SAT 11TH DEC 2004: A v HUNTLY (SCOTTISH CUP - SECOND ROUND)
Christmas time. Mistletoe and wine. Second round Scottish Cup games to excite and enthuse the fans.
This was what the Cup was all about. A potential giant killing performance beckoned. Would we see the shock of the round?
As it turned out no, but East Fife forced a replay and it could still all happen! We could still pull it off!
Man, it was an awful Cup tie. One which will not give the highlights team at the BBC much cause for editing.
A good crowd turned up to watch this battle between the black and golds, with East Fife opting for last season's white away kit as opposed to the nasty pink number from this year.
The first half action was a midfield tussle. Neither team looked anywhere near scoring. Neither defence was troubled. And the big highlight was a rather tasty Huntly pie, with a choice of HP or Daddies brown sauce.
East Fife had the edge in possession and were knocking the ball about a little, as opposed to the punt and rush style of game Jim Moffat had eluded to earlier in the week. But possession counts for nothing if you don't do anything positive with it and this was the case here, as no decisive final balls were played in to the front two.
It was hard to see how this Huntly team had disposed of Peterhead in the first round, but we've all watched East Fife for long enough to know that you can't count your chickens before they're served up with a festive garnish.
The second half at least started with some action and it was Huntly that threatened first when Jerry O'Driscoll forced a good save from Scott Morrison.
East Fife responded and Brian Fairbairn had a chance on 49 minutes but his effort flashed just wide. Minutes later Stevie Nicholas got himself in a good position, but blasted well over from 12 yards out.
As the hour mark approached, a fast breakaway by Johnny Mitchell (whose pace was nowhere near exploited enough, but when it was he looked dangerous) saw him ghost past the last defender wide left, before sending a perfect ball across the goalmouth but there was no one up there in support to take advantage.
This was to prove the last real dangerous East Fife attack and it was Huntly who had the better of the remainder of the game.
They caused some flutters in the Fife defence with a dangerous cross in to the box but it was cleared just before a Huntly player could get to it. This was then quickly followed by a long range effort that flew inches wide.
Then as the game looked to be grinding out to a bore draw, the best effort of the came along a minute in to injury time.
Huntly right back, Neil Reid, picked the ball up inside the Fife half, beat three players then crashed a tremendous dipping effort off the bar from 30 yards out. It would have been goal of the season without a doubt and Morrison would have had no chance, but the follow up was blasted over the bar and the Fife lived to fight another day.
So the final whistle came and it was the Fife fans who were the most relieved. Shows how far we've fallen really. Neither team did enough on the day to earn a victory and a draw was a fair result, but Huntly must feel that if they bring the game to us more and attack from the word go, then we're there for the taking in the replay.
The first goal next week will prove vital, as it could be the only one! Will East Fife's proud record of never having lost to a non league side in our 101 year history still be intact when this tie is all over? It's going to be a tight one!
C'mon the Fife.
FINAL SCORE: Huntly 0 - 0 East Fife
EAST FIFE: Morrison, Renwick, Brash, Lumsden, Bain, Kelly, Paliczka, G. McDonald, Nicholas, Mitchell, Fairbairn (Herkes 78) Subs (not used)- Logie, Tarditi, Byle and Gaughan
ATTENDANCE: 1700 (all black and gold!)
The defence win most of the plaudits this week -
3 points - KEVIN BAIN (Excellent untroubled game at the back)
2 points - CRAIG LUMSDEN (Snap!)
1 point - SEAN PALICZKA (Quiet game, but still the best attacking option we showed)
A great site - black and gold everywhere!
The Bairn can't recreate last week's free kick magic
Somewhere in there, Huntly come close!
[For another report on the game and stats, check out the EAST FIFE MAD site]
[For more pics of the game check out Brian Lawson's THEFIFERS.CO.UK site]