East Fife made the journey to Coatbridge to take on Albion Rovers in the third league game of the season. Previously the Fifers suffered a defeat to Bonnyrigg Rose and were looking to bounce back and win all three points at The Reigart Stadium.
Stevie Crawford made two changes to the starting eleven that were beaten by Bonnyrigg last time out. Scott Shepherd and Brogan Walls missed out through injury with Pat Slattery and João Balde, making his starting debut for the club, replacing them in the starting line-up. New loan-signing Taylor Steven was named on the bench.
Hibs loanee Balde got the game underway, and it was Albion Rovers were the fastest out of the blocks as they had a few good chances early on. The first in the 3rd minute where Kieran Dolan managed to turn Sam Denham and get a shot away that Allan Fleming turned behind for a corner. In the 20th minute, Albion Rovers have another good chance when Callum Wilson squared the ball to Dolan whose shot is blocked well by Denham, however the clearance landed at the feet of Sean Fagan who rifles a shot goal wards which Fleming turned onto the post preventing Albion from taking the lead.
East Fife first chance of the half was in the 22nd minute when Scott Mercer’s free kick found the head of Aaron Steele who header back across the face of goal just evaded the onrushing Denham. A short while later, Fantastic Fleming struck again as he miraculously managed to stop a seemingly open goal for Dolan at point blank range.
East Fife’s best chance of the half was thanks to a mazy run from Balde, cutting in and out of a few Rovers players before eventually getting a shot away, however his shot didn’t have enough power and Leighfield saves comfortably with his feet. With 5 minutes left of the half, Fagan entered the referee’s book. The referee blew up for half time a little while after.
East Fife came out a lot stronger in the second half as it took little time before they created the first good chance of the second half when Balde sent a nicely placed pass to Schiavone, who took the ball down well, but his shot went over the bar and out for a goal kick.
On the 67th minute, East Fife took the lead when Alex Ferguson lofted through ball found Ryan Schiavone down the right who sent a pinpoint cross into the box, picking out Liam Newton directly in front of goal who headed home giving East Fife the lead.
Directly after the Fifers goal, Albion went close to levelling the match, as Jamie Leslie’s shot from around 25 yards forced Fleming to push the ball out for a corner at full stretch. In the 73rd minute, Stevie Crawford made his first substitution as Schiavone makes way for new loan signing Taylor Steven from St. Johnstone.
In the last 15 minutes of the game Albion Rovers really pushed for the win, however very little got past the stubborn East Fife back line. Rovers did have a chance late on was when substitute Max Wright cuts the ball back to unmarked McGrath, but his shot was dragged wide.
In the 5th minute of stoppage, time Lucas Williamson was brought on for goalscorer Newton. A minute later the referee blew up for full time, giving East Fife a tough 1-0 win in hot conditions. East Fife will play Forfar Athletic at Bayview next as Crawford and co aim to pick up another 3 points.