Wednesday, August 11, 2010

In recent years, East Fife and Cup quarter finals have not been happy bed fellows. The Challenge Cup may not be the most glamourous of competitions that the Fife take part in each season, but frankly, it's the only national Cup that we have any chance of winning and even that's being optimistic.

Last night's excellent 3-1 win for the Fife over Stirling Albion at Bayview in the Second Round of the Alba Challenge Cup sees us reach the quarter finals of the competition for the first time since 1996.

The Challenge Cup has been a dreadful competition for East Fife over the years, although it didn't start off that way.

The Cup was launched in the 1990/91 season, initially to celebrate the centenary of the Scottish Football League. East Fife reached the quarter finals that season, with a 2-1 victory against Clydebank at Kilbowie being followed up by a 2-1 win over Stranraer at Bayview. This set up a last eight showdown at home to Kilmarnock, with the Ayrshire men running out 2-1 winners in front of 2,101 fans.

East Fife have reached the quarter finals on two further occasions. In 1991/92, when they lost a close 3-2 game at Bayview Park to a Hamilton Accies side, having recorded two away victories at Meadowbank Thistle and Queens Park in the first and second rounds. In 1996/97 the eventual winners Stranraer ended our hopes with a 1-0 quarter final win, after the Fife had put out Falkirk at home in the second round and got a bye in the first round.

This season is the 20th Challenge Cup. There was no Cup held in the 1998/99 season due to a lack of sponsorship.

In those 19 previous Cups, East Fife have crashed out in the first round on 13 occasions, including a woeful spell between 1999/2000 season and 2007/08 where they lost nine consecutive first round match ups, so getting anywhere in the competition is an added bonus as far as I'm concerned!

With the final scheduled for Sunday 28th November, when I'll be back in the Kingdom, you have to allow me the opportunity to dream of a possible Cup Final appearance. We're only two games away and there are only three first division sides remaining.

The quarter final draw is 2.30pm tomorrow. I'm hoping for Forfar or Stenhousemuir at home. With the exciting, attacking football that Stevie Crawford has us playing this season though, then we shouldn't fear anyone.

This could very well be our year.


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