East Fife’s promotion hopes suffer after loss

Robert Sloan and Alan Reid tussle infront of Derek Gaston
Robert Sloan and Alan Reid tussle infront of Derek Gaston

Relegation threatened Albion Rovers pulled off a shock victory at Bayview which dented East Fife’s play-off hopes.

The home side knew three points were a must to keep pace with the other contenders for fourth spot, but it was Paul Martin’s scrappers who grabbed the victory to help their cause at the other end of the table, as they notched a deserved win.

It could have been so different, though, if Darren McCormack had been able to put the Fifers one up after just a couple of minutes when he connected with a Bobby Linn corner, only to fire his effort over the bar.

Scott Dalziel was another who tried to break the deadlock but was unable to trouble Derek Gaston in the Albion Rovers goal.

East Fife saw a lot of the ball during the early stages but lacked the killer pass needed to slice open the Rovers backline.

Scott Chaplain scored the opening goal when some good work from John Gemmell in the box saw him pick out his strike partner, who composed himself before netting.

East Fife grabbed a foothold in the game but, for all the possession they had, they were unable to create many clear-cut chances.

Neil Janzcyk passed up their best opportunity when he headed off the crossbar from a Robert Sloan corner, shortly after the Fifers had gone one down.

Rovers are fighting for their lives, determined not to drop a division, and managed to get themselves two up when Gemmell connected with a Ryan McStay free-kick to send a looping header high past Michael Brown.

Fifers boss Gordon Durie introduced all three of his subs as the Fifers tried to salvage the match.

Ryan Wallace smashed an effort over the bar from the edge of the box as the Methil men chased the game.

Dalziel again tried to break down a well-organised Rovers defence but was out of luck.

Substitute David Muir gave his side a lifeline when he scrambled the ball home late on to ensure a tense finish for the travelling support.

Derek Gaston was unable to hold a Dalziel cross and spilled the ball at the feet of the midfielder, who made no mistake from six yards.

Jack Werndy saw red as the clock ticked down for his second booking, but the Rovers were able to hold on and cut East Fife three points adrift of the precious fourth-placed spot.

Methil boss Durie complained that his side had left themselves with a mountain to climb after a poor opening half.

He said: “The first 45 was our downfall; we didn’t really start.

“Their two goals were really poor from our point of view as well.

“We changed our system a bit but had given ourselves too much to do because of the first half we had.

“The second half we were maybe a bit better, but overall it was pretty disappointing.

“Results haven’t really gone for us elsewhere as well, but we’ll pick ourselves up at training and look forward to a big game on Saturday now.”

East Fife - Brown, Durie, McCormack, Campbell, Ovenstone, Linn (Hislop 73), Darren Smith, Janczyk (Johnstone 57), Sloan (Muir 57), Dalziel, Wallace. Subs (not used) Collier, McQuade.

Albion Rovers - Gaston, Reid, O’Byrne, Marriott, Russell, Stevenson, Love (Boyle 67), McStay, Werndly, Gemmell, Chaplain (Gilmartin 83). Subs (not used) Fahey, Acquah, Lumsden.

Attendance - 566.

Referee - Gary Hilland.

Starcheck ratings - Linn 3 points, Campbell 2, McCorcack 1.

Starcheck table - Ryan Wallace 47, Bobby Linn 39, Michael Brown 22, Darren Smith 20, Mark Ridgers 17, Robert Sloan 14, Craig Johnstone 12, Steve Campbell 12, Rob Ogleby 11, Scott Durie 10, John Ovenstone 9, David White 9, Matthew Park 8, Darren McCormack 6, Steve Hislop 5, David Muir 3, Andrew Cook 2, Scott Dalziel 2, Chris Innes 2, Neil Janczyk 1, Lloyd Young 1.