Alloa Athletic 1-3 East Fife. In pictures

East Fife have suggested over the past couple of weeks that this win was just around the corner.

By Scott Inglis
Monday, 14th February 2022, 10:37 am
Updated Monday, 14th February 2022, 10:37 am
Jack Healy shields to ball from Alloa's Andy Graham
Jack Healy shields to ball from Alloa's Andy Graham

There have been spells in all of the side’s matches recently where the Fifers have looked anything but one labouring at the foot of League One.

The difficulty has been putting it all together for a full 90 minutes.

In Alloa on Saturday, though, Stevie Crawford’s side finally came good and put in a complete performance for almost an entire match.

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Jamie Semple comes in for some close attention

Apart from a wobbly opening couple of minutes, when Alloa took an early lead, East Fife looked very much like a side more than up for the fight to survive.

Defensively they were terrific again and one goal conceded in three games makes happy reading.

It’s been at the other end of the park where the side has had its struggles – but not on Saturday.

Ryan Wallace put in his performance of the season as he and Kyle Connell proved just too much for the Alloa backline.

The jubilant East Fife players celebrate Kyle Connell's goal. All pics by Kenny Mackay

Wallace’s intelligence in particular played a huge part in the win.

But things didn’t look so rosy to begin with.

An Alloa corner after just a couple of minutes wasn’t dealt with and Mark Durnan took full advantage, heading beyond Jude Smith.

It would have been easy for a side on the bottom of the league to hide and feel sorry for themselves but East Fife were having none of that.

Ryan Blair had arguably his best game in an East Fife shirt

They went off in search of the equaliser and Connell passed up a magnificent chance after 25 minutes.

They didn’t have to wait much longer, though, and when Aaron Steele was bundled over inside the box, Wallace made no mistake from the penalty spot.

It was the club’s first goal in weeks and the lift it gave the players was visible.

The second goal arrived before the break.

Aaron Steele wins this challenge in the air at the back post

David Hutton was penalised for picking up a pass back 18 yards out.

Wallace and Mercer hovered over the ball and when Mercer touched it to Wallace the Alloa backline raced out to block an anticipated shot.

Wallace mugged them right off and instead knocked it to Connell who finished brilliantly.

Their task was made that bit easier when Euan Henderson saw a straight red for a rash challenge on Smith.

East Fife sensed the win was there for the taking but still had to absorb some Alloa pressure.

With Alloa pushing forward, it created gaps at the back and they were exposed by East Fife in the closing minutes when Denholm finished a Wallace delivery.

Forward Ryan Wallace was man-of-the-match for many Fife fans

There’s still a gap between the Fifers and those above them, but momentum is with Crawford’s side who clearly believe survival can be achieved.

The manager said: “In my analysis when I’ve been talking to the boys I’ve been saying about being creative and playing that pass at the right time. That was evident in our second and third goals.

“I know Dumbarton have won but it’s very much in our own hands.

“We have enough games to get ourselves out of the position we find ourselves and the boys will take confidence from scoring goals.”

Chris Higgins leads the celebrations post-match
Kieran Millar wins this battle in the middle of the park