STRANRAER suffered late heartache at Bayview Stadium, with East Fife scoring twice to deny the visitors at least a point.
The Blues looked on course for a draw after Kyle Turner’s strike before a disputed corner helped put the Fifers back in front.
Stevie Farrell was able to welcome PJ Crossan, Andy McDonald and Grant Anderson back to the squad for the tie.
And it was Anderson who had the best chance for the visitors in a first half which was lacking in clear-cut chances.
David Smith’s cross to the back post found the unmarked frontman but he could only nod the ball wide from six yards.
The only other moment in the way of goalmouth action came right at the end of the half.
Turner’s inswinging free-kick almost caught out everyone but Chris Higgins was there to smash the ball clear.
Stranraer could be reasonably content with their first half showing but they almost immediately found themselves a goal down following the restart.
Aaron Dunsmore managed to drill in a low cross from the right which found Pat Slattery at the back post.
His first effort was blocked on the line by Jamie Hamill but Slattery then smashed the rebound into the roof of the net.
Stranraer almost found a quickfire equaliser when David Smith stole the ball and put in a teasing cross for Anderson.
The Stranraer man was off balanced though and could only nudge the ball at the advancing Brett Long.
The Blues were not behind for much longer though and they found an equaliser just six minutes after going behind.
Innes Cameron beat Long in a race to the ball and rounded the goalkeeper.
The striker realised the angle was tight for a shot and instead looked up and picked out Turner, who fired home from just inside the box.
The goals certainly helped the quality of the game, with both teams now looking more likely to test either goalkeeper.
At one end, Currie had to be out smartly after Jonny Court burst through on goal.
The striker got his shot away but Stranraer’s number one made the block with his legs.
At the other end, Stranraer again were denied by Long.
Again, Smith was involved putting a cross in for Alistair McCann but the on-loan St Johnstone man could only poke the ball towards goal for an easy Long save.
So, the main talking point for the travelling fans would come in the final 60 seconds of the 90 minutes.
Stranraer fans were adamant that East Fife substitute Kevin Smith had got the final touch before the ball went out of play.
Instead, a corner was awarded and former Stranraer man Scott Agnew found Liam Watt, whose deflected effort crept over the line.
Stranraer had to go for broke but were caught on the counter-attack.
Agnew went down under a Turner challenge on the edge of the box and fellow substitute Scott Linton curled a perfect free-kick into the top corner with 93 minutes now on the clock.
So, it was late heartbreak for the Blues, who have to pick themselves up quickly with Brechin City visiting Stair Park on Tuesday night.
East Fife: Long, Dunsmore, Docherty (K Smith 76), Dunlop, Higgins, Meggatt, Slattery (Agnew 50), Watt, Davidson, Watson (Linton 66), Court.
Not used: Watson, Kane, Bell and Terry.
Stranraer: Currie, Brownlie, D Smith, Hamill, Cummins, McManus, Turner, McCann, Anderson (Crossan 74), Cameron, Victoria (Elliott 66).
Not used: McDonald, O’Keefe and Avci.
Referee: Barry Cook