Fifers and Shire serve up a 5-3 thriller

The Fifers celebrate Pat Slattery's goal at the weekend. Picture by G McLuskie.
The Fifers celebrate Pat Slattery's goal at the weekend. Picture by G McLuskie.

Some games just simply have it all.

Having struggled to find the net in recent weeks, East Fife’s encounter with East Stirlingshire hadn’t set itself up to be the firecracker it was.

But, it was said in these very pages, that, given the volume of chances created by the Methil men over the past month, sooner or later some club’s goalkeeper was going to leave the park with a sore back from picking the ball out the net.

And it came on Saturday, as a clinical East Fife knocked five past Shire.

Ironically it was at the back where East Fife had the issues with as the visitors, who had only scored four away goals all season, managed to grab three counters.

But when entertainment is this good - why would anybody grumble about that?

The signs were there within 10 seconds that the game may be a bit special as Jamie Insall had the ball in the net only to see his effort chalked off from offside.

East Fife didn’t have to wait long for the opener, though, with Kyle Wilkie heading home a Craig Murray cross.

Ross Gilmour quickly levelled things up before David McKenna’s effort put the visitors into an unlikely lead.

It was pulsating stuff and Insall pulled East Fife level with a goal on his home debut.

But, within the space of barely a minute, he saw a straight red for a needless two footed lunge on Reece Donaldson.

The drama refused to let up and Nathan Austin got himself back on the goal trail as raced in on goal and slid the ball past Darren Dolan.

Overall it was a quiet game for Austin by his standards but his cool finish would have impressed those in the stand wearing the club jackets of Premier League sides.

To their credit Shire refused to give up and Donaldson again pulled them level.

But, parity lasted barely minutes as Pat Slattery made it 4-3.

Donaldson picked up the second red card of the game for two bookings and was joined early in the dressing room by Aron Lynas who also picked up a second caution.

The game ended in the same way it started, with East Fife pestering the net, and Austin wrapped up the win with number five in stoppage time.

Boss Gary Naysmith said it was great to see his striker get his first goals since October 3.

He said: “Nathan has never let me down and listens to everything. We’re not silly about things, there are scouts here every week and that’s who they’re all here to watch.

“He knows the scouts are here and he still puts in performances which shows you he can handle it.”