Saturday’s third round Scottish Cup tie at North Superleague side Banks O’ Dee should have provided some respite, a chance to forget the league woes for 90 minutes, score a couple of goals and maybe even put a spring in the club’s step again.
Instead the game only served to heap more misery on the beleaguered Methil men.
Stand-in boss Stevie Frail described the defeat as “embarrassing” post match, and it would be difficult to argue otherwise.
Although no East Fife fan would expect their side to advance to the latter stages of the tournament, a decent run and a match against an opponent from a high division can provide a cup thrill.
There will be none of that this year.
It started well enough with East Fife looking to impose themselves on Banks O’ Dee early on.
The visitors were all over their hosts and took a deserved lead when Fraser Hobday’s clearance was woefully short and landed invitingly at the feet of Jamie Semple.
Semple showed no lack of confidence and sent a terrific lob over Hobday and into the back of the net.
The goal should have given East Fife a platform to build, but instead they fell out of the game dramatically after putting themselves in a good position, an unwelcome character trait which haunted the side at Broadwood last weekend as well.
Banks O’ Dee were level shortly before the half-hour mark when a ball into the box rebounded off Liam Newton and beyond Jude Smith.
It was a piece of misfortune, but it shouldn’t have thrown East Fife completely off course in the way it did.
Neither side really offered much in the second half and it looked as if they would have to do it all over again at Bayview.
That was until, with just over 15 minutes to go, Aaron Dunsmore was sent off for an over the top lunge.
Banks O’ Dee would have known the odds would be stacked against them even further in a replay, so set about getting the job done at home.
It’s to their credit that they did that.
Mark Gilmour’s close range strike gave them the lead with just a few minutes remaining.
Any hope of a Fife fightback were extinguished when Scott Mercer joined Dunsmore in the dressing room early after picking up two bookings.
Frail pulled no punches in his assessment, saying: “They’re a nice bunch of players who get on great, although there were a few choice words after the game in the dressing room and rightly so.
“But they don’t dig each other out or demand enough of each other.
“That’s not just in this game, it’s games that have been played previously.
“To take this result in isolation, it’s a horrendous result, it’s an embarrassing result.”