First-half goals from Darren Dods and Farid El Alagui, the latter notching up his 21st strike of the season, put Falkirk well on the road to victory, with a mini revival after the interval by the visitors never really threatening to turn the tide.
The sale of tickets for Falkirk’s forthcoming semi-final meeting with Celtic in the League Cup was a reminder to everyone of Steven Pressley’s side’s remarkable feats in accounting for both Rangers and Dundee United in that tournament and the determined fashion in which they opened this match showed that they clearly have the appetite to land some scalps in this competition too.
The Bairns were in the ascendency as early as the seventh minute when Dods found himself in the unfamiliar role of opening the scoring with a tidily executed first-time drive from just inside the box that found its way into the bottom corner of the net.
East Fife were given little respite by the hosts who continued to press forward. El Alagui, who was last week the subject of a bid from English League Two leaders Crawley Town, showed he remained very much focused on the task in hand as he made perfect contact with a deep cross swung over from the right flank by full-back Kieran Duffie to put his side two ahead.
The Fifers did enjoy some brief attacking flurries in the second half as manager John Robertson sought to coax a more coherent response from his charges. He quickly introduced all three substitutes but it was leading scorer Ryan Wallace who looked the most likely to find a way back into the game for them, with a well-struck shot stinging the hands of Michael McGovern as he diverted it to safety. Alas, Wallace’s predatory instincts deserted him a short while later as he miskicked in front of goal with a great chance to score.
The Bairns were far less convincing after the break but the ever dangerous El Alagui still went close on several occasions and he contrived to rattle the bar with a spectacular volley in the closing stages.