Four games in ten days takes it out Fifers

Gary Naysmith refused to be hard on his players.
Gary Naysmith refused to be hard on his players.

Ultimately it was just a game too far for East Fife.

The incentive was certainly there on Tuesday night to go out and grab the win which would help them top Group A and qualify for the knockout stages of the Betfred League Cup.

But it was an opportunity East Fife just couldn’t grab.

There was no hint of the Fifers in anyway bottling it, or arriving at Station Park thinking the job was done against the lowest ranked team in the group.

Rather they had ran out of steam, four competitive games in ten days, three pre-season friendlies and presumably some pretty tough pre-season training just having taken a bit much out the legs.

Take nothing away from Forfar, Gary Bollan’s side more than merited the win with a performance which showed they won’t be far away from having their name etched below East Fife’s on this season’s League Two trophy.

Gavin Swankie and David Cox in particular posed a constant threat as the Loons spread the ball the width of their artificial surface, stretching the Methil men.

Jim Lister too was a handful and it was the big striker who opened the scoring.

The Fifers couldn’t clear their lines and the Forfar frontman was on hand to scoop a loose ball over Ryan Goodfellow.

Lister was a pain and went close to making it 2-0 when yet another deft chip was cleared off the line by Gary Naysmith.

It was backs to the wall for East Fife as they struggled to grab any sort of foothold in the game.

The regular sight of Mark Lamont almost constantly chasing back to help break up an attack rather than marauding forward himself told its own story.

For as long as the score was 1-0 East Fife had a chance - but it was a chance swiped away during the early stages of the second half.

Again East Fife were unable to clear and this time Andy Munro was on hand to rattle home a loose ball.

Kevin Smith had a chance to pull one back but blasted high over the bar.

It summed up what was a really tough night for the visitors.

Still top of Group A, East Fife will now have to watch on this weekend and hope those below them slip up in their attempts to topple them.

Regardless, and despite last night’s defeat, this has been a Betfred League Cup campaign the men from Methil can be more than proud of.

Boss Naysmith said: “It hurts me to say it but the better team won.

“What I will say is that I’m not going to be too hard on my players.

“We were the unfortunate ones who haven’t had a break and the four games in ten days definitely played a part in our performance.

“I don’t want that to sound like sour grapes because Forfar had a game plan and won and fair play to them, they looked a decent team.

“But the four games in 10 days was hard for us and when we’re missing a creative spark of Chris Duggan, Kyle Wilkie and Tony Wallace it also hurts us.

“At the end of the day the players have given me three really good performances and one not so good so I can’t be hard on them.

“They’re disappointed themselves because they wanted to win and top the group.

“Now we’re sitting and waiting on results elsewhere.”