East Fife 2-3 Cove Rangers

At 4.45pm on Saturday afternoon, referee Duncan Williams mercifully brought an end to East Fife’s 2021-22 season.

By Scott Inglis
Saturday, 30th April 2022, 9:32 pm
Kyle Connell curls home East Fife's second goal of the game. Pic by Kenny Mackay
Kyle Connell curls home East Fife's second goal of the game. Pic by Kenny Mackay

A campaign that has been disjointed and disrupted from the very beginning was over and the club can now allow the dust to settle, repair itself and get ready to reverse its fortunes next season.

Player unavailability, missed signing targets, long-term injuries to key men, everyone around Bayview is fully aware of the contributing factors to a season which ended in relegation.

But no team finishes bottom of the league through sheer bad luck alone, the simple fact is it hasn’t been good enough from Saturday to Saturday.

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Relegation leaves a horrible feeling in the pit of the stomach as fans come to terms with the uncertainties of life in League Two.

However, supporters can take comfort in the words of manager Stevie Crawford post match who revealed that his work ahead of the 2022-23 season has already started.

Scouting missions have been undertaken and this week players will learn if they are to be part of the club’s assault on League Two.

How Crawford will shape his squad remains to be seen, will he keep the bulk of the squad from this year and give them the chance to remedy this season’s disappointment or will he completely clear the decks and allow a fresh start?

Before any of that there was the matter of a final league game to play against this year’s champions.

The Fifers formed a guard of honour for Cove pre-match, hoping that it will be them taking the applause of an opponent in 12 months time.

There were certainly positives in the performance with the home side racing into a two goal lead early on.

Danny Denholm took advantage of a mix-up in the Cove defence to roll the ball home on 15 minutes.

Just a few minutes later and it was 2-0 when Kyle Connell’s magnificent curling effort beat Stuart McKenzie.

After a miserable season, the Bayview supporters were finally given some cheer.

But Cove aren’t champs for nothing and they showed their quality as the half went on.

It was 2-1 from the penalty spot after Pat Slattery was judged to have pulled down Leighton McIntosh.

The decision seemed harsh but Mitch Megginson showed little sympathy and beat Jude Smith.

Denholm and Ryan Blair both passed up chances to make the score 3-1 and they were made to pay when Megginson levelled the score.

The momentum of the game had reversed and the visitors were well on top.

They ensured they moved up to the Championship on a high when Mark Reynolds stooped to head home.

For East Fife boss Crawford, the hard work towards next season has already started.

He said: “I’ll be speaking to boys who are out of contract early next week.

“There will be boys who move on and boys who get contracts offered to them.

“When you’re doing your recruitment you’re always asking questions and that’s been from the minute I came in.

“There will be no stone unturned and I’ve been at a couple of Lowland League games last week so that shows the energy and enthusiasm I have for the job.

“It’s about taking in all these conversations you have with people to help make East Fife better.”