David Muir salvages East Fife’s status

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EAST Fife retained their Second Division status thanks to David Muir’s goal early in the second half, but they withstood a siege from Peterhead and rode their luck at times in a game the hosts had the better of.

Peterhead 0-1 East Fife

East Fife win 1-0 on aggregate

Scorer: East Fife - Muir (48)

Referee: K Clancy

Attendance: 1,855

Muir’s strike caught Peterhead cold after Jim McInally’s side had dominated the first half. Indeed, they could have been in front after just two minutes after Rory McAllister created space on the right and fizzed a cross-cum shot across the face of goal.

After 20 minutes, the Fifers had David White to thank for a timely intervention, the defender clearing off the line after Andy Rodgers’ shot had beaten Callum Antell. Peterhead then could have had a penalty midway through the half when McAllister latched onto a delightful pass from Bryan Gilfillan and appeared to be wiped out by Steven Campbell, but referee Kevin Clancy was unimpressed by McAllister’s claim.

After the half-hour, the Blue Toon really began to ramp up the pressure and Gilfillan had a header from a David Cox corner blocked. A few minutes later, Scott Ross hit the side-netting from another Cox delivery.

Despite the home side’s first-half dominance, it was the visitors who took the lead minutes into the second half. Craig Johnstone’s corner from the right found Muir at the back post and he bundled the ball over the line from close range.

The home side tried to hit back through McAllister after a blocked Cox shot fell for him, but Antell was equal to the Peterhead top-scorer’s effort.

Proceedings then began to get a little tetchy, with both sides struggling to retain possession. Each team picked up a number of silly cards.

Rodgers fizzed an effort past the post for Peterhead as they searched for a way back into the game, but the longer it went on, the more likely it looked that East Fife would retain their Second Division status.

Things threatened to boil over when an innocuous foul from Ross saw three players booked. Ross himself was cautioned for the infringement, while Rodgers of Peterhead and Muir of East Fife both saw yellow for their part in the aftermath.

The last ten minutes were frantic as both sides pressed for a goal. Peterhead’s McAllister twice came close – first with a shot deflected past the post and then he fired wide of the target with the goal at his mercy.

The Fifers could have tied it up in the final minute when Paul Willis found himself alone in the penalty area, but twice he was denied by goalkeeper Graeme Smith.

With the game now in injury time, Blue Toon defender Ross saw his shot saved by Antell and Martin Bavidge couldn’t force a clear strike at goal as the ball got caught under Johnstone’s leg. It eventually broke for a corner, but, try as they might, the home side just could not force the ball into the net and will play Third Division football next season.

Peterhead: G Smith, Sharp, Scott Ross, R Smith, Noble, Redman, Cowie, Gilfillan (Bavidge 81), Cox, McAllister, Rodgers. Subs Not Used: Jarvie, McCann, McGlinchey, Fitzgerald.

East Fife: Antell, Durie, Campbell, White, Johnstone, Willis, Muir, D Smith, McBride, Samuel, P McManus (R Barr 74). Subs Not Used: M Brown, Gormley, Sloan, Keenan.