East Fife 0-2 Falkirk - In pictures

There’s no doubt Stevie Crawford will be disappointed to lose this game, but there was no way he could be disappointed with the attitude of his side.

By Scott Inglis
Monday, 24th January 2022, 10:23 am
Kevin Smith was hailed by boss Stevie Crawford following his response to being substituted so early in the game
Kevin Smith was hailed by boss Stevie Crawford following his response to being substituted so early in the game

East Fife were forced to play the bulk of the match with 10 men following goalkeeper Jude Smith’s sending off with just 16 minutes played.

Against a decent full-time side like Falkirk, it stacked the odds against the Methil men.

But despite their lowly position at the foot of League One, there was absolutely no sense of the squad feeling sorry for themselves.

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Danny Denholm attempts to break clear from Ryan Williamson

Instead they rolled their sleeves up and got stuck in, just what the Fife fans wanted to see on the back of last week’s 2-0 loss at Dumbarton which severely dented the club’s survival hopes.

Ahead of the game there was a minute of applause as East Fife remembered vice-chairman Dave Marshall.

The game cracked into life on 16 minutes when Smith raced off his line to gather a short pass back but was caught handling the ball outside his box.

Ref Barry Cook ordered him off with skipper Kevin Smith sacrificed to make way for sub keeper Scott Gallacher.

Anton Dowds comes in for some close attention from Ryan Blair. All pics by Kenny Mackay

Falkirk may have seen plenty of the ball but they couldn’t break down a well organised East Fife side.

It was honours even at the interval and Falkirk manager Martin Rennie had clearly seen enough.

He swapped Aidan Keena for Jaze Kabia and the on-loan Livingston winger would prove to be the difference between the two sides.

He was only on the park for seven minutes when he glanced home a Craig McGuffie cross.

Aaron Steele heaps pressure on the Falkirk goal

But again East Fife refused to buckle and were unlucky not to be level when Scott Mercer tried his luck from close range.

The Methil men continued to press and, in the closing stages of the game, pushed defender Steele into attack in a bid to pull level.

It was a risk and left gaps at the back – gaps Falkirk exposed.

Kabia notched his second of the game in the closing seconds.

The action was keenly contested across the 90 minutes at Bayview

Bayview manager Crawford said he’d love the same positive atmosphere inside Bayview for the remaining home matches.

He said: “The crowd got behind the boys and their energy came on to the players as well.

“They played their part.

“If we can stay together and keep believing then we’ll turn it.

“I know the fans are hurting but a performance like that shows that we have a chance.

“I remain positive.

Gary Miller looks to evade Ryan Blair and Scott Mercer

“It’s hard to stomach defeats but today could be the turning point for us.

“We went a man down, we’re in a bad bit of form and struggling to win a game of football but there was a belief and energy within the group.

“It was typified with my captain who was the one who suffered when we went down to 10 men.

“The way he came off that park shows why Kevin Smith has had a career in the game and what the club means to him.

“I wouldn’t have liked to come off as early in the game but he came off with dignity and respect.”

The Falkirk defence are back in numbers to halt an East Fife attack
The East Fife goal is tested by the Bairns' frontline