Highlights courtesy of East Fife TV.
The ‘Gers produced one of their performances of the season to return from Bayview victorious for the third time this season last night.
Kyle Wilkie and Blair Henderson retained their places in the squad after impressing during Saturday’s 2-0 victory over Montrose, though Steven Notman missed out, replaced by Lee Currie in the only change.
Berwick started much the stronger of the two sides, and were first to have sight of goal when Lee Currie’s deep free-kick defelected onto the head of Jonny Fairbairn. Unfortunately for the Berwicker, the effort he didn’t know much about drifted just wide of the post.
East Fife were quiet in the opening stages, with only former Scotland international Derek Riordan seriously threatening. First a deep free-kick of Riordan’s own flashed past Michael Andrews far post. Referee Crawford Allen ajudged the ball to have been touched out of play and pointed for a corner. From it came a chance for East Fife as Andrews spilled the delivery, but Wilkie was well placed to hack away the loose ball.
The scoring was opened after fifteen minutes when Scott Maxwell’s throw found the clever run of Paul Willis, the former East Fife man unleashing a barnstorming 20 yard half-volley which ‘keeper Jordon Millar could only parry into his net.
Berwick’s left wing continued to threaten as Willis knocked on a long ball for the overlapping Maxwell, who took on his man to play a deflected ball to the back stick. Ross Gray would knock the ball back inside to an onrushing Andy Russell, only to see his powerful effort blocked by some brave goalkeeping.
Willis continued to impress against his former side and picked up a loose ball in the centre circle, driving forward before slotting through Lee Currie who just dragged an effort wide from 20 yards.
Berwick went close again when Willis’ deft touch out on the left found the industrious Russell. The striker found Henderson who held the ball up well until the ball broke free for Wilkie to volley across the face of the goal.
Berwick were given a fright on the stroke of half-time however, when McAleer’s floated set-piece from deep was cleared only as far as Riordan, the veteran showing great technique to hammer an effort off the frame of the goal.
It was the side in blue who started the better again following half-time, and it took a header off the line to deny Maxwell from doubling the lead with an impressive half-volley. As East Fife scrambled to get the ball clear, Wilkie showed great control and determination to nip in and take the ball while surrounded by three defenders, squaring to Gray who went one wider to Russell. The striker floated a fantastic ball up to the centre of the six yard box, and Wilkie would be rewarded for his effort, his run matching the quality of the ball, allowing him the easiest of headers.
The Paul Willis show would resume thereafter, picking the ball up in his own half before driving to the 18 yard box and sliding a lovely ball over to Henderson. Unfortunately for the striker, he couldn’t quite get the ball out of his feet.
Andrews was then called into a rare piece of action, again Riordan testing the stopper. This time the ‘keeper was equal to a 25 yard free-kick, pushing wide.
Berwick would kill the game in the 70th minute with a fantastic team goal. Russell held up well to find Willis who played a neat pass forward to Henderson. He’d go back again to Willis who played another clever ball to Wilkie, who’d lay off to an onrushing Currie. Currie drove forward before spotting the run of Henderson, playing a well-weighted pass which was taken beautifully by the big striker, killing the ball before netting with ease.
The home side would eventually respond, although it’d take until the 88th minute. Kevin Smith’s effort deflected wide, and from the resultant corner substitute Sean Dickson carried on his fine form since arriving from Stenhousemuir by scrambling over the line.
However, the Dream Team refused to stop and when Russell gave Willis another opportunity to terrorise the Fifers down the left flank, he wasted no time in taking it, driving yet again from inside his own half. There was a degree of inevitability about the run producing the goal, and it was little wonder when substitute David Gold got on the end of a magnifienctly paced cross to make it 4-1 at full-time.