Fifers adapt well to secure 2-1 win

This was a different test for East Fife's players - and it was one they passed with flying colours.

Saturday, 23rd July 2016, 8:04 pm
Updated Saturday, 23rd July 2016, 9:52 pm

With Premiership Dundee and Championship Dumbarton playing open, attacking football against the Fifers, the Methil club themselves were able to combat this with an offensive flair themselves.

The pressure was off them, with both rivals expected to pick up the three points.

But that played into East Fife’s hands, with both Dundee and Dumbarton being caught off guard by the Methil club’s appetite, quality and intensity.

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Peterhead were always likely to be different, with the two clubs more evenly matched and the tactics adapted to suit.

The Blue Toon are a big, physical side and that too needed to be countered by the Fifers.

Not only did they counter it, they managed to overcome it.

Peterhead have one of the lower leagues’ most prolific marksmen in Rory McAllister and the first job East Fife had was to keep him quiet.

Again, job done, and McAllister won’t be relishing coming up against Jonathan Page and Jason Kerr again this season.

He did have a hand in the opening goal, though, when his free-kick could only be parried away by Willie Muir.

Jordon Brown was on hand to tap the loose ball home.

Typically for this East Fife side, they weren’t shaken and quickly regrouped to force their way back into the match.

It wasn’t long before they were level.

Mark Lamont’s corner into the six yard box was rushed to by a host of Peterhead defenders but it was Page who got his head to the ball first, powering an effort past Graeme Smith.

It was all square in a game which had largely been a bit of a slog.

The battle was in the middle of the park where the strength of Kevin Smith, Chris Kane and Pat Slattery was key.

All of them won their personal battles with their opponents and this was the edge the home side needed.

Just five minutes into the second half the game was turned on its head when East Fife took the lead.

Ross Brown was bundled over by Kevin Dzierzawski and ref Kevin Graham pointed to the spot.

Veteran striker Paul McManus stepped up and sent Graeme Smith in the Peterhead goal the wrong way.

It wrapped up a crucial win for East Fife and gave them an impressive four point gap over second place Dundee.

A win this Tuesday at Forfar will see Gary Naysmith’s men qualify from a group they’ve more than impressed in.

Naysmith said: “We didn’t score against the run of play, we had been edging back into the game.

“The penalty came at the right time for us.

“It was a physical game and I don’t think one team was better than the other.

“What I’ll say about my players is that’s three games in a week now with a trip to Dumbarton.

“They’ve taken eight points out of nine and for me I’m happier with the Peterhead win.

“We weren’t at our best with the ball but we were hard to beat and stood up to it well.”