Defensive frailties send Loons out of Petrofac Cup

Derek Young vs East Fife.
Derek Young vs East Fife.

Dale Hilson’s well-taken goal wasn’t enough to stop East Fife progressing to the second round of the Petrofac Training Cup on Saturday as the Fifers defeated Forfar Athletic 2-1 at Bayview Stadium.

Jon McShane opened his East Fife account inside a quarter of an hour with a simple header before Ewan Moyes netted with a headed effort of his own.

Hilson pulled one back with 20 minutes remaining, cutting inside two defenders before firing past Allan Fleming, but Gary Naysmith’s new-look side were able to hang on for the win.

Forfar boss Dick Campbell made just one change from the side’s 3-3 friendly draw with Arbroath, with James Dale replaced by Stephen Husband.

Husband, Andrew Steeves and Derek Young made their competitive debuts for the Loons, with Hilson and Danny Denholm making their own bows in their latest spells with the club.

The home side started off the better, Moyes heading at Douglas before Jamie Beaton had a shot deflected into his arms in the early
stages.

They took the lead in the 14th minute, Caolan McAleer beating Mark Baxter to the touchline before swinging in a cross that McShane headed home at the back post.

McAleer was unlucky not to score himself on the half hour mark, curling a great effort from the corner of the box with Douglas making a very good save to stop it.

Forfar looked lacklustre compared to their pre-season performances and their first chance didn’t come until the 39th minute, Michael Dunlop blasting over the bar after an Omar Kader corner.

The Methil side extended their lead three minutes before half time when a free kick into the box was headed across goal by Kevin Smith, and Moyes was on hand to nod home from almost on the line.

Campbell read his players the riot act at half time and substituted Baxter for new signing Aaron James, with Dunlop moving to right back and James slotting into centre half alongside Stuart Malcolm, and that seemed to give the Loons more defensive stability.

Gavin Swankie fired a free kick wide and Hilson could only shoot straight at the keeper as the visitors looked to get back into the game.

Forfar made their final two subs in the 64th minute with Kader and Husband making way for Chris Templeman and Dale, and from then they started to pressure the Fifers more and more.

The pay-off came in the 72nd minute when they pulled a goal back, Dunlop’s excellent long ball finding Hilson, the striker cutting inside a defender before beating Fleming with his shot.

Templeman headed over four minutes later from a Steeves cross before Scott Smith failed to threaten Douglas at the other end.

In the final few minutes the Loons pushed for a goal to take the game to extra time, Hilson having a great run to keep the ball in before cutting the ball back for James Dale but his shot hit the sidenetting before Denholm headed wide in the last shot of the game.