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East Fife 1-1 Stenhousemuir, Saturday 10th February 2024

MGM Timber Bayview Stadium, cinch League Two

Bunnetosis has well and truly swept Methil as the Dick Campbell era at the MGM Timber Bayview Stadium started in impressive fashion. The Fifers fought hard against league leaders Stenhousemuir, earning a valuable point against the Warriors.

The Methil Milan were much more organised, holding defensive shape much more convincingly, only allowing Stenny 2 shots on target over the 90 minutes.

Sadly, the first shot on target found the back of the net as Stenhousemuir took an early lead on Saturday. Captain Ross Meechan got on the end of a corner kick and flashed his header into the back of the net not allowing Allan Fleming a chance.

After the setback, East Fife started warming into the match, with Brogan Walls giving himself the first Fife chance of the 90. He did well to wiggle into some space just outside of the penalty area, although his shot was well over the crossbar.

Ten minutes later, Fash almost grabbed us an equaliser. He burst into the box, before cutting it back to Schiavone in an ideal position. Unfortunately, the young forward lost his footing, and couldn’t get his shot away.

The half an hour mark also should have seen us go level, as once again Fash created an opportunity for Shiv, the fantastic cross was just too fast for Schiavone though, and Stenhousemuir were able to hold onto their lead. Just two minutes later, Austin had a chance of his own, when he connected with a Brogan Walls cross. His volley, however, was well over the crossbar.

Just before half time though, we drew level through none other than ‘Stone Cold’ Nathan Austin. It was a glass shattering goal, with some excellent build up play from both Brogan Walls and Alan Trouten, before Austin’s cushty finish. Plaudits must be given to Walls as his pass to find Trouten in the middle of the park was truly exemplary.

The two sides went into the interval level, and despite a horror start from the Fifers, they spent the majority of the first period as the better of the two teams.

The second half was much quieter in terms of action, with the first chance not coming until the 60th minute. Thankfully it was in favour of the Fife, but unfortunately it never resulted in a goal. Schiavone found himself past the Stenhousemuir defence after some tidy football, but his shot was only good enough for the side netting.

The next notable action came in the 82nd minute, when in true Ian Campbell fashion, our new assistant wound up in the book during his debut.

The game really heated up in the dying embers as Stenhousemuir had a chance snuffed out in the 92nd minute, which led to the moment which made Fife fans believe that we had nicked all three points. The corner was whipped into the box and found Trouten square. The midfielder’s header looked to have found the net from afar, but in reality, it trickled past both posts, ensuring the spoils were shared at the Wooden Fortress.

Despite looking to have won it right at the end, I don’t think it could be argued that a draw was probably the fairest result. While we had spells of control in the earlier exchanges, Stenhousemuir finished the stronger of the two teams, putting us under some real pressure as the game came to a close.

New gaffer Dick Campbell shared his thoughts with EFTV post-match:

“It was a test against the league leaders, and we didn’t get beat, which is very, very important to the football club, to me and the staff. Our first priority is very simple, to stay in the league and then we will see what’s in front of us next season.

“I thought in the first half we were better than Stenhousemuir, but equally in the second half, Stenhousemuir were better than us. We managed the game alright, but you would have to say in the last ten minutes we were holding on. I saw enough out there today to encourage me to bring on Bonnyrigg next week.”

East Fife – Fleming, Newton, Page, Easton, Millar, McManus, Schiavone (Shepherd 64’), Trouten, Healy, Austin, Walls. Subs not used: Nicol, Cunningham, Murray, Beveridge, Ramsay

Stenhousemuir – D Jamieson, Meechan, N Jamieson, Bilham, Lynch, Wedderburn, O’Reilly (Rodden 76’), Anderson, Jacobs (Berry 63’), Aitken, Yates (Brown 88’). Subs not used: Kirkpatrick, Stirling, Lyle

Referee – Calum Scott

Attendance - 616