Hibernian F.C. Match Reports
Pre-Season Challenge Match
East Fife 0 Hibernian 0
Wednesday 30th July 2014
The woodwork denied Hibernian a fourth win in six outings as Alan Stubbs' squad brought the curtain down on their pre-season preparations, writes Richard Payne.
Callum Crane and substitute Liam Craig both struck the crossbar as a young Hibs side were held to a goalless draw in Methil.
Head Coach Stubbs once again shuffled his pack, naming a young side as Hibs made the short trip over the Forth to face East Fife.
Only Mark Oxley, Jordon Forster and Farid El Alagui retained their place in the starting XI following Sunday's match with Dundee United.
Trialist Michael Richardson was given the opportunity to impress whilst Paul Heffernan recovered from injury to take a place amongst the substitutes.
The Easter Road men made a promising start and carved out the first opportunity after just four minutes when El Alagui slipped in Lewis Allan only for goalkeeper Allan Fleming to react quickly to block the youngster's strike.
Richardson did well moments later to win possession just inside the Hibs half and surged forward before laying the ball off to El Alagui as the home defence were caught out, however the striker had just stepped offside.
On 11 minutes Kevin Smith collected a fine cross from Ross Campbell before curling a low shot towards the far post the Oxley gathered comfortably.
A terrific delivery from Forster was nodded into the path of Lewis Allan by El Alagui before the young forward fired just over from the edge of the penalty area.
The final effort at goal in the first half came from the hosts with a powerful drive by Alan Cook being stopped by Oxley.
After the break Hibs increased the pressure on the home defence with East Fife goalkeeper Dylan Rooney acrobatically saving a terrific strike from Callum Booth inside a minute of the restart.
Hibs introduced Liam Craig on 57 minutes and he was immediately involved as he fired a free kick just wide of goal.
On 62 minutes a Craig corner kick was only partially cleared and when the ball dropped of Callum Crane on the edge of the penalty area, the youngster struck a terrific dipping volley that crashed back into play off the crossbar.
Little was seen of the home side in an attacking sense during the second half however they did go close to scoring against the run of play when former Hibee Fraser Mullen fired a free kick just with of the target.
On 74 minutes the woodwork once again came to East Fife's rescue as Alex Harris' cross found Craig unmarked in the middle and his looping header struck the crossbar with Rooney rooted to the spot.
Rooney's reactions would be sharper soon after when he tipped a terrific shot from Harris over the bar.
In the final seconds of the game Hibs should have scored when Booth found Heffernan unmarked in the middle, but with the goal at his mercy the substitute headed wide.
Hibernian and next in action on Tuesday evening when they face Rangers at Ibrox Stadium in the Petrofac Training Challenge Cup first round.
East Fife: Fleming (Rooney 46'), Mullen (Wooley 79'), Smith, Campbell, Moyes (Naysmith 46'), Walker (Beaton 63'), Cook (Barr 46'), Brown (Mackrey 63'), Austin (McShane 70'), Campbell, Smith.
Hibernian: Oxley, Dunsmore, Crane, Foster (Hanlon 46'), Nelson, Booth, S Allan (Harris 70'), Tudur Jones, El Alagui (Handling 46'), L Allan (Heffernan 65'), Richardson (Craig 57'). Substitutes not used: Perntreau, Stevenson, Robertson, Gardiner, Gray.
Referee: Calum Murray.