East Fife 4-2 Cove Rangers
Drawing a line under a poor first quarter is easier said than done, but East Fife did exactly that, and then some, at Bayview.
Paul Hartley’s Cove Rangers arrived in Methil as one of the division’s pacesetters, while the Fifers are propping up the division.
But the tables were well and truly turned on Saturday afternoon as Darren Young’s side returned to their ruthless best.
The return or Ryan Wallace to the line-up after some months away gave East Fife a clear lift.
Wallace showed no signs of rust as he hit the ground running on his reappearance.
Cove aren’t where they are in the division by fluke, but left Bayview with their tails between their legs.
They hit East Fife for five when they first met at the start of the season but this time were given a lesson in finishing by their hosts.
Along with Wallace, Young has been deprived of the services of Kyle Connell as he nursed an injury.
The two of them paired up in attack and showed Fife fans just what they’ve been missing.
East Fife were well worth their lead when they grabbed it, Aaron Steele, who continues to grow in stature with every performance, heading home a Connor McManus corner.
Cove barely had time to draw breath after conceding the opening goal when East Fife doubled their lead.
Connell got in behind the Cove defence and sent a magnificent shot into the top corner.
The visitors weren’t asking many questions at the other end with a Jamie Masson effort, saved by Jude Smith, their only chance of note.
East Fife were clinical and went a long way to ensuring the three points on the stroke of half-time thanks to Scott Mercer’s excellent free-kick.
The home fans hailed their side when they left the park at the interval, but would have known that Cove could only improve.
They threatened to make a game of it when Robbie Leitch pulled one back a couple of minutes into the second half.
Any hint that the Fifers were going to collapse was quickly banished when Mercer’s delivery was converted by Connell.
Cove, to their credit, kept on plugging away and pulled another back through Morgyn Neill.
But this was East Fife’s day and hopefully the foundation for a run of positive form.
Boss Young said: “We’ve beaten the team at the top of the table and dragged a couple of other teams a little closer to us.
“We worked really hard and had to dig deep against a really good team.
“Overall I’m delighted and it was great to have Ryan Wallace back.”