Albion hit back for a deserved draw at Bayview as the first quarter of the Ladbrokes League 2 campaign concluded.
Nathan Austin gave Gary Naysmith’s men a 32nd-minute lead but we were rewarded for an impressive second-half display when Willie Robertson scored a terrific equaliser in 63 minutes, although he was sent off in stoppage time for a second booking.
The result saw East Fife lose top spot in the table to Annan while we are two points above bottom club East Stirlingshire after nine matches.
Craig Beattie, Phil Johnston, Kevin McKinlay and Sean Dickson all missed our first visit to Methil since the memorable play-off win in May 2014 but Darren Smith was included in the squad for the first time this season after injury.
After a quiet opening, East Fife began to look the more threatening side and should have gone ahead in 28 minutes when an error by Ross Smith allowed Kevin Smith to tee up Austin but his close-range effort was brilliantly saved by Chris Smith.
Four minutes later we were punished for another mistake. Ross McGeachie was short with a passback and Austin – who hit a hat-trick at Montrose last week – took advantage to beat Smith with a perfectly-judged lob.
We had the ball in the net just before half-time but the flag was up for offside – the hosts deserved to be ahead at the break but it was a different story after the interval.
Albion were a team transformed and East Fife were suddenly on the back foot. Robertson thundered a 30-yarder inches too high before the ex-Alloa man found the bottom corner from the edge of the box after breaking forward from midfield.
A McGeachie header from a corner was cleared off the line then a big penalty appeal was turned down when Ross Forsyth appeared to be tripped as he tried to latch on to a Steven Doris free-kick that had been deflected by the wall.
East Fife didn’t caused us many problems in the second half but we were reduced to 10 men in injury time when Robertson, harshly booked in 88 minutes, rightly received a second yellow card for impeding Austin just outside the box.
East Fife: Goodfellow, Mullen (Walker 69), Slattery, Page, Murray (Brown 56), Austin, Smith, Wilkie, O’Kane (Naysmith 82), Mercer, Kerr.
Subs (not used): MacGregor, Sutherland, MacDonald, McGovern (GK).
Scorer: Austin 32
Stirling Albion: C Smith, Mazel, Forsyth, McGeachie, R Smith, McMillan, Lander (Lamont 71), Robertson, Doris, Comrie, Cunningham.
Subs (not used): Hamilton, D Smith, McNab, Kavanagh, McAllister, Binnie (GK).
Scorer: Robertson 63
Referee: Gavin Duncan