4-0 win doesn’t flatter the Fifers

East Fife's players celebrate after Kevin Smith wraps up the win with a fourth goal.
East Fife's players celebrate after Kevin Smith wraps up the win with a fourth goal.

The impressiveness of this East Fife win cannot be understated as the Methil men made it ten League Two points out of 12.

The convincing scoreline was magnificent in itself, but was made all the more so given that the standard of surface they did it on was light years behind their splendid home park at Bayview.

While plastic pitches have come a long way in the past 10 years, the Links Park pitch hasn’t, and looked barely suitable for Sunday league use, never mind the professional game.

The artificial ‘grass’ is well beyond its best and it’s a credit to the Fifers that they were able to not just cope, but compete well on it.

Gary Naysmith said following the draw with Queen’s Park that he would alter his side to suit the park and opposition, and he did that with the previous week’s man-of-the-match Caolan McAleer dropping to the bench.

The height and strength of Ross Brown and Jon McShane were placed in the middle of the park with Nathan Austin replacing the slight McAleer on the right wing as the Fifers looked to match their physical opponents.

The game plan took no time to bed in as East Fife took the game to their hosts.

Naysmith’s men grabbed the lead through an unlikely source when defender Fraser Mullen shot through a ruck of players and beyond Lucas Birnstingl.

The usual flowing wing play from the Fifers was largely abandoned as they looked to barge their way through the middle.

Brown was having one of his best games in the black and gold for some time and grabbed the game’s crucial second goal.

Some good work from McShane saw his cross break kindly for the midfielder who fired home from eight yards.

Austin should have made it 3-0 just a couple of minutes later when, again, the Fifers forced their way through the middle and created an opening for the Fife forward.

Birnstingl, though, was off his line quickly to charge down Austin’s strike.

The third wasn’t long in coming and it was all too easy for the Fifers.

Kevin Smith picked up the ball on the corner of the Montrose box and picked out McShane who outmuscled his marker to head the ball into the net.

The 3-0 half time scoreline didn’t flatter the Fifers and they more than deserved their fourth which came after Leighton McIntosh had saw a straight red for kicking Jonathan Page.

Ross Campbell was the provider for Kevin Smith who headed past Birnstingl to seal the win.