Clean sheets will take Fifers a long way

Scott McBride works his way into the box at Ochilview. Pic Kenny Mackay.
Scott McBride works his way into the box at Ochilview. Pic Kenny Mackay.

Bayview boss Darren Young says his side reaped the reward of keeping a clean sheet against the Warriors at the weekend.

Young has been critical of some of the goals lost by his players over the past few weeks, but reserved praise for their defensive showing at Ochilview.

Goalie Brett Long was restored to the starting XI and the defence coped admirably without the suspended Daryll Meggatt, the defender a key figure in the Fifers’ backline this campaign.

East Fife kept a clean sheet against the Warriors, with that giving them an excellent platform to go on and grind out a crucial victory which keeps them in third place.

Young said: “Brett had a couple of saves but our organisation at the back limited them to shots from distance.

“There was only one from a free-kick and another from a corner and that’s helped us to keep a clean sheet.

“It’s nice for us to go back to that.”

The manager was again delighted with the performance of young midfielder Kyle Bell who was handed his second start in as many weeks.

Bell provided energy in the middle of the park on a day when freezing rain and a swirling wind whipped across Ochilview.

“Young Kyle has again done brilliantly,” said the Bayview boss.

“He was taking the ball and running through three or four of their players.

“He’s still learning, though, and it’s great that he has guys like Scott Agnew and Ross Davidson out there with him.”

Young admitted that the weekend’s encounter wasn’t one for the purists, with the Fifers having to roll their sleeves up and grind out a win against stuffy opponents.

And he says the impressive defensive display may mean influential stopper Daryll Meggatt could have to sit it out.

Meggatt has been key at the back for the Methil men since his arrival in the summer, his presence and aggression adding some much needed steel to a backline which had been guilty of shipping sloppy goals.

But there was none of that at the weekend, as a defence without the suspended ex-Alloa man kept a clean sheet in a 2-0 win.

The Methil men will be aiming to build on that victory when they host Forfar at Bayview over the weekend.

The last time the two sides met in October, East Fife put on arguably their performance of the season at Station Park as they cruised to a 4-0 win.

To be fair Forfar have improved since then, and sit perched behind the Fifers in fourth place.

But Young is hoping that history can repeat itself this weekend.

He said: “It’s still the same players from the last game and we’ll go into it full of confidence.

“If we get the three points then we can start to widen that gap again between ourselves and the teams behind us.

“Daryll Meggat only had a one game suspension so is available but that’s not to say he’ll go straight back into the team after how they defended on Saturday.”

East Fife were having to soak up some Stenny pressure at the weekend until sub Anton Dowds popped up with a late winner.

The forward has been having to bide his time for minutes on the pitch in recent weeks, but burst back onto the scene with an excellent solo goal.

“He takes a great first touch, but is second is just as good to take him across their guy,” said the manager.

“He can see the confidence he has and he had a great day for us when he came on.”

The side has no fresh injury worries.