Aberdeen 3 East Fife 3 AET East Fife win 4-3 on pens
Another dismal cup exit at home again for Aberdeen as they were knocked out of the league cup by East Fife, bottom of the Second Division. They were more than a match for a disjointed Aberdeen and were just 2 minutes from going through in normal time when referee Steven Mclean awarded the Dons a penalty. Despite this, the Dons couldn't capitalise and were sent packing from the league cup when Chris Clark missed his penalty, the third Don to miss on the night.
Manager Craig Brown decided to make wholesale changes to his starting 11 for this cup tie against the second division outfit. Out went Jason Brown, Youl Mawene, Isaac Osbourne, Rob Milsom, Fraser Fyvie, Mohammed Chalali and Rory Fallon. They were replaced in the starting eleven by David Gonzalez, Rory McArdle, Chris Clark, Peter Pawlett, Josh Magennis, Darren Mackie and Scott Vernon.
The last time these sides met was back in January in the Scottish Cup- the Dons running out comfortable 6-0 winners and this time the game started pretty evenly with both sides having reasonable periods of possession. A foul by David White on Darren Mackie half way inside the East Fife half and the resultant free kick led to the Dons first corner. A superb delivery from Ricky Foster nearly gave the Dons the lead but Scott Vernon couldn't force it in at the back post. Josh Magennis was next to have a shot but his low drive was held at the second time of asking by Mark Ridgers.
East Fife, managed by John Robertson, had their first attempt at goal on 17 mins when Ryan Wallace hit a speculative effort over the top of Gonzalez cross bar from outside the penalty area after finding himself in space.
There were some neat interchanges from the Dons in 26mins- Mackie and Magennis combining well down the left but Magennis' ball into the box was straight at the goalkeeper. Minutes later the Dons had a goal disallowed for offside when Arnason crossed to Pawlett who's shot was knocked into the net on the rebound by Scott Vernon- but the assistants flag went up for the offside against the striker. Just a few moments later though it was East Fife who took the lead when Ryan Wallace swept them into the lead thanks to a fine cross from Robert Ogleby who had found himself in acres of space on the right wing.
Aberdeen tried to respond but Magennis' weak header was miles past the post from Considine's inviting cross.
With four minutes to go in the first half the Dons did get themselves on level terms to the relief of the Red Army. Ryan Jack's free kick was met by Rory McArdle who powered the ball past Mark Ridgers in the East Fife goal. The Dons continued to press in search of the lead before half time, Peter Pawlett fired straight at the keeper after a mistake from the East Fife defence. The first proper action of the second half saw David Gonzalez set Pawlett off on a mazy run that took him from halfway inside the Dons half to the East Fife by-line but no one was there to stab the ball home in the box despite the promising play.
It wasn't too long before the Dons got themselves in front, Darren Mackie scoring in the 49th minute. His initial shot was blocked by keeper Ridgers but on the follow up Mackie fired the ball into the back of the net to give the Dons the lead.
More Dangerous play from Aberdeen saw Foster send Mackie through in the box but Scott Vernon couldn't connect with his delivery. Mackie was booked not long after for a foul in front of the dugouts.
East Fife got themselves level in 54mins thanks to a stunning strike from Matthew Park which caught out David Gonzalez in the Dons goal- flying high over him into the back of the net. It was a stunning strike from Park which any Premier League player would have been proud of.Aberdeen were again chasing a lead.
And only a few minutes later it got even worse for the home side when East Fife got themselves ahead for the second time in the match- thanks to some fantastic play from Ryan Wallace. He laid the ball off for Robert Sloan to slot past Gonzalez and send the vocal away support into raptures.
With the Dons now not only looking for a winner but an equaliser, Craig Brown's first change saw Scott Vernon replaced by Isaac Osbourne- a move which saw Josh Magennis moved up front alongside Darren Mackie and a short while later Mackie was himself replaced by New Zealander, Rory Fallon.
Kari Arnason's first time ball through to Peter Pawlett split the East Fife midfield open but again the Dons failed to capitalise.
Ryan Jack was then replaced by Mohammed Chalali on 75 mins. As the Dons pushed for that elusive equaliser their best chance was from Rory Fallon who headed over from a matter of yards while Magennis shot well wide of Ridgers post and Kari Arnason headed over from close range.
In the final few minutes Aberdeen again looked to push forward and when Chalali found himself in space in the East Fife box he blasted the header over the bar as it looked more and more likely the Dons were heading out of the cup.
But in injury time, Chalali was upended in the box by Steven Hislop and the referee had no hesitation in awarding the spot kick. Rory Fallon stepped up to fire the penalty to the goalkeeper's left and take the tie into extra time.
FT in normal time, 3-3
The first half of extra time was largely uneventful, though the Dons were unlucky when Magennis tried to play Chalali through, but the ball was again intercepted thanks to more resolute defending from East Fife. Another fine run from Pawlett into the box led to a corner which was taken by Chalali before being blasted over the crossbar by Isaac Osbourne.
HT in Extra Time, 3-3
The second half of extra time continued in much the same frustrating vein, Gonzalez causing a slight nervous moment when he slipped while trying to launch a ball up field- luckily for Aberdeen, East Fife couldn't capitalise.
A foul on Rory Fallon gave Aberdeen a promising attacking position but Kari Arnason's powerful free kick was superbly tipped over the cross bar by Ridgers in the East Fife goal and soon after the referee blew for the end of Extra Time.
Full Time in Extra Time, 3-3.
With the teams tied at 3 goals apiece, a penalty shoot out was the only way to separate them and East Fife took an early advantage when Ogleby and Smith both scored- Fallon and Magennis's penalties for the Dons being saved. A fantastic save from David Gonzalez got Aberdeen back into the shootout and confident penalties from Arnason and Pawlett either side of another Gonzalez save levelled the shootout at 2-2. East Fife substitute Steven Hislop scored before Ricky Foster equalised again for the Dons. With just one penalty remaining before sudden death, the scorer of East Fife's second goal Matthew Park stepped up and hammered his penalty beyond David Gonzalez. With Chris Clark having to score to keep the Dons in it, his penalty was saved by Ridgers and that ended the Dons League Cup Dreams for another season- another evening of immense frustration for the Aberdeen support.
FT 3-3 (East Fife win 4-3 on penalties)