To the soundtrack of possibly the worst brass band on the planet, Darren Young got a pretty decent tune out of his Fifers.
Fair play to the dozen or so band members for adding a touch of entertainment to the fixture - but it seriously made the ears bleed. Luckily our eyes were spared with both sides playing out an entertaining festive time draw. Both had chances to win the game and, at the end of the 90 minutes, a draw was probably the fairest outcome. Credit to the hosts and the Fifers because from the first whistle the play sailed from end to end. Gayfield’s famous wind machine was switched off sparing the players and the fans a battering from what would have been an icy blast. On the pitch East Fife put together a nice sweeping move up the park between Mark Lamont, Jordan Piggott and Greg Hurst. The ball was squared to on-loan St Johnstone forward Hurst but he fired wide from eight yards. Former Fifer Bobby Linn so often torments his old side and he went close to doing so again when his shot was blocked on the line by Jonathan Page. The Fifers found themselves down in seventh spot ahead of the game and keen to claw back some ground on their play-off rivals. They thought they had taken the lead in the match when Kevin Smith netted from close range but his effort was ruled out for offside. Arbroath started the second half well and went on to enjoy their best spell in the game. Linn again went close with an effort which drifted along the face of goal while, at the other end, Mark Lamont went near to opening the scoring when he crashed an effort from 20 yards off the face of the crossbar. Both managers shuffled their packs in pursuit of the opening goal and it duly arrived when Red Lichties sub Leighton McIntosh slammed home a loose ball from eight yards. Gavin Swankie should have put Arbroath on easy street when he raced clear on Ryan Goodfellow’s goal only for the East Fife ‘keeper to race off his line and block. The recent run of results haven’t been great for East Fife so it’s credit to the players that they didn’t let their heads go down and battled back for the point they deserved. They left it late, though. Chris Duggan did well to win possession back deep inside the Arbroath half and made his way beyond Colin Hamilton. The Arbroath defender got too close to the Fifer as he aimed to bring a halt to his run and tripped him a foot inside the box. The game was heading into injury time but Mark Docherty was the calmest man inside Gayfield and he fired his spot kick beyond David Hutton’s grasp. The goal ensured a deserved point and a positive note to end 2017 on for East Fife.