Jan 25 2012 By Colin Paterson
IRN-BRU SECOND DIVISION:
EAST FIFE 2 ALBION ROVERS 0
GOALS from Robert Sloan and Bobby Linn piled the misery on struggling Albion Rovers.
The midfield pair netted late-on to earn East Fife all three points and sentence the Coatbridge men to a fifth successive defeat and a seventh loss in nine matches.
In what was a good game of football on Tuesday night, Rovers created enough chances to merit at least a point but once again drew a blank in front of goal with the home side capitalising.
Forfar Athletic’s 2-2 draw at home to Stirling Albion means Paul Martin’s side have dropped to ninth place in the table ahead of this weekend’s excursion to Cowdenbeath.
The manager said: “I thought we were really unlucky. We made mistakes which led to the goals and didn’t take our chances.
“I don’t think we deserved to lose this game. Had we scored when we were creating good chances, then it could have been the platform for getting a point or more.”
Martin made three changes to the team thrashed 6-1 at Arbroath on Saturday with Jordan Halsman, Todd Lumsden and Sean Pierce all missing out.
Mick O’Byrne returned to the heart of the defence, Robert Love was drafted into midfield and one-time Rover Roddy Hunter featured as a trialist.
East Fife should have opened the scoring in the 10th minute but striker Scott Dalziel planted wide a header from Linn’s cross.
Wayward finishing cost John Robertson’s men on several occasions with midfielder David Muir blasting efforts past the post.
A Tony Stevenson free-kick took a wicked deflection but was saved by Fifers keeper Michael Brown before Dalziel nodded wide another dangerous delivery from Linn.
Much of Rovers’ play in the final third of the pitch went through John Gemmell and ‘The Beast’ was pivotal in two opportunities Rovers carved out ahead of the interval.
In the 35th minute, he dropped a lovely ball in behind the New Bayview defence but Hunter was unable to provide the finishing touch.
Three minutes later, the 27-year-old showed good footwork after receiving a squared ball with his final shot pushed away by Brown after skidding along the surface.
Rovers had certainly got back into the contest but they would have been kicking themselves for squandering a fantastic chance in the 43rd minute.
A Love cross was knocked down by Gemmell, who was under pressure from David White, for Stevenson who fired wide when he should have at least got the ball on target.
Rovers pressed at the start of the second half with a fierce volley from Gemmell brilliantly tipped over the bar by Brown at his near post.
In the 55th minute, the Coatbridge outfit came close again when the unmarked Hunter headed wide Alan Reid’s floating cross into the box.
But Rovers were fortunate minutes later as Linn linked-up nicely with Paul McQuade before chipping his shot wide as keeper Derek Gaston advanced.
Fifers chief Robertson replaced McQuade with Sloan in the 75th minute and it proved to be an inspired piece of tinkering.
From Brown’s long kick-out, the ball was flicked to Craig Johnstone and his clever pass found the substitute who slotted home.
And East Fife sealed the points with two minutes left when Johnstone’s header was smashed into the net by Linn.
Gemmell nodded against the post in injury-time with Scott Chaplain’s rebound safely gathered on the line by Brown as Rovers were denied a consolation.
Fifers boss Robertson added: “The substitution was luck. I felt we’d run out of ideas by then and, if I’m honest, I don’t think we deserved to win the game. A draw would have been the fair result.”
East Fife: M Brown; Cook, White, Campbell, Ovenstone; Muir; Linn (Martin 90), Janczyk (Johnstone 61), Smith; McQuade (Sloan 75), Dalziel.
Subs not used: R Brown, Collier(gk).
Albion Rovers: Gaston; Reid, O’Byrne, Donnelly, Boyle; Canning (Chaplain 78), McStay, Love (Quinn 71); Stevenson; Hunter (Ferry 62), Gemmell.
Subs not used: Marriott, Fahey(gk).
Booked: O’Byrne, McStay, Canning, Love, Ferry.
Referee: Gary Hilland.