ANOTHER poor performance cost East Fife the points at Gayfield against an Arbroath squad which was a pale reflection of the side from last season.
The wind was certainly a contributing factor but poor defending and the lack of goal scoring chances cost East Fife dearly, in a game in which they had the bulk of possession.
Arbroath’s first opportunity saw Scott Smith block Rennie’s effort when he had made a little bit of space for himself in the Fife penalty area.
Then Paul Willis had a try and, soon after, a Gareth Wardlaw header from Smith’s cross proved fruitless.
With 26 minutes on the clock, the home side broke out of defence. Three passes later, they were in the danger area and poor defending saw Holmes put Doris in to shoot home from the edge of the box.
East Fife hardly had time to lick their wounds when number two was scrambled home.
Poor clearing efforts by Scott Durie and Jordan Forster saw the ball fall for Holmes and his mis-hit shot bounced up off the turf and into the roof of the net.
After their few minutes of dominance, the game fell back into its previous pattern, with East Fife controlling but posing little threat.
The nearest they came to scoring was a Wardlaw shot which former Fife keeper Scott Morrison pushed wide for what proved another fruitless corner.
Morrison did really well to block a David Muir shot at his near post from close range and, soon after, a Willis cross provided McManus with a difficult chance but his flick went just over the bar.
Ten minutes into the half, Gordon Chisholm sent on Scott McBride and Robert Sloan to replace Wardlaw and Pollock.
McBride was the next to try his luck but his header from a Smith cross didn’t trouble the ‘keeper.
Arbroath played out the closing minutes against a still ineffective Fife midfield and attack, and held on for a win, which means if East Fife lose against Ayr United this Saturday, bottom spot awaits.
Arbroath – Morrison, Baxter, Hamilton, Kerr, Malcolm, Keddie, Rennie (Birse 87), Robertson (Currie 63), Holmes (Gribbon 74), Doris, Sheerin. Subs (not used) Sibanda, Bullock.
East Fife – M. Brown, Durie, S. Smith, Forster, White, D. Smith, Willis, Muir, McManus, Wardlaw (McBride 57), Pollock (Sloan 57). Subs (not used) Cook, McCormack, Shaw.
Attendance – 624.
Referee – G. Aitken.
Starcheck ratings – Willis 3 points, M. Brown 2, McManus 1
Starcheck table – Michael Brown 13, Darren Smith 7, Robert Sloan 6, Scott McBride 4, Darren McCormack 3, David Muir 3, Collin Samuel 3, Paul Willis 3, Scott Smith 2, Ross Brown 1, Steven Campbell 1, Paul McManus 1, Gareth Wardlaw 1.