League survivial is in the balance after 2-1 Stenny loss.

Scott Durie makes his way past Ross McMillan.
Scott Durie makes his way past Ross McMillan.
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Four points adrift of safety with just nine left to play for - that’s the reality of East Fife’s plight as they battle against the play-offs.

Saturday’s visit to face Airdrie, the side which sits one position above them, will be season defining.

There are still a few permutations, but for the Fifers it’s pretty simple.

Win, and it’s still all to play for, lose and the Methil men could be consigned to the relegation play-offs, at best, if Brechin also beat Stranraer.

Bottom dogs Arbroath will have a spring in their step after a win over Stranraer and sit just the four points behind East Fife.

In East Fife’s favour they still have the two sides above them to play, Airdrie and Brechin.

However, the Methil men knew they had a chance on Saturday with a home game against Stenhousemuir to reel both those clubs back in.

Going into the game on the back of two wins and a draw, East Fife were full of confidence.

But any hopes they had of stamping an authority of the game were literally blown away as a strong swirling wind made life almost impossible for the players.

Balls in the air were typically whipped out of the park while those along the deck were blown off course.

It took fully 30 minutes for the first shot on target to be registered when Greg Paterson got his body behind a Josh Watt strike.

The Methil side grabbed a first half lead when Stephen Hughes converted a Kevin Smith pass.

Smith did well to weave his way through the Stenny defence and squared for the former Rangers midfielder who couldn’t miss from a couple of yards out.

The Fifers had a strong claim for a penalty turned down when Nathan Austin was bundled over inside the box.

Referee Andrew Dallas waved play on - and it wasn’t to be the last time the ref would infuriate the Fife fans.

The Stenhousemuir equaliser was not of Dallas’s doing though, as sub Sean Dickson was allowed a free header at goal from a corner kick.

Methil boss Gary Naysmith said after the game that errors such as men not being picked up at set-pieces were killing his side - and it’s hard to disagree.

The game was killed off in the dying seconds and it was a cruel blow to East Fife.

Dallas was the only man inside Bayview who thought Dave Cowan’s tackle on Watt was anything other than fair and well timed.

He pointed to the penalty spot and Sean Higgins stepped up to secure the three points.