Stranraer 2-1 East Fife

East Fifes Jason Kerr scores with an overhead kick. Pic by Jim Corstorphine.
East Fifes Jason Kerr scores with an overhead kick. Pic by Jim Corstorphine.

East Fife headed south west knowing it was a must win match and favours were needed elsewhere if a promotion play-off place was to be secured.

In the event, neither materialised but the achievement of finishing fifth was a decent outcome in a very competitive league.

The opening exchanges saw East Fife pick up on a defensive mistake by Scott Robertson and Jesse Curran had a real chance to play James Penrice into space but fluffed his pass.

A long Blues clearance almost had Scott Agnew clear on goal but Hurst charged out and although he missed the player and the ball, perhaps fortunately for him, the keeper had done enough to give Chris Kane, able to play pending his red card appeal result, the chance to clear the danger.

As the play switched again to other end, neat interplay between Agnew and Liam Dick sent the full back through but good work by Kieran Duffie cleared the danger from his former Falkirk teammate.

Knowing they needed to score the Fifers came agonisingly close three minutes after the restart.

Nicki Paterson delivered a free kick and Kane rose superbly only to watch the ball crashed back off the post with Belford well beaten.

The best piece of play from the visitors followed soon after and Curran was through after a neat exchange with Duggan but he shot wide from close range.

East Fife were enjoying their best spell by now and it took an outstanding piece of defending by Neill to deny Scott Robinson from a few yards out.

Although Stranraer briefly countered, soon Belford twice denied Robinson, firstly with a full stretch save as the midfielder broke on goal and then a superb block as he pulled the trigger to shoot. Against the run of play Stranraer took the lead with a well worked goal. Advancing down the left, Willie Gibson crossed low and hard and Craig Malcolm turned the ball in from just a couple of yards out.

Stranraer became content with their position and the Fifers struggled to breaking them down but eventually a Kevin Smith free kick thumped away for a corner.

From the in-swinger the loose ball was superbly smashed home by Jason Kerr to restore parity.

The game opened up again and spaces appeared.

Agnew was denied twice by a fine block by Kane and then a good save from Hurst and then the home side produced the killer blow.

A surging Gibson run and shot was stopped by Hurst but he couldn’t prevent substitute Amadou Kassarate netting.