What a difference a week makes

Nathan Austin is mobbed after netting the winner.
Nathan Austin is mobbed after netting the winner.

Seven days before their visit to second place Dunfermline Athletic, East Fife had been easily brushed aside by Ayr United.

A 5-0 defeat at Bayview saw East Fife turn in as poor a performance as many will have seen for quite some time.

The result saw their win less streak stretch to eight as they struggled for form, helped in no small part by an injury list which included regular starters such as Joe Mbu and Gary Fisher.

Heading along to East End Park on Saturday even the most optimistic Fife fan would have had difficulty in believing the Methil men were likely to return to Bayview with the three points.

However, boss Gary Naysmith called for a reaction following last week’s capitulation and that was exactly what he got.

A couple of changes were made to the line up, in came Nathan Austin and Lewis Barr - Austin playing adrift on the right after impressing from there in a recent reserve game.

From the start it was East Fife who got off onto the front foot with Austin causing all sorts of trouble on the wing.

After Jonathan Page had hit the side netting for the Pars, Austin was unlucky not to open the scoring when his effort came back off the post.

Stephen Hughes was dominant in the middle of the park and he also went close with a decent strike.

East Fife were well on top so it was cruel on them when Dunfermline grabbed the lead.

Ryan Williamson burst down the win and picked out Lawrence Shankland who beat Greg Paterson from a few yards out.

But any fears that a similar capitulation to last week, when the Fifers shipped another two goals before half-time, would be repeated were unfounded.

Naysmith’s side dusted themselves down and continued to dominate play.

They were rewarded shortly after the break when the lively Liam Buchanan won his side a penalty kick.

With the striker heading away from goal, Page clumsily chopped him down inside the box.

Buchanan stepped up himself and put his kick past Ryan Scully.

The Methil side continued to press their hosts and sensed that a win was well within their reach.

Naysmith brought on Bruce Inkango for his debut up front but it was another striker who did the real damage late on.

Austin had covered every inch of grass on the East End Park surface but will have had white chalk on his boots as he turned in a Hughes knock down on the goal line.