Saturday, November 28, 2009

Match Report: East Fife v Montrose (Scottish Cup 3rd Round)

East Fife crashed out of the Scottish Cup at the first time of asking today after a truly woeful performance against Montrose at Links Park.

So often giantkillers and the producers of shock results themselves over the years, East Fife succumbed to one of the round's shocks themselves when they lost 2-1 to a team who sit bottom of the Scottish Third Division and who are without a League win all season.

And to be brutally frank, Montrose totally deserved their victory and could and should have won by more.

If the Gable Endies could have taken their chances, or been boosted bu greater confidence in front of goal, then they would have had a comfortable lead by half time.

East Fife started the stronger but after the first ten minutes were hardly at the races. Goalmouth scrambles, the crossbar and poor finishing kept the scores somehow level at the interval and we all expected the Fife to come out all guns blazing after the bollocking they would surely have got at half time.

To be fair to them, they did come out better and made most of the early running in the half, but Montrose kept up the breakaways and counter attacks to show they were still very much up for the Cup shock.

It really came as no surprise when they took the lead after 57 minutes.

Bobby Linn gave the ball away and Paul Watson, who had hit the bar in the first half, took the full opportunity to run onto to Mark Ridgers and drill the ball home.

The goal seemed to jerk East Fife into life and Jamie McCunnie crashed the ball off the bar.

It only took four minutes for the higher division Fifers to get back to parity when Paul McManus swivelled to volley the ball high into the net from a corner.

Surely this would be the spark we were wanting to drive the Fife into the next round.

Not to be though as East Fife had the better possession but Montrose the better chances for the rest of the match.

The Fife defence seemed all at sea on several occasions, guilty of ball watching at times and our midfield weren't part of it all as it was just punt, punt, punt up to McManus in the corner.

Montrose should have wrapped the game up well before the 88th minute but it was another defensive slip that did the damage and John Gemmell hit home after a great cut across goal from Montrose sub Nicol.

The goal cued wild celebrations on the Links Park terracing and rightly so.

East Fife still hold their record of never losing to a non league side in the Cup, but bottom of the bottom league in Scotland doesn't come any closer.

For the Fife it's that good old league concentration now, but the defence needs to tighten up considerably and the long ball has to stop.

Paul Sludden has shown me nothing in the last two games to get excited about and we desperately need some help for the hardworking Shagger.

I've also never seen so many messages getting conveyed from the touchline, with players seemingly over all afternoon and four people deciding what message to give.

If we don't start turning things round soon, this is going to turn into a nightmare season to forget and we'll find outrselves back in the basement we spent so long trying to get out of.

C'mon the Fife

FINAL SCORE: Montrose 2 - 1 East Fife

ATT: 509

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