Five points from six and Fife look good in 2-0 win
For a tournament Gary Naysmith described as being an extension of pre-season, East Fife are having a damn good crack at this term's Betfred League Cup.
It’s not being disrespectful to say the four games the club plays as part of Group A would be roughly as good as the Fifers would have expected to take part in under the former structure.
But they’ve have hit the ground running and after having played arguably the two toughest sides in the group, Dundee and Dumbarton, top the table with five points out of a possible six and look good for the knockout stages.
Nobody who watched Saturday’s draw with Premiership Dundee, before the eventually penalty win, or Tuesday night’s win at Dumbarton can grudge them their lofty position.
At the weekend Dundee were made to look second best by an East Fife side which played with a confidence and an intensity.
They took that into the second round game against a Dumbarton side which boasts a raft of players with recent experience in the top flight.
They may have had the players but again they couldn’t match East Fife’s appetite.
East Fife went for the jugular from kick-off and kept their Championship hosts penned into their own half.
Scott Robinson pulled the strings in the centre of the park, casually stroking the ball out to his wide men Kevin Smith and Mark Lamont.
Both gave The Sons a torrid time with the home side growing increasingly frustrated as the game went on, unable to get close to their visitors.
The opening goal was well worked, with some neat play down the wing between Lamont and Scott Mercer freeing the former Dunfermline right back up to pitch a deep cross into the box.
Smith broke free from his marker and stooped to head home the delivery.
The second wasn’t far behind and again it was the result of some really attractive one and two touch stuff from the Fifers.
Mercer was in the thick of it once more, working well with Kyle Wilkie this time.
Robinson was the next to get involved and his shot, which may have been going in anyway, was touched past Mark Brown by Paul McManus.
The home side had no answer and were resorting to pot-shots from range which failed to trouble Ryan Goodfellow.
Sons were all out of sorts and their tempers began to flare.
Former Hearts midfielder Ryan Stevenson had been twisted in knots once too often by Lamont for his liking and he lashed out at the winger.
The experienced Stevenson was swift to leave the scene of the crime and ref Craig Charleston took no action.
As expected Dumbarton started the second half a lot brighter as they went in search of the goal they hoped would kick start their night.
It would never come and, with the game now out of their grasp, their discipline went, Grant Gallagher seeing red for a blatant boot at the back of Smith’s heel.
It compounded a miserable night for the hosts and left East Fife to comfortably see out a win which puts them perfectly placed to qualify out of Group A.
Boss Naysmith said: “We set up a certain way and maybe the first ten minutes or so it wasn’t working.
“We changed it ever so slightly and let Dumbarton have the ball at the back.
“That seemed to work.
“We scored a really good goal and that settled us down a bit and played some good stuff.
“The second goal came and, as I’ve said, if you put the ball in the box Paul McManus will score you goals - his record shows that.
“When Dumbarton went down to 10 men that was possibly the worst we played.
“But, in saying that, on another day we could have scored another two or three goals.”