Penalty heart

East Fife v Brechin: Robert Sloan celebrates a goal
East Fife v Brechin: Robert Sloan celebrates a goal
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East Fife..................................2

Sloan (25 mins pen, 45)

Brechin City..........................2

McManus (21), McKenna (34)

ROBERT Sloan missed a last-minute penalty as the Fifers passed up the chance to nudge closer to the play-off zone.

In truth, a defeat would have been tough on the visitors, who dominated for large spells and twice took the lead.

First-half strikes from former Fifer Paul McManus and David McKenna were cancelled out by a penalty and free-kick from Sloan.

McManus reminded the Fife fans throughout this clash of what they’ve been missing for the past couple of seasons as he buzzed around the box.

His 21st-minute strike was straight out of the top drawer as he beat Scott Durie on the edge of the area before crashing his effort high past the helpless Michael Brown.

But the visitors lead was short-lived, as Sloan was allowed the chance to net from the penalty spot after referee David Somers spotted an infringement in the box.

Sloan stepped up and sent Craig Nelson the wrong way to restore parity.

Brechin knew a win could see them leap-frog their hosts in the hunt for a play-off place.

They quickly went on the offensive again and McKenna restored their goal advantage when he curled a superb effort beyond Brown.

But, again, they were unable to maintain their lead and Sloan was offered the chance to level things up from outside the box on the stroke of half time when the Fifers were awarded a free-kick.

The midfielder, in a rich vein of goal-scoring form at the moment, made absolutely no mistake from 20 yards.

Although there were four first-half goals, the game had been scrappy as both sides struggled to compete with a swirling wind.

Substitute Craig Johnstone should have put East Fife into the lead for the first time in the match when he was picked out eight yards from goal by Ryan Wallace, only to smash his strike straight at Nelson.

And then with seconds to spare, Wallace was hauled down inside the box, giving Sloan his chance to wrap up the win.

Nelson, though, was equal to his strike and his Brechin defence were able to beat away the danger.

East Fife - Brown, Durie, Hislop, McCormack, Cook, Linn (Johnstone 71), Smith, Janczyk (Muir 61), Robert Sloan, Dalziel (Martin 78), Wallace. Subs not used - Collier, McAllister.

Brechin City - Nelson, McLean, Dunlop, Moyes, Lindsay, McKenzie, Molloy, Brady, Hodge, McKenna (Crawford 84), McManus. Subs not used - Scott, Fusco, King, Buist.

Attendance - 416.

Referee - David Somers.

Starcheck ratings - Sloan 3 points, Wallace 2, Durie 1.