Sunday, March 13, 2011

East Fife made it four games unbeaten as they trounced Forfar Athletic 3-0 at Bayview yesterday.

The win saw the Fife make it ten points out of the last twelve available since AFTNgate broke on March 1st. You're welcome! (obviously we're just kidding!)

It was an even, end to end opening but the game changer came early. The 13th minute to be exact, when Forfar's Jamie Bishop saw red for a bad sliding tackle on Matthew Park. Some may argue he was hard done to, but hey, who cares about that as it gave us the huge advantage for the remainder of the game.

And the Fife grabbed that opportunity with both hands.

The Loons held firm for 20 minutes before captain Stevie Hislop broke their resistance and fired the Fife into the lead after some great build up work down the wing from Bobby Linn.

The half had a lively finish with ex Fifer Chris Templeman heading inches wide for Forfar and the Fife responding with a Park effort that crashed off the bar.

Forfar defended resolutely after the interval, but the Fife's patient build up play finally paid dividends with sixteen minutes remaining.

It was a slightly unusual goal, as it was a low drive from Jonny Smart and not one of his trademark headers that added East Fife's second. They all count and with the Fife now two goals to the good, the Bayview faithful could relax.

Bobby Linn added a third with just minutes remaining, firing home from close range after Lloyd Young's effort had been deflected off the post.

3-0, three points and another good all round team performance. Just what you wanted to warm your heart in the snowy gloom.

The win kept East Fife in 5th spot in the Second Division with ten games remaining. That's a ten point cushion on the relegation play-off place, which is currently occupied by Stenhousemuir, and eleven clear of Peterhead at the bottom. Our incredible goal difference is also worth another point.

We don't want to tempt fate but I'm pretty confident that we're now safe and that we've eased any relegation fears. In fact, we can still harbour faint hopes of making the promotion play-offs.

There's no doubting that we're the current form team in the League. A bad run by any of the three teams above us, may just let us in.

Whether we could hold our own in the First Division is a debate to have on another day, but a top three finish in particular would please me as my twenty quid each way bet on us would pay me something out!

Having something to play for is key for us for the remainder of the season. We need to keep the fans engaged and we need to get them coming through the gates and giving the Club some much needed income.

Who knows where these last ten games may see us. Could be a fun ride.

Mon the Fife.

FINAL SCORE: East Fife 3 - 0 Forfar Athletic

EAST FIFE: Brown, McGowan, Ovenstone, Smart, McCulloch, Young (Newbigging 90), Muir, Park, Johnstone, Hislop, Linn [Subs Not Used: Lyness, Durie, Fagan, Cargill]

ATT: 469

Friday, March 11, 2011

After last week's break to celebrate King Kenny's 60th, we're back with the series that was never meant to be a series!

This week - unusual pitch invasions.

Hooligans invading the pitch to taunt the opposition fans are old hat. Nothing to see here, please move on. No, what you want is some unique and unusual invasions of the pitch.

Yes, they are big. Yes, they are clever. But most of all they're very funny. Here's a few that tickled us. I was even at one of them in person...

"You'll never beat Jay Nolly" indeed.

We've featured this one on the blog before but this never gets old. Not every day you see a man in a wheelchair invade the pitch!

I love the way he's hauled off the pitch and fake smacked on the back of the head by his mate.

Finally, we'll leave you with a streaker. Again, not an original sight, but if you haven't aeen this clip already this week, then it's not so much the pitch invasion that's unusual but what happens afterwards. Crazy!

As always, enjoy and mon the Fife.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

I'm not sure that we can really class two wins on the bounce "a run", but with the up and down season East Fife have had, we're going with it!

The Fife followed up their vital 3-1 win against Peterhead on Tuesday night with a victory by the same scoreline against Alloa Athletic this afternoon at Recreation Park.

The damage was all done in the first half.

Alloa had some great early chances but it was East Fife who ended up taking the lead.

Craig Johnstone fired home a Steven Hislop cross to open the scoring after 34 minutes, then came a rare sight for the black and gold - goals for us in stoppage tme. Two to be precise.

First Alloa's Ross Philp turned a Bobby Linn cross into his own net, then moments later Stoney made it three when he nabbed his second.

Alloa had the Fife on the rack for a lot of the second half but Michael Brown made some tremendous stops in the Fife goal to keep them at bay for most of the half.

The only blip of the afternoon came when Michael McGowan fired home a 66th minute penalty, but this was to only be scant consolation for the Wasps, with the Fife defence holding firm and not allowing them to get back into the game.

It was heavy Alloa pressure as they pushed for more but it was East Fife who had the ball in the net again late on, but Linn's goal was ruled offside.

A great win and some good team performances. It was also nice to see the players applaud the fans at the end after all that's happened this week.

The win catapulted the Fife up the table to fifth, thanks to their superior goal difference. Six points behind Forfar now, with a game against Airdrie looming on Tuesday and then a home game against the Loons next Saturday.

There's a chance we could be sitting in the playoff spots this time next Saturday. After all the crazyness that this week has brought, I don't think any of us expected that.

Mon the Fife.

FINAL SCORE: Alloa Athletic 1 - 3 East Fife

EAST FIFE: Brown, Smart, McGowan, Ovenstone, Park, Young, Muir, McCulloch, Johnstone, Hislop (Fagan 74), Linn [Subs Not Used: Lyness, Durie, Murdoch, Cargill]

ATT: 579

Friday, March 4, 2011

Legend is a word bandied about all too often in football circles these days.

There is no doubt that Kenneth Mathieson Dalglish deserves that accolade. Oh for someone of that calibre in the Scottish international team today.

30 goals in 102 appearances for Scotland. 230 in 559 appearances for Celtic and Liverpool. All done over four decades. Pure quality.

King Kenny turns 60 today and AFTN wants to pay tribute to the great man.

Some of you may be too young to remember him as a player. He was one of my footballing heroes growing up and this video compilation shows why (sorry that it has such shit music!):

He may be 60 now but he's still showing he has the football knowledge to perform at the highest level and has transformed Liverpool since he replaced Roy Hodgson.

Have a great day Kenny and we'll leave you with one of our favourite football songs. "Sharp As A Needle" by Barmy Army was released in 1988. Taking it's name from a line in a radio commentary about King Kenny, it's a fitting tribute in itself. Enjoy...

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Last night's Old Firm game was carnage!

Three Rangers sending offs, tunnel rammies and coaching staff squaring up to each other. Scotland's shame or great television?

We put a lot of the blame for the problems in the Scottish game at the door of the Old Firm but I think a lot of the reactions to last night's game are a bit over the top. I mean, really, a summit with the First Minister.

Part of the reason that people tune in to the Old Firm games is because they're waiting for the flare ups and the flashpoints. It's car crash TV!

Some of you won't care to watch at all, but those of us that do partake in the bigot brothers television show don't want to see a boring, scoreless game. We want the kind of mayhem we saw last night.

Is it football? Well it's not's the beautiful game. Does it damage Scotland's footballing reputation? I don't even know we have much of a reputation left any more. At least the kind of scenes we saw last night show that there's passion in the Scottish game.

It's even funnier of course when it's the Union Jack wearing dickheads that are getting the brunt of it all. Rangers were a disgrace last night.

I'm amazed it took this many games and these many minutes for El-Hadji Diouf to get his first red card in an Old Firm encounter. Everyone's just been waiting for him to lose it and last night was that night.

I thought referee Calum Murray had a good game and the comments of Rangers chief executive Martin Bain were bang out of order. Did the Old Firm not learn anything from the referees strike earlier in the season? Actually, do they ever learn anything?

We now have people calling for the games to be played behind closed doors. That serves no point at all. You need to keep it off the television and out of the pubs if you want to stop the public disorder that follows the games. The players last night wouldn't have behaved much differently whether there was a crowd in there watching or not.

When you have two clubs and two supports fueled on hatred then what do you expect to get when the team's play.

What all these concerned people should really be looking at is what a shocking state Scottish football is in when the Old Firm end up playing seven games in a season.

Reduce that number and you reduce all the shit that goes with it.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

It's not been an easy season for those of an East Fife persuasion. Inconsistancies and a relegation battle seem to be the two main outcomes of a season that promised so much during the freeflowing goalfest that was the pre-season.

My twenty quid bet's out the window, but it's not just the fans that are feeling the frustrations, the players and management are too.

Recent results have seen a barrage of comments and criticism on our forum about the performances we've been seeing and the results we've been getting.

With some players, especially club captain Steven Hislop, being singled out for personal criticism, the players felt that enough was enough and issued a statement in the programme for last night's match against Peterhead:

It is with regret that the captain’s column has been put on hold for this fixture as the team would like to issue a statement to those who are best referred to as the “minority”.

We are concerned that in recent weeks some comments on the AFTN forum have crossed the thin line between strong criticism and personal attack. We all understand and appreciate that the forum allows the fans to express their opinion and have their say but as a team, we firmly consider that some of the posts have become personal and damaging.

We, as a team, know more than anyone that we have under-performed this season. However, the table does not lie and we are where we are due to poor team performances and not individual performances. We win as a team and lose as a team and that is our philosophy. We back each other 100% on and off the park and have a very good camaraderie. Yes we appreciate that there is disappointment when some of us are not in the starting eleven or even the squad of sixteen on match day but we all wish each other the best and want the best for East Fife Football Club and its loyal fans. If a certain player has had a bad game, we all share his disappointment as we are a team. It is up to all of us to ensure that where a team-mate is having a poor game, we still support each other on the pitch. The least we will all give is 100% commitment; we owe that to the supporters.

The team does fully appreciate the support it receives from the vast majority of the fans. We would like to invite any supporters who have concerns about team and individual performances to come to the dressing room either at training or after a match to discuss them with us, as the club operates an “open door” policy.

We accept that in this day and age, a fans forum is part and parcel of football, yet it is unfortunate, as it appears to the team, that certain individuals choose to express their views in anonymity.

The team would also like to make clear that we are in no doubt whatsoever of the manager’s 100% commitment to the club. This has also been highlighted on the AFTN forum and is another issue that has disappointed the team as a whole.

As regards to tonight’s game, all supporters can be assured that the team, whoever is selected in the starting eleven, or who may come on as a substitute, will be doing their upmost to win this match. Your continued support throughout the game will be appreciated as always by the players. Enjoy the game.

Strong stuff but we at AFTN are pleased that the issue has been raised, if a little surprised at what news it has become. It even made the front page of The Courier newspaper today.

We let a lot go on the forum. The forum is self regulated by regular posters (and four moderators, including myself) but sometimes the criticism gets very very strong. There is a fine line between strong criticism and personal abuse. That line varies for different people and if you are the person being attacked then that line is very short indeed.

We have removed some posts over the years where we feel the line has been crossed. We also try to leave threads open so that the players can see that if the original poster is ridiculous with their judgements, then other posters will stick up for the player and show their support. We do this to show him that the majority don't feel that way. Sometimes though, the majority do feel that way.

No one likes to be criticised. I don't. I'm sure you don't. I admit I don't have my job scrutinised and criticised on a public forum.

A lot of flak has been aimed at AFTN over the years. We dish it out so we can take it back. A lot of people tend to forget that AFTN is more than just the forum though. There's a whole website, much of it historical, along with this blog and other social media.

Being a footballer is one of those rare jobs where your performances are always going to be scrutinised publically. We're not saying that makes it right to dish out non stop abuse.

Players and their families reading fan forums have to be aware that they might not like what they read inside and be prepared to read criticism, some of it upsetting to them. I've read a lot worse on other forums than what we've had on AFTN at times.

Steven Hislop has been singled out for a lot of the criticism this season and at some point it's going to get to you. He's only human after all.

Our support have been awful at times over the years for singling out players and making their lives hell, pouncing on their every mistake and poor performance and crucifying the fuck out of them. Last season it was Michael Brown. I'm sure we can all run off a list of names before him as well.

This is not just a problem reserved for the AFTN forum. It's rife at the games and it needs to stop before no players or managers want to have anything to do with the Club.

I've only seen one Fife game this season, so I can't share my views on how Hissy has been playing. If people are paying their money every week to watch the games then I firmly believe that they have a right to express their opinions and I will defend that right and their right to anonymity on the forum to the end.

If people want a forum where they can post under their own name or with a registered sign in, then they already have one. It's on the official Club website.

People want that certain anonymity. The Club need to ask themselves why people aren't happy coming forward with their real name and look at the problem within and the history behind it.

Yes, it can be construed as cowardly. Many regular posters can easily be identified and are known by their user name. The problem lies with those that seem to appear out of the blue with a new username to criticise. They're not always "new". We can trace that. So why don't they feel comfortable criticising under their usual username? Again, a question for the Club to consider.

Some posters do need to take a long hard look at themselves and what they're posting. Everyone should stop and think before they post. If they're being abusive, how would they feel if that was posted about them? I have no problem whatsover with posters being critical and very harsh. Out and out abuse is another thing though and again there's that fine line and where individuals see that line.

Everyone should also remember that no player goes out there to play badly. I'm sure you all have bad days at work. The players, the team and the fans all want the same thing and that's East Fife winning. Do you honestly think that being hypercritical of every little mistake or bad performance is going to make things better?

All this constant criticism will do is to piss of current and potential players. Word will get out and then who's going to want to join us?

It's good that the latest threads has brought this topic to the forefront. All the negativity from certain people starts to wear you down. Even I can't be arsed reading my own forum at times.

It used to be a fun and vibrant place to visit. Let's hope this situation brings some of that back again.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Forget Stamford Bridge. The eyes of the world should have been on a bigger game tonight. It was a match with massive repercussions for the remainder of the season. Sadly only a season low crowd of 314 witnessed it.

East Fife entertained fellow strugglers Peterhead this evening and the 3-1 victory for the Fifers has plunged Peterhead into all sorts of relegation problems. Stenhousemuir's 3-1 victory at home to Ayr though hasn't exactly eased East Fife's own ones yet though either.

It was an excellent, well deserved victory as the players responded to Saturday's woeful performance and the criticism being levelled at some of them. The best way to answer your critics is to give them the two fingers on the football field and that's just what the black and gold did tonight.

I should have put money on underfire captain Steven Hislop getting on the scoresheet this evening. You just knew he'd have been really up for it and he was. Of course the slaggers will take the credit and never give the player any.

Hissy fired the Fife in front after 22 minutes, when he hit home a Bobby Linn cross into the bottom corner.

Boaby doubled the advantage himself ten minutes later, with another long range cracker. He's had a few of those this season and this one was certainly one of the most vital, in a game that East Fife just simply couldn't afford to lose.

It was 2-0 at the interval and the Fife basically wrapped things up nine minutes into the second half, when Linn got his second of the night with another long range effort, a free kick from 20 yards out.

Martin Bavidge pulled one back on 73 minutes, with a great long range strike of his own, but there was to be no dramatic late fightback like at Balmoor a few weeks ago and East Fife coasted to the three points.

The win keeps East Fife out of the relegation zone in 8th place, three points clear of Stenny in the relegation playoff spot. East Fife's superior goal difference basically makes this a four point gap.

Peterhead are now on a run of six games without a win and have fallen two points adrift having played two games more than the Warriors.

It was a fine, spirited team performace. What we needed to see but we need to keep this going.

Mon the Fife.

FINAL SCORE: East Fife 3 - 1 Peterhead

EAST FIFE: Brown, Smart, Muir, Ovenstone, McGowan, Park, Young (Cargill 63), McCulloch, Johnstone, Linn, Hislop [Subs Not Used: Lyness, Fagan, Murdoch, Brewster]

ATT: 314
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