Fifers on course for the play-offs after 3-0 win

Jonathan Page heads home number two for East Fife.
Jonathan Page heads home number two for East Fife.

East Fife’s place in the promotion play-offs was all but cemented as they eased past Berwick Rangers at Shielfield.

The win knocked on the head any lingering hopes the hosts had of getting into fourth spot while Annan’s win at Elgin ensured that Jim Weir’s side also had their season ended.

It’s now a two horse race for fourth, but with Jim Chapman needing an East Fife home defeat to Elgin, his own side to win and a seven goal swing to go in his favour, even the most optimistic punter wouldn’t be shelling out a bean on it being Annan in the play offs.

The job was all but completed at the weekend as Gary Naysmith’s side put on as professional a performance as they have all season.

Berwick have caused East Fife no end of trouble this year and a 4-1 hammering at Bayview in March is still fresh in the mind.

The manager elected to nullify their attacking threat by employing the graft of Allan Walker and Jordan Leyden in the middle of the park at the expense of the creativity of Sean Dickson and Derek Riordan.

And it was a decision that more than paid off, with the Fifers winning what was at times a difficult on the eye battle in the midfield.

Towards the end of the first half in particular, for around 20 minutes both sides stood toe to toe around the centre circle with chances at a complete premium.

But it was the Methil men who came out on top and were rewarded when they grabbed the lead.

Fraser Mullen’s cross was picked up by Kevin Smith inside the 18 yard box with the front man beating his marker before sending a low, left foot shot past Michael Andrews.

Another who really impressed on the day was Scott Smith who seemed to find himself in the thick of the action throughout the 90 minutes.

His through ball was picked up by Walker whose drive was tipped round the post by Andrews.

Berwick’s hopes of getting back into the match were dented when Lee Currie saw red after first having a go at Kevin Smith and then kicking out at Scott Smith.

East Fife didn’t take long to make their man advantage count and made it 2-0 when Jonathan Page stooped to head home.

The job was pretty much over but East Fife grabbed another goal to boost their goal difference ahead of Saturday a little further.

Nathan Austin burst down the wing and was unselfish in squaring for the unmarked Kevin Smith who composed himself before hammering past Andrews.