Stenhousemuir 0-2 East Fife

The East Fife players celebrate Kevin Smith's opener. Pic by Kenny Mackay.
The East Fife players celebrate Kevin Smith's opener. Pic by Kenny Mackay.

It wasn't pretty at times but East Fife did enough to squeeze past Stenny at Ochilview.

The conditions were horrendous as a bitterly cold wind whipped across the park.

East Fife used it to their advantage early on with Scott Agnew's corner kick almost looping into Graeme Smith's goal.

The Methil side had the best of possession and took a deserved lead shortly after the 20 minute mark when Kevin Smith stooped to head home an Aaron Dunsmore cross.

It was almost 2-0 a matter of minutes later when Agnew tried his luck from distance only for his effort to clear the crossbar.

The hosts failed to register a single shot on target during the opening half with the Methil side only having the one themselves, which they had scored from.

It summed up and opening 45 in which both sets of players deserved medals for being able to play in such torrid conditions.

A second East Fife goal would have gone a long way to killing a game off in which the hosts were failing to pose a threat.

They had a penalty claim snubbed in the opening stages of the second half when Scott Agnew was toppled inside the Stenny box.

Stenny had their best spell in the game midway through the second half and were unlucky not to pull level through Mark McGuigan.

They stayed on the front foot, forcing the Fifers to defend deep, and Kieran Gibbons pulled a save out of Brett Long.

East Fife had chances of their own at the other end and Dunsmore almost doubled their lead from the edge of the box.

Anton Dowds was introduced from the bench by boss Darren Young and he almost had an immediate impact, pulling a decent close range stop out of Graeme Smith.

He wouldn't be denied a second time, netting a goal worthy to win any game.

Scott McBride cleared a long ball forward which Dowds plucked from the air with an excellent first touch.

It allowed him the chance to race clear on goal and beat Smith.

Methil boss Young said: "We made a few changes for the game and have managed to get a clean sheet and the win.

"We said to the players not to make any daft mistakes and if you need to clear your lines then clear your lines.

"We had one or two things that didn't go our way but recovered well and defended free-kicks and set-pieces brilliantly.

"We get the clean sheet on the back of it."

For home boss Colin McMenamin there were positives he could take from the performance, despite his side still propping up League One.

He said: "The first half, as much as there wasn't much in it, East Fife probably had more of the ball.

"The second half we tweaked it and got Harry Paton and Kieran Gibbons a bit higher and put them under pressure.

"We should have scored a couple at that point in the game, but if you don't score when you're on top you're going to struggle.

"It's a tight league and you're only a win away from jumping a couple of places."