Arbroath 2-1 East Fife

Ross Davidson tries his luck from range. Picture by Kenny Mackay
Ross Davidson tries his luck from range. Picture by Kenny Mackay

East Fife were left to curse missed opportunities and poor decisions against them as they failed to take anything from their trip to Gayfield.

The visit to the runaway league leaders was always likely to be a tough one, but for the Fifers it was a case of what could have been.

The champions elect took another step towards their now inevitable title party with goals from Michael McKenna and Bobby Linn.

Anton Dowds responded for the Fifers who came up just short.

All in it means that East Fife now hold a nine point advantage over Montrose who have a game in hand with Airdrieonians just a further point behind.

Darren Young's side have a chance over the coming weeks to extend that gap with back to back home games to come against second bottom Brechin City and a Raith Rovers side they've dominated this campaign.

They should still have enough in hand to avoid any nerves as the season nears its conclusion and the play-off race ends.

Boss Young reckons if his side continues to show the same attitude they did at Gayfield, then confirmation of their place inside the top four will happen sooner rather than later.

The Fife gaffer said: "It was a pretty even game and I think we were on top when they scored their goal.

"We had a good period of domination and three or four corners in a row, but it just wouldn't fall for us.

"We were unlucky not to be ahead and then they go up the park, Bobby Linn puts in a good ball and they take the lead.

"But we get back level straight away.

"They then get another goal from Bobby Linn.

"We know what he's like and should show him wide.

"They were slightly better in the second half but some of the decisions towards the end were baffling.

"Anton runs in on goal and both defenders leave the ball and run into him.

"The referee doesn't see it.

"Chris Higgins then chests the ball down and guy shoulder charges him.

"There maybe wasn't much in it but, at the same time, it's the kind of decisions that were going against us all day long.

"I felt we could have picked up a point.

"It's been a hard three weeks for us with the double games but now we're Saturday to Saturday.

"There are seven games to go and we're still in a good position.

"We'll worry about ourselves and not those round about us."

Liam Watt had gone close for the Fifers before McKenna finished off Linn's cross.

East Fife were behind for barely seconds with Dowds finishing off a sweeping move up the park.

Both side had chances to get their noses in front but it was that man Linn, so often a thorn in the side against his old club, who netted the game's crucial third goal.

Again Young's men were almost level straight away, but Jonny Court couldn't replicate Dowds' earlier finish.

East Fife pushed everyone forward in search of the equaliser and should have had a chance of getting it when Dowds was scythed down by the home defence.

Ref Gavin Duncan waved away the furious Fife protests.

He was again the villain moments later when snubbing Chris Higgins appeals for a spot kick after he was barged over inside the box.