Pirates went down to a costly defeat in Kirkcaldy on Sunday night, losing not just the much needed two points to maintain their title challenge, but also influential skipper Grahame McCamley who was taken to hospital with a serious shoulder injury, one which is certain to rule him out for a number of weeks.
The start to the first period was delayed somewhat, and once it got underway both sides had chances to score, but it wasn’t until the final minute of the session that the home side got the vital opener as Finlay was on hand to beat Meechan and put Kestrels ahead at the interval.
Pirates came out looking for a quick equaliser at the start of the middle session and they got it on the powerplay as Orr got on the end of a move with fellow forward Wilson and Miller to tie the game at 1-1 after 22 minutes. A few niggles were creeping into the game and with both sides taking penalties, Kestrels took advantage of a powerplay after 34 minutes to go ahead again through Anderson. A further fracas in the final minute of the session saw a number of players take prolonged penalties, with Pirates’ Guy being ejected on a third man in call, when he looked merely to be holding back one of the participants, and with Kestrels’ Anderson also ending his active part in the game the remainder of the period was eventually played out, showing Kestrels to be 2-1 ahead going into the final session.
The visitors again came out for the last 20 minutes looking for a game tying goal, but this time it wasn’t coming, and another succession of penalties appeared to break up play and prevent Pirates from gaining the necessary momentum to force an equaliser. A goal did come at the halfway point of the final session, but unfortunately for Pirates it came at the wrong end, Smith providing the insurance marker for the home side and allowing them to exact a measure of revenge for their 6-4 defeat at Braehead a few weeks earlier.
Pirates will be desperately disappointed to lose what was always going to be a tough affair, with 129 minutes in penalties occurring during the match, but what will be even more worrying for the club will be the loss of their captain Graham McCamley over an important period which sees them travel to Edinburgh next Sunday nursing a 2-1 first leg lead in the Autumn Cup semi final, then a return trip to Kirkcaldy in a fortnight for their Scottish Cup quarter final clash.