A VERY expensive three goals in seven minutes saw East Fife’s revival stopped in its tracks.
The first half had seen a pretty even contest, probably just favouring the visitors, but when the home side lost McMillan for a handling offence just before the break, it appeared a second consecutive win had to follow.
However, the Fifers huffed and puffed with little penetration and ended losing the three goals with poor defending.
In for a debut in goal was Calum Antell, signed on loan from Hibs, and that was the only change from the previous week’s victorious side.
The visitors opened positively and an excellent pass from Jamie Pollock found Bobby Barr but his effort was off-target.
A surging David Muir run brought hope of an opener for the visitors but his cutback was cleared; and then a Paul Willis free kick found Jordon Forster, but his attempt was blocked.
A long range effort from Barr was too high but Paul McManus did go much closer when he hit the junction of post and bar with an effort from 18 yards.
The Fifers had the upper hand at this point and looked to have taken the lead when Barr’s 20 yard-plus shot hit the underside of the bar, seemed to have crossed the line, but it was cleared and no goal awarded. Two quick corners followed but there was still no opener.
With the Fifers pressing, central defender McMillan was sent off when he handled away a through ball that looked like falling to McManus, but the resultant free kick from just outside the area was wasted by McManus when he could not clear the defensive wall.
In the 65th minute - disaster for the visitors.
The recently introduced Gemmell, who has been a thorn in East Fife flesh before, got on the end of a hopeful push forward and let fly from over 30 yards out. The flight of the ball obviously deceived Antell as he made no attempt and ended up going in just inside his right hand post.
The home side made it two when they stole downfield, won a corner and from the kick Gemmell managed to get on the end of the cross unchallenged.
Seven minutes after the first goal came the Warriors’ third, and it was an excellent effort from Kean who, unchallenged from 30 yards, let fly and netted.
Stenhousemuir - Thomson, Ross, McKinlay, Kilday, McMillan, Hodge, Smith, Anderson (Thomson 83), Kean (Paton 86), Rodgers (Gemmell 61), Dickson;.
Subs (not used) - Ferguson, Shaw.
East Fife - Antell, McCormack, S. Smith, Campbell, Forster, Muir, Willis, Pollock (Sloan 70), McManus, Wardlaw (McBride 70), Barr.
Subs (not used) - Jamieson, Durie, Collier.
Referee - A. Dallas
Attendance - 589
Starcheck ratings - Muir 3 points, Pollock 2, Barr 1.
Starcheck table – Michael Brown 13, Darren Smith 7, Bobby Barr 7, David Muir 6 Robert Sloan 6, Scott McBride 4, Darren McCormack 3, , Collin Samuel 3, Paul Willis 3, Jamie Pollock 3, Gareth Wardlaw 3, Scott Smith 2, Andy Collier 2, Paul McManus 2, Ross Brown 1, Steven Campbell 1.