East Fife 2-1 Albion Rovers: Fifers' League 1 promotion bid is on after sealing play-off spot
Despite the Coatbridge outfit finding themselves at the foot of the table, they showed some real glimpses of quality at times, with Joe Bevan, Charlie Reilly and Euan Mutale all putting in impressive performances while leading the Albion line.
Sandy Clark's side started much better than East Fife and were able to penetrate the Methil defence on several occasions with their route one style of play. Allan Fleming was forced into a big save early on to deny Euan Mutale, who latched onto a through ball to go one on one with the goalkeeper.
East Fife’s build up play looked more impressive although their lack of a cutting edge in the final third cost them in the early exchanges.
The opening goal came after 35 minutes and was in favour of the away side. The ball was floated in by Luke Graham following a short corner, and Mutale leapt higher than anyone around him, from inside the six-yard-box.
However, Albion Rovers’ lead did not last long however, as just nine minutes later, Jack Healy produced a potential goal of the season contender to bring in an equaliser for the Fifers. He danced around two players, before unleashing a magnificent long range effort from 25 yards out, which no ‘keeper in world football could get near.
In the second half, East Fife were much more direct and created more chances, deserving to go in front when they did.
On 64 minutes, St Johnstone loan star Alex Ferguson found himself in a pocket of space and unleashed a fantastic curled effort into the side netting from the far right corner of the 18-yard-box. His goal capped off an excellent individual performance.
With the clock running down, you could see the desperation begin to set in as the Rovers edged even closer to dropping out of the pyramid. They began to throw everything they could at the Fifers.
In the dying embers, Alan Trouten sacrificed himself on the goalline, heading a shot clear, which was just as good as a goal at the other end, helping to secure the three points, and a play-off spot.
Depending on their result against Forfar next weekend, East Fife could potentially reach third place, which would give them a semi-final tie against Dumbarton. A fourth-placed finish however would see them travel to Hamilton to play Clyde in the play-off semi-finals.
Fifers’ boss Greig McDonald said: “Our form has really picked up since the turn of the year. We want to take that step forward and we have managed to do it despite a really poor start to the season.
"The cherry on the top of the cake is promotion and we will look to do that now – and that was something that wasn’t on the cards not too long ago. The credit has to go to the players for that.
"Albion Rovers are a good side and it was a tough game to win. I have no idea how they are bottom. Jack (Healy) gave us a shot in the arm when we needed it in that first-half which was poor from us, but we played better in the second half and nullified their threats.”