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East Fife 2-1 Albion Rovers, Saturday 9th September 2023

MGM Timber Bayview Stadium, SPFL Trust Trophy R3

A much-improved 2nd half for the Fifers was enough to get them over the line, and into the fourth round of the SPFL Trust Trophy, after overcoming Lowland League side Albion Rovers 2-1 at the MGM Timber Bayview Stadium.

Both sets of fans respected a minute’s applause for former Fife goalkeeper Bert Allan prior to kick off.

East Fife held the bulk of the ball in the opening stages and had the first real chance of the game when, after quarter of an hour, Jack Healy got behind the defensive lines from a deep free kick, but the youngster snatched at his shot and sent the volley soaring.

However, it was Albion Rovers who broke the deadlock, undeniably against the run of play, when McCraw’s outswinging corner was met by Niyah Joseph who turned the ball in from close range.

The visitors then had the chance to double their lead, when what looked like a lofted cross was caught in the wind, forcing Fleming to make an incredible fingertip save.

Chances flowed for East Fife in the tail end of the first half, with Walls creating a great opportunity on the left wing when he drove into the box, before cutting the ball back for Nathan Austin, though a fantastic block from Scott Dunn kept the Rovers in front.

Shortly after, a mistake from Adam Fernie gave Austin an opportunity to head home from 4 yards out, though it was straight down goalkeeper Connelly’s throat, sending the Methil Men into the break a goal down.

It didn’t take long for Fife to get back into the contest though, as Jonathan Page drilled a header right into the top corner from a corner kick after 55 minutes to give the home side a deserved lead.

Healy had another of his textbook efforts after 65 minutes, looking to cut in from the left and hit the target, however, his shot blazed over the bar, keeping the sides level.

The Black and Gold kept knocking on the door but could not find a way to beat Connelly for the second time. Substitute Scott Shepherd had a dig, though his shot failed to cause hassle, and the keeper easily dealt with the danger.

Unfortunately for the Rovers, there was no stopping Connor McManus’ strike 5 minutes later, when he volleyed home from 12 yards out after a fantastic passage of play, completing East Fife’s second half turnaround.

The Fifers kept pushing though, striving to make their first win in nine a convincing one, but it was not to be, and the scoreline remained the same until the final whistle. The Fifers now look forward to the fourth-round draw on Thursday afternoon.

Report by Oli Anderson

East Fife – Fleming, Newton, Page, Docherty, Easton, Millar (McManus 68’), Trouten, Healy, Mitchell (Schiavone 57’), Austin (Shepherd 67’), Walls. Subs not used: Murdoch, Nicol, Philp, Rollo, Comerford

Albion Rovers – Connelly, Fernie, Dunn, Fagan (Bembo 90’), Duffy (Denholm 84’), McMahon, McCaw, Bevan, Duncan, Joseph, Prince (Tran 45’). Subs not used: Wilson, Reid, Walker, Patterson

Referee – Lloyd Wilson

Attendance – 448