It was the scoreline that the late, great Eric Morecambe always used to joke about but had never come true – until now.
East Fife 4 Forfar 5 was the much-loved comedian’s idea of the ultimate tongue-twister for anyone trying to read out the football results.
On Sunday, that result finally happened for the first time in the fixture’s history – sort of.
The Scottish League Cup Group B tie between the sides went to penalties after a 1-1 draw. And the score in the shootout? East Fife 4 Forfar 5.
Had he lived to see that, it would surely have raised a smile from Morecambe, who came up with the score as a jokey greeting whenever he met his friend James Alexander Gordon, the popular announcer who read the classified results on the BBC for 40 years.
“Eric never called me James,” Gordon, who died in 2014, once recalled. “Whenever I saw him over a 20-year period, he would say ‘East Fife 4 Forfar 5’. I’ve got a tape of that.”
Before Sunday, there had been two occasions when the scoreline almost occurred. In January 1964, it happened with the wrong team at home – finishing Forfar 5 East Fife 4. And in October 2011, a meeting between the sides ended East Fife 4 Forfar 3.
Anton Dowds claimed the opener on Sunday for East Fife, who had Chris Kane sent off before John Baird equalised.
Group games go to penalties under the League Cup format. With the shootout score at 4-4, Forfar keeper Marc McCallum saved Daryl Meggatt’s kick before Thomas Reilly converted to seal a bonus point for the visitors – and make a little piece of sporting history.