Queens hold the aces as Fifers fold

Paul McManus closes down play.
Paul McManus closes down play.
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EAST Fife’s frustrating and stuttering start to the season continued as they went down at Palmerston.

The Methil side were unable to build on last weekend’s 3-0 home win over Forfar and criminally shot themselves in the foot by giving away a lame goal after just a couple of minutes.

Derek Lyle’s headed opener, when he nodded home unmarked from a corner, was all that separated the sides.

Poor marking at set pieces has been a recurring issue for the Fifers, with stand-in boss Brian McNaughton admitting his frustration after the game with the manner in which the goal was conceded.

He said: “It’s frustrating to lose a goal at the best of times but to lose one from a set-play like that makes it worse.

“Somebody was told to pick their player up and he simply hasn’t done it.

“We tell the players before the game the number they’ve to stick with, but players don’t do it.”

Scott Durie had no sooner prevented a definite opener, when he nudged a Nicky Clark effort round the post, than Queens grabbed the early lead through Lyle.

At that point, the visitors were being forced to withstand a lot of pressure, with Calum Antell the busier of the two ‘keepers.

But the Methil men gradually played their way back into the game and Paul Willis’ lob needed to be tipped over the bar by Lee Robinson in stunning fashion.

At the other end, Stevie Campbell kept the deficit at just one goal when he cleared off the line.

Antell had been in inspired form the week previous against Forfar and his teammates again had him to thank for a series of fine saves.

The on-loan Hibs man was called on to pull off a fine point-blank save from a Gavin Reilly header.

In truth, if Reilly had his shooting boots with him, Queens could have been out of sight.

But he didn’t, and Paul McManus almost secured and unlikely point for East Fife but he couldn’t convert a Gareth Wardlaw knock-down.

Queen of the South – Robinson, McGuffie, Black, Higgins, Mitchell, McKenna, Burns, Carmichael, Clark (Gibson 68), Lyle (Johnston 88), Reilly.Subs (not used) Atkinson, Orsi, Slattery.

East Fife – Antell, Durie, Campbell, Forster, McCormack (Johnstone 42), Willis, Muir, Pollock (S. Smith 68), Sloan (Wardlaw 85), Barr, McManus. Subs (not used) Collier, Jamieson.

Starcheck ratings - Calum Antell 3 points, Scott Durie 2, Robert Sloan 1.

Starcheck table – Michael Brown 13, David Muir 9, Bobby Barr 7, Robert Sloan 7, Darren Smith 7, Calum Antell 5, Scott McBride 4, Paul Willis 4, Darren McCormack 3, Jamie Pollock 3, Collin Samuel 3, Gareth Wardlaw 3, Andy Collier 2, Scott Durie 2, Paul McManus 2, Scott Smith 2, Ross Brown 1, Steven Campbell 1.