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East Fife welcomed Forfar Athletic back to Bayview as the two teams met for the third time this season with both meetings resulting in wins for East Fife, 1-0 at Bayview and 3-1 at Station Park, and the Fifers went into the match hoping to continue that good record. Last weekend East Fife suffered a disappointing end to an otherwise fantastic February with a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Stranraer down at Stair Park. 

Greig McDonald made two changes to the side that lost to Stranraer last time out with Brogan Walls and Scott Shepherd making their returns to the starting team in place of Kieran Millar and Aidan Denholm.

It was Forfar who were quickest out of the blocks, and they had some strong early chances, particularly through former Fifer Nathan Flanagan on the right wing. In the 6th minute, Finn Robson punce on a loose ball from a Flanagan block but Ferguson was able to get in a crucial block. The early pressure paid off for the Loons and they opened the scoring in the 10th minute when Robson slotted home on the half volley from Flanagan’s cross.

Despite going a goal down early on, East Fife showed desire and resilience to get back into the game and almost levelled just 3 minutes after going 1-0 down. Ferguson’s free kick eventually made its ways to Ryan Schiavone who was unlucky to see his effort cleared off the line.

On the 22nd minute, East Fife had another chance to grab an equaliser when Jack Healy did well to snatch the ball back away from Roberto Nditi on the by-line to cut the ball back to Walls who’s rifled strike cannons off the post before being eventually cleared.

The pressure was beginning to tell for the home side, and they were level just 3 minutes later. A long ball over the top to Schiavone who drove down the right wing and played a pass to the edge of the box to the on running Walls who caresses the ball into the bottom corner for his first professional goal.

Nearing the half hour mark the Fifers had a chance to take the lead when Alan Trouten picked up a miss placed pass and fed Scott Shepherd, but the forward was denied by an incredible last ditch block from Nditi. Schiavone managed to keep the ball in play and feed the ball back into the danger zone but no one in a black & gold shirt could stab the ball home after a good old-fashioned stramash.

HALF TIME: East Fife 1-1 Forfar Athletic

The first chance of the second half came in the 54th minute when a whipped cross into the box from Ferguson falls to Aaron Steele who turns his man and, on the half volley, from very close range balloons the ball over the bar. 

East Fife took the lead for the first time in the game in the 68th minute when a short corner from Ferguson to Healy saw the winger fire in a cross which is turned into his own net by Forfar captain Craig Slater. 

The lead didn’t last too long however as Forfar snatched an equaliser just 8 minutes later. Flanagan picked up the ball inside his own half and breezed past 3 East Fife players before picking out McClusky at the back post to level the match at 2-2.

With the game dwindling away, and two minutes remaking of the 90, East Fife has one last chance to grab the three points which they duly took. Ferguson’s corner was fired toward goal by Page but his effort was blocked on the line and just when Flanagan looked like he would be able to break for the visitors, substitute Connor McManus put in an excellent tackle to win the ball back inside the Forfar half. Ferguson picked up the loose ball and picked out Trouten who sent a looping header into the top corner to win clinch the three points late on.

FULL TIME: East Fife 3-2 Forfar Athletic 

A very well won three points for the Fifers sees them climb up into 5th position, only one point behind 4th placed Annan Athletic. Next up is a trip to Ochilview to take on 3rd placed, and in form Stenhousemuir.

East Fife Team: Fleming, Steele, Newton, Page, Denham, Ferguson, Trouten, Walls (McManus 77’), Healy (Denholm 77’), Shepherd (Omar 90+2’), Schiavone (Young 83’)

Forfar Athletic Team: McCallum, Nditi (Gillies 73’), Munro, Docherty (Brindley 45’), Hutchinson, Robson (Aitken 73’), Slater, Flanagan, Hutton, Ross (McCluskey 74’), Armour

Referee: Steven Kirkland

Attendance: 663

Report by Andrew Laing