SAT 27TH MAR 2004: H v MORTON (SCOTTISH 2ND DIVISION)
Going in to a game against the League leaders, that you haven't beaten since nineteen canteen, on the back of a 3-1 loss and a bad dip in form and one point above the relegation spot, what else did you expect to happen? It was always going to be a Fife win!
With Mikey Hall still not recovered from his stomach strain (boo!) and Paddy Kelly also out injured (hoorah!), along with Euan Donaldson who seems to be another one to have fallen out of favour with a certain individual, it was a new looking side to the one that played Dumbarton. In came Ian McDonald to the left back role and Brian Blair made a return to the starting eleven.
Both teams started brightly and it looked like it was going to be another entertaining affair between the two sides. We didn't know it was going to be another tense one!
Morton had the first real "effort" of the game after 7 minutes, when Marco "Scummer" Maisano shot from outside the box and although Gary O'Connor saved well, the rebound was thankfully hit over. This was to be pretty much the closest Morton came to scoring for the whole match.
With seventeen minutes on the clock, some nice work by Jay Stein resulted in Kenny Deuchar getting the ball just inside the Morton box. A neat one-two with Brian Blair just failed to come off and although the blocked bobbling ball appeared to hit a Morton hand in the box, the referee waved play on.
East Fife were in the ascendancy now. A brilliant dummy by Craig McMillan just inside the Morton half set Brian Fairbairn free on the right wing. His whipped in cross just failed to be met by the in-rushing Deuchs and was cleared away for a corner.
Two minutes later the same two players reversely combined in a similar move, with Deuchar firing the cross in, Fairbairn dummying and the danger was again cleared.
Less than a minute later, another Fife chance, but Greig McDonald headed over from a corner.
It was all East Fife now and Morton were posing no attacking threat at all, with Gary O'Connor left to watch the Morton players hit the ball everywhere but on target, aided by some awful offside decisions by the standside linesman - but at least he was to prove consistantly awful in the second half!
With just over half an hour gone, Greig McDonald headed another corner just over and as the first half ticked down a jinky run from a Morton no-mark was easily held by Gary O'Connor.
East Fife were trying some nice passing moves and another one of them nearly came off between Fairbairn and McMillan with two minutes of the half remaining, but Craig's chip back to Brian in the box saw the young striker take one touch too many and the ball was booted away.
Just as the half was ending and you were beginning to wonder why Morton are still at the top of the League, they showed that they can be dangerous, as their best player on the day, Scott Bannerman, tried a speculative lob from the edge of the box that had Gary O'Connor scrambling and looped just over.
So, half time, 0-0 and a promising performance. Were we finally going to break the Morton hoodoo?
The second half started as the first one had finished with a speculative lob! This time for East Fife, though Jay Stein, but his effort also just looped over.
East Fife should have opened the scoring on 48 minutes when a lovely chip into the box saw Brian Blair one on one with the keeper, but Craig Coyle made an excellent save, when Brian should have perhaps cut the ball inside to an open Deuchs. In saying that though, if the roles had been reversed, I'm pretty sure that Kenny wouldn't have passed! He might have scored though!!!
Jay Stein was having an excellent start to the half and causing the Morton defence a lot of problems. With 51 minutes gone his pass to Kevin Bain saw the captain float a beautiful cross into the box. Morton played the offside trap, obviously forgetting how awful the linesman was, and it backfired big-time as Kenny Deuchar ran in and rose unchallenged, with no Morton player anywhere within six yards of him in fact, to head the ball home with ease. Big Deuchs doesn't miss from there (call the cliché cops) and it was 1-0 Laker Boys. Cue wild celebrations amongst the Fife faithful for what, we personally think, was a goal that was miles offside! Hey, they all count!!!
There then followed 40 minutes of tension!
As is the usual of our style of play with the lead on the board, East Fife sat back and allowed Morton to come into it and have their best spell of pressure of the game. Despite the pressure though, the Fife defence held well and every player was outstanding as Morton continued to look ineffectual. Bannerman shot over on 64 minutes and then a scramble in the six yard box on 71 minutes was cleared for a Morton corner, but Gary O'Connor was never put under any pressure.
East Fife were still capable of causing their own problems and with quarter of an hour remaining, substitute Jimmy Herkes (who was putting himself about a bit since coming on for Brian Fairbairn) was put through on the left, with Deuchs running through the middle. Jimmy took a little too long to deliver his cross and it was blocked in the end for a corner.
A minute later, some good work near the bye line by McMillan, saw his dangerous cross cleared.
As the game ticked into the last ten minutes, Morton were reduced to shooting from outside the box, but it was East Fife who had the last real chance and should have buried the game on 82 minutes. Greig McDonald delicately chipped in a free kick which caught the Morton defence cold and Jimmy Herkes ran unchallenged through to meet the chip, but instead of hitting it first time with only the keeper to beat, once again too much time was taken on the ball and the opportunity was lost.
That may have been the end of the action, but not the talking points. As the game approached the ninety minute mark, a Morton player went down in the box after running into Gary O'Connor. Gary booted the ball out of play to allow treatment, but it was obvious from the Morton line up that the ball was not going to be returned. This proved to be correct when the resultant throw in went to the scummer Aussie Maisano who refused to give the ball back and tried to start an attacking move. As with the rest of the Morton attacks on the day it came to fuck all and Maisano and Craig Lumsden squared up and although we would have dearly have loved Craig to melt the cheating cunt, only verbals were exchanged, which the Aussie continued up the tunnel at the end, mouthing off and gesturing to the home support.
Maisano's support in the cabaret of fools also came at the final whistle when some stereotypical speccy shell-suit wearing weegie came hurtling down the stairs to run at the Fife fans, grabbing his crotch and making himself look like the complete and utter lowlife dick that he obviously was.
Nobody likes bad loser. But remember kid, a bad loser or a good loser, you're still a loser.
With Morton's bottle breaking faster the condom that started the crotch-grabber's life, it's shaping up to be an interesting finish to the League. We've pulled ourselves that wee bit further away from Arbroath and the game on the 17th should still be the decider. Roll on Wednesday and let's hope we keep up the whole team spirit that we showed today. C'mon the Fife!
EAST FIFE: O'Connor, McMillan, I. McDonald, Lumsden, Mathie, Bain, Fairbairn (Herkes 62), Blair (Mortimer 92), Deuchar (Stewart 90), Stein Subs (not used) - Graham, Donaldson
ATTENDANCE: 1114 (um, ok then)
AFTN MAN OF THE MATCH: GREIG McDONALD was outstanding, winning everything. Closely followed by Craig Lumsden.
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