Sunday, September 19, 2010

Last season saw East Fife derailed by inconsistancy and conceding what seemed at times like a constant stream of late goals.

Six games into the 2010/11 campaign and it seems that old habits really do die hard, although on this occasion some horrific officiating played a huge hand in proceedings to create one of those games that will pop up in Fife quiz questions for future generations.

Defeat to a stoppage time goal for the second week on the trot was hard enough to take in itself. To lose 3-2 to a hat trick of penalties from Ayr United's Mark Roberts though was another matter entirely.

The game, which saw four penalties awarded, two red cards shown and five bookings, was described by the BBC match report as being an "ill-tempered game", but this couldn't have been further from the truth.

There was hardly a bad tackle in it and both sides were punished from some really poor officiating.

Ayr took the lead in the 13th minute when a penalty was awarded for a very dubious shirt pull in the box. This was cancelled out by East Fife's own penalty award on the day after Lloyd Young was fouled three times in the box. Only one penalty could be given and Robert Sloan duly dispatched the equaliser on 27 minutes.

This spurred on the Fife and they had their best spell of the game, justly taking the lead when Kurtis Byrne netted from close range.

The turning point came a minute before the break when Bobby Linn was adjudged to be the last man when he brought down an Ayr player in the box. What the hell he was doing back there as the last man and not a defender is another argument. The Boaby saw red and Ayr saw level terms when Roberts converted penalty number two.

The Fife's brave second half rear guard action looked to have secured a well deserved and confidence boosting point before referee McDermott wanted to hog the after match talking points (for that read strong abuse from the Fife faithful) and awarded Ayr their third penalty of the afternoon in the final seconds or regulation time.

The award was another strange one after Jonny Smart appeared to clear the ball cleanly whilst under pressure from Roberts. With no-one appealing for anything the ref pointed to the spot and Roberts hit home his hat-trick.

You would think he would have been happy with that but he then went on to prove that he is in fact a complete dickhead. Looking to timewaste and take the ball, the Fife's Stuart Cargill had other ideas. Roberts then aimed a kick and punch at the Fife player and saw red for violent conduct. What a fucking fud.

The final whistle came to a chorus of boos and East Fife fans struggled to comprehend what the hell had just happened out there.

The thing is, East Fife didn't actually play all that badly. They were outplayed in the second due to Ayr's numerical advantage but they had held their own in the first 45. To hold out for pretty much the whole second half with ten men, and under constant Ayr pressure, was a big boost for the defence that has looked shaky at times.

Some players now seem to have been posted missing and the gaffer leaving himself out of the team seesm to be having a detrimental effect. It shouldn't considering his age and that of those that should be capable of filling his void, but that is becoming more evident with each game.

Still 30 games to go, so no major panic stations yet. Considering league leaders Livingston are next and their reserve side just destroyed a strong Fife reserve side 7-0 midweek, coupled with our poor away form, next weekend could very well end up being a horror show.

C'mon the Fife.

FINAL SCORE: East Fife 1 - 0 Ayr United (Ayr win 3-1 on penalties)

EAST FIFE: Brown, Muir, S Campbell, Murdoch, Durie, Johnstone (Deland 78), Young, Sloan, Byrne (Cargill 81), Hislop (Smart 60), Linn [Subs Not Used: Baillie, Tansey]

ATT: 664

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