On paper, this looked like it would be our most difficult game of the season to date. A team we effectively relegated and our biggest threat to the title. As it turned out, Stranraer forgot to turn up.

With Celtic loanee Scott Fox in between the sticks and new signing Gary Greenhill slotting in to the middle, it was a slightly different looking Fife side that lined up, but it was to prove to be a strong one.

It was Stranraer who had the first shot on target though, when Rickie Gillies' lowly driven free kick from 25 yards out forced Fox to make a save at his near post with 7 minutes gone.

After this it was all East Fife possession for the rest of the half but would we make it tell?

Paul McManus should have opened the scoring on the 17 minutes mark, when good work from Craig O'Reilly out on the right saw him slot the ball inside to Dougie Cameron, who in turn played in Paul, but the striker blasted over from 12 yards out.

Four minutes later though and the deadlock was broken.

Referee Frank McDermott did well to give a free kick to the Fife when he saw there was no advantage to be gained. The Stranraer goalie, Alan Ferguson, who looked suspect throughout the game, fumbled Cameron's ball in, allowing Kevin Fotheringham to lash the ball home from 8 yards out.

1-0 Fife.

A string of Fife corners followed with Fotheringham coming close to scoring again on a couple of occasions, but his headed efforts were over the bar.

Undeterred, Fozzy did make it 2-0 on the stroke of half time as Ryan Blackadder's precision corner in from the left was met perfectly by the big man, rising above two Stranraer defenders to easily head home.

The Fife Celebrate After Going Two Up

The Fife pressure continued after the break.

Steven Tweed was inches away from connecting with a Cameron corner with 54 minutes gone and minutes later, Jonathan Smart's diving header at the back post hit off the outside off the post for a goal kick, after another great ball in from a Blackadder free kick.

It was a surprise then when Stranraer pulled a goal back after 65 minutes, when with Greig McDonald off the pitch receiving treatment, a quick Blues attack upfield saw Iain Cashmore hit a brilliant low volley past Fox from the edge of the box.

2-1. Game on? Well, not quite.

Stranraer had their best possession of the ball for the entire match after the goal, but this lasted all of five minutes and produced no real attacking efforts in the process.

East Fife restored their two goal lead six minutes later when Paul McManus brilliantly beat the offside trap, rounded the out rushing Ferguson and coolly slotted home to seal the points.

71 minutes gone. 3-1 to the Fife and a happy match reporter who had predicted that scoreline earlier in the AFTN Prediction League. Happy days!

Stevie Nicholas came on for Craig O'Reilly after Paul goal and he was put through not long after, but decided to head wide and Ferguson just collected his cross in, with McManus waiting in the middle.

Stranraer responded with that rare thing, an effort on goal, but Gillies' low shot from the edge of the box was easily held by Fox, who must have wondered if all his days in the lower leagues were going to be as easy as this one.

As the game fizzled out, Stevie Nic did have the ball in the net on the 90 minutes mark, but he was narrowly adjudged to have been offside.

So another three points for the unbeaten League leaders against a very poor Stranraer side. It was another great all round team performance, with some really nice football being played in the process, which is an added bonus to matters.

At this stage of the season though, who would have thought that East Stirling would be coming to the fore as our main title challengers?! Good for them though. Their fans deserve it.

As for the Fife, well there's been an outbreak of football broken out down Bayview way and the rest of the teams in the Third better watch out, as it's proving to be contagious.

C'mon the Fife!

FINAL SCORE: East Fife 3 - 1 Stranraer

EAST FIFE: Fox, McDonald, Fotheringham, Smart, Tweed, Greenhill, Blackadder, Stewart, O'Reilly (Nicholas 71), McManus (Gordon 83), Cameron. [Subs Not Used: McCulloch, Walker and Linton]


AFTN 3-2-1:

3 points - Kevin Fotheringham (outstanding attacking contribution from left back position)
2 points - Greig McDonald (as committed as always)
1 points - Ryan Blackadder (delivery on the whole really slick today)

[Watch the Fife's second and third goals again HERE and HERE respectively]

[See more photos from the game at the Friday Club's Putfile site and a match report from The Commander for most games this season can be found on their main site HERE]

[And more excellent photos of the game are at Jim Corstorphine's Putfile site]