Match Report - By Steven Mew
City gave their League 1 survival hopes a real shot in the arm with a fine win away to promotion chasing East Fife yesterday afternoon.
Goals in either half from Dougie Hill and Ross Kavanagh gave Barry Smith's side a priceless 3 points ahead of a crucial six-pointer against Stranraer on Tuesday.
Smith made one change to the side that drew with Forfar last time out, with Sean Burns coming into the side at the expense of Kalvin Orsi who dropped to the bench.
On a bright Spring afternoon in Methil, it was a fairly cagey first half with clear cut opportunities few and far between.
The first real effort of note fell for ex-City man Mark Docherty on 12 minutes - his long range effort had to be tipped over the bar by O'Neil whilst Pat Slattery was next to threaten when his low shot went wide of the target.
City's first chance came on 25 minutes when Tam Scobbie's cross was met by the head of Ross Kavanagh at the back post however he could only find the side netting.
The visitors took the lead shortly after the half hour mark when DOUGIE HILL rose highest above the home defence to meet a Scobbie corner and although the keeper saved the header, the ball looked to have crossed the line.
Referee Euan Anderson had little hesitation in awarding the goal and the lack of protestations from Brett Long and his team mates was perhaps suggestive that the ball did indeed cross the line.
With half time approaching, Sean Burns sliced an effort wide of goal and at the other end, the ball fell kindly for Ross Davidson on the edge of the box but his half volley was gathered down low by O'Neil.
Just a few minutes into the second half, the home side had the ball in the net when Liam Watt lobbed a ball through for Jonny Court to finish, however the striker had just strayed offside and the goal was ruled out.
Shortly before the hour mark, Liam Watt laid the ball off for Dunsmore who could only drill his shot into the side netting.
City doubled their advantage on 63 minutes and it all originated from a fine save from Paddy O'Neil. The City keeper did supremely well to push away a fierce effort from Ross Davidson on the edge of the box and precisely 13 seconds later, City had the ball in the net.
A long ball forward from Sean Burns caused confusion between Ross Dunlop and keeper Brett Long and ROSS KAVANAGH took full advantage to nip in and slot into the empty net. The plaudits were shared between the City keeper for the initial save and Kavanagh for his endeavour in chasing down what looked to be a fairly innocuous ball forward.
The goal allowed City to settle and play with some confidence - that was epitomised by both Sean Burns and Euan Smith attempting audacious efforts from range which ended over the bar.
East Fife boss Darren Young made an attacking double change on 66 minutes with strikers Rory Currie and Kevin Smith entering the fray as they looked for a way back into the game. Five minutes later Anton Dowds cut inside from the left side but his shot was pushed away by O'Neil.
There was a scare for City when Ross Dunlop's volley looked to have struck the arm of Andy Jackson in the penalty area but despite the linesman being perfectly positioned, the referee waved away any claims for a spot kick.
With ten minutes remaining City nearly snatched a third when Jackson's cross was met by Kavanagh but he could only direct into the side netting.
The home side pushed men forward in the closing stages to try and rescue something from the game but they found the City defence increasingly difficult to break down. Scott Agnew had a shot which flew over the bar and as the clock approached 90 minutes, Dowds knocked the ball down for Davidson on the edge of the box but his effort didn't trouble O'Neil.
Deep into stoppage time, City broke on the counter attack which ended with Sean Burns firing high and wide.
Overall, a pivotal win for City with particular credit going to keeper Patrick O'Neil and his defence who recorded a well earned clean sheet - the third time East Fife have failed to score against City this season.
The victory allowed City to move three points clear of bottom placed Stenhousemuir with two games in hand and, crucially, to within two points of 8th placed Stranraer who City play at Stair Park on Tuesday.
Other Results - Ladbrokes League One
Airdrieonians 1 Forfar Athletic 0
Airdrie edge out the Loons at the Penny Cars Stadium.
Montrose 2 Stenhousemuir 0
Montrose keep their faint playoff hopes alive with win over Stenny.
Raith Rovers 4 Dumbarton 1
Convincing win for Raith at Starks Park.
Stranraer 0 Arbroath 0
10 man Stranraer earn a point against the league leaders.