Quick starting Fifers are top dogs again

Jamie Insall helped himself to a double.
Jamie Insall helped himself to a double.

East Fife sprinted out of the blocks quicker than Linford Christie and took another huge step towards taking gold in the League Two title race.

All the pre-match talk in Bayview was about Nathan Austin’s absence through injury, but it’s naive to think this current East Fife side is anything like a one man team.

Of course Austin’s goals have been a pivotal part to their league campaign this season.

His goalscoring record has rightly been the focus of the year at East Fife, but this was an afternoon when others in the squad reminded us just how talented they are.

Jamie Insall was drafted in for a start.

If Austin had been taken to Falkirk permanently in January then there’s been little to suggest that Insall isn’t capable of filling his shoes.

When handed a start Insall has rarely disappointed and, just as he did at Galabank at the turn of the year, turned in a performance of sheer quality, helping himself to a goal either side of the break.

Kevin Smith didn’t get his name on the scoresheet but was at the centre of everything East Fife created, his power and movement unmanageable.

Jonathan Page has been a class act since he arrived from Dunfermline and, although this maybe wasn’t a day when East Fife’s defence was at its best, he more than compensated at the other end with two goals.

The others put in the kind of performances fans of the top of the league Methil men have been coming to expect.

They started the game like lightning and were two goals to the good within six minutes, Insall and Page grabbing the goals.

It looked like Annan were about to be wiped away but, to their credit, they managed to stagger to the ropes and regroup.

They came out in the second half and started it as well as East Fife had the first, Weatherston firing a fine free-kick past Liam Kelly in the opening stages.

The game opened up with the Annan management team growing increasingly frustrated with calls against their side.

And when the standside linesman lowered an offside flag against East Fife - which led to the Methil men scoring a third when Page nodded home a Smith cross - Jim Chapman’s blood pressure was raised even further.

But there was no sense of injustice about East Fife’s fourth, Insall battering his effort high past Blair Currie in the Annan goal.

Smart Osadolor bundled home the sixth goal of the game but it was too late for Annan to stage any sort of comeback.

Bayview boss Gary Naysmith was happy with the win, but said there’s still plenty of room for improvement.

“We gave a silly goal away to make it 2-1 and then we get a goal out of nothing,” he said.

“We were back on top to make it 4-1 but it should have been more and then at 4-2 it’s still a wee bit nervous.

“Dougie (Anderson) used a good word when he described us as being ‘patchy’.

“When we were good we were good.

“It’s fantastic that we won and that’s the be all and end all but I wouldn’t be doing my job as a manager if I didn’t point out things I thought we could do better.”