SAT 12TH FEB 2005: A v ELGIN CITY (SCOTTISH 3RD DIVISION)
The last two games saw East Fife muster a whole one shot on target in each. Surely today's, against a team without a home win since early October, would see a change to that. Eh, no.
The only change in the Fife starting line up from the Queens Park defeat was Sean Paliczka coming back in to replace Kevin Steele, on a bitterly cold, windy, wet day on a bitterly cut up pitch.
The first decent chance of the game fell to Elgin seven minutes in, when Stephen Donnachie was through on Scott Morrison, but the Fife keeper produced an excellent save to touch the ball away from busy home striker.
Moments later, the home side threatened again and it was Morrison who came to the Fife's rescue once more, blocking Willie Martin at the edge of the box. The ball rebounded to Adam Nelson, who curled a dangerous looking ball into the box which Kevin Bain did well to head away.
Elgin continued to pressure and with 17 minutes gone, Les Byle gave away a free kick for a challenge from behind, which City captain Jamie McKenzie then rattled low off the post from 30 yards out. The rebound fell to Donnachie who blasted the ball straight at Morrison from six yards out, only for Scott to make a brilliant point blank save.
With nine minutes of the half remaining, a through ball found Martin in a good position inside the Fife box, his rocket being blocked by Craig Lumsden's balls! Not surprisingly, Craig needed some treatment!
As half time approached, and with Elgin completely in control, the opening goal came as no surprise when it went to a black and white shirted player. Elgin won a corner on the right, which was only cleared as far as the edge of the box and Adam Nelson. Instead of opting for a blast, he admirally looped a ball into the box, straight on to the head of Martin Harty, who then looped the ball himself, this time over Scott Morrison, who was caught off his line once again, and into the net. 1-0 to the City and half time soon followed.
Seeing as how East Fife were playing with the wind advantage and still hadn't managed to trouble Keiron Renton, who must have been frozen in the home goal, the second half didn't hold out much hope.
Elgin continued where they left off, with Michael Renwick being forced to make a good block, but there was no real threat on the Fife goal, and, it goes without saying really, the Elgin one either.
Then to everyone's amazement, the Fife found themselves on level terms!
With 67 minutes gone, Johnny Mitchell made a run from the left into the Elgin box. City defender Hugh Dickson made a sliding tackle for a Fife throw in. Except it wasn't, as referee Chris Boyle awarded a very soft penalty instead. Hey, we have to take any help we can get! The Elgin protests were vociferous to say the least, with a couple of bookings being dished out in the process.
Once the furore had died down, it was up to Stevie Nicholas to step up and hit the penalty low to Renton's right. 1-1 and somehow we were back in the game.
The penalty spurred on both the players and fans and there then followed the best East Fife possession and play of the game, but there was still no killer instinct on display to even attempt a shot on target, with Nicholas coming closest with a good header over the bar from a corner.
As the game ticked in to the last ten minutes, Morrison made a good save for a corner, after a good run by City sub Pat Vigurs.
It looked like a 1-1 fizzled out draw was on the cards, only for referee Boyle to continue his bizarre penalty awards with three minutes remaining.
An Elgin corner was floated in to the box only for Greig McDonald to be adjudged to have pulled a shirt! No-one at the time knew what the hell it was all about (from either team!) and it was only after the game that we got light shed on the incident.
After being made to replace the ball on the spot a couple of times, Jamie McKenzie finally stepped up to hit the ball low to Morrison's right hand side and Scott could do nothing to keep the winning strike out.
The Fife nearly secured a second unlikely equaliser in the closing seconds, when an effort was headed off the line, but Elgin deserved the three points and the two non penalties levelled themselves out in the end.
Another long way to go to see fuck all on the attacking front. No shots on target apart from the penalty and the only plus points were from the usual suspects and the fact that John Ferguson looked promising when he came on.
It's becoming increasingly hard to motivate yourself to go to the games at the moment. From standing behind Jim Moffat he was shouting a lot of the right things and going mental at some of the players (Mathie and Paliczka in particular). He just doesn't seem to be able to get them to listen or do what he wants/is needed.
Are we going to sink to a pretty much all time low against the Shire on Tuesday? It could be the final straw for many if we do. Only three days to wait and find out.
C'mon the Fife.
FINAL SCORE: Elgin City 2 - 1 East Fife
EAST FIFE: Morrison, Renwick, Mathie, Lumsden, Bain (Brash 52), Byle, Paliczka (Ferguson 75), G. McDonald, Nicholas, Mitchell, Boyle (Steele 62) Subs (not used)- McCafferty and
No surprises really. They're starting to pick themselves...
3 points - SCOTT MORRISON (getting predictable now, don't need to say much more!)
2 points - STEVIE NICHOLAS (and again)
1 point - JOHN FERGUSON (just for possibly being a shining light for us next season)
Our one "shot" on target for this week. Least it was deadly!
Another chance - but look where the ball is! [Photo courtesy of Tom Aitken]
[For another report on the game and stats, check out the EAST FIFE MAD site]
[For more pics of games check out Brian Lawson's THEFIFERS.CO.UK site]