Raith Rovers 2-0 East Fife

Adam Livingstone is put under pressure by Raith's Willis Furtado. Picture by Walter Neilson.
Adam Livingstone is put under pressure by Raith's Willis Furtado. Picture by Walter Neilson.

It was almost a case of Déjà vu for East Fife at Stark's Park on Tuesday night.

Like the Kirkcaldy meeting between the two sides in November, East Fife had large spells of possession and camped out in the home half.

But sadly, also like the previous encounter, for all their dominance they simply couldn't breach the home resistance.

They certainly had chances, with three first half corner kicks all sailing through the six yard box and only lacking a Fife touch to divert goalwards.

It really wouldn't have been flying too high to suggest that, had East Fife been a couple of goals up at the break, it wouldn't have flattered them.

Darren Young made changes from the side beaten 2-0 at Forfar on Saturday with Pat Slattery, Craig Watson, Matthew Knox and Adam Livingstone handed starts.

From the off East Fife held a high pressing line, got in the faces of their hosts and were shrewd in possession.

While Knox and Craig Thomson jinked their way down the flanks, the impressive trio of Slattery, Kieran Millar and Connor McManus dominated the midfield.

East Fife's best chances came from the set pieces, with Raith completely out of sorts and lucky to scramble clear the danger.

The home support were starting to voice their displeasure with how wasteful the promotion chasers were with the ball.

Then, and to be honest you just knew it would happen, the home side opened the scoring with a slick breakaway goal.

Lewis Vaughan managed to find space on the wing and picked out Bobby Barr on the edge of the box.

Former Fifer Barr had plenty of work still to do but sent a stunning finish beyond Ben Mackenzie.

It was a real suckerpunch for an East Fife who had impressed.

In fairness, though, the second half belonged to the home side.

After the interval they looked a lot sharper and much more a team aiming to bounce back to the Championship.

Vaughan went close, Greig Spence had a goal ruled out for offside and Regan Hendry also had a chance to add to the lead.

In the end the second goal came from a more unlikely source, with centre half Iain Davidson nodding home at the back post.

To defeat firmly extinguished any slight hope the side had of reaching the end of season play-offs.

Boss Young said: "It's just that ruthlessness.

"They showed it, had one chance and bang it's in the back of the net.

"In the second half there wasn't much in it and they get a header from a corner which we thought we'd got by, losing goals from corners.

"We weren't as creative or as good in the second half but the determination and the spirit was still there.

"We just needed that bit of quality in the final third.

"Overall, although I'm not happy with certain aspects of the game, if we'd put that performance in on Saturday we might have got the three points."

Raith - Lennox, Thomson, Murray, Benedictus, Robertson (Herron 73), Vaughan, Barr, Matthews, Davidson, Hendry, Furtado (Spence 22).

Subs - Smith, McHattie, Herron, Buchanan, Zanatta, Court.

East Fife - Mackenzie, Page, Watson, Slattery (Wilkie 77), Duggan, McManus, Millar, Livingstone, Allardice, Thomson (Jones 79), Knox (Lamont 63).

Subs - Goodfellow, Dunsmore, Kane, Smith.