Manager left perplexed by East Fife defeat

Aug 28, 2021

East Fife              3

Peterhead          0

Peterhead went down 3-0 at East Fife in a game that left manager Jim McInally more perplexed than any other during his near ten years in charge of the Balmoor squad.

Few would argue that the Blue Toon were the better side in the first half that ended goalless however they were also on top for large parts in the second half however the loss of three goals saw the points remain in Fife.

Jim said: “I cannot be angry with the players at all and I do not accept the description of a game of two halves. The first 45 minutes saw us play some of the best football we have played in my time at the club.”

“We created chances and hit the woodwork three times but we never got the goal we deserved. We lost a goal at the start of the second half and we could argue that there was foul in the build-up but after taking a few minutes to get to grips with that we took over again.”

“We threatened again and whilst we were not on top to the same extent we were in the first, we still looked good to get something. We had them pressed in however gave away a penalty on a counter-attack. We lost the third when we went chasing things.”

“Normally when you lose 3-0 you can pick out plenty of things that were wrong and you can criticise the players. I can’t after this one and I am less disappointed this week than I was last week.”

Ryan Conroy dropped out of the squad with Danny Strachan and Derek Lyle moving to the substitutes’ bench with Lyall Cameron and Russell McLean starting this week after replacement roles last weekend with Andy McCarthy returning after illness.

Peterhead started brightly with McLean taking the ball into enemy territory before crossing however there were no takers in the East Fife box.

Hamish Ritchie, who netted at Methil last season, looked to repeat that feat on 11 minutes however his effort was blocked with skipper Scott Brown sending a long-range effort wide 60 seconds later.

The hosts had an opening on 25 minutes when Jamie Semple turned and fired for goal however his effort cleared Brett Long’s bar.

Three minutes later Peterhead had a good chance from a free-kick that Scott Brown thumped towards the Fifers’ goal however Scott Gallacher produced a fine stop.

Gallacher saved his side from going behind five minutes from the break when he tipped a Niah Payne drive onto the post and before the break McInally’s side were to hit the woodwork a further twice.

Firstly, a Ritchie cross became a shot as it floated over Gallacher and kissed the bar with Andy McDonald then seeing a shot deflected onto the frame of the goal.

The first signs that it was not going to be the visitors’ day came on 48 minutes when Kevin Smith crossed for Aaron Dunsmore. The ball was cleared however Andy McDonald was pushed to the ground and he remained there as Semple picked out Smith who fired high into the net.

After taking time to adjust to being behind Peterhead started to get on top again and a wicked Ritchie free-kick almost forced Scott Mercer into an own goal.

Just as a head of steam was being built up East Fife broke up the park on 68 minutes and when Jason Brown stuck out a leg and Semple tumbled over it with Connor McManus netting from the resultant penalty.

The Balmoor men looked to get into things and McLean burst into the home box however his dangerous cross was headed behind for a fruitless corner.

With nine minutes left Scott Brown let fly with one of his trademark long range efforts however it flew just wide of goal.

As Peterhead pushed to get something back they were picked off and home substitute Andrew Osei-Bonsu Ronaldinho-fired over a cross for Danny Denholm to add a third.

Peterhead – Long, Mulligan, McDonald, Jason Brown, Ferry (Jordon Brown 76), Ritchie (Strachan 84), S Brown, McLean, Cameron (Lyle 73), McCarthy, Payne

Unused substitutes – Wilson (G/k), Kesson, Mushanu