Stenhousemuir 3-1 East Fife

The Fifers suffered a surprise loss at Ochilview.
The Fifers suffered a surprise loss at Ochilview.

East Fife have already put an incredible amount into their League One campaign this season but boss Barry Smith wants to see them have one final surge.

The Fifers lost out 3-1 to Stenny at Ochilview in the Saturday sunshine and, to be fair, the hosts were value for their win.

The Warriors, despite the victory, remain bottom of the league which is sure to puzzle fans of the Fifers who have watched them beat their side home and away this term.

East Fife weren’t at their best in the central belt with the amount of clear cut chances created sure to frustrate boss Smith.

The defeat saw the Fifers drop out of the play-off zone into fifth place - but remaining just two points off fourth spot.

There’s no doubt the side is going through a rough patch, the Stenny defeat making it five games since they last tasted victory.

It would be a pity if the season was allowed to peter out in the closing weeks, something Smith wants to make sure doesn’t happen.

He said: “We know we still have an opportunity to have a very good season by getting into the play-offs.

“But we’re making it difficult week by week because we’re not performing to the abilities we know we can.

“I give credit to the players for getting us into this position, but we don’t want the season to end with performances we don’t expect.”

East Fife burst into life from the first whistle and were unlucky not to open the scoring with barely five minutes on the clock.

A neat move forward saw Ross Brown play in Kieran Duffie down the right.

The former Falkirk full-back had time to pick out a player in the box but sliced his cross straight into the arms of Graham Bowman.

At the other end Alan Cook wasn’t picked up at the back post by the visiting defence.

Cook pulled the trigger but, luckily for the Fifers, Nicki Paterson managed to get his body in front of the shot.

Battling at the wrong end of the table, there certainly didn’t appear to be any lack of confidence amongst the Stenny players.

Centre half Fraser Kerr burst forward and through the heart of the Fife defence before getting a shot away which Mark Hurst did well to block.

But Hurst could do nothing to prevent the hosts breaking the deadlock on the stroke of half time.

The Fifers couldn’t clear their lines and the ball broke kindly for the impressive Willis Furtado eight yards from goal and the winger took his time before lashing past the Fife ‘keeper.

Bayview boss Smith brought on striker Jordan Austin at the break to add an extra attacking impetus and it didn’t take long to pay off.

East Fife got level when a Paterson corner couldn’t be cleared by Stenny and Chris Kane was the first to react and bundle the ball across the line.

But they weren’t level for long, with Stenny again getting their noses in front a few minutes later.

With the hosts on the attack, Austin rashly lunged in on David Marsh and clattered the defender to the ground.

There was little complaint about the penalty awarded.

Colin McMenamin stepped up and, although his tame shot was stopped by Hurst, the loose ball spun back up and over the Fife ‘keeper.

The Fifers should have had a penalty of their own when Jesse Curran was tugged inside the Stenny area just as he was steadying himself to get a shot away.

It was a clear foul but this time ref John McKendrick wasn’t as interested.

The points were wrapped up by Stenny 10 minutes before full time when again the Fifers couldn’t clear their lines and the ball dropped to Furtado who netted a third.

Stenny - Bowman, Robertson, Duthie, Marsh, Kerr, Berry, Furtado (Mazana 88), Millar, McMenamin, Gilhaney (Meechan 69), Cook (Shaw 78).

Subs - David, Summers, Grant, Roy.

East Fife - Hurst, Cooper, Kane, Kerr, Brown, Duggan, Smith (Lamont 75), Curran, Robinson (Austin 46), Duffie, Paterson.

Subs - Reilly, Gordon, Slattery.