STRANRAER threw away a two-goal lead to slip to a fifth defeat in a row.
Stevie Farrell handed a debut to midweek signing Joao Victoria, with Grant Anderson also recalled.
Conor O’Keefe dropped to the bench while Mark Lamont was on the sidelines through an ankle injury.
Too often in recent weeks the Blues have conceded the opening goal but they started promisingly against East Fife.
Kyle Turner’s ball over the top found PJ Crossan and his cross at the near post was flicked towards goal by Anderson.
Somehow, Brett Long managed to get a foot to it and flick the ball up in the air before diving on the loose ball.
Despite that save, Stranraer would take the lead through Anderson.
East Fife had possession in Stranraer’s half but, when a pass struck referee Mike Roncone, the home side capitalised.
Turner’s through ball cut open the visiting defender and Anderson kept his cool to fire beyond Long.
And it did not take long for Stranraer to double their advantage.
Again, Turner was the provider, this time playing the ball through for Innes Cameron, who had timed his run well.
The striker was clean through on goal and lifted a shot over the advancing Long to give the hosts a half time advantage.
The next goal was always going to be crucial and Stranraer saw their lead halved through substitute Kevin Smith.
The frontman had come on for Scott Agnew in the first half, with the midfielder suffering a suspected dislocated shoulder.
Smith still had plenty to do wide on the left but he got beyond Jamie Hamill and David Brownlie before firing past Max Currie.
However, Stranraer would restore that two-goal advantage just after the hour mark through debutant Victoria.
Turner’s ball down the line found Crossan, who did well to hold off a couple of challenges and play it into the new signing.
The striker made his way along the box and fired at goal, only for former Stranraer man Mark Docherty to block on the line.
However, the ball broke kindly and Victoria made no mistake at the second attempt.
Stranraer’s defensive frailties would come back to haunt them though, with East Fife quickly bringing the game back to 3-2.
A quickly taken corner caught the home defence napping and when the cross came in Craig Watson was in the right place to score from six yards.
Suddenly, the momentum was very firmly with the visitors and things were levelled up three minutes later.
A ball over the top found Anton Dowds and the striker was the most composed man in Stair Park as he rolled the ball under Currie.
Worse was to follow as East Fife got what would prove to be the winner ten minutes from time.
Again, Stranraer failed to deal with the corner and Dowds was left completely unmarked to send a glancing header across goal and into the net.
Stranraer threw everything forward in an attempt to rescue a point but East Fife could have made it five in stoppage time, with only the post denying substitute Rory Currie.
Stranraer: Currie, Brownlie, D Smith, Hamill, Cummins, McManus (Elliott 83), Turner, Anderson, Victoria, Cameron, Crossan (O’Keefe 77).
Not used: McGowan, McDonald and Avci.
East Fife: Long, Watson, Dunlop, Meggatt, Slattery (Currie 64), Linton, Davidson, Docherty, Agnew (K Smith 29), Dowds (Kane 85), Watt.
Not used: Kane, Dunsmore, Court, Bell and Terry.
Referee: Mike Roncone
Photos: Bill McCandlish, Stranraer FC