East Fife 2-1 Annan

Derek Riordan celebrates after netting East Fife's late winner.
Derek Riordan celebrates after netting East Fife's late winner.

A well publicised meeting between East Fife’s players and staff at the turn of the year continues to have the sort of impact Gary Naysmith would have hoped for.

Naysmith and his side had a 2014 to forget but, in January, he sat his players down and asked them for a points return in 2015 that would make them realistic promotion challengers.

Since then the Fifers have grabbed 15 points - a tally which has helped them to fifth in the league and just one point away from the final play-off spot but with a game in hand.

A look at the league table shows that East Fife are very much the form team in the division at the moment - getting the right results at a crucial stage of the season.

The importance of Saturday’s win can’t be over emphasised.

A win for Annan would have given them a seven point lead over East Fife.

It was a proverbial six-pointer.

And East Fife started well, looking to build on the momentum from Tuesday’s 2-1 win over East Stirlingshire.

The first real chance of the game fell to Ross Brown but the midfielder got under his shot from eight yards out and scooped high over the bar.

Nathan Austin was picked up front ahead of Ola Adeyemo and the forward gave the Annan defence a torrid time all afternoon.

He was the next to go close with a header from an Alan Cook free-kick which again sailed over the crossbar.

Despite being well on top, the Fifers were hit by a sucker punch when Annan took the lead.

Peter Weatherston laid off a neat ball to Steven Logan on the edge of the box and he fired high past Allan Fleming.

It was a cruel blow to East Fife considering how dominant they had been.

And that dominance continued into the second 45 as Naysmith’s men camped out in the Annan half of the park.

Allan Walker was introduced from the bench and the former Raith man had an almost immediate impact.

The midfielder was, by all accounts, unhappy at being left out of the starting XI but responded to it in the best possible way.

His cross field delivery to Austin was pin-point and the striker composed himself before firing low into the Annan net.

As the game looked to be drifting towards a draw, East Fife got the crucial third goal.

Naysmith’s free-kick was picked up by Brown.

At the second attempt Brown’s cross made its way into the Annan box where it was met by the lively Derek Riordan who flicked the ball into the net.