SAT 7TH MAY 2005: A v MONTROSE (SCOTTISH 3RD DIVISION)

At last, the moment we'd been waiting for - the end of the season! But, now that it's come, we're already counting down to next season's kick off. Grrrr, football!

We went along to Links Park expecting a drab, dismal end of season spectacular, but East Fife were out to prove us wrong from the start and turned in one of their best performances of the season, only tainted by the giving away of two soft, late goals.

The Fife had the better of the early possession and Fraser Duncan was unlucky not to open his Fife goalscoring account when he crashed a header off a bar from a corner after 13 minutes, in what was the Fife's only real threat on goal from the possession superiority in the opening period.

The other highlight of the opening 20 minutes being when former Fife keeper, Jim Butter, managed to smack the ball of Mo defender Barry Donnachie from about 5 yards away when trying to kick the ball upfield!

Montrose's best effort came midway through the half when Kevin Webster sent a long range curler wide of the top left hand corner of John Dodd's goal.

Stevie Nicholas had an effort easily cleared off the line after 33 minutes and then minutes later, Johnny Mitchell went on a mazy in the box, twisting and turning in from the bye line, before firing in a shot which crashed of the left hand post, as East Fife tried to make their possession turn into a goal.

This was the last real action of the half as the teams went in level, with East Fife surely happy at their first half efforts.

As is so often the case, Montrose came out in the second half looking like a different team, attacking from the off and forcing Craig Lumsden to clear Calum Watson's effort off the line on 50 minutes.

As the game flowed back and forth, the Fife took the lead five minutes later as Johnny Mitchell latched on to a long ball, beat the offside trap and drilled it low past Butter to make it 1-0 Fife and send the travelling Fife faithful into raptures.

The joy continued four minutes later when Les Byle brilliantly knocked in a cross at the back post to make it 2-0 and the Fife looked to be coasting.

But as we've learned so often before this season, it's never that simple, and Montrose got themselves back in to the game.

Johnny Mitchell had another chance to score with a bizarre part of his anatomy (his arse this time) with twelve minutes remaining as Butter smacked a clearance off him this time.

Montrose really looked out of it and the game looked to be drifting away when Graeme Sharp lifted Mo spirits with five minutes remaining, powering in a shot from the edge of the box which Dodds just failed to keep out.

It looked like it was going to be scant consolation for Montrose but two minutes into injury time, up popped Sharp again to turn and fire a low effort past Dodds from 12 yards out for the equaliser.

How East Fife managed to throw away this victory and leave without the three points is a mystery, but they managed it! Still, that sums up our season really and thankfully that's it all over.

Now all we have is weeks to plan pre-season trips, look for summer signings and take part in AFTN Whitecaps Prediction League! Then it'll be next season in no time.

C'mon the Fife.

FINAL SCORE: Montrose 2 - 2 East Fife


EAST FIFE: Dodds, Duncan, Brash, Lumsden, Bain, Kelly (Crawford 69), Palizcka (Ferguson 81), Byle, Nicholas, Mitchell, Beith Subs (Not Used): Morrison, Boyle, Tarditi

ATTENDANCE: 496

AFTN 3-2-1:

3 points - JOHNNY MITCHELL (has come on leaps and bounds in last few games)

2 points - CRAIG LUMSDEN (another great performance at the back)

1 point - LES BYLE (good contribution to midfield and a good goal)

The vocal Fife faithful



[For another report on the game and stats, check out the EAST FIFE MAD site]

[For more pics of the games check out Brian Lawson's THEFIFERS.CO.UK site]





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