Saturday, July 24, 2010

Ah, there's nothing like the start of another football season. The League campaign may not get underway for another two weeks but the first round of the Alba Challenge Cup kicked off this afternoon.

And what a game for East Fife to start their 2010/11 campaign! Seven goals, two sendings off, two penalties (one missed, one scored), extra time, a last minute winner, the potential goal of the season already and the crossbar saving Brechin on three occasions. Incredible stuff and not just for a season opener.

There could have been more goals, more penalties and more sending offs, but we'll make do with what we got! There were some cracking goals along the way and I can't wait to see how all this action is going to be condensed into a short highlights package on the East Fife official website. Could be a long un, so dig out the popcorn.

East Fife went into the game with high hopes, buoyed by their pre-season goalscoring form. So did Brechin though and it was the two form teams who met at Bayview this afternoon and they showed why they had that tag.

The Fife faithful were starting to wonder whether they'd got their hopes up a little bit too soon by half time though. Brechin went in to the interval one up after Rory McAllister had shot City into a 27th minute lead in what was a pretty uneventful first half.

The remaining 75 minutes more than made up for that though.

Bobby Linn, who has been in sensational pre-season form, spurned the chance to put the Fife back on level terms when his penalty was saved by Brechin keeper Craig Nelson. Linn couldn't put away the rebound either and the Glebe Park side had a lucky escape.

It wasn't to last long though and City keeper Nelson saw red moments later when he gave away a penalty which this time Robert Sloan duly tucked away past the sub keeper Scott and into the bottom left hand corner.

East Fife pressed for the winner and everyone thought it had come three minutes from normal time when gaffer Stevie Crawford, ran at the Brechin defence and saw his effort go in off the bottom left hand post for 2-1 and seemingly game over.

Neil Janczyk had other ideas though and tied the game up once again straight from kick off with a thumping low long ranger that somehow beat Fife goalie Michael Brown from about 35 yards out.

Scott Durie put the Fife ahead 3 minutes into extra time with what will possibly already be our goal of the season, a long range across goal looper from 25 yards out. The lead lasted eight minutes before ten man Brechin equalised again through Ewan Moyes when he ran on to a through ball and neatly lobbed the ball over Brown in the Fife goal.

East Fife were then reduced by a man themselves three minutes later when sub Lee Bryce was shown a harsh straight red for retaliation, after a pretty innocuous incident off the ball.

The game looked like it could now go either way, with McAllister having proved a real handful to the Fife defence all afternoon. East Fife's penalty record in Cup games isn't the best over the years but that's how it looked like it was going to be settled until the Boaby made his mark.

With a minute of extra time remaining Bobby Linn ran through but was hauled down in what should have been a red card, but only a free kick was given to the left of the box. That didn't matter though as up stepped King Boaby to hit a low free kick through the mass of players and into the net for the winner and send the Fife fans into raptures.

4-3 final score and what a cracker.

East Fife played pretty well on the whole, with Paul Tansey the Fife man of the match, closely followed by Craig Johnstone. Considering we were missing three probable starters that wasn't too shabby. It's also nice to make the second round of the Challenge Cup for once.

The final's going to be when I'm over, so.... Ah, we can but dream.

Although it's great to get a win, we shouldn't get too carried away. At least, not just yet!

If we must look at some down sides, we struggled to kill off Brechin and make the most of the one man advantage. As someone on the AFTN Forum said, our defence was looking a little "frightening" at times. We're shipping goals in every game, no matter the quality of the opposition. We could be in for a bit of a Kevin Keegan season and as long as we score one more than we concede then who cares?!

FINAL SCORE: East Fife 4 - 3 Brechin City (AET)

EAST FIFE: M. Brown, Durie, Deland, Muir, Ovenstone, Murdoch, Linn, Johnstone (Bryce 90), Crawford, Sloan, Tansey (Cargill 84) Subs Not Used: Smart, R. Brown & Baillie

ATT: 417

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