Familiar story for Fifers as Albion nick cup tie 1-0

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It was deja vu in Forthbank last night as East Fife’s Scottish Cup hopes crumbled.

The Methil support trudged out of the ground after watching their side lose 1-0 to Stirling Albion but having created enough chances to win two games of football, never mind one.

Like they had done just a few days previous against Annan at Bayview, they carved out chance after chance throughout the 90 minutes but still found a 0 next to their name when time was up.

It’s not just half chances, slight glimpses of goal, the side is creating - these are genuine clear cut opportunities to score.

But it’s just not happening for the Fifers at the moment.

Nathan Austin missed a few chances and, had this game been played at the start of the season, the hitman would probably have left Forthbank with the match ball tucked under his arm.

Austin is going through a lean spell at the moment but, as a 21-year-old playing really his first full season as the main attacking option, this can only be expected and it’s unfair to burden him with full responsibility for scoring.

The forward is working tirelessly up front and last night again ran the Stirling backline ragged as he created opportunities to score for himself.

Eventually it’ll return, but until then he needs help.

Boss Gary Naysmith said after the game he’s working to bring strikers to the club to help ease the pressure on Austin but is having difficulty due to development player loan rules.

On last night’s evidence, and it’s another well trodden footballing cliché, someone is going to find themselves on the end of a real hammering from East Fife soon.

On Saturday they had 20 shots on goal and last night wouldn’t have been far off that again.

With Austin up front and the midfield packed, East Fife started the game the better of the two without really troubling Chris Smith.

But the Binos took the lead in spectacular fashion when Steven Doris rifled an unstoppable free-kick past Ryan Goodfellow.

The goal gave Stirling a lead to hold on to but even they wouldn’t have anticipated the bombardment that followed from East Fife.

Apart from a Sean Dickson drive, which Goodfellow tipped over the bar, Stirling rarely ventured too far into the East Fife final third.

Smith had denied Austin a couple of times in the first game and seemed to hold the Indian sign over the striker last night too.

When the ball broke to the striker barely six yards from goal he found the former Dunfermline ‘keeper equal to his instinctive effort.

Craig Comrie was the next to get his body in the way of an Austin drive after he had opened up the Albion defence by himself to create the opening.

Jonathan Page saw his header clear the bar before Austin was again denied by Smith.

With the Methil men pouring forward another chance opened up for Page but he headed wide.

Cumbernauld Colts, a Scottish Lowland League side, now await Stirling Albion who’ll very much fancy their chances of winning that tie and reaching the Scottish Cup fourth round.

For East Fife is was an opportunity missed but a performance to be proud of.