SAT 15TH JAN 2005: A v PETERHEAD (SCOTTISH THIRD DIVISION)
After the excitement of the Cup the week before, it was back to boring old League business this week, as the Fife made the long trip up north to face the high-flying, championship chasing Blue Toon.
Would the players minds be focussed on the game or would they one eye on the Cup replay at Dunfermline and another on Celtic in the horizon?
The ninety minutes that followed certainly showed the difference you can get between two no scoring draws! Last week, excitement and edge of the seat stuff. This week, boredom! It wasn't the best of games, but what excitement there was at times was at least good!
East Fife fielded an unchanged starting eleven from last week's Cup heroics, but it was Peterhead that threatened first.
With four minutes on the clock, a slip by former Blue Tooner Kris Brash allowed the dangerous Martin Bavidge a clear run at goal but he shot far too early and blasted the ball high and over.
Brash made amends minutes later when he delivered a dangerous low cross into the box, but there were no Fife takers and Peterhead cleared the danger.
East Fife had a better chance sixteen minutes in when Stevie Nicholas found himself in a good position ten yards out and curled a delightful effort just over and on top of the net.
Not to be outdone, Allan Youngson had a good effort for the home team, but looped his shot just over the bar as well.
The game was turning scrappy. It was a stronger wind than it looked and both teams were going to have to be content with speculative long range efforts for most of the game, as both defences were holding firm and chances were at a premium.
With just over half an hour gone however, East Fife had their best chance of the game so far, as Greig McDonald crashed a powerful header off the bar, with Peterhead assistant player manager Paul Mathers well beaten. Unfortunately, Mathers managed to recover and smother the rebound as two East Fife players pounced.
Still goal-less and the last real action of the half. A half in which East Fife were certainly the better side, showing what an improvement we have seen in the team in recent weeks. Certainly not outclassed and certainly not a performance that made it look like 28 points between the two teams!
The second half started where the first finished, with East Fife in the ascendancy and just three minutes in, they won a free kick wide left. From a very acute angle, Brian Fairbairn went for goal and glory and wasn't far away as the Fife faithful watched his effort zip just wide.
Youngson had a good attempt from a free kick himself soon after, but then on 56 minutes, East Fife struck the woodwork for a second time, as Stevie Nicholas, with the wind behind him, unleashed a cracking 35 yard piledriver that rattled off the bar with Mathers nowhere.
It was starting to look like, anything Fife could do, Peterhead could match and as the hour mark struck, so was the bar again. This time the East Fife one, as Jamie Buchan's effort crashed off it from 20 yards.
This signalled Peterhead's turn to be in the ascendancy in the game, having the better possession but doing nothing with it, whilst East Fife, Stevie Nicholas in particular, tried a few long range efforts that didn't trouble anyone.
As the game looked like petering out into a nil-nil draw, the Fife faithful had to find other ways of amusing themselves and it was on a vocal scale that did it, returning to some old school Fife classics from yesteryear ("and it's Methil East Fife, Methil East Fife FC, we are far the greatest team, the kingdom's ever seen"), a selection of children tv themes, a Half Man Half Biscuit medley, lots of endless/pointless noise and some Kasabian thrown in for good measure. Got us in the mood for Tuesday, cleared out the old vocal chords and kept us all amused. Best sing along we've have for ages at an away game! Whoosh!
There was a still a game on, of course, and as we entered the last ten minutes, Stevie Nic had another long range effort that just flew over.
Peterhead, who really needed the three points to keep on track with Gretna, went for it in the closing moments with Bobby Linn (you HAVE to check out his picture on the football staff section of the official Peterhead website - peterheadfc.org.uk!!! well it amused us!) going inches wide with an affort from outside the box.
But as the game ticked into injury time, Peterhead had a great chance to win it. A through ball saw Martin Bavidge and sub Keith Gibson two on one in the box with Scott Morrison. Scott came out to reduce the angle and it was Bavidge who got to the ball first, flicking it past Morrison and inches away from his left hand post. It couldn't have been any closer and may have been a vital couple of inches in Peterhead's Championship aspirations.
The final whistle came shortly after and a draw was a fair result.
We might not be up in Peterhead for a while, but let's hope they can stop Gretna from buying the title.
As for us, well what an improved team from even two months ago. They players are trying to play football and working as a team. They all look interested and committed and we can't ask for any more than that.
And of course, let's hope they pull something a little bit special out of the bag on Tuesday night.
C'mon the Fife.
FINAL SCORE: Peterhead 0 - 0 East Fife
EAST FIFE: Morrison, Renwick, Brash, Lumsden, Bain, Kelly, Paliczka, G. McDonald, Nicholas, Mitchell, Fairbairn Subs (not used) - McCafferty, Tarditi, Steele, Byle and Mathie
Not many stand out performances in a low key affair, but...
3 points - STEVIE NICHOLAS (kept trying to make something happen and peppering shots in on goal from long range)
2 points - SCOTT MORRISON (didn't really have much to do, but can't fault him for keeping another clena sheet)
1 point - KEVIN BAIN (looked organised at the back again)
Greig McDonald's header off the bar is just smothered
[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]