East Fife 0-1 Annan Athletic: Promotion play-off hopes take a dent after narrow loss
A last-gasp winner from Aidan Smith saw the Fifers slip out of the promotion play-off spots, with Greig McDonald’s side now on 43 points after 31 matches played with just five games to go.
The match was a tight affair, lacking any real quality, with many stoppages due to ill-discipline from both sides. Referee Jordan Curran handed out ten yellow cards over the piece, with five for each team.
Real chances were hard to come by over the ninety minutes, as most of the football was played in the middle of the park, rather than either team’s final third.
In the first half, the game was played at the visitors’ tempo with the Methil men way too deep for the majority of the opening period.
The best chance of the first half came for Annan after around 30 minutes of play.
Wullie Gibson fired in an early cross, from deep down the right flank, which was met by Tony Wallace but his header was only good enough for the crossbar.
In the second half, the Fifers responded well to their half time team talk and took the game to the Galabankies. The additions of Jack Healy and Ryan Schiavone after 55 minutes injected a needed dose of pace and width into the team.
Healy was not on the park for very long before he created East Fife’s best chance of the match, winning a free kick in a dangerous area after a direct run at goal.
Scott Shepherd stood over the resulting free kick but his shot from almost 25-yards cannoned off the crossbar.
The last minute of the ninety saw East Fife’s day end miserably. A free kick was whipped into the box from the halfway line, which was then nodded towards a waiting Aidan Smith.
The strikers looping header was enough to beat a stranded Allan Fleming in net, who was off his line and left helpless as the Fifers lost out in the final moments of the match.
Next up for Greig McDonald's team is a tough trip to the current league leaders, Stirling Albion, at Forthbank on Saturday afternoon.