Fifers go down 1-0 in play-off first leg

Craig Johnstone
Craig Johnstone
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It was a nervy, and almost shellshocked, looking East Fife which started the play-off tie with Clyde at Broadwood.

From the kick off, the East Fife defence in particular still looked rattled by Saturday’s 4-1 thumping at Ayr.

In truth, had Clyde been able to convert their first half possession into goals then the tie could have been out of East Fife’s hands by half time.

Boss Gary Naysmith said he’d make changes from Saturday’s Somerset shambles and he did that, adding the attacking threat of Pat Clarke, the creativity of Lewis Barr and the energy of Marc McKenzie to the starting line-up.

But the changes failed to spark any sort of reaction from the side and Clyde bossed the first 45, particularly in the midfield.

If Clyde don’t go up a division next season then surely Scott Ferguson will be destined for better things without them, and he was the first to test Greg Paterson’s goal with a long range effort.

The pressure didn’t let up and another long range effort, this time from John Sweeney, whistled inches past Paterson’s post.

Anything East Fife offered going forward was on the counter attack and McKenzie was the main threat, a couple of times getting decent shots away.

The opener only looked like coming from one side and it was no surprised when Jim Duffy’s men took the lead.

The goal was an absolute calamity for East Fife as a mix up in the defence saw the grateful Ferguson take advantage and beat Paterson.

The large contingent of Fife fans had their heads in their hands.

Thankfully, though, the match turned out to be the stereotypical game of two halves and East Fife finally showed what threat they can create.

The introduction of Scott McBride on the left in particular had a positive effect on the game and the winger’s crosses troubled the Clyde defence.

Boss Naysmith should take credit for his changes as another, Nathan Austin, also helped spark the mini-revival for the Fifers.

Austin came close to heading East Fife level while Stephen Hughes, another sub, tried his luck from outside the box.

The best chance fell the way of Craig Johnstone, though.

The midfielder crashed his effort goalwards only for Jamie Barclay to pull off a stunning save.