Methil men prove too strong for Shipyard
With the club still smarting from their heavy defeat to Elgin City in the Scottish Cup and a new manager to impress, it was the East Fife first team squad that the Shipyard had to face at Bayview in the Fife Cup semi final. Ex-Shipyard player Craig Johnston was in the starting eleven but Gareth Wardlaw was sidelined due to injury. For the Shipyard Craig Hatton replaced the suspended Paul Ferrier and Steven Dow came in for the unavailable Owen McCue.
The East Fife players looked determined to impress the watching Billy Brown and within a couple of minutes Scott McBride shot wide after a corner fell to him. East Fife took the lead in the 8th minute when Robert Sloan found himself with space in the box and from around 12yards he slotted the ball beyond Martyn Melia in the Shipyard goal. The Shipyard stunned their hosts by equalising three minutes later when Liall Robertson received the ball just inside the area. He sidestepped a defender and rifled the ball into the corner of the net. Sadly for the Shipyard they could only stay level for a minute as Scott McBride, from a suspiciously looking offside position, ran on to a through ball and stroked the ball into the net. Two minutes later it was 3-1 when the Shipyard defence went to sleep and a free-kick played into the near post was easily converted by David Muir. It should have been 3-2 inside a minute when Craig Hatton burst through the East Fife rearguard. However, with keeper Michael Brown committed Hatton fired the ball straight at him when more composure would surely have seen him score. To rub salt into the Shipyard wound, East Fife went straight up the park and scored when Paul Willis lobbed Melia from the edge of the box. Paul Wilson missed a decent chance to pull a goal back for the Shipyard but it was Melia who was by far the busier keeper as he kept the East Fife attack at bay. Dow and Robertson had shots at goal for the Shipyard but neither gave Brown too many problems. East Fife scored a fifth goal just before half-time, again Willis ran onto a through ball and dispatched it beyond Melia.
The second half was bit more even in the early minutes before Melia was called into action in the 55th minute when he held a shot low to his right. A minute later a superb ball from Robertson picked out Hatton and he was unlucky to see his header come back off the bar. East Fife got their sixth goal in the 62nd minute when Wilson tried to be too clever in his own six yard box, lost possession, which led to an easy tap in for McBride. Melia made a good save when Craig Johnston was through one on one with him as East Fife kept up the tempo. The Shipyard players were still sticking to their task and were passing the ball around although no chances of note were being created. A seventh goal arrived in the 83rd minute when Willis completed his hat-trick with a powerful free-kick from the edge of the box. East Fife’s eighth and final goal arrived two minutes from time when McBride also completed his hat-trick when he rammed the ball into the net at the back post.
After the match manager Billy Whitehead was realistic enough to admit “With East Fife playing their first team it was always going to be a massive task for us. We made a lot of basic errors in conceding some of the goals but that can happen when you play a team from a much higher level. I thought we played some decent stuff and with a bit of luck we would have scored another couple of goals”.
Teams: East Fife: Brown; Durie; Johnston; Muir; McAllister; Campbell; Willis; Smith; McBride; Barr; Sloan. Subs: Collier; Jamieson; Pollock; Shaw; Wilson.
Burntisland Shipyard: Melia; Brown; Brough; Gray; Whyte; Wilson (Hay); Robertson; Lamont (Grieve); Hatton; Rutherford; Dow (Grubb). Unused Subs: Williams; Houston.
Referee: S. Lambie.