EAST Fife slipped to their third defeat in a row at the hands of the Warriors.
Billy Brown made changes with Stevie Campbell and Collin Samuel out, being replaced by Dale Keenan and Scott McBride in the starting line-up.
The game opened optimistically for the visitors when, having gained a free kick inside the first minute, Paul McManus got on the end of Paul Willis’ kick but the home ‘keeper saved.
After the enterprising start the game got bogged down in midfield with neither side threatening until a shot from Gemmell was blocked by Calum Antell.
The Fifers did have the better of things and a McManus pass gave Willis an opportunity, but his attempt was weak.
The home side’s nearest to opening the scoring came from Smith, when his 20-yard effort was not too far wide of Antell’s left hand post.
Collin Samuel had replaced Keenan by the time the sides returned after the half time break, but there was little goalmouth action as the half got underway.
Antell had to make a save from Corcoran and a McManus run looked dangerous but he was muscled out of it in the danger area.
Samuel caused the home defence a problem with a run in from the right and was brought down 25 yards out.
Top scorer McBride increased his tally to nine when his curling free kick flew into the net just out of Reidford’s reach right in the corner.
Stenhousemuir certainly did not lie down and threw their big defenders up at every opportunity.
From one corner Craig Johnstone did the needful after the ball was hit goalward following a melee in the penalty area, clearing off the line.
The equaliser came minutes later following a set-piece.
The ball was partially cleared to the edge of the area when Hodge shot home low, giving Antell no chance.
It looked as if there was only going to be one winner from then as the home side loaded the box at every opportunity and put the Fife defence under pressure.
Willis and Bobby Barr managed to block on-target attempts.
Another attempt saw Gemmell mis-kick well over when a second looked likely and Corcoran tried to lob Antell, but the ‘keeper held.
The Fifers were not totally out of it and a great run by Johnstone looked really likely but there were no takers when he got the ball in the danger area.
A cross from the left gave Samuel a headed opportunity which he went for and ended colliding with the ‘keeper.
It looked totally innocent but the referee decided to book Samuel.
The home side continued their physical approach from set-pieces and it proved effective when Hodge put them in front.
The ball was partially cleared to the edge of the area and he rifled home for what proved to be the winner with five minutes left.
David Muir ended up in the referee’s notebook when Gemmell went down as if he had been pole-axed and he was joined by McManus, whose point appeared to be he had been treated similarly seconds earlier without even a foul being given.
Stenhousemuir – Reidford (Shaw 79), Ferguson, McKinlay, Buist, McMillan, Hodge, Dickson (Thomson 68), Rowson, Gemmell, Corcoran, Smith (Anderson 90).
Subs – Reid, Duncan.
East Fife – Antell, Durie, Johnstone, Muir, McCormack, McBride, Barr, Willis, McManus, Smith, Keenan (Samuel 46).
Subs – Jamieson, Sloan, Gormley, Brown.
Referee – K Graham.
Attendance – 476.