SAT 11TH SEPT 2004: H v EAST STIRLING (SCOTTISH 3RD DIV)
A team playing badly, playing a team that had lost their last 30 away games. Looked a worrying recipe for disaster. Thankfully it wasn't, but it was nearer a flat souffle than a fine flan. (No, we have no idea what we're talking about either!).
With East Fife's squad depleting further every week, Kris Brash continued in the left back position and Brian Fairbairn and Derek Colquhoun were given the responsibility of breaking down the worst team in Scotland's defence.
East Fife started well and had a couple of wasted corners, but it was East Stirling that had the first serious attempt at goal, but Carl Thywisson's blistering drive rocketed just over. Seconds later and it was another excellent Shire attack when Joe Robertson slipped the ball inside to Ross Donaldson and his effort was brilliantly tipped over by Scott Morrison.
Possession was even, but it was the Shire that were having the best opportunities and midway through the half Jamie Dunbar was unlucky to see his chipped effort land on the roof of the net.
With these scares over, East Fife finally got themselves into the game and their best chance of the game so far came with 25 minutes gone. A corner in by Jimmy Herkes was blocked and came back out to him and his cross back in to the box was just missed by the jumping Derek Colquhoun, forcing Shire keeper Ross Gilpin to make a one handed save on the deck, which he managed to smother before Brian Fairbairn could run on to the loose ball.
There was some sustained East Fife pressure now. Brian Fairbairn was putting in good work on both flanks and with 28 minutes gone he gave the ball to Brash, who tried a neat one-two in the box, which just failed to come off as the Shire defence managed to clear the danger.
East Stirling let the Fife know that they were still in the game though moments later when Scott Livingston watched his effort fly just over.
East Fife went back up the pitch and Fairbairn picked the ball up around the edge off the box. Unable to get a good shot off, his effort deflected to Colquhoun but his weak effort was easily blocked by the defence.
Colquhoun soon made amends though and with 34 minutes gone he latched on to a long ball, controlled it well at the edge of the box, took a touch to his right foot and blast the ball home past Gilpin for 1-0 East Fife - instantly becoming the Club's joint top scorer!
With half time approaching, Colquhoun had a great chance to double the lead, getting on the end of a Kris Brash cross but his header went inches wide.
So, half time and 1-0 up at home to the team who are meant to be the Division's whipping boys, surely this would be the chance for the Fife to turn it on in the second half? Apparently not, as the second half developed into a game of few chances, even possession and poor finishing on behalf of East Stirling.
The Shire had the better chances in the half with Donaldson deflecting a shot just wide five minutes in and then setting off on a great run minutes later that set up a fierce shot from Dunbar, which Morrison brilliantly saved.
They followed these up with a couple of half chances, as all East Fife could manage to do was win corners and then disappoint.
The Fife's best (only?) chance of the half came with sixteen minutes remaining when Steele went on a good run on the left, leaving three Shire players in his wake, before delivering a pinpoint cross into the box with Fairbairn, Herkes and Colquhoun all queuing up to get on the end of it. The Bairn was the one that did, but his header from 8 yards out was another to land on the top of the net.
It was East Stirling that had the last chance of the game, with nine minutes remaining, when their substitute Findlay ran on to a long ball, with Morrison advancing out of his goal. Scott then proceeded to also whizz past the ball, giving all the Black and Gold heart failure before recovering.
So, 1-0 Fife and it wasn't pretty. The game had it's moments and it was an improvement on last week's performance but we could have so easily been humbled by the worst team in Scotland if they got the breaks and improved their finishing. Our crosses were poor for the most part and East Stirling played a better passing game. Plusses though were the performances of Morrison, Renwick and Lumsden in the defence, Byle in the midfield and Fairbairn and Colquhoun look like they could make an interesting partnership up front.
Still, it was a win. We're going in the right direction, but it's only in games like last week and next that we'll really see what our side is made of. Roll on Gretna, big spending and all.
C'mon the Fife.
FINAL SCORE: East Fife 1 - 0 East Stirling
EAST FIFE: Morrison, Renwick, Brash, Lumsden, Mathie - Trialist, Byle, Herkes, Kelly, Fairbairn, Colquhoun, Steele (Tarditi 87) Subs (not used)- Trialist keeper, McKenzie, Crawford and Linton
A little bit easier this week, as some players actually had not bad games! As always, our choices are certainly open to discussion and disagreement, but we're going for:
3 points - Scott Morrison - can't believe I'm writing this, but his saves kept us in the game!
2 points - Michael Renwick - caught drifting in to the middle a little towards the end, but solid game apart from that
1 point - Brian Fairbairn - was busy and productive, but needs to stop trying to over beat defenders
Colquhoun comes close