Arbroath 2 – 3 East Fife – AET – Match Report
Irn Bru Cup – Round 2
Wednesday 17th August 2016 – 7.45pm KO, Gayfield Park, Arbroath
Arbroath welcomed Gary Naysmith’s East Fife to Gayfield on Wednesday for the 2nd round of the Irn Bru Cup. Arbroath progressed into the meeting with a 3-0 win away at Caley Thistle Colts, where as the League 2 Champions were entering the competition for the first time.
The Lichties made 5 changes to the team that started against Montrose at the weekend, with Dunlop, McCord, Kader, Prunty and Linn dropping out with Phillips, Gold, Scott, Callaghan and Hester coming into the starting line up.
Arbroath started with Mutch in goal, with Ricky Little switching to right back, with Gary Phillips at left back, with Jassem Sukar and Colin Hamilton starting in central defence. Martin Scott recovered from a knock to start in central midfield alongside Captain Mark Whatley with David Gold starting on the right wing, with Liam Callaghan starting on the left wing with Kane Hester partnering Steven Doris up front.
Josh Thomson returned to the squad with a place on the bench along side Dunlop, Prunty, McCord, Linn and Gomes. Josh Skelly was cup tied.
The visitors listed only made two changes to their side that defeated Peterhead 3-0 at the weekend with keeper Ryan Goodfellow and striker Kevin O’Hara replacing William Muir and Paul McManus meaning it was nearly a full strength East Fife side who took to the field.
Gayfield was sweltering (no that’s not a typo) as conditions were near perfect as the low sun swept down on the pitch, with Arbroath attacking the pleasure land aka switchie end.
Arbroath started lively and Hester soon won Arbroath a corner in the 2nd minute with Little just heading wide as he leapt highest above the East Fife defence.
The return of Martin Scott made a huge impact into the Arbroath midfield and he was soon standing over a free kick after Doris was fouled by Page. Scott almost was in on goal showing beautiful control to chest the ball but was adjudged to be offside.
Several players taking the opportunity to shine with David Gold, Gary Phillips and Kane Hester all showing up well as the Lichties started to play some slick football as only the goalkeeping of Ryan Goodfellow keeping East Fife in the game.
A cross by Mark Whatley almost crept in at the rear post as it evaded everyone in the box.
It has to be said that Goodfellow was making the hard shots look easy, but coming under pressure with the easy play and was almost caught out when Scott reacted quickly to a poor clearance and tried to lob the keeper from 35 yards but Goodfellow was alert and saved well.
Gary Phillips almost opened the scoring in the 33rd minute after he cut inside and forced Goodfellow into making a wonder save forcing a corner. Liam Callaghan ran across to take the corner and delivered an inch perfect cross for Little who out jumped Kane and bulleted a header into the net to give the Lichties a deserved lead.
Just before half time Scott Mercer was booked for a foul on David Gold as midfielder was brought down after showing some great skill.
Half time – Arbroath 1 – 0 East Fife
Both teams made substitutions at half time as Martin Scott was replaced by Ryan McCord and Gary Naysmith and Scott Robinson came on for Tony Wallace and Ross Brown for East Fife.
The loss of impressive Scott in the Arbroath midfield and the experience of Naysmith swung the game in the favour of East Fife and they were enjoying more possession in the Arbroath half.
Kevin Smith was shown a yellow card in the 47th minute for diving, and Wilkie had the first shot in the second half but it was wide of Mutch’s goal.
Former Arbroath hero Paul McManus was introduced for Kevin O’Hara in the 62nd minute and just seconds later and the Fifers were level with defender Jonathan Page netting in a crowded box after Mutch pulled off a stunning save after the ball took a heavy deflection from a Lamont ball.
Arbroath then brought on Bobby Linn for David Gold who had put in one of his best performances in an Arbroath shirt which was acknowledged by home support in the 65th minute.
Linn’s introduction allowed Arbroath to get back into the game with Linn and Callaghan attacking down the wings and again Goodfellow was producing when it counted when he made a double save from Linn, first in the box then a snap volley from 18 yards, then again from a thunderbolt from Whatley outside of the box as Arbroath turned the screw.
Kane Hester was unlucky as he ran in on goal on a break away, before cutting back to shoot losing the defender in the process, but he was caught out as East Fife recovered.
Kyle Wilkie who had taken a head knock and was sporting a Terry Butcher style bandage was booked in the 81st minute for dissent before Arbroath took the lead a minute later.
Gary Phillips had been showing great feet throughout the game and he burst forward through the middle, switching the ball from his left foot to right foot taking out a defender with his silky touch before unleashing Hester who ran in and struck the ball past Goodfellow to give Arbroath the lead with only 7 minutes remaining.
Michael Dunlop was then introduced for Hester a minute later to shore up the Arbroath defence, but East Fife found the net just 4 minutes later when Page set up Kevin Smith.
Agony for the home support as the game then went into extra time.
Full time – Arbroath 2 – 2 East Fife
East Fife made a strong start to the first period of extra time with Kevin Smith and Mark Lamont coming close before Steven Doris came agonisingly close as his curling shot hit the post, before Goodfellow then saved from a McCord free kick and then again from Whatley.
Half time in Extra Time – Arbroath 2 – 2 East Fife
Only 15 minutes remained until a penalty shoot out as the first period of extra time came to an end.
Gary Phillips was booked for a foul on Mark Lamont before ex Arbroath striker Paul McManus was deemed to have been fouled by Jassem Sukar in the Arbroath penalty box with referee Gavin Duncan pointing to the spot.
Sukar was shown a yellow card as was Ricky Little for protesting. McManus scored from the spot sliding the ball to the right of Mutch.
In the dying seconds Steven Doris thought he had pulled Arbroath level when he wriggled free of his marker and hit a brilliant shot on a very tight angle, but his effort was just on the wrong side of the post as East Fife held on to progress to the 3rd round.
Young on loan Dundee United defender Jassem Sukar looked devastated at full time, but the young defender had an outstanding game and should be proud of the way he has integrated into the Arbroath defence.
Full time in Extra Time – Arbroath 2 – 3 East Fife
It was unfortunate for the Lichties who impressed for long spells, with some players really giving the management team a selection headache. They will travel to Elgin on Saturday with Phillips, Gold and Hester no doubt banging on the door for a place in the starting line up.
C’mon the Lichties
Possession – Arbroath 48% – 52% East Fife
Total Shots – Arbroath 15 – 10 East Fife
Shots on Target – Arbroath 9 – 4 East Fife
Corners – Arbroath 7 – 1 East Fife
Fouls – Arbroath 18 – 19 East Fife
1 – Robbie Mutch
2 – Ricky Little
3 – Gary Phillips
4 – Jassem Sukar
5 – Colin Hamilton
6 – Martin Scott (McCord 46)
7 – David Gold (Linn 65)
8 – Mark Whatley (c)
9 – Steven Doris
10 – Kane Hester (Dunlop 84)
11 – Liam Callaghan
12 – Michael Dunlop – 10
14 – Bryan Prunty
15 – Ryan McCord – 6
16 – Josh Thomson
17 – Bobby Linn – 7
21 – Ricky Gomes (GK)
Goals – Little 34, Hester 83
Bookings – Phillips 110, Sukar 112, Little 113
1 – Ryan Goodfellow
2 – Scott Mercer
4 – Chris Kane
5 – Jonathan Page
6 – Jason Kerr
7 – Mark Lamont
8 – Ross Brown (Robinson 46)
10 – Kevin Smith (c)
11 – Kyle Wilkie
12 – Tony Wallace (Naysmith 56)
20 – Kevin O’Hara (McManus 62)
3 – Pat Slattery
14 – Scott Robinson – 8
15 – Gary Naysmith – 12
17 – Ross Mutch
19 – Paul McManus – 20
21 – William Muir (GK)
Goals – Page 62, K. Smith 87, McManus 113 (pen)
Bookings – Mercer 42, Smith 47, Wilkie 81
Attendance – 335
Referee – Gavin Duncan
Assistant Referee 1 – Anthony Cooper
Assistant Referee 2 – Alex Shepherd