Home form is a puzzle that needs to be solved

Kevin Smith put East Fife ahead but the Fifers couldn't keep hold of their lead. Picture by Steve Brown.
Kevin Smith put East Fife ahead but the Fifers couldn't keep hold of their lead. Picture by Steve Brown.

A team of Columbo, Miss Marple and Sherlock Holmes would struggle to solve the mystery of why East Fife struggle so badly at home.

Having not won a league game at Bayview since a 3-1 defeat of East Stirlingshire in August, the Fifers were presented with the perfect opportunity to get the monkey of their back when Elgin, rooted to the bottom of the league and without a manager, visited at the weekend.

But, despite taking an early lead, they couldn’t build on it, with assistant boss Dougie Anderson conceding the side in fact looked nervous after grabbing the initiative.

There’s no doubt that life at Bayview, for some reason, is a struggle for the Fifers.

Anyone looking only at the results picked up away from home this season would have the Fifers down for potential league leaders, not floating in and out of the play-off zone.

But that’s how it is after the weekend with East Fife now sitting 14 points off first place.

Alarmingly, third place Queen’s Park have also created a nine-point cushion for themselves between joint fourth Berwick and the Fifers.

It could have been a different story on Saturday, though, as East Fife came out with a real purpose, determined to build on last weekend’s fine 3-2 win at Berwick.

After just a couple of minutes Ross Campbell picked out Kevin Smith with a pinpoint cross that the frontman was unable to convert.

But it didn’t take long for Smith to break the deadlock and he made absolutely no mistake from close range after the Elgin defence had failed to clear their lines.

East Fife stayed on the front foot and were unlucky not to double their lead when Scott Smith’s cross hung up in the air and dropped on top of Michael Fraser’s net.

Elgin lost their boss Barry Wilson earlier in the week and could have been forgiven for letting their heads go down after East Fife’s spell of early pressure.

To their credit, though, they refused to feel sorry for themselves and grabbed a way back into the match.

It was East Fife this time who were unable to clear their lines and Archie McPhee picked out the veteran Dennis Wyness six yards from goal.

The frontman made no mistake.

Both sides had chances in the second half to win the match.

The best the visitors created came through the impressive Shane Sutherland while Allan Walker saw a decent effort tipped over the bar by Fraser.

In the end East Fife were again left looking for clues to help them find a solution to their puzzling home form.