Edinburgh City’s marked improvement continued last night as they held League One opposition East Fife to a 1-1 draw in their William Hill Scottish Cup third-round clash at Bayview.
The teams were relieved to see the game given the go-ahead having been left disappointed by Saturday’s postponement due to the freezing weather.
With a trip to Livingston in the fourth round beckoning for the winners, both teams will fancy their chances of progressing when the teams reconvene at Meadowbank for the replay a week tomorrow.
Manager Gary Jardine made three changes to the side that had started against Cowdenbeath in the league nine days ago – Chris McKee replacing on-loan Hibs defender Ryan Porteous, who is preparing to face Aberdeen in the SFA Youth Cup on Thursday. The other alterations saw Mark McConnell and Ross Allum make way for Dean Cummings and Ousman See respectively.
There was a minute’s silence prior to referee David Lowe getting the match underway as a mark of respect for the players and officials of Brazilian football team Chapecoense, many of whom lost their lives in a plane crash in Colombia earlu this morning.
After a scrappy opening quarter, the hosts’ Kevin Smith passed up a gilt-edged chance having been picked out by Mark Lamont’s teasing cros, the striker somehow managing to screw his effort wide of the target from just a couple of yards.
City rarely looked out of place against their higher league opponents and deservedly went ahead five minutes before the break.
Ross Guthrie did well to regain possession 25 yards goal before playing an incisive pass through to youngster See, who showed great composure in dispatching his effort low and hard into goalkeeper Ryan Goodfellow’s bottom left-hand corner.
It was no more than the Meadowbank club deserved, with East Fife’s on-loan Hibs striker Jamie Insall, in particular, completely anonymous during the opening 45 minutes.
It was the visitors who came within a couple of inches of doubling their lead four minutes after the restart – Aaron Dunsmore spotting the run of See who had cleverly spun his marker and from the striker’s cutback, Marc Laird, who had made a surging run from the middle of the park, was desperately unlucky to see his effort come back off the post.
Against the run of play the home side drew level after 65 minutes. City captain Dougie Gair’s late challenge on Kyle Wilkie earned him a yellow card and from the resulting free-kick, Scott Mercer’s delivery into the box was headed on by Jonathan Page into the path of Jason Kerr, who looped his header over Andrew Stobie into the back of the net.
City substitute John Dunn tried to match his opponent’s immediate impact just minutes later but saw his lofted attempt from the edge of the area clutched out of the air by Goodfellow.
The momentum had now swung in the Bayview side’s favour but Stobie did well to take the pressure off his back four with some safe handling in and around his six-yard box.
To be fair to Jardine, he continued to drive his players forward from the touchline, bringing on last season’s top scorer Allum with 12 minutes remaining to add some spice to his attack.
And it was 27-year-old Allum who was gifted the opportunity to win the match with just three minutes remaining having collected a Dunn pass 16 yards from goal. The striker cleverly managed to evade the challenge of defender Chris Kane to get full view of Goodfellow’s goal but he couldn’t conjure up enough swerve on his shot to trouble the Fifers No.1.
Mercer also had a late opportunity to seal Gary Naismith’s side’s passage into the fourth round but saw his stinging drive from 20 yards palmed away by Stobie.
East Fife: Goodfellow, Mercer, Kane, Page, Naysmith, Lamont, Robinson (Slattery 67), Brown (Kerr 63), Wilkie, Smith, Insall (Wallace 51). Subs: Hurst, Austin.
Edinburgh City: Stobie, Dunsmore (Caddow 78), Harrison, Mbu, Gair, Cummings, Laird, McKee, McFarland (Allum 78), Guthrie (Dunn 63), See. Subs: Antell, Muhsin, McConnell.
Referee: D Lowe.