Stranraer 0-2 East Fife

East Fife returned to the Kingdom with a deserved win.
East Fife returned to the Kingdom with a deserved win.

East Fife fans have had a few false dawns already this season, so let's just take this game on its own merits and not get too far ahead of ourselves.

The Fifers have been guilty of taking one step forward and another back at times - but this was a massive leap in the right direction and the players and management team deserve praise for it.

The past couple of results, against a Highland League side and the club sitting bottom of the division, weren't good enough.

At Stair Park, though, East Fife again showed exactly what they're capable of against the division's form side.

Plenty of pundits have predicted Stranraer to sink like a stone after their well documented financial problems forced them to ship a few of their best players.

To their credit the youngsters who have had to step up have done just that, but on Saturday afternoon they were exposed by an East Fife side which was solid and determined from front to back.

East Fife handled the occasion, kept a much welcome clean sheet and dominated the 90 minutes.

Darren Young handed starts to new recruits Connor McManus and Adam Livingstone while Matthew Knox and Robert Jones were on the bench.

With the game starting off as a midfield battle, it was central midfielder McManus who stood out, looking really solid along with Kieran Millar.

Both won their personal battles in the middle of the park, and that gave East Fife the edge over the Blues.

When Chris Duggan left the park with a dead leg in the first half, it gave Jones the chance to shine.

The towering forward did just that, his height, strength and pace causing problems for the home defence.

More than once the visitors were able to win the ball in the middle of the park and find gaping holes to exploit.

From one Kieran Millar broke through before being brought down by Chris McGowan.

With regular penalty taker Mark Docherty missing through injury, Scott Linton stepped up and thumped his penalty beyond Max Currie.

Just a few minutes later it was 2-0 with East Fife again able to split the home defence.

Millar turned provider this time and his through ball was collected by Mark Lamont who beat Currie.

The Fifers saw out the win with ease, and now sit just five points out of the promotion play-off spot.

Boss Young said: “It was a hard working performance and when we got our chances we were able to take them.

“The signings give us that bit of competition which we probably haven’t had with the number of injuries.

“The boys came in and did really well."

Stranraer - Currie, Robertson, Neill, McGowan, Hamill, Agnew (Anderson 63) , Turner, Beith, Woods (Lyon 63), Okoh, Dykes (Hawkshaw 63).

Subs - McLaren, MacPherson, Barron, Hawkshaw, Anderson, Lyon, Thomson.

East Fife - Goodfellow, Dunsmore, Kane, Page, Linton, Lamont (Watson 76), Millar, McManus, Livingstone, Duggan (Jones 41), Smith (Slattery 86).

Subs - MacKenzie, Slattery, Knox, Jones, Mutch, Wilson.