Workout just what Fifers needed

The visit of Premiership runners up Aberdeen was always likely to be by far the toughest of East Fife's three pre-season games.
Ryan Jack (22) puts through his own net to pull a goal back for East Fife.Ryan Jack (22) puts through his own net to pull a goal back for East Fife.
Ryan Jack (22) puts through his own net to pull a goal back for East Fife.

Following on from visits by Spartans and Edinburgh City, the arrival of Derek McInnes’s side represented a real step up in class for the Fifers to cope with.

And with the kick off of the new season now just a few days away, it was the type of stern test really needed by the Methil club.

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The Dons are deep into their Europa League qualifying campaign and have already played two competitive fixtures.

It didn’t come as any real surprise when the Dons started off on the front foot and forced the Fifers to do a lot of ball chasing.

At this time of the season that was no wasted exercise for East Fife who will expect Paul Hartley’s Dundee to play at a similar tempo when they arrive at the weekend.

The scoreline was an irrelevance but the manner in which East Fife lost their four goals would still have stung.

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Four headers won the match for the Dons with the Fife defence missing the experience of the absent Gary Naysmith and Jonathan Page.

Adam Rooney opened the scoring for the visitors after just a few minutes when he nodded home a Ryan Jack cross.

It was backs to the wall stuff for the Methil men with the impressive 18-year-old Frank Ross looking a real prospect.

His corner was almost converted by Anthony O’Connor.

But the same partnership teamed up a second time to add number two before the break.

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East Fife hadn’t presented any attacking threat up front but, as the Dons made some sweeping changes from the bench, took advantage of the disruption to their rhythm.

A slick move forward saw Mark Lamont hit the by-line where he sent a cut-back into the six yard box.

With the Fife attack waiting to pounce, Ryan Jack tried to knock the ball out of play but only succeeded in firing past Neil Alexander.

The counter put a spring in the step of the home side and within a couple of minutes they completed a spirited comeback.

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Again, another slick move up the park saw the ball break to Kevin Smith.

A clumsy challenge from O’Connor sent the Fife forward to the ground and ref Bobby Madden pointed to the spot.

Up stepped Paul McManus to net his fourth goal in three pre-season games.

The goal gave the Fife support something to cheer about - but it wasn’t to last.

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Jayden Stockley was one of several brought off the bench for Aberdeen and his late double wrapped up the win for the Dons.

His first came when he headed home an O’Connor cross before he completed the scoring in the closing moments to round of an entertaining friendly.