The second Saturday in January is never the ideal time to visit New Bayview. Any time of year, the ground is famously cold as the breeze whips off the Firth of Forth but in winter it’s all the chillier. As it was, this Saturday, I attended my third East Fife game of the season in the Methil bite , dragging two of my younger cousins (Daniel and Greg, who support Celtic and Arsenal respectively) along for the occasion.
The match was one which lived up to that classic football cliché – a game of two halves. The first half began with East Fife looking sluggish and a little lackadaisical on the ball, and Brechin taking the match to their opponents as a result. Brechin were on a run of four straight victories and it looked like a fifth was on the cards when they opened the scoring after 5 minutes. David McKenna’s lofted cross/shot rebounded off the post, with the defence and keeper seemingly expecting the ball to drift wide. Alan Trouten capitalised on the hesitancy in the East Fife defence, smashing home the rebound for 1-0.
Brechin then proceeded to create a further number of chances, taking advantage of East Fife’s slightly slow response to Brechin’s counter-attacking play. However, East Fife grabbed the next goal. A Darren Smith corner was met by the head of Collin Samuel to bring the home side level. The Trinidadian striker unfortunately had to go off injured not long after.
What also occurred not long after was a second Brechin City goal. Another quality counter-attacking move, with a tight offside decision being called the right way saw Derek Carcary put through on goal and making no mistake in sliding the ball under Calum Antell for 2-1.
Daniel, Greg and I then made the collective decision, on about 35 minutes, to go for a pie to beat the half-time queue. Having acquired our traditional football refreshments, we made our way back into the ground, missing Bobby Barr’s apparently brilliant equaliser by about 10 seconds. Given the descriptions of it as a 25-yarder into the top corner, to say I was a bit gutted would be an understatement, though I look forward to seeing it on the East Fife website’s excellent video coverage.
Half-time arrived with East Fife having been much the poorer team but somehow level at 2-2. The fans expected the men in black and gold to receive their traditional half-time reprimand from Billy Brown, and so it was that East Fife came out and mostly dominated the second half, without, unfortunately, finding a winning goal.
Chances came during the second half for Scott McBride on several occasions and for Paul McManus on one very notable occasion to give the home side the lead. There was some lovely combination play and passing on show from the Fifers, but unfortunately no-one could apply the decisive touch. As well as that, the stand-side linesman made some particularly ropey decisions, one when a ricochet off a Brechin player broke to Paul McManus who was subsequently called offside, another when goal-kick was signalled after Andrews had touched a McBride effort over the bar.
As the half wore on, Brechin came back into it and looked as though they would apply the sucker-punch on 85 minutes when the ball fell to Andy Jackson with the goal at his mercy. Somehow he managed to skew the ball wide, and in the end, 2-2 looked like a pretty decent final score for all concerned. East Fife’s second-half performance must have given Billy Brown some encouragement – he will be hoping the Fife can do that for a whole game against Alloa next week. It was time to head back to the car and warm up.
East Fife 2-2 Brechin City (Samuel, Barr; Trouten, Carcary)