TWO late strikes helped ensure a comfortable 3-0 first home league win of the season for East Fife.
The Fifers went in to the fixture against high-flying Forfar knowing they needed to start picking up points to edge themselves away from the wrong end of the league table.
Their cause was helped early on when Loons’ midfielder Martyn Fotheringham was sent for an early bath after clashing with Jordon Forster.
By this point, though, Fife ‘keeper Calum Antell had already kept the scores level with a fine point-blank stop from Omar Kadir.
It would become the first of a handful of fine saves the on-loan Hibs youngster would make for the home side.
The opener came when midfielder David Muir was left unmarked inside the Forfar penalty box and rose to meet a Paul Willis corner, which he headed past Derek Soutar.
There is an old saying that playing against 10 men can be harder than against 11, so the Fifers seemed determined to get a killer second goal which could ease them home.
Craig Johnstone should have made it two when he was picked out inside the box, only to send his strike high over the bar.
Antell was in inspired form and kept the scores level when he managed to claw a Michael Bolochowckyj header back from the underside of his bar.
For as long as the Fifers remained just the one goal up, there was always a chance Forfar could pull level, but any nerves were settled when Scott Smith fired home with just a couple of minutes left on the clock.
Paul McManus rubbed further salt in Forfar’s wounds when he added a third with the last kick of the game.
Coach Brian McNaughton said: “I don’t really think it was a 3-0 game but we’ll take that every day.
“We’ve looked a bit nervous at the back at times this season, so I was as pleased with the clean sheet as the three goals. I thought the subs we put on made a huge difference to us as well.
“The boys have been absolutely terrific for both me and Bob Malcolm.”
East Fife – Antell, Durie, McCormack, Campbell, Forster, D. Smith, Willis (S. Smith 78), Muir, McManus, Johnstone (Sloan 69), Barr. Subs – Wardlaw, Jamieson, Brown.
Forfar Athletic – Soutar, McCulloch, I. Campbell, Bolochowckyj, Dunlop (Tulloch 88), Motion, R. Campbell, Fotheringham, Denholm (King 77), Graighen, Kader (Templeman 72). Subs – Templeman, Gray, Scott.
Referee – Mat Northcroft.
Attendance – 541.
Starcheck ratings – David Muir 3 points, Calum Antell 2, Paul Willis 1.
Starcheck table – Michael Brown 13, David Muir 9, Darren Smith 7, Bobby Barr 7, Robert Sloan 6, Scott McBride 4, Paul Willis 4, Darren McCormack 3, Jamie Pollock 3, Collin Samuel 3, Gareth Wardlaw 3, Calum Antell 2, Scott Smith 2, Andy Collier 2, Paul McManus 2, Ross Brown 1, Steven Campbell 1.