CRAIG Johnstone admits the Fifers must stop giving away needless goals if they’re to fire back up the table and into the promotion mix.
Saturday’s 2-1 loss at Stenhousemuir left East Fife six points off fourth spot and just four points better off than second bottom Stranraer.
Ayr United sit along with the Methil side on 26 points, with the Honest Men having played three games less as the Mail went to press.
Defender Johnstone says it’s now important that the battle for a promotion play-off spot is not allowed to fizzle out as the season reaches its conclusion.
He said: “All we need to do is to start cutting out the silly goals we keep giving away because they’re costing us a lot of points.
“Saturday was a right low point for the team because we had played well.
“I thought in the first half we more than matched them but then we gave away more soft goals from our point of view.
“We’ve been working really hard on it in training but it keeps happening.
“It’s not just the boys in defence, it’s right through the team.”
East Fife still harbour hopes of making the promotion play-off zone come the end of the season, and a run of wins will put them back in with a shout.
However, the side sits adrift of fourth place and is giving games away to those who are also chasing a spot.
Johnstone added that Saturday’s result makes things that little more difficult for his side.
“It’s getting further and further away now so we need to get back on track quickly, starting with Brechin away on Saturday,” he said.
“Before the last three defeats we’d actually not been doing too bad and picking up some good points.
“We went to Alloa and came back with something and also took points off Brechin and Ayr.
“But we need to start turning points here and there into wins now.”
Johnstone has made the left-back position his own in the past few months after originally being asked to slot in to cover by previous manager Gordon Durie.
The former Kennoway Amateurs player joined the club as a midfielder, but told the Mail he had played further back earlier on in his career.
This weekend the Fifers play the second of two away games when they travel north to meet third placed Brechin City at Glebe Park.
Johnstone, who is one of a number of players out of contract at the end of the season, says he expects a difficult 90 minutes.
“Going up there will be tough,” he said.
“They’ve been playing really well under their new manager.
“But I thought we played well against them down in Methil (when the sides drew 2-2) so we can take confidence from that.”