Survival hopes take a dent in Dumbarton - in pictures

East Fife’s task of staying in League One was made all the more difficult following this loss to second bottom Dumbarton.

By Scott Inglis
Monday, 17th January 2022, 10:22 am
Updated Monday, 17th January 2022, 10:22 am
Bayview striker Ryan Wallace looks to create an opening for the away side.
Bayview striker Ryan Wallace looks to create an opening for the away side.

With a lot of the season still to be played the game wasn’t quite a must win – but it wasn’t far from it either.

The Methil men knew a victory would see them close to within two points of the Sons, while a loss meant they would fall eight points behind and have it all to do.

Stevie Crawford handed an immediate debut to loan signing Leo Watson who came in at left back for the Fifers.

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On-loan Hearts defender Leo Watson had a solid debut for the Fifers

Sons also freshened things up during the week, forward Gregg Wylde amongst those signing with Stevie Farrell’s side.

Another new recruit, Kieran Wright, was named in the starting line-up but the goalkeeper suffered an injury during the warm-up and was replaced by Sam Ramsbottom.

East Fife started the game well and took the match to their hosts.

Kyle Connell had the first real chance of the game with a snapshot which drifted a foot wide of Ramsbottom's left hand post.

Ryan Blair is in the thick of the action during the weekend's defeat. All pics by Kenny Mackay

At the other end, a dangerous Carlo Pignatiello drive was well stopped by East Fife goalkeeper Scott Gallacher.

Gallacher became the busier of the two goalkeepers and he got down well again to deny Ross Maclean from opening the scoring during a hectic start.

The game was flowing from end to end and the Fifers looked menacing on the counter.

Ramsbottom was called into action on the 15 minute mark when he saved Ross Davidson’s long range drive.

Danny Denholm put in a decent shift for East Fife but couldn't unlock the home defence

East Fife continued to press with Ryan Wallace and Connell linking up really well in attack.

Crawford’s side started the second-half as well as they did in the first and almost broke the deadlock when a Wallace cross was just too short for Danny Denholm.

It was Dumbarton who drew first blood, though, with Joshua Oyinsan nodding home a Wylde cross from close range.

The goal gave Dumbarton a clear lift and they grabbed the game’s crucial second goal 10 minutes after the first when Wylde’s screamer from 25 yards gave Gallacher absolutely no chance.

Dan Higgins whips in a cross as East Fife try to salvage something from the game

East Fife continued to huff and puff as they tried to reduce the deficit.

It was to no avail, though, and the Fifers now have a massive few home games to play as they try to create a great escape.

Boss Crawford said: “My reflection on the game is that we’ve not hit the target enough and not worked their keeper.

“But when we lose the first goal it seems to be a common occurrence that we lose another at the back of it.

“It’s not what what we wanted but there’s still 15 games of the season to make sure that we rectify the problems we’re coming up against at the moment.

“We’re not making it easy for ourselves but I’ve always been one for, collectively, we work together.

The Dumbarton defence stand firm to deny East Fife again

“We have to remain upbeat, if I’m not upbeat then how can I expect my players to behave in that manner?

“We have to try to turn this season around, make no mistake about it we wanted to win the game.”

Scott Gallacher gets his fist to a Dumbarton cross to clear the danger
Aaron Steele was denied early in the game