East Fife 1-1 Edinburgh City

The Fifers were held at Bayview by League Two City.
The Fifers were held at Bayview by League Two City.

East Fife are still in the Scottish Cup - but they'll have to do things the hard way if they want to progress any further.

On paper a third round home tie against Edinburgh City, the club which props up the Scottish league structure, should have been one of the more favourable draws.

But there were a couple of key factors going into Tuesday night's game which flashed warning signs that the game would be anything but a walkover.

City, winners of last year's League Two play off, struggled to get to grips with the senior division during the early stages of the competitive campaign.

They've picked up a heck of a lot since then, though, and a record of six games unbeaten before their meeting with East Fife shows how far the've come over the past couple of months.

On the other hand East Fife have been struggling to pick up points, and they entered the tie on the back of a run which stretches back seven games to their last victory.

An on form side from one division below playing a struggling team from the league higher.

It was set-up to be a cup shock.

And when East Fife started the game sluggishly, that's just the way it looked as if it was going to pan out.

Kevin Smith crashed an effort a few inches wide but apart from that there was nothing really of note that had former Fife 'keeper Andrew Stobie worried.

That's not to say Ryan Goodfellow was too busy either as both sides struggled to settle during a scrappy start.

Crucially it was City who snatched the game's opening goal.

The impressive Ousman See worked a bit of space for himself inside the box and sent a fine strike beyond Goodfellow's reach.

East Fife supporters were fearing the worst at the break but, to their credit, the Methil men picked themselves up in the second 45.

On a run of poor form and struggling for confidence that can't have been easy.

The Fifers have been struggling for a break, that little thing in a match which can turn things in your favour.

But finally something fell for them on Tuesday.

Scratching their heads about how to change things, boss Gary Naysmith and assistant Dougie Anderson decided to introduce centre half Jason Kerr up front to combat the physical presence of City's Joe Mbu.

According to Kerr, Anderson's instructions to him before entering play were to 'go on and win your header against the big boy'.

Within barely seconds, Kerr had done just that, powering home a header from a Jonathan Page flick on to level the tie with his first touch.

The goal put a spring in East Fife's step and, as the game closed out, if there was going to be a winner it would be the men in black and gold.

Scott Mercer went close, as did Kyle Wilkie, but ultimately there would be no further scoring and the third round clash will now be settled in the capital next Wednesday.

Boss Gary Naysmith said: "Dougie pulled me over at the side and said big Joe was winning everything at the back so what about Jason going on up front.

"It was a decent idea because we were limited for options.

"Jason caused them a different problem and Joe wasn't as dominant."

The boss admitted the first half performance wasn't nearly as good as he expects.

“I’m delighted to still be in the cup after our first half performance," said Naysmith.

“We seem to have a mental problem just now.

“We were poor against Forfar, poor in the first half against Arbroath and poor against Edinburgh City.

“That’s three times we’ve played teams from the lower leagues and not been right at it.

“That’s a mental thing.

“The players aren’t giving their opponents enough respect and preparing properly.

“We need to get out of that and can’t be as good as we were against Alloa a couple of weeks ago and then as bad as we were in the first half against Edinburgh City.”