Linn (80 mins)
Kean (15), Rodgers (48), Quinn (90)
EAST Fife’s fans were again left frustrated as the side was unable to build on last week’s fine 2-0 away win at Brechin.
This 3-1 loss meant that, not only were Stenhousemuir allowed to pull further clear in third place, but the Fifers also slipped out of the play-off zone.
A first-half strike from Stewart Kean was added to in the second 45 by Andy Rodger and Paul Quinn, with Bobby Linn netting for the hosts.
Steven Murray forced a finger-tip save out of Mark Ridgers as Stenny had the better of the opening exchanges, with Brown Ferguson also sending a strike goalwards.
The opening goal seemed only a matter of time and it came after some neat work between Kean and Rodger allowed former St Mirren man Kean to fire a shot high past Ridgers.
Stenny kept up their pressure on the East Fife goal as the home side toiled to get a foothold in the game during the first half-hour.
Eric Paton was next to trouble Ridgers with a drive which sailed just over.
Matthew Park suffered what appeared to be a pretty serious injury when he crumpled into the ground under little pressure and was replaced by Robert Sloan.
But John Robertson’s men managed to suck up what Stenny were throwing at them and were presented with a golden opportunity to draw level.
Rob Ogleby did well on the Warriors’ wing and cut into the box where he found the oncoming Linn.
The Fifers midfielder was afforded time to pick his spot but ended up firing tamely at Alistair Brown in the Stenhousemuir nets.
Sloan was the next to try his luck when he fired a direct free-kick towards Brown which the ‘keeper held.
East Fife gaffer Robertson would have been hoping his men could quickly haul themselves back into the game during the early stages of the second 45 - but he could only watch on as they slipped further behind.
Kean was allowed far too much time down the East Fife flank and could have elected to take a shot himself after making his way into the box.
However, the goalscorer picked out partner Rodger, who made no mistake from close range.
The Fifers gradually began to look more of a threat up front as the game went on and had a goal chopped off after referee Brian Winter spotted a foul.
Substitute Paul McQuade also freshened things up in attack before Ryan Wallace passed up a glorious opportunity to pull one back as he screwed his shot wide when clear in front of goal.
But East Fife did eventually get their goal and it came almost out of the blue.
Wallace sent a through ball into the path of Linn, who made a bee-line for goal and rifled past Brown.
The goal set-up a grandstand finish as the Fifers sensed they could wrestle a point from their guests.
McQuade was unlucky to see his effort stopped by Brown, but the Fifers pressure up front was ultimately the cause of their downfall.
With the home side committing men forward, Stenny were able to find gaps at the back, and Willie Lyle’s ball was picked up by Quinn, who ensured the three points would head back to the central belt.
East Fife - Ridgers, Durie, Campbell, White, Ovenstone, Linn, Muir, Smith (Hislop 87), Park (Sloan 18), Ogleby (McQuade 68), Wallace. Subs (not used) Brown, Johnstone.
Stenhousemuir - Brown, Lyle, Corrigan, McMillan, McKinlay, Thomson, Ferguson, Paton, Murray (Dickson 82), Kean, Rodgers (Quinn 55). Subs (not used) McCluskey, McHale, Colin Hamilton.
Attendance - 508.
Referee - Brian Winter.
Starcheck ratings - Linn 3 points, Smith 2, Sloan 1.
Starcheck table - Ryan Wallace 24, Bobby Linn 20, Mark Ridgers 15, Craig Johnstone 11, Rob Ogleby 11, Michael Brown 9, Scott Durie 9, Darren Smith 9, Matthew Park 8, John Ovenstone 7, David White 4, Steve Campbell 3, David Muir 3, Chris Innes 2, Steve Hislop 1, Lloyd Young 1 Robert Sloan 1.