Stranraer 1-1 East Fife

Ross Brown, seen here last week at Queen's Park, opened the scoring before having to leave the park with a nasty head wound.
Ross Brown, seen here last week at Queen's Park, opened the scoring before having to leave the park with a nasty head wound.

East Fife battled their way to a deserved point at Stair Park.

There's little doubt the trek down the west coast to face the Blues is one of the most difficult of the season.

The Fifers travelled for three hours on Saturday afternoon to compete on a narrow pitch against one of the more fancied sides in the division.

If asked before the game, most East Fife fans would have settled for the point the ultimately collected but at half time had their sights set on all three.

Gary Naysmith sprung a surprise before the game by relegating Jamie Insall to the bench.

Instead the gaffer chose to play Kevin Smith through the middle with Tony Wallace behind in a supporting role.

It was a move which gave the Fifers a more physical presence against Brian Reid's men and one which paid off.

Wallace was making just his second league start for the club but built in a solid performance against Queen's Park with a dominant and energy packed opening 45.

Smith, too, was causing problems and his strength and power helped the visitors notch the opening goal.

Dropping deep to pick up the ball inside the Stranraer half, Smith managed to hold off the attentions of his Stranraer markers to maraude his way into the box.

There he was able to pick out Ross Brown eight yards from goal.

The midfielder's connection may not have been the best, but was enough to see him bundle the ball over the line.

It was a goal the visitors more than deserved and took them into the break with something to defend in the second half.

And defend it they had to, with Reid's side coming out with a real intent.

The Blues boss clearly had a few stern words for his men and the pegged the Methil men back in their own half pretty much for the duration of the half.

It was backs to the wall, but eventually the well drilled backline was breached.

A Willie Gibson corner couldn't be cleared and Steven Bell popped up a few yards out to slam the ball home.

If there was going to be a winner it looked likely it would be the home side with East Fife remaining on the back foot.

But they defended valiantly, and returned from the south of Scotland with as hard earned a point as they're likely to win all season.

Player/boss Naysmith said: “I have to say that I couldn’t have asked any more from my players.

“That’s the happiest I’ve been with them in getting a draw.

“We won’t kid ourselves, Stranraer put us under extreme pressure in the second half but for me as a manager it was pleasing to see them stand up to it.”