John Gemmell's 19th goal of the season proved decisive as Stenhousemuir won in Methil to leave East Fife stuck five points adrift in second-bottom spot in Division Two.
The Warriors came into the game looking to end their six-game winless streak but almost fell behind early on when Scott McBride headed narrowly wide.
Bryan Hodge then brought home goalkeeper Calum Antell into the action with a 24th-minute drive.
Scot Buist nodded in Hodge's corner to open the scoring two minute before half-time.
Martyn Corrigan's men doubled their advantage seven minutes after the interval when Gemmell tucked away Jamie Reid's assist.
Gemmell's clinical finish delivered a severe blow to the Fifers' prospects of moving closer to safety, but they grabbed one goal back thanks to McBride's stunning 30-yard free-kick after 67 minutes.
Billy Brown's side were unable to find a late equaliser and ended the game with 10 men after Darren McCormack picked up two late bookings.
East Fife: Antell, Durie, Muir, McCormack,Johnstone, Robert Barr, Darren Smith (Gormley 58), Willis, Keenan (Samuel 58), McBride, Wardlaw (Sloan 87). Subs Not Used: Michael Brown, Malcolm.
Sent Off: McCormack (88). Booked: McCormack, Johnstone.
Goals: McBride 67.
Stenhousemuir: Chris Smith, Devlin, Buist (Darren Smith 63), McMillan, Ross, Dickson, Hodge, Rowson, Iain Thomson, Reid (Corcoran 82), Gemmell (Kouider-Aisser 90). Subs Not Used: Shaw, Summers.
Goals: Buist 43, Gemmell 52.
Ref: Des Roache