East Fife’s home pre-season campaign may have started with a 3-0 defeat, but boss Gary Naysmith had every right to look for positives from the 90 minutes.
The Fifers went down to a Fulham side which boasted international class players while they are still working to replace the majority of a side released at the end of last season.
It’s a over used cliché at this time of year, but the main focus for clubs at the moment is on improving fitness and not the end result.
Despite this, boss Naysmith will have been impressed that it took Fulham until the second half, and after having substituted the starting XI, to break down a stubborn resistence.
The game started with East Fife having a decent spell of possession against the English Championship side and youngsters, including Ross Brown and Lewis Barr, were unfazed by the competition in the middle of the park which included the classy Scott Parker.
The first real chance of note fell to East Fife with Jamie Beaton’s free-kick being well held.
Dylan Rooney was handed the number one jersey for the Fifers and the play-off spot kick hero of last season had to be at his best to save from George and Ryan Williams.
Beaton was impressive down the wing for East Fife but it was another of the new recruits who was presented with a great chance to break the deadlock.
Kevin Smith barged down a clearance and he squared for Allan Walker on the edge of the box.
Walker’s drive was as sweet as you like and needed to be tipped over the bar.
Rooney was again at his best to stop from George Williams before the half-time whistle was sounded.
Rather than stagger their changes throughout the second half and disrupt the play, Fulham swapped their entire side at the break.
East Fife had only made a couple of changes and the fresh legs had an almost immediate impact on the game.
When sub ‘keeper Allan Fleming palmed away an effort on target Elsad Zverotic was first to react and he had little trouble netting from close range.
To their credit East Fife continued to press forward and a great effort from Smith was matched by an equally good save from Jesse Joronen.
That was really it as far as East Fife were concerned as an attacking threat as the part-time side had really put as much into the game as they could.
From then until the end of the game it was Fulham who were on the front foot and it was no surprise when they added a second.
The impressive Zverotic was able to drop a cross in from the right and Columbian international striker Hugo Rodallega headed home from six yards.
The scoring was wrapped up when Cauley Woodrow slammed home.
Despite the result, it was a good afternoon’s work for the Fifers.