Fifers inflict damage on title contenders

The Fife players celebrate Kevin Smith's late goal. Pic by Brian Smith.The Fife players celebrate Kevin Smith's late goal. Pic by Brian Smith.
The Fife players celebrate Kevin Smith's late goal. Pic by Brian Smith.
East Fife became the first SPFL League Two team to leave Borough Briggs with three points this season on Saturday following a fine 3-1 win over Elgin City.

The Fifers got their title hopes back on track following the 3-0 drubbing at Queen’s Park the previous week with a champion performance as Nathan Austin once again starred for the Methil men.

The game had barely begun before Austin opened the scoring in the sixth minute after the 22-year-old latched onto a through ball from Pat Slattery and calmly slotted home past Mark Hurst in the hosts goal.

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Gary Naysmith’s men, though, were pegged back in the 22nd minute slightly against the run of play as Craig Gunn’s header cannoned back off the post and fell perfectly for fellow forward Dylan Easton to tap home from close range.

The Fifers weren’t level for long as Austin, who notched his 21st of the season in all competitions, once again left the Elgin defence for dead and rounded Hurst to side foot into an empty net and restore the goal advantage just two minutes later.

Jim Weir’s men then had a golden opportunity to level matters before the break after goal scorer Easton jinked his way into the area and found Liam Kelly’s net at his mercy but the 21-year-old failed to keep his effort down.

The second period started with a flurry of chances for the hosts and they came closest to bagging a second following a scramble in the box with Gunn’s effort thundering off the crossbar after a deflection from gaffer Naysmith.

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East Fife, though, recovered from the early scare and started to control proceedings with forward Kyle Wilkie seeing an effort saved well by Hurst who flung himself down to his left.

Naysmith’s men then secured the points with fourteen minutes to go after good work from Scott Mercer saw his drilled cross fumbled by the Elgin stopper and skipper Kevin Smith was on hand to prod home to secure a third and with it a victory for the Methil men.

Elgin City - Hurst, Cooper, McPhee, McHardy, Nicolson, Reilly, McLaren (McKenzie), Cameron, Gunn, Easton (MacLeod), Moore (Ross)

Subs not used: Duff, Dryden, Halsman, Black.

East Fife - Kelly, Mercer, Kerr, Page, Naysmith, Brown, Campbell, Slattery, Smith (Murray 90), Wilkie (Insall 90), N Austin (J Austin)

Subs - Goodfellow, Mullen, O’Kane, Coote

Referee - Colin Steven

Attendance - 977