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Stranraer 0-1 East Fife, Saturday 27th January 2024

Stair Park, cinch League Two

East Fife got over the line against Stranraer at the weekend, beating the Blues 1-0 at Stair Park. The Methil Milan controlled the contest for the large majority of the game and were deserving of all three points. The win has seen us move up to 5th in the cinch League Two table and extends our unbeaten run to five matches.

We started quickly and created a chance very early doors. Jack Healy dinked the ball into the box for Scott Shepherd, though East Fife’s number 9 was denied by a strong save from the Stranraer goalkeeper.

The game was real end-to-end stuff in the opening stages as Stranraer hit the post after 7 minutes too! East Fife managed to deal with it, just, and the resulting counter nearly saw us in front as Nathan Austin’s curled attempt, from a quick break, fell on the wrong side of the post.

After 13 minutes, the Fifers should have gone ahead as a loose ball saw a footrace between Austin and goalie Budinaukus. The ‘keeper beat Fash to it, however his clearance was only as far as Brogan Walls and young midfielder tried to dink the ball into the empty net from just past the halfway line, though it soared over the bar.

The only goal of the game came just five minutes later, as “Stone Cold” Nathan Austin touched the ball round Budinaukus before slotting into an empty net from a tight angle. The goal was the striker’s 3rd in 3 and 12th of the season. It is great to see him finding form at such an important time of the campaign.

We continued to be the team in control, with Austin and Millar both missing half chances, until the 39th minute when Stranraer started putting on pressure in an attempt to finish the half strong by drawing level. It was at this time that Allan Fleming stepped up and did what he does best, pulling off a magnificent save to keep the Fifers in front at half time.

The second half did not start in an ideal manner for East Fife with Brian Easton losing his footing on the tricky surface at Stair Park and sending Tam Orr toward goal in a one-on-one with Fleming. Thankfully for us, the shot was fired well wide, and our lead remained intact.

Ten minutes later, we had another chance of our own with Brogan Walls testing Budinaukus from the edge of the box. The loanee Hibee ‘keeper doing well to get down low to his left, clutching the ball in the process.

We had yet another chance with twenty minutes still on the clock. Walls again causing the Stranraer backline some major trouble as he bombed into the box, however, as the midfielder went to pull the trigger, the Blues’ defence cleared their lines.

The only other highlights of the game after this saw the return of Sean Docherty, Ryan Schiavone and Charlie Murray into the fray as we saw out the game, in what was a dire second half.

We’re back in action on Tuesday now in a crucial game against The Spartans at the MGM Timber Bayview Stadium.

Repot by Oli Anderson

Stranraer – Budinauckas, Girven, Ross, McQueen, Ecrepont (Gilmartin 73’), Robertson, Dolan, Forrest, Johnston (Hawkshaw 62’), Grant, Orr. Subs not used: Downie, Williamson, Fleming.

East Fife – Fleming, Murdoch, Newton, Easton, Millar (Docherty 74’), McManus, Healy, Walls (Murray 90+1’), Shepherd (Schiavone 81’), Trouten, Austin. Subs not used: Page, Nicol, Cunningham, Beveridge.

Referee – Andy Gamble

Attendance – 370