Tuesday, March 9, 2010

It's safe to say that tonight didn't go as East Fife had hoped. All in all it was a bit of a disaster, but at least with hindsight, we can breathe a huge sigh of release that it wasn't even worse.

From the attendance to the result to the results elsewhere and even the discipline aspect, it wasn't a good Tuesday.

The Club had reduced admission prices to tempt some of the stayaway punters back. It didn't work, as the paltry 463 in attendance was evidence of, but coming on the back of a 6-2 gubbing at your local rivals, that's not exactly a huge surprise.

Tonight was a night for the players to show what they were made of. How a team bounces back from humiliation is a key sign to their mental strength and attitude, as Stevie Crawford eluded to in the press prior to the game.

When Clyde took the lead two minutes into stoppage time in the first half, thanks to a 20 yard effort from Alistair Park, things were looking bleak. Arbroath were one up at Cowden and the Fife were officially sitting second bottom and in the relegation playoff spot.

Three second half goals, in four second half minutes in the two games changed things dramatically, lifted the Fife back to third bottom and showed how tight this run in is going to be.

Clyde had almost doubled their advantage, and they really should have with a 4 on 1 breakaway, before Stuart Cargill took advantage of sloppy defending from the Bully Wee to hit home the Fife equaliser on 64 minutes.

Phew!

Paul McManus saw red for a harshly judged off the ball incident with 13 minutes left and the Fife finished the game with 9 men when Jonny Smart was sent off for a second bookable offence in stoppage time (to be fair he could have gone on several occasions before this).

Amazingly the Fife held on. It helps to be playing the division's bottom side at times like that.

A scraped draw, couple with a Smokies defeat gave East Fife what could prove to one of their most important points of the season. We now have a three point cushion over Arbroath and with a better goal difference, it feels like four.

What is most worrying is losing two of our key players to suspension at this vital stage of the season. The loss of Shagger is particularly tough and it seems he is facing a three match ban for violent conduct.

When a team is sitting third bottom, having mustered just six league wins all season and 32 league goals in the process, losing the man responsible for 13 of those goals is a potentially killer blow.

With the constant stream of fixtures to come, tonight's result is leaving things looking very bleak and for the first time this year, I'm seriously thinking we may be playing Third Division football next season.

Hopefully the players will prove me wrong. With our last game of the season being away to Arbroath though, it could be a nervy nervy final match.

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