Diamonds are polished off by Fifers

Robert Sloan fouled in the box
Robert Sloan fouled in the box

East Fife..........................2 Sloan (42 mins, pen), Johnstone (87)

Airdrie United.....................0

DAVID Muir hailed goalscorer Robert Sloan for netting his third goal in as many games – but then admitted he’ll never hear the end of it.

Sloan continued his impressive goal-scoring form with a penalty strike, to add to the two he netted against Forfar last weekend.

Craig Johnstone wrapped up the win for the Fifers over an Airdrie side who finished the game with nine men.

Goalkeeper Grant Adam was given his marching orders before Sloan’s first half spot kick, with Sean Lynch joining him for an early bath later on.

Midfielder Muir said of scorer Sloan: “He’s had to wait his time to get his chance in the team but he’s taking it now.

“It’s good for the team to be getting goals from midfield but he isn’t long in letting everybody know when it’s him who gets them.”

He added: “This was a massive win for us.

“We did well last Saturday but were really disappointed to be one up on Tuesday and then lose.

“If we keep plugging away, we’ll get into the play-offs.”

East Fife got off to a great start and were unlucky not to take the lead after just a few seconds when Steven Hislop’s header flew over the bar.

Sloan had what seemed to be a decent case for a penalty kick turned down when he was sliced down in the box as the home side turned the screw.

Then came Adam’s moment of madness when he burst out of his box to deal with a through ball, only to use his hands to halt the danger with Bobby Linn ready to knock his effort past him into an empty net.

Referee Mat Northcroft had no choice but to flash a straight red card.

East Fife made their man advantage count within just a couple of minutes of the dismissal, when Sloan was again hauled down.

This time, Northcroft had no hesitation in pointing to the spot, with Sloan himself netting.

Despite being a man down, Airdrie still posed a threat, with Grant Blockley unlucky not to connect with his diving header attempt.

But the Fifers’ day was made a little easier when the visitors appeared to lose their discipline.

Jamie Bain was lucky to escape with a yellow card for a studs-up challenge on Steven Campbell.

Lynch was then found guilty of kicking out at Ryan Wallace and left ref Northcroft with no option but to dish out a second yellow card.

Fife boss John Robertson freshened his side up with the introduction of Johnstone for Sloan, and the little midfielder wrapped up the win.

Robertson said: “There were two red cards, one penalty; we felt we should have had another penalty in the first 10 minutes, and Airdrie could have had one at the end.

“It was one of those strange games.

“It’s difficult to play against 10 men, so we told the players at half-time that they had to be patient.

“In the end, we needed that second goal because we were beginning to look a bit nervy.”

East Fife - Brown, McCormack, Campbell, White, Cook, Linn (Devlin 88), Muir, Janczyk, Sloan (Johnstone 70), Hislop (Dalziel 79), Wallace. Subs not used - Collier, Smith.

Airdrie United - Adam, Bain, Lilley, Lamie, Goodall (Lovering 81),Owens, Blockley, Lynch, McLaren (Duncan 37), Holmes, Donnelly. Subs not used - Boyle, Johnston, Rankin.

Referee - Mat Northcroft.

Attendance - 535.

Starcheck ratings - Sloan 3 points, Linn 2, Wallace 1.

Starcheck table - Bobby Linn 32, Ryan Wallace 30, Michael Brown 19, Mark Ridgers 17, Craig Johnstone 12, Darren Smith 12, Rob Ogleby 11, Steve Campbell 10, Scott Durie 9, John Ovenstone 9, Matthew Park 8, David White 7, Robert Sloan 7, Steve Hislop 5, , David Muir 3, Andrew Cook 2, Chris Innes 2, Neil Janczyk 1, Lloyd Young 1.