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East Fife made the tough trip down to Stair Park to play Stranraer. The Fifers were coming off the back of 3 wins in a row and most recently a 4-0 hammering of St. Johnstone B midweek.

Stevie Crawford made 5 changes to the team that comfortably overcame St. Johnstone a few days ago with Stewart Murdoch, Kieran Millar, Ryan Schiavone and Alex Ferguson all returning to the starting line-up along Taylor Steven, who was making his first starting for the club. Lucas Williamson, Liam Newton, Jack Healy, Alan Trouten and Mikey Cunningham were all handed places on the bench after starting earlier in the week. 

East Fife got the ball rolling and the game underway and stated their intention quickly as they were attempting to dominate and control the game. After 4 minutes, the first chance of the game fell to the visitors when João Balde turned his man and dribbled away quickly before passing out to an unmarked Schiavone inside the box, however his shot is blazed over the bar.

A short while later, in the 8th minute, East Fife had another good chance thanks again to Balde skipping past numerous Stranraer defenders to give himself a clear sight of goal, although his shot is narrowly dragged wide of the post. 

On the 15th minute, completely against the run of play, the Blues took the lead when Anton Brady played a defence splitting pass through to Paul Woods who raced in one-on-one with Fleming to slot past him putting Stranraer 1-0 up. Despite the goal, East Fife didn’t give up and equalised 7 minutes later. Ferguson’s shot from the edge of the box was deflected into the pathway of Schiavone who curled an effort into the top corner of the net.

Midway through the first half Crawford was forced to make his first change of the game as an injured Scott Mercer limped off to be replaced by Williamson. In the 32nd minute, Stranraer scored another as Josh Walker’s free kick found the feet of ex-Fifer Luke Watt for a tap in. The rest of the half went past uneventfully and after three minutes added time the referee blew his whistle for the half. 

Half-Time: Stranraer 2-1 East Fife

At the break, Liam Newton was brought on for Schiavone. The first real chance of the second half fell to East Fife as Steven’s short free kick found Ferguson on the left wing but his cross bounces on the cross bar and, despite the ball falling into a dangerous area, the Stranraer defence were able to clear. 

In the 65th minute, Ferguson received East Fife’s first and only yellow card of the game after cynically breaking up a Stranraer attack. From the resulting free kick, Watt dribbling along the by-line and attempted to curl the ball around the ‘keeper, however Sam Denham was on-hand to clear off the line. Directly after the Stranraer chance, Watt was shown red as an off the ball incident to the confusion of most inside the ground. However, replays showed Watt kicking out at East Fife’s Aaron Steele after the ball was cleared.

With Stranraer down to 10 men, Crawford made a few forward-thinking changes as Healy and Trouten were both brought on with 10 minutes remaining. Multiple chances fell for East Fife however none were good enough to seriously challenge the ‘keeper. That was until the 90th minute when Newton has a shot very close to the goal, however the diving Stranraer ‘keeper prevents the ball from rolling into the back of the net. 

As the game was coming to an end, it appeared as though East Fife’s time had run out, however Healy had other ideas. He picks up the ball in middle of the Stranraer half, magically skipped past multiple Stranraer players to find himself with a clear sight of goal to unleash a shot the that found the back of the net off the underside of the bar to level the game at the very depths.

The full-time whistle went a short while after ending a very entertaining game for the neutral. East Fife host league leaders Dumbarton next as they aim to be the first team take points off of the high-flying Sons this season.

Full-Time: Stranraer 2-2 East Fife

 Report by Andrew Laing

Stranraer Team: Scullion, Watt, Ross, Girvan, Ellis, Grant (Hilton 59'), Brady (Robertson 84'), Woods, Forrest (Hawkshaw 84'), Walker (McLean 59'), Malcolm (Duffy 90+2')

East Fife Team: Fleming, Denham, Mercer (Williamson 27'), Murdoch, Steele, Ferguson (Trouten 70'), Schiavone (Newton 45'), Balde (Healy 77'), Millar, Steven, Shepherd

Attendance: 395

Referee: Scott Lambie