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East Fife 1 - 1 Aberdeen

Scottish Cup Third Round
Aberdeen scorers: Mills.

05/03/1938 | KO:




The Cup, true to tradition, has once more turned form topsy-turvy. The third round has rivalled the first round in producing unexpected results. The mighty Celtic, the Cupholders, who have the League championship in their pocket, fell to Kilmarnock, fighting desperately for First Division existence; Raith Rovers demonstrated how fit they are for promotion by ousting Partick Thistle, one of the League's average sides; and another Second Division side, East Fife, lives to fight another day. But for the do-or-die spirit of their defence, Aberdeen might now be mourning their dismissal from the Cup competition. Against East Fife, at Methil, the Dons had to fight every inch of the way to earn the right to a replay. At Pittodrie on Wednesday Aberdeen should gain the verdict, but the Fifers proved themselves a strong and virile side, and the Dons cannot afford to take anything for granted.


Remember the 1927 Cup-ties, when East Fife held Aberdeen to a draw at Methil, and won the replay at Pittodrie! We have no wish to see history repeat itself. Make no mistake. East Fife are a tough proposition. On their own ground on Saturday they forced the Dons to accept the role of defenders. They held a territorial advantage, and were the more dangerous side. With the aid of a strong, gusty wind in the first half it was not surprising that the Fifers forced the Even so. however. Aberdeen's brightest spell was during this period. Keeping the ball on the ground, they moved smoothly in attack, and when they retired at the interval on level terms victory seemed more than probable. Hopes that the Dons would take command in the second half were speedily dissipated. East Fife were full of fight, and there was no sign the expected falling away. They were still the more dangerous combine.


Much has been said and written about the cleverness of the Dons' attack, but the forwards were far from impressive at Bayview. The fierce and relentless tackling of the East Fife defenders prevented them settling down. The poorness of the forward play is exemplified in the fact that Milton, in the home goal, had not half-a-dozen really testing shots to deal with. The Aberdeen inside forwards were too prone to lie back in defence. This was all right in the first half against the wind, but after the interval, when they had it in their favour, they should have changed their tactics. There was nothing half-hearted about the East Fife attack. They played five forwards, and the wing halves were ever up in support. Only the smart positional play and clever covering of the Aberdeen defence kept East Fife from scoring more than once.


The Dons rather unexpectedly took the lead in nineteen minutes. The goal came as the result of a well-conceived and smartly-executed movement. Kenzie sent Smith away on the right. Strauss and Armstrong had switched positions, and when the ball came in to the South African he pushed it on to Mills. The inside left brought the ball down and sent into the net from twenty-two yards range. Milton, who had started for the right-hand post, made a desperate effort to recover, but was too late. Five minutes from the interval East Fife deservedly equalised. Adams gathered a clearance from Johnstone and sent in a terrific shot from forty yards. Cowan dived through the air to graze the ball with his head, and it glanced off Nicholson into the net. Twice in the second half East Fife came within an ace of taking the lead. In the opening minutes McLeod had the ball in the net. but the point was disallowed for offside, and later the right-wing pair went through and McLeod finished with a drive which struck the outside post. Aberdeen's nearest approach to goal came in the closing minutes, when Milton saved a splendid drive from Fraser.


Nicholson was the hero of the Aberdeen defence. On numerous occasions he put paid to determined home assaults. Many were the occasions when he got rid of high balls, and he was quick to 'the assistance of the backs. Johnstone in goal was not overworked. but he was always safe, and of J the backs Cooper was easily best. He was confident with his tackling and kicking. Robey was not particularly impressive. He had to deal with the best wing afield, and never succeeded in getting the measure of the opposition. Fraser was the better wing half, Thomson playing well below his best form. Fraser did a lot of good work in defence, and was relentless in the tackle. Not one of the forwards enhanced his reputation, and the line as a whole was scarcely recognisable as the one which did duty against Rangers at Ibrox the previous week. Armstrong suffered from lack of support. and was seldom in the game after the interval, while Mills and McKenzie concentrated too much on defence. Strauss and Smith, on the extreme wings, were well held by Laird and Tait.


East Fife were strong in defence. Milton in goal had little to do, but he was not altogether blameless when Aberdeen opened the scoring. The backs. Laird and Tait. were a resourceful pair, but East Fife's real strength lay at halfback. Russell, Sneddon and Herd comprised a grand trio. The last-mentioned was outstanding, Russell, on the other flank, was strong and purposeful, and gave the right wing excellent support. Sneddon was seen to best advantage in defence. East Fife forwards were fast and clever, but they were inclined to be over-impetuous at close quarters. The best play came from Adams and McLeod on the right. The extreme winger was speedy and dangerous, while McLeod. a clever schemer, was the brains behind many of the attacking movements.

Source: Press & Journal, 7th March 1938

East Fife Teamsheet
Attendance: 9,000
Venue: Bayview Park, Methil
Referee: Mr. M. C. Hutton, Glasgow
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East Kilbride
20 Jul 2024 / 15:00 / K-Park Training Academy, East Kilbride