Ladbrokes League 1
Saturday 3rd February 2018
East Fife 2 (Linton 58’ (P), Lamont 61’)
Stranarer XI: Currie, Robertson, Neill, McGowan, Hamill, Woods (Anderson 64’), Agnew (Hawkshaw 64’), Turner, Beith, Dykes (Lyon 64’), Okoh
Subs: McLaren, MacPherson, Barron, Thomson
East Fife XI: Goodfellow, Dunsmore, Kane, Page, Linton, Lamont (Watson 76’), McManus, Millar, Livingstone, Duggan (Jones 41’), Smith (Slattery 86’)
Subs: Wilson, Mutch, Knox, MacKenzie
Referee: Colin Steven
East Fife made the long trip down to Stair Park to face Stranraer and returned to Bayview with all 3 points after picking up their first win on the road since November. Manager Darren Young made 5 changes to the side that lost to Forfar Athletic last time out with new-signing Connor McManaus and Adam Livingston, Kevin Smith, Kieran Millar and Aaron Dunsmore, free again after the last game through suspension, replaced the injured trio of Mark Docherty, Kyle Wilkie and Craig Thomson with Pat Slattery and Craig Watson dropping to the bench.
East Fife should have taken the lead on 11 minutes when a good break by Livingstone picked out Smith in the middle of the park, Smith lifted the ball over the top for Chris Duggan who put the ball past on-rushing ‘keeper Max Currie only for the flag to be raised for offside – replays showing that Duggan was in fact well onside when the ball was played. Stephen Okoh fired over from close range on 14 minutes for the home side before Currie saved comfortably from Jonathan Page’s header on 21 minutes at the other end.
East Fife rode their luck a bit in the first half and a combination of Ryan Goodfellow and Chris Kane were required to keep out a goalmouth scramble on 23 minutes. Duggan should have done better when he broke free from his marker to get on the end of Linton’s free kick on 31 minutes but didn’t get enough on the ball and it flew wide. Livingstone registered the visitor’s first shot on goal on 32 minutes when his left-footed volley was saved by Currie.
Angus Bieth curled a shot narrowly wide of the right-hand post for the home side on 37 minutes after being played in by Scott Robertson. New-signing Robert Jones came on for his debut 5 minutes before the break as a replacement for Duggan who picked up a dead leg after a challenge from Morgyn Neill and almost gave the visitor’s the lead in bizarre circumstances. With a Stranraer player down injured play ground to a halt but without the referee stopping play, McManus was invited to play on and fed Jones down the left who drove into the box and forces Currie to turn his shot behind.
There was little between the sides at the break who both teams struggling to find their passing game on a pitch that was struggling after harsh weather conditions.
Linton sent a right-footed shot wide of the post shortly after the re-start before Stranraer had a penalty shout waved away by referee Colin Steven on 49 minutes when Beith’s shot appeared to hit the arm of Page – replays showing that it was the correct decision as his arms were in front of his chest. Currie spilled a shot from Jones on 53 minutes but was able to recover quickly with Smith waiting to pounce.
East Fife were awarded a highly debatable penalty of 56 minutes when Kieran Millar broke through the Stranraer defence and raced in on goal only to be brought down by Chris McGowan as he was about to shoot. Stranraer argued that McGowan played the ball first but replays have proved to be inconclusive but the fact the challenge came from behind is what probably swayed the decision in East Fife’s favour. With regular penalty taker Mark Docherty missing through injury, Scott Linton stepped up to give East Fife the lead with his 3rd goal of the season.
It was 2-0 shortly after when Mark Lamont won a footrace against McGowan to latch onto Millar’s through ball and slot past Currie for his 4th of the season. Jones was next to get in behind the Stranraer defence but dragged his shot just wide of target on 66 minutes. Lamont went close to adding a second with 20 minutes to play but flashed his shot over from the edge of the box.
Beith blasted over from 10-yards for the home side on 72 minutes after Grant Anderson’s cross was only partially cleared before Okoh just failed to get on the end of Anderson’s knock down as the home side looked for a way back into the game.
It wasn’t to be however as East Fife held on for a thoroughly-deserved first League win on the road since a 1-0 victory against Airdrieonians in September and will look to build on that performance when Queen’s Park are the visitors to Bayview on Saturday.