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East Fife took on Forfar Athletic in the 4th league game of the season. Previously, East Fife picked up all three points at the Reigart Stadium against Albion Rovers following a 1-0 win. Stevie Crawford and company were keen to replicate the antics of last weekend and pick up maximum points against the Loons. 

One change was made to the starting line-up that overcame Albion Rovers with Pat Slattery making way for Scott Shepherd who missed last weekend through concussion. Summer signing Alan Trouten was named as a substitute after missing out a few weeks due to injury.

Forfar got the ball rolling, and it was East Fife who had the more positive start of the two teams. The first chance of the game fell to the hands of Scott Mercer in the fifth minute. Mercer’s free kick from around 20 yards forced McCallum to make a save low down to his left, which he pushed around the post and behind for a corner to the Fifers.

Eight minutes later, Forfar won a free kick from a closer distance, however Allan Fleming stopped Slater’s effort from rippling the nets and the ball was cleared up the pitch by Alex Ferguson. 

East Fife really pilled on the pressure at the thirty-minute mark with two brilliant chances go in front. The first was through Aaron Steele as he picked up a loose ball in the box from Ferguson’s corner, although Steele put a little too much power on the ball and it narrowly goes over for a goal kick.

The better of the two chances was a counterattack to Forfar’s own counterattack, when Joap Balde picked up the ball in the centre circle. With options either side. Balde drove forward and passed to Ryan Schiavone on the left, who sent a first-time drilled pass into the 6-yard box for Shepherd, who got a shot away but Brindley blocks the effort and pushes it behind for a corner.  

With a minute until half time, Balde created a golden opportunity for himself to give the Fifers the lead when, with a good touch, he skipped past Moore to give himself a great sight of goal but was denied by a last-ditch block from Nditi which prevented an almost certain goal. After a series of uneventful corners for East Fife the referee blew up for half time. 

Half Time: East Fife 0-0 Forfar Athletic

Five minutes into the second half, the first booking of the game was dished out to Forfar’s Craig Slater for a cynical tackle. The first chance of the second half fell to the visitors a minute later when former Fifer Nathan Flanagan found himself on the right flank and whipped in a cross that was met by McCluskey however his touch is a bit heavy, and Fleming gathered safely. 

On the hour mark, Stevie Crawford made his first substitute of the game as Schiavone made way for Taylor Steven. Instantly after the substitution, Steven’s well taken corner led to a goalmouth scramble in the 6-yard box provoked by a Mercer diving header, however Forfar manage to clear the ball to safety. From the clearance, Forfar almost caught East Fife off guard which gave Flanagan a sight of goal but his effort is dragged wide of the post to the relief of the East Fife supporters. 

In the 65th minute, Alan Trouten was brought on to replace Ferguson. A short while later the third and final substitution was made as Jack Healy replaced Shepherd.

As the clock hit 80 minutes the tide turned in Forfar’s favour, as the Angus club really tried to push for a winner but nothing majorly challenged Fleming in the East Fife goal. 

In the final minute of normal time, Balde was taken down inside the box by a rash chal;lenge from Moore and the referee pointed straight to the spot. Excitement brewed within the home end as Trouten stepped up to take the spot kick. Trouten sent the goalkeeper the wrong way to slot the penalty kick into the bottom right corner to give East Fife the lead late on.

The referee blew this whistle a little while after ending a game. East Fife were predominantly the better side over the 90 minutes, whilst Forfar had a few good chances here and there. Ultimately Trouten’s penalty secured the win late on to give East Fife all three points.

East Fife’s next game is again at Bayview on the Tuesday as Crawford’s men take on St Johnstone B in the SPFL Trust Trophy.

Andrew Laing