Fifers dealt major blow in League Two title surge

Pat Slattery on the ball at Hampden. Pic: Ian Cairns
Pat Slattery on the ball at Hampden. Pic: Ian Cairns

Queen’s Park 3 East Fife 0

East Fife’s League Two title hopes were dealt a major blow on Saturday afternoon as Gary Naysmith men fell to a 3-0 defeat at Queen’s Park.

The Fifers recent run since the New Year has been nothing short of phenomenal having picked up six wins and one draw on their way to the summit of the table.

But Gus MacPherson’s Spiders proved a step to far for the Methil men as they were well beaten at Hampden Park.

The opening exchanges passed without real incident with both sides feeling their way into the game and Fifers midfielder Kyle Wilkie had the opening chance of the match but his side footed effort was well saved by William Muir in the hosts goal.

Jonathan Page then picked up a booking after late challenge on Jamie McKernon just outside the box but the set-piece was well saved by Liam Kelly in the East Fife goal.

The Fifers then had a golden opportunity to open the scoring on the stroke of half-time as Jamie Insall stole the ball from the Queen’s defence and played in strike partner Nathan Austin who flashed the ball across the box but Wilkie couldn’t prod it home from close range.

MacPherson’s side came out raring to go in the second period and it took the Spiders just ten minutes to break the deadlock as John Carter fired home emphatically after a scramble in the box.

Naysmith’s men pushed on following the opening goal but couldn’t produce that all important breakthrough as Pat Slattery saw a shot from the edge of the area blocked by diving Queen’s bodies.

The hosts then added two goals in injury time as the Fifers were caught short at the back with first Paul Woods meeting substitute Chris Duggan’s cross with a low drive into the net.

Duggan himself then stole a third just before time expired as he beat off a challenge from Page on the left hand byline to storm into the box and to slot calmly past the on looking Kelly.

The defeat came as a major blow for East Fife having given up top spot to Elgin City ahead of a possible season defining fixture at Borough Briggs on Saturday afternoon.

Queen’s Park: Muir, Mitchell, Hooper, Berry, McGeever, Gibson, Brown (Bradley 45), McKernon, Carter (Carter 90+1), Woods (Gault 90+3), Burns

Subs not used: O’Boyle, McLeish, Warton, McVey

East Fife: Kelly, Mercer, Kerr, Page, Naysmith, Brown (Coote 63), Slattery, Campbell (Mullen 12), Wilkie, Insall (Smith 63), N Austin

Subs not used: Goodfellow, Murray, O’Kane, J Austin

Referee: Mike Taylor

Attendance: 561