|17 August||East Fife 2 Airdrieonians 2
(East Fife win 5-4 on penalties)
|League Cup Rnd 2|
Scorers: East Fife - Logan, Robertson(Pen) Airdrie - McCormick, Ingram
|Team: McCulloch, Munro, Love, Ramsay (Gibb 90), Cusick, Herd, Robertson, McKay, McGrillen, Moffat (Wright 80), Logan (Honeyman 110)|
Last five meetings:
|19/8/1995||East Fife 2 Airdrie 3||Bayview Park||League Cup|
|24/8/1996||Airdrie 0 East Fife 0||Broadwood||League Division One|
|26/10/1996||East Fife 0 Airdrie 4||Bayview Park||League Division One|
|22/2/1997||Airdrie 1 East Fife 1||Broadwood||League Division One|
|3/5/1997||East Fife 0 Airdrie 0||Bayview Park||League Division One|
One statistic concerning
East Fife's past record in this competition is that between 1986 and 1992, the club went
out on penalties an incredible seven years in succession. It seemed that the Methil Men
just couldn't win a penalty shootout. Well, in this season's League Cup competition, the
club have won both matches so far on penalties!
That said, East Fife will feel that this tie should have been won over the regulation 90 minutes, never mind 30 minutes of extra time and the shootout which followed.
The home side were first to show when Raymond Logan just failed to get his head on the end of a cross in three minutes and the same player shot narrowly wide just seconds later. In 11 minutes the ball dropped to Barrie Moffat in front of goal, but his effort was well saved by Airdrie 'keeper Scott Thomson. The visitors started to come more into the match midway through the first half and home 'keeper Willie McCulloch pulled off a fine save from a free kick in 19 minutes. Two minutes later Airdrie took the lead against the run of play when McCormick beat McCulloch with a daisy-cutter which crept in at the post. East Fife hit back and came close through efforts from Paul McGrillen, Barrie Moffat and Steve Ramsay. As the half drew to a close, East Fife scored a deserved equaliser when Paul McGrillen flicked the ball forward for Raymond Logan to steer the ball wide of Scott Thomson and into the net. Half time 1-1.
Seconds into the second half Raymond Logan appeared to be held back in the penalty box as he tried to connect with a Paul McGrillen cross, but the referee allowed play to continue. The Diamonds went in front again in 49 minutes when the ball found Stuart Ingram in front of goal and the Airdrie man had the easiest of tap-ins. East Fife were not to be denied, however, and five minutes later they were awarded a penalty when Barrie Moffat was held back by the shirt as he tried to connect with the ball right in front of goal. Graham Robertson made no mistake from the spot. The Fifers tried desperately for a third goal and midway through the second half Raymond Logan connected with a Paul McGrillen cross but his header went inches over the bar with the home support already shouting 'GOAL'.
East Fife continued to press for the winner as the half wore on and the Diamonds did have one or two chances to steal the tie, but the 90 minutes finished with both sides level at 2-2.
The visitors created a couple of chances right at the start of extra time and East Fife have the crossbar to thank for preventing Airdrie from taking the lead for the third time. East Fife counter-attacked and both McGrillen and substitute Richard Gibb came close. John Cusick saw his long range effort go wide of the mark and Graham Robertson had a free kick touched round the post before the end of the first period. Midway through the second period of extra time McCormick appeared to have the easiest of chances for the 'Diamonds' when he found the ball at his feet in front of an open goal, but somehow the ball trickled slowly past for a goal kick - and so it was down to a penalty shootout to decide the tie.
With both sides having netted their first four spot kicks, East Fife's marksmen being Robertson, McKay, Honeyman and Herd, Airdrie's Dick saw his effort well saved by McCulloch. The home supporters waited with bated breath as Paul McGrillen walked up to take East Fife's fifth, and went wild with delight as the sponsor's man of the match found the back of the net to put the Fifers through to round three.
Summing up - A memorable win for East Fife, who will feel that they created more than enough chances to win the match in open play.
East Fife Football Historian Man of the Match: A very difficult one to call, but as well as scoring a vital goal at just the right time, Raymond Logan never stopped running until he was substituted in110 minutes and deserves credit for sheer effort.
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Footnote: This website does not believe in being over critical of other team's tactics and general behaviour, but sometimes there are things which simply have to be said. The unsporting behaviour of certain Airdrie players in this match left a lot to be desired - and in particular there were two incidents which did nothing to enhance the image of the game. In the first half, after the referee had stopped play following a clash of heads, he instructed the ball to be played back to the East Fife goalkeeper so that play could resume from a kick-out. Every player on the park allowed this to happen - apart from Airdrie's McCormick, who attempted to beat the East Fife 'keeper to the ball. Obviously the player was not reprimanded for his behaviour at half time, because worse was to follow. In the second half, the ball was kicked out of play to allow treatment to an injured player and it is customary in these situations for possession to be conceded by throwing the ball back to the goalkeeper of the team who had kicked the ball out of play. Once again, Airdrie's McCormick decided to use the situation to his team's advantage by throwing the ball to a team-mate. Airdrie then proceeded to mount an attack on the East Fife goal. There is simply no place in the game of football for this kind of behaviour.