Austin powers Fifers to 3-1 win

The Stirling defence have little option but to haul Nathan Austin down. Picture by Alan Murray
The Stirling defence have little option but to haul Nathan Austin down. Picture by Alan Murray

East Fife were back to their slick, free-flowing best at Forthbank as they turned the form tables on the Binos.

The Methil men arrived to face Stirling having failed to win since a 5-3 victory over East Stirlingshire on November 14.

On the other hand Stirling went into the game full of confidence, the league’s on-form team with three wins on the bounce.

But from the very first minute East Fife set out their stall and stated their intent for the rest of the game.

Nathan Austin burst through on Chris Smith’s goal and went down as he raced past him.

But ref Craig Napier chose to ignore his appeals for a penalty and instead booked the striker.

Rather than sulk, Austin dusted himself down and prowled along the front of the Stirling back four with intent.

East Fife kept up their pressure and Ross Brown was unlucky to see his strike come back off the post.

Even the most hard-core Stirling fan will admit they took the lead against the run of play.

With the Fifers unable to clear their lines, Darren Smith was on hand to bundle home the loose ball.

The goal was cruel on the Fifers but they forced their way straight back into the game with Austin tormentor in chief.

It’s pretty incredible to think the striker was, just a couple of years ago, cutting around on council pitches for Leven United.

If East Fife are able to prevent him making a move to the Championship or even higher when the transfer window opens again next week it’ll be a commendable piece of work.

Bayview has been packed with admiring scouts in recent weeks, but any club swithering over making a move and deciding to watch him away from home were rewarded.

He was to go on to show a full repertoire of clinical finishes, proving he possesses everything needed in a modern day striker.

His first was a typical poachers goal - right place, right time.

Kyle Wilkie’s cut back was pinpoint and Austin shrugged off his marker to tap in.

His second showed calmness under pressure, picking up another great delivery, this time from Pat Slattery, before composing himself and sending an unstoppable shot past Smith.

His third was the best of the bunch.

This time the delivery came from Craig Murray.

Austin burst away from the trailing Albion backline and launched himself perfectly to reach and head home another top drawer pass to ensure his second hat-trick of the season.