East Fife 1-2 Queen of the South

Anton Dowds was on the scoresheet for the Fifers.
Anton Dowds was on the scoresheet for the Fifers.

East Fife were given their sternest pre-season test by a decent looking Queens side at Bayview.

The friendly was East Fife's last at home with just Saturday's match at Kirriemuir to go before the real business starts with a Fife derby at Cowdenbeath.

It would have been the intention of the management to scale East Fife's tests up throughout the games they played, and that's the way it has worked out.

Albion Rovers got rid of the rust, Dundee United then arrived to play just their first friendly before the game with Queens who already had a game under their belt.

It was a natural progression, and you could see the test increase on Tuesday night.

On this evidence Allan Johnston's side should quite comfortably avoid the relegation panic they endured last season.

Anyone anticipating a more leg weary 36-year-old Stephen Dobbie in the Championship next term will be in for a shock as he again looks sharp and with as keen an eye for goal as ever.

He passed up an early chance for the visitors, but didn't take long to break the deadlock, muscling his way into the Fife box and firing past Brett Long.

The Fife were having to defend deep and soak up wave after wave of attack.

Former Hibs defender Kevin Waugh was given a chance to impress in the black and gold and managed to get a couple of crucial blocks in for his side.

A second goal did look on the cards, though, and there was a good bit of quality about it.

Dobbie played in trialist Michael Paton down the left and his deep cross picked out former Fifer Scott Mercer at the back post.

Mercer had space to pick his spot and sent a terrific lob over Long.

The home side needed to regroup and change things.

They did exactly that at the break, replacing a couple of the trialists with Liam Watt and Lewis Hunter.

It gave them a boost and they went close to pulling one back through Anton Dowds and then Chris Duggan.

Just as Queens had looked a stick on for a second in the first half, the Fifers were banging at the door and it looked just a matter of time.

And they got the goal their second half play had merited when Dowds held off his marker, swivelled and found the bottom corner.

Boss Darren Young said: "We changed the formation to make sure guys are fresh and give others some game time.

"Once we got back into our 4-4-2, though, it helped and stopped their full backs from getting out.

"We started getting more chances on the back of that.

"Big Anton did well for his goal and knows he could have had a couple more.

"Chris Duggan could have as well."

* Pre-match, the game was tinged with sadness following the announcement of the passing of fan Craig Bernard.

Craig was a well known face around the Levenmouth area, including at Bayview.