Fifers power past Threave in 7-0 cup rout

Nathan Austin grabbed his first senior hat-trick as East Fife cruised.
Nathan Austin grabbed his first senior hat-trick as East Fife cruised.
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Several of East Fife’s players have been put on strict upper body workouts by boss Gary Naysmith as he looks to bulk up his side.

And on Saturday the Fifers flexed those muscles and brushed past a Threave Rovers side which was caught well out of its depth in the Scottish Cup second round.

One of those put onto the training regime, Nathan Austin, played the part of tormentor in chief as the Fife forward helped himself to his first senior hat-trick in front of the home crowd.

Jon McShane grabbed a double with strikes from Ross Campbell and Caolan McAleer adding to the rout.

Threave arrived at Bayview looking to keep their hosts out for as long as they could but their game plan was smashed in the first five minutes as the Fifers took the lead.

Threave ‘keeper Vincent Parker flapped at a looping ball which dropped kindly for Fraser Mullen who squared to the unmarked Austin to tap home.

The Lowland League visitors could have been level just a few minutes later when Dean Fyfe’s header was saved by Allan Fleming.

But the Fife ‘keeper was largely untroubled from then on in as the gulf in class between the sides showed.

The visitors were the architects of their own downfall, too often giving the ball away in the middle of the park.

This allowed East Fife to quickly hit on the counter and Austin made it 2-0 from one such attack when he burst in on goal and slammed past Parker.

Kevin Smith, brought on early for the injured Scott Smith, created the first of McShane’s two goals when he sent in a pin-point cross for the frontman who nodded home at the back post.

The game was effectively over as a contest when Austin completed his hat-trick by stabbing home a loose ball.

Boss Naysmith made a couple of changes and tried out players in different positions as he used the comfortable win to experiment.

There was no let-up in East Fife’s dominance, though, as McShane, again set-up by Smith, made it 5-0.

Campbell made it 6-0 when he fired in off the post before McAleer completed the scoring by netting from close range.

Despite the margin of the win, boss Naysmith said there was still room for improvement.

He said: “For the standards that I set for the lads I thought we were a little bit sloppy at times.

“I’m not criticising their professionalism - I just want them to strive to be the best they can be in every game and parts of the game were sloppy.”