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Stenhousemuir -vs- East Fife (Saturday 16 December 2023)

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The biggest game in Scotland this weekend is taking place in FK5 as Stenhousemuir welcome East Fife to Ochilview. Both sides are coming into this match in contrasting fortunes - Stenny have won their last six matches, while the Fifers seem capable of thrashing the division's lesser lights but unable to beat the stronger competitors. Recent encounters between the sides have been close, with the Warriors narrowly winning 2-0 in Methil in August, and I'm expecting this match to be similar.

There's no reason for Gary Naysmith to alter the team that beat Dumbarton on Saturday. The players should be confident coming into this one and, providing they haven't had their very own "La Manga" on their Christmas night out in Liverpool, raring to go:

- Matty Aitken -

- Euan O'Reilly - Matty Yates - Ross Taylor -

- Nat Wedderburn - Mikey Anderson -

- Kinlay Bilham - Gregor Buchanan - Nicky Jamieson - Edin Lynch -

- Darren Jamieson -

Adam Brown will return from a one-game ban and will probably make do with a cameo appearance off the bench. I also hope James Berry can build on his goal from the weekend (even if he knew nothing about it) and can also contribute at some point too.

East Fife aren't having the season I expected from them but they're not a side to be underestimated and they've caused us setbacks in the past. Nevertheless, we have a presentable run of fixtures between now and the new year - the Fifers, Elgin City, Clyde - and I'd be disappointed if we're unable to keep the good run here. Home win!

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A very accurate summary FF.

East Fife will have  to substantially lift their game if they hope to leave with a positive result, Stenhousemiur obvious favourites.

This match will be a good indication if we at last can pin down some consistency and begin t  threaten the top4, or will we be fighting for the "best  of the rest" tag.


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Will be a tough one for Adam or Euan to take their place on the bench but that is the only decision to be made. Both have been excellent in this winning spell.

You always felt when Taylor got back in he would stay in as he is just that good. The most exciting player in the league.

If we go in to this game with the correct attitude then I see no reason we can't win again. There is a big carrot now to get 9 out of 9 points before the turn of the year. Of course you should only look at it one game at a time but this group are more than capable of continuing this win streak for a few weeks yet.

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Ross Taylor is class to watch, isn't he? The kind of player you really look forward to getting on the ball. Some of his raids down the right on Saturday were terrific. It doesn't always come off for him, and he can be a little ill-disciplined, but when those wee hips get waggling, you just now something's going to happen.

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I watched the highlights from East Fife's game against Elgin City from Saturday. It's hard to tell if East Fife were very good or Elgin City were terrible; it's probably a bit of both. Nevertheless, the attacking players like Scott Shepherd and Ryan Schiavone all had played well and will need to be watched closely. I quite like Scott Shepherd, he's developing into a very useful lower-league forward. Strong runner, bags of enthusiasm, decent touch, good for seven or eight goals a season.

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2 hours ago, Francesc Fabregas said:

I watched the highlights from East Fife's game against Elgin City from Saturday. It's hard to tell if East Fife were very good or Elgin City were terrible; it's probably a bit of both. Nevertheless, the attacking players like Scott Shepherd and Ryan Schiavone all had played well and will need to be watched closely. I quite like Scott Shepherd, he's developing into a very useful lower-league forward. Strong runner, bags of enthusiasm, decent touch, good for seven or eight goals a season.

In terms of atracking play and playing attractive football, I thought East Fife were definitely one of the better teams to come to Fortbank last season.

They didn't and still don't seem to be getting enough decent results.  It surprises me they aren't doing better. 

I was impressed with Shepherd and Schiavone last year too.

Good to know some things don't change and Elgin are still terrible.

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That first half was ridiculously good and we should have been well out of sight. Two fantastic goals through O’Reillys endeavour and another direct free kick from Yates.


I thought the referee was doing well to let things play at times, but at others he was missing clear bookings - the main one that comes to mind was Shepherds horrible lunge.


As good as we were in the first half, credit has to go to East Fife in the second. Healy coming on at half time gave Eden Lynch a tough test and he couldn’t cope with him at all. We did still have a couple of very good chances to wrap things up but Aitken should’ve done better after O’Reilly battered the post, and so should Brown late on but his weak effort didn’t trouble Fleming.

Darren Jamieson’s point blank save at the end was unbelievable, although I’m not sure how much he knew about it.


We have a strong first 11 and a couple solid options on the bench, but apart from that we are very light and weak. Thankfully we didn’t drop points in the end today, but could easily have done so. I’m yet to see anything that tells me Berry, Ferrie, McKay or Sweeney-Rowe have something to offer to this team or at this level - they have had limited game time, granted, but all seem weak, hesitant and unable to compete.


Anyway, onwards to two more winnable matches over the festive period.

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A real game of two halves. Stenhousemuir were cruising before the interval, dominating the match and playing some eye-catching football, but East Fife were far better after the restart, had the home side on the back foot for long spells, and should have tied the match at the death; it took a world-class save from Darren Jamieson to maintain Stenny's advantage. Nevertheless, that's the Warriors' seventh consecutive victory and if you can without playing well, well...

On a cold, windswept afternoon, Stenhousemuir were excellent in the first half. Euan O'Reilly opened the scoring from close range and Matty Yates rattled home an terrific free-kick to extend their lead. O'Reilly was tremendous in the opening stages, ceaselessly tying up Sean Docherty in knots, and it might have been his best performance of the season - if only his second-half strike had gone in! Ross Taylor troubled Stuart Murdoch on the other flank, Matty Aitken pushed the centre-backs around, and Mikey Anderson got his toe to everything in the middle of the park. East Fife struggled to cope and the game was pockmarked by a serious of fouls, some clumsy, some cynical, and I felt the referee was a little lenient with his yellow card; Scott Shepherd should definitely have been booked for clattering Anderson.

Stenny were playing against the wind in the first half but it brought them no advantage in the second. Aitken, so strong in the opening 45, couldn't get a grip of the ball in the second and his team lost control of the game. Where East Fife had been passive, they suddenly looked assured, nullifying their hosts attack and taking a grip of the midfield. Swapping the ineffectual Kieran Millar for Alan Trouten was a good move and forced Stenny deep. For all their positive play, they lacked a cutting edge - Jamieson was largely untested in goal and the only time East Fife did get in behind, Nathan Austin poked home Brogan Walls' goal-bound shot from an offside position. Stenny made changes of their own and appeared to ride out the storm until Nathan Austin flicked in Jack Healy's teasing cross late on. They were at panic stations at this point and it took an extraordinary piece of goalkeeping from Jamieson to prevent Conor McManus, I think, drawing his side level.

This match reminded me a lot of our encounter against Clyde at the end of September, where we ceded control in the second half and almost chucked it away. We were fortunate that East Fife couldn't take advantage but it highlighted how important Aitken is to how the team plays - when he's good, Stenny are good; when he's off it, Stenny struggle (although I appreciate we needed more from Anderson and Nat Wedderburn after the restart too). Another striker, a credible alternative to Aitken, is a priority next month, and I wouldn't be surprised if we're sniffing around Ryan Shanley once he extricates himself from Edinburgh City's financial meltdown.

The most important thing today is we won without playing well in atrocious conditions. Seven wins on the bounce is a ridiculous run of form and we have a solid opportunity to extend it to eight and nine when we take on Elgin City and Clyde before the end of the year. It's a good time to be following the club just now - long may it continue!

Edited by Francesc Fabregas
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Kieran Millar stank the place out with his performance and I was surprised he lasted the full 45 minutes. Continuously let the ball over run, lost control or played passes that just should've been easier options. He didn't want anything to do with Wedderburn and Anderson. As FF says, Trouten replacing him gave East Fife new direction and movement through the lines. Always like watching Healy and he was fun to watch when he was introduced. Was unlucky that his free-kick came off the post. EF had some good opportunities and should've tied up the game at the end, if it wasn't for a miraculous save from DJ. Looking forward to seeing it on the highlights reel.

As for Stenny, we were comfortable and in control in the first half, with our forwards dominating and pressing. We deserved to go in at half-time 3 or 4 up. Second half, we were slow and allowed to much pressure from EF. Had some great opportunities to add to our 2 goals but we survived and I'll take the 3 points.

O'Reilly was superb throughout, always taking players on, had a great solo effort crack off the post and took his goal well.

DJ is brilliant, the reassurance his ability gives our team is unbelievable.

A stricter ref may have reduced EF to 10 players. Some emptying going on and late cynical fouls. They committed one our right hand side, ref played on, we switched play and O'Reilly was taken out. Both yellows but no cards given. 

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All hail Darren Jamieson. That save at the end was amazing.

First half we were brilliant. Was it the best we’ve been this season? O’Reilly tormented the right back, Matty Yates was class, while Nicky Jamieson thought he was Franz Beckenbauer. The confidence was oozing throughout the team. I did wonder how we would cope playing with the wind at our backs, and my fears were confirmed. East Fife were a real threat in the 2nd half. I wasn’t expecting the offside flag at Austin’s goal - did we dodge a bullet? Despite Fife being on top we still came close to getting a 3rd, especially with O’Reilly’s shot off the post.

You make your own luck, and we have certainly had it on our side on occasions, but to go on such a long winning streak is helluva impressive. 

Will be interesting to see what we do in the transfer window. Aside from Berry, most of those on the bench are either loanees, or in the case of McKay, on a contract to January. None of them have had a chance in the side so it is impossible to say if they are any good. What is happening with Kirkpatrick? Other teams will strengthen - hopefully we have the budget to do likewise. 

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