Albion Rovers 0-1 East Fife: Fifers heading in the right direction after Cliftonhill success
Despite the hosts having most of the territory throughout the match, a resolute Bayview backline kept the divisions star player this campaign, Charlie Reilly, relatively quiet throughout the 90 minutes.
The Fifers opened the scoring after just five minutes, with Ryan Schiavone peeling away from Adam Fernie and firing past Jack Leighfield in net after great work from Alex Ferguson in midfield saw the forward dart through on goal.
And Greig McDonald’s side went to see out the game comfortably, restricting the Wee Rovers to just one shot in the second half, which was easily saved by Allan Fleming.
Scott Shepherd could have doubled East Fife’s lead in injury-time from the spot when he was felled by Sean Fagan – but his effort was well parried by Leighfield.
"We had to win the battle," Fifers boss McDonald told the East Fife Mail post match. “I said that to the guys coming into the match, I have played here (at Cliftonhill) a number of times and isn’t a place to come and play nice football.”We handled the match so well and I think Allan Fleming didn’t really have a save to make all match long which is so pleasing. We were solid defensively and we weren’t under pressure despite giving up a lot of space to their key players.
"The clean sheet is a massive bonus for us and we always looked a threat on the break too. Our game plan was really clear in that we wanted to use our pace and we did that.
"In forward areas we knew we could caused them real problems and we did exactly that.
"Our goal came from that type of moment. Alex Ferguson drives forward and Ryan Schiavone breaks free from their backline and scores. Getting an early goal was brilliant for us too."
On Shepherd’s missed spot kick that could have sealed the game and made it more comfortable for the final few moments, McDonald added: “My hearts goes out to him.
"He has been after a goal for a long time now and it is tough for a striker when it just doesn’t go for you.
"He is the second penalty taker at the club and with Alan Trouten off it was his to take, he of course won it too, but he didn’t have to take it.
“He could have passed it on if he wanted to but he had the courage to go up and hit it. That means a lot to me that he has the belief to step up and take the penalty in the first place.
"His goal will come and he just needs to keep on working hard. I said that to the players in the changing room after the match.
"If we all keep showing that courage on the pitch, the same as Scott did in that moment, then we will be fine.”
East Fife now face league leaders Dumbarton on Saturday afternoon at Bayview as they look to close the gap between themselves and the promotion play-off places.
The Methil men are now only three points off third spot in the table.