THERE’S no doubt East Fife will have played worse than this in the past but still picked up the win.
It’s probably indicative of their current run of bad luck that they took nothing from a game they dominated for large spells.
In fact, even had the Fifers taken one point from the match, you could argue that in itself would have been an injustice.
Arbroath arrived at Bayview on the back of two defeats and desperate to get their play-off hopes back on track.
The game got off to a pretty scrappy start with a long distance drive from Paul Sheerin at one end and a Liam Gormley curler at the other the only chances of note.
The deadlock should have been broken by Arbroath when Derek Holmes was picked out inside the box with a pin-point cross.
However, from eight yards, the big striker sent his header straight into the arms of ‘keeper Michael Brown.
The East Fife goalie then had to be on his toes to tip a Lee Sibanda header over the crossbar.
Gormley almost carved open the Arbroath defence to release Bobby Barr but the forward’s pass was over hit and was picked up by Scott Morrison.
The visitors were then gifted a great chance to go in at the break a goal to the good.
Sibanda burst into the box where he was tackled by the Fifers’ Paul Willis.
The East Fife man looked to have won the ball cleanly, but referee Barry Cook judged he had brought Sibanda down and awarded a penalty.
Player/boss Sheerin took the responsibility for the kick himself but there was an element of justice served when Brown got down to stop his effort.
The Fifers came out for the second half looking for the crucial opener and penned their visitors in their own half for much of the 45.
To be fair they failed to create too many clear-cut chances and didn’t really cause Morrison much trouble.
Barr, though, constantly tried to carve open the Arbroath back line and he was unlucky not to set up Paul McManus for the opener.
This was as good as East Fife had played in a while and boss Billy Brown went for the throat as he replaced his strike force of McManus and Gormley with the fresh legs of Collin Samuel and Sean Jamieson.
Samuel was quickly in the thick of it and he was allowed space to shoot from inside the box.
However, the former Arbroath man pulled his strike wide.
Arbroath hadn’t really offered much in the way of a threat in the second 45 but, as long as the score stayed at 0-0, there was always the chance they could sucker punch the Fifers.
And that’s exactly what happened.
Sheerin’s corner wasn’t cleared and the ball broke to Sibanda whose header came back off the post.
Still the Fifers weren’t able to clear their lines and Graham Bayne slammed home from close range.
The goal was genuinely harsh on the Fifers with the players looking utterly dejected when referee Cook blew for full-time just a few minutes later.
East Fife - Brown; Durie, Keenan, Muir, White, McCormack, Willis, Barr, McManus (Samuel 76), Smith, Gormley (Jamieson 76).
Subs - McBride, Sloan, Antell.
Arbroath -Morrison; Baxter, Hamilton, Robertson, Travis, Keddie, Smith (Adams 80), Chisholm, Holmes (Bayne 71), Sibanda, Sheerin.
Subs - Robertson, Malcolm, Bulloch.
Referee - Barry Cook.
Attendance - 426.