’s Quay Nomads out of the Welsh League Cup, before blowing them away 6-2 in the opening league fixture. TNS have played 14 domestic games so far this season, and have won 12, and drawn the other two, showing their rich run of form domestically. Luckily for the Fifers, this is arguably not a domestic game, so hopefully that can fall in favour of the Fifers.
The Saints have not been shy in front of goal either, scoring 46 goals in the aforementioned 14 games, and only conceding 10, so we are hoping that our attackers have their shooting boots on this evening in Oswestry!
The Path to the Last 16
The New Saints got the more favourable route to this stage, as international opposition (TNS, Bala Town, Cliftonville and Coleraine this season) did not have to enter this competition until the 3rd round, along with the cinch League 1 and Championship sides from the season prior, whereas we entered the competition a round earlier.
How did TNS book their ticket to host the Methil Milan?
The Saints got through the third round in rather simple fashion, overcoming Hibernian B 3-0 at Meadowbank Stadium (Home of Edinburgh City).
Arguably the most experience player on the park for either side opened the scoring, as Darren McGregor fired the ball into his own net after 5 minutes, putting TNS ahead.
It was a game controlled by Ben Clark, who put the second away after 37 minutes, doubling the TNS advantage, before he set up the third for Brad Young just after half time, easily dispatching The Cabbage’s youth side.
How did the Fifers earn the chance to visit Shropshire, England, to play the JD Cymru Premier League Champions?
The Fifers have had to fight hard in both of the rounds they have progressed through so far, firstly overcoming Dundee B at the Kilmac Stadium, via a penalty shootout. The Young Dees held firm throughout the 90 minutes, but penalty goals from Murdoch, Shepherd. Healy, Newton, and Walls, paired with an important save from Reece Beveridge saw the Fifers past the second round.
The third round tie saw an encounter against newly relegated side Albion Rovers that too started poorly, as Niyah Jospeh gave the Rovers the lead after 30 minutes, putting East Fife on the back foot.
However, it is clear that, at half time, Greig McDonald gave the players the proverbial rocket, and they totally dominated the second period, and were rewarded with the two goals they needed to progress, thanks to Jonathan Page and Connor McManus.
East Fife’s standard of performance has considerably improved since the Rovers game 4 weeks ago, which hopefully leads to this upcoming encounter south of the border being even more mouth-watering.
Outs- Pat Slattery, and Charlie Murray still miss out due to previous injuries, while Ross Philp and skipper Stuart Murdoch are both also unavailable.
Ins- There are no new returns to report sadly, we wish the guys who currently miss out a speedy and smooth recovery.
East Fife will don the 120th anniversary kit this weekend, with the black and gold shirt, matched with black socks and shorts, while the goalkeeper will be clad in the all-yellow kit.
Our hosts today will wear their green & white striped home top with white shorts and socks, while the goalkeeper will don their all-purple kit.
Tickets can be purchased HERE, on the TNS website.
Please find match prices below:
Adult - £10
Concessions - £5
Junior (U16s) - £2
Under 12s go FREE (With a paying adult).
Live Streaming of the game will be available on East Fife TV for our international fans. This can be accessed through a monthly or season pass. You can access this HERE! There is no live stream for viewers within the UK & Ireland.
The on-pitch official this evening will be Huw Jones while his assistants running the line are Daniel Beckett and Harry Hendricks. Due to the prestigious nature of this tie, there will also be a fourth official. The man with that honour is Aaron Wyn Jones.
We hope that all travelling Fifers arrive safely and get behind the boys for what will be an incredible matchday, and overall trip for the club, and the fans.
Mon the Fife!
You have one hour left to get a ticket online for this week's Goldmine Lotto.
The jackpot this week is £400!!
Admission prices for SPFL Trust Trophy 4th round match against The New Saints on Saturday 14th October at Park Hall Stadium have been confirmed as follows:
Adults - £10
Concessions (Over 65s) - £5
Juniors (U16s) - £2
Tickets can be purchased at the stadium on the day of the game however supporters are encouraged to buy online where possible.
There is no live stream available this weekend for supporters within the UK & Ireland however overseas supporters can watch the match via East Fife TV with a monthly or annual subscription.