Fight to stay up goes on after 2-1 Brechin loss

Nathan Austin is held off by Brechin's Gary Kenneth. 1714306
Nathan Austin is held off by Brechin's Gary Kenneth. 1714306

East Fife blew a golden chance to secure their place in the relegation play-offs as they failed to trouble already safe Brechin City.

Gary Naysmith fielded an attack minded looking starting XI with the goal threats of Kevin Smith, Liam Buchanan and Nathan Austin all included.

But despite how much was at stake, and with Brechin possibly having their minds elsewhere, the Methil men were unable to give the large crowd inside Bayview something to cheer about.

Chairman Lee Murray had called on the Fifers to take the game to Brechin in last week’s Mail and it appeared that’s what they’d set out to do when Buchanan flashed an effort across goal after just a couple of minutes.

From there, though, the Fifers were unable to get in behind a Brechin backline which was excellently marshalled by Gary Kenneth.

East Fife’s players couldn’t be faulted for their effort but simply lacked the creativity needed to unlock the Brechin defence.

The visitors grabbed the lead from a set-piece, something that will no doubt infuriate the Fife coaches.

Andy Jackson was the first to meet a Ryan Ferguson corner and headed his effort in off the underside of the crossbar.

East Fife’s players were claiming the ball hadn’t crossed the line but ref Iain Brines was having none of it.

The response from the Fifers was immediate and Gary Thom forced a decent save out of Graeme Smith.

But any hopes the Fife fans had that this flurry would be the catalyst for a sustained period of pressure on the Brechin goal were unfounded.

Ray McKinnon’s men almost made it 2-0 when Alan Trouten’s strike had to be cleared off the line by Scott McBride.

It looked more likely that Brechin would grab the game’s second goal rather than East Fife haul level.

Kenneth was dominant at the back and also troubled the East Fife defence up front when he was inches away from connecting with a dangerous cross.

Just as East Fife were beginning to show some impetus and intention, Brechin pulled further ahead.

Trouten burst into the East Fife box and was allowed time to chip Greg Paterson.

The stands began to empty as quickly as the filled up pre-match and those who left only missed Pat Clarke grabbing a consolation goal.

Buchanan did well to work his way past the Brechin defence and into the box before crossing for the former Dunfermline and Raith forward who nodded home for just a few yards out.