THE REFEREE’S delayed decision to give a second yellow card to Rob Ogleby in injury time at the end of the first half had far-reaching effects on East Fife’s chances in last Tuesday’s League Cup quarter-final at Rugby Park.
The Fifers had been the better side in the first half and could well have been in the lead going in at half time, but instead they were reduced to 10 men and eventually the Premier League outfit got two goals in the last 17 minutes to progress to the semi-final.
There were differing views on the merits of Ogleby’s second yellow, but the referee initially did not appear to see anything in the incident, or the linesman for that matter. Was the referee influenced with the reaction from off the park into making that decision?
It was Killie who had the first opportunity when a Harkins shot was brilliantly saved by Mark Ridgers after a quick move sliced open the Fife defence.
The visitors pushed forward after the opening 10 minutes and a Scott Durie run produced a corner, then Rob Ogleby went close with a drive, following a Darren Smith pass, from just inside the penalty box.
Five minutes later it was Ryan Wallace who posed the problem for the home defence but he was robbed on the point of shooting.
A dangerous looking move by the homesters saw David White clear a McKeown cross before it was back to the other end where again Ogleby shot wide.
Heffernan shot wide for the home side before Ogleby picked up a yellow card for a foul on Buijs.
The Second Division side were putting the home defence under pressure and Wallace looked to have a great chance to put them ahead but Pascalli got in a block.
Jaakkola dropped a high ball from John Ovenstone but there was no one to take advantage. Then a Bobby Linn shot was only inches wide following a mistake by Pascalli.
A foul on Ogleby saw Robert Sloan’s free kick saved by the home keeper and Matthew Park sent the rebound over the bar.
As the game went into injury time, Ogleby burst through the middle, but he overran the ball and Killie defender McKeown managed to turn it back towards the keeper. Ogleby’s attempt to reach the ball caught the defender, who went down.
Initially the referee let play continue but after a few seconds delay he called a halt and produced a yellow for Ogleby, which was obviously followed by red!
Despite the protests, seconds later East Fife finished the half with 10 men ‑ and the players were joined in their protests by manager John Robertson.
McKeown was replaced by Hay at the start of the second half and it was the 11 men who dominated the start of that period. A Buijs effort from a Pascalli cross went over the top. A few minutes later Heffernan hit the post following a Harkins cross.
However, the Fifers kept on plugging away with Wallace on his own up front and he still did cause problems for the home defence. An attempt on goal was blocked.
Another chance to fall to the visitors came from a Bobby Linn corner. White headed back into the danger area but David Muir miskicked. Craig Johnstone replaced Robert Sloan just before the hour mark.
Killie took control of the game, however, although the Fifers kept them out, but were getting deeper and deeper in defence.
Although their attacking was limited a Johnstone cross found Wallace midway through the half, but his effort was just a few inches wide.
A Silva long range effort for the home side was only inches over the top but a few minutes later they took the lead.
Ridgers could not gather a corner from Hay and it fell for Sissoko who put Kilmarnock into the lead, after 73 minutes.
They continued to press and Ridgers had an excellent save from a Harkins shot and they then hit the post as they pushed for a second.
A move started by Heffernan was finished off by Harkins when he shot past Ridgers with 10 minutes left.
With time running out East Fife had one last flurry which saw an excellent move, involving half a dozen passes, but Linn’s shot could not find the net.
Teams: Kilmarnock – Jaakkola, Pursehouse, McKeown (Hay 46), Fowler (Dayton 83), Sissoko, Pascalli, Shiels, Kelly (Silva 59), Buijs, Hefferman, Harkins; subs (not used) ‑ Kroca, Letheren.
East Fife ‑ Ridgers, Durie, Park, Ovenstone, White, Muir, Linn, Smith, Ogleby, Wallace, Sloan (Johnstone 55); subs (not used) ‑ Hislop, Cook, McQuade, Brown.
Referee ‑ M. Tumilty.
Attendance ‑ 4029.
3-2-1 ‑ 3 Wallace, 2 Ovenstone, 1 White.