EAST Fife recorded their first win at Glebe Park in 10 attempts and brought Airdrie and Forfar ever closer in their end of season play-off charge.
The visitors started the brighter of the two but unfortunately couldn’t make it count and the home side dominated for long spells after that. However, an excellently built-up goal midway through the half got East Fife ahead and they managed to hold on until half time.
Another good start to the second-half saw the Fifers get a two goal advantage. However, the home side came back and this time got on the scoresheet. It looked as if the Bayview men were in for a torrid last quarter but a third goal gave them the breathing space they needed to clinch the win.
For the third game in a row the Fifers took to the field with the same line-up and they took the game to the home side early on. A Ryan Wallace shot early on made life difficult for Nelson, but the ‘keeper held on to the awkward effort. A Lloyd Young shot also had to be dealt with soon after.
Michael Brown was not to be outdone and, in Brechin’s first attack, he also did will to hold on to a Redman free kick.
East Fife were then shouting for a penalty after a suspected handball but the cries were turned down by referee Finnie. Soon after Wallace’s dangerous low cross was smothered by Nelson.
The home side came more into the game after this and Brown made another excellent save from a dangerous McAllister cross. A few minutes later he again saved when coming quickly off his line.
Brechin continued to push forward and gained a host of corner kicks but the defence held firm. The ‘keeper then did well when forced to save another Redman free kick.
However, it was the visitors who took the lead. A quick pass out of defence found Wallace. He cut into the penalty area and then teed the ball up for Marc McCulloch to crash home from 25 yards, his first goal for the club.
Lloyd Young almost made it two a few minutes late but Nelson denied him after another good Fife move.
Brechin fought back, however and before half-time Molloy should have at least tested Brown but was wide of the target. Even when Brown, who turned in a Starcheck man-of-the-match performance, did get beat John Ovenstone was there to clear a McAllister effort.
The first effort of note in the second period again produced a Brown save when he clawed away yet another Redman free kick.
But it was the Fifers who scored first in the half and they took a two goal lead after 52 minutes when McCulloch got free on the left. His effort spun off former Fifer Andrew Cook and although Nelson grabbed the ball the assistant referee adjudged it to be over the line. Molloy was booked for his continued protests and this proved costly later on.
Second top Brechin did not lie down and they got back into the game in 66 minutes when bad marking left Moyes free at the back post and he headed home from Redman’s free kick.
With around 20 minutes left a quick break gave Wallace the chance to restore the two goal advantage, but he rushed his effort which went inches wide.
A minute later he atoned when another quick break saw him get on the end of a Bobby Linn pass and he beat Nelson low to the right.
Still the home side tried to get back into the game, with Brown continuing to keep them out, but it was made even harder when Molloy, booked earlier for over protesting after East Fife’s first, saw red in the dying seconds when he pulled back Linn, as East Fife’s top scorer made his way towards the Brechin goal.
Brechin - Nelson, Cook, McBain, McGlauchlan, Moyes, Redman (Megginson 74), Molloy, Janczyk (Fusco 80), Byers (McKay 46), McAllister, McKenna. Subs (not used) - White, Scott.
East Fife - Brown, Durie, Park, Ovenstone, McGowan, Muir, Linn, Young, Hislop (Smart 84), McCulloch, Wallace. Subs (not used) - Fagan, R. Brown, Cargill, Lyness.
Referee - S. Finnie.
Attendance - 504.
Starcheck ratings - Brown 3 points, McCulloch 2, Young 1.
Starcheck table - Bobby Linn 41, Michael Brown 30, Craig Johnstone 23, Kurtis Byrne 16, Stevie Campbell 13, John Ovenstone 11, Matthew Park 9, Lloyd Young 9, Scott Durie 8, Steve Hislop 7, Robert Sloan 7, Ryan Wallace 6, Stewart Murdoch 5, Dylan McGowan 4, David Muir 4, Jonathan Smart 4, Paul Tansey 3, Stevie Crawford 2, Marc McCulloch 2.