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East Fife 0-3 The Spartans, Tuesday 30th January 2024

MGM Timber Bayview Stadium, cinch League Two

East Fife’s unbeaten start to 2024 came to a whimpering halt as a Blair Henderson hattrick blew the Methil Men away.

The first half was a rather uneventful affair, and other than Carswell making an impressive save to deny Austin after 20 minutes, nothing of note occurred. The two sides went into the interval incredibly even, and not many people would have called what happened in the second period.

It only took The Spartans 5 minutes in the second period to open the scoring, when a misplaced headed backpass was caught by Blair Henderson. The intelligent striker, who was through one-on-one made no mistake and fired the visitors ahead.

A further five minutes later, The Spartans doubled their lead, this time through a counterattack. The blistering pace from the frontmen was too much for East Fife to handle and we were caught out, two goals down and one massive hill to climb.

Despite looking down and out, we then had a slight spell of hope as Healy did well firing a shot from range which looked destined for the bottom corner. Sadly, Carswell did his job rather well and kept the visitors two goals to the good.

Ten minutes later we were denied by Carswell yet again, the goalkeeper never had much to do on Tuesday evening, but when he was called upon, he filled his role to perfection.

The game then dried up until 5 minutes to go, a second defensive howler of the night allowed Henderson to nip in and score his third, ensuring that three points and the match ball would make their way back to Ainslie Park.

East Fife looked to have their consolation goal, as Austin tapped home in the 92nd minute, but the linesman had flagged for offside, keeping The Spartans’ clean sheet intact.

We have a crucial game tomorrow which we have to bounce back for, as we play Elgin at Borough Briggs.

Report by Oli Anderson

East Fife – Fleming, Murdoch, Newton (Docherty 78’), Page, Easton, McManus, Trouten, Healy (Nicol 78’), Walls (Hamilton 78’), Shepherd (Hamilton 78’), Austin. Subs not used: Millar, Cunningham, Murray, Rollo

The Spartans – Carswell, K Watson, Waugh, Sonkur, Newman, Dishington (Brown 89’), Denholm (Russell 77’), Craigen (Jones 90’), Whyte, Henderson (Morrison 86’), Armstrong (P Watson 87’). Subs not used: McCready

Referee – Chris Fordyce

Attendance – 392