BERWICK ensured it would be winner takes all at Bayview after they came from behind to rescue a draw in the play-off first leg.
The Fifers arrived at Berwick to face a side who’d made the play-offs on the back of two defeats and only on goal difference.
Billy Brown’s side had been beaten at the weekend by Brechin, but played well in the first 45 and previously to that drew with champions Queen of the South and beat Alloa.
But it was the hosts who started brightest with Fraser McLaren flashing a cross along the six yard line which lacked only a taker.
David Muir had to turn an effort over his own bar as Berwick penned their visitors in.
The pressure didn’t last long, though, and the Fifers gradually grabbed a grip of the game.
Collin Samuel was simply outstanding in the first half, twice bursting off on runs and leaving the Berwick defenders in his tracks.
The former internationalist almost opened the scoring when he rifled in a shot which was well saved.
Scott McBride was unlucky when his shot shaved the side of the Berwick post.
East Fife took a deserved lead on the stroke of half time when Berwick ‘keeper Marc McCallum could only parry a net-bound header.
The ball broke back out and was met by Muir who put his side a goal up.
To their credit Berwick came right back into the game in the second half as they shot down their infamous slope.
Home boss Ian Little introduced Darren Lavery and the sub had an immediate impact.
He almost pulled his side level when he beat Calum Antell to a through ball and prodded his shot past the Fife ‘keeper.
Fortunately it rolled the right side of the post for East Fife.
But the hit-man wasn’t to be denied a second time and he soon levelled things up.
The Fifers were beaten down the flank by Scott Dalziel and his cross was knocked in from close range by Lavery.
Little’s side almost secured a win when Dylan Easton’s shot whistled just past the post.
After the game Bayview boss Billy Brown said his side should have been out of sight by half-time.
He said: “I think we could have had it finished in the first half, we had enough of the game.
“But when you’re one up and they’re shooting down the hill with nothing to lose they’re going to give you problems; but most of the problems we created ourselves.
“We were a bit slack and didn’t play the percentages and, to be fair, they deserved their goal in the second half.
“We’re confident going into every game but they’ll come to us now and make things hard for us.”
Berwick - McCallum, Jacobs, Gielty, Townsley, McLean, Janczyk, Currie (Lavery 62), Notman, McLaren, Dalzell (Morris 85), McDonald (Easton 70).
Subs - Brydon,McCaldon.
East Fife - Antell, Durie, Johnstone, Muir, White, Campbell, Willis, Samuel (Wardlaw 88), McManus, Barr, McBride.
Subs - Smith, Gormley, Sloan, Brown.
Starcheck ratings - Samuel 3 points, Muir 2, Willis 1.