Raith Lose Out To Late Sons Strike
Despite enjoying the upper-hand for large spells of the match, and creating a swathe of chances, Raith left the Bet Butler Stadium empty-handed, after a late penalty sealed a 2-1 win for Dumbarton.
Grant Murray made two changes from last weekend’s heavy loss to Livingston. Dougie Hill came in for the suspended Ross Perry, while Grant Anderson dropped to the bench, replaced by the returning Ryan Conroy.
Raith started the brighter of the two sides, with Christian Nadé linking well with Mark Stewart, whose pace looked to be an early concern for the Dumbarton defence.
It was the away side who eked out the first chance. Conroy’s cross was aimed towards Moon and Nadé, but both seemed to put each other off, before Nadé eventually got a shot off, which rose over the bar.
The home team were the next to threaten, when Mitch Megginson found himself in space 25-yards from goal, before drilling an effort just passed the post.
Dumbarton were then forced into an early substitution, when Jordan Kirkpatrick was carried off with what appeared a nasty looking injury. He was replaced with Colin Nish.
The change didn’t help a disjointed looking Sons team, and Raith were again in the ascendency. Stewart released Nadé on the right-hand side of the box, but after teeing up Mckay, the winger’s effort was tame, and straight at Rogers.Callachan was next to try has luck, but his shot from the edge of the box fizzed past the upright.
Matches between these two sides have a tendency to be open affairs, and this one was no different, with Dumbarton also looking dangerous, despite Raith looking the livelier.
Callachan was working diligently alongside Moon in the middle of the park, with Nadé dropping deep to help out. Stewart was giving Van Zanten a difficult time up front, while Hill was slotting seamlessly back into the central-defensive area.
It was the returning defender who almost helped set up the opening goal, when his knock-down was sidefooted goalward by Stewart, but his effort was just off-target.
When your luck’s out it’s out however, and Raith found themselves a goal down after 20 minutes, through a majestic strike from Scott Agnew.
The midfielder flighted a free-kick into the area, and despite his cross being cleared, he picked it back up 25-yards from goal, and sent a dipping, swerving effort past McGurn, to put Ian Murray’s men one up.
Undeterred, Raith pushed on, and more good work from Stewart, allowed Callachan to have a crack, but after his deflected shot fell back to Stewart, the forward could only shoot straight at Rogers.
After Kane put a header from inside the box just past the post, the final ten minutes of the half, all belonged to Rovers.
Rogers had to push a 30-yard Ryan Conroy free-kick over the bar, and he had to be alert again a moment later, palming a header over after a six-yard box stramash.Stewart’s inviting cross was them headed wide by Nadé, before a Conroy drive was gathered in well by the busy Dumbarton goalkeeper.
While the first half had finished with Raith on top, the second period failed to begin in the same fashion. Dumbarton weren’t necessarily bullying their hosts, but the early skirmishes were all taking place near David McGurn’s goal.
Firstly, Jason Thomson had to be alert to block Chris Kane’s shot, then Agnew’s excellent set-piece delivery again caused consternation to the Rovers rearguard, when his in swinging corner almost caught out McGurn, who managed to punch clear his attempt, when it looked to be bending in.
After those early scares, Raith began to settle into the half, and they should have equalised just before the hour mark. Dougie Hill managed to skip past one challenge, before sending a low cross into the box. Ryan Conroy gathered, and while he failed to hit his shot as he would have liked, Rogers still had to save well with his feet to deny the wide player his goal.
Two minutes later, McGurn had to do something similar, when Kane got the break of the ball in his own half, and sidestepped the tackle of the last defender on the half-way line. After running 45-yards to goal, he found his shot blocked by the onrushing McGurn.
That save seemed even more important, when Raith found themselves level with a well worked, and thoroughly deserved equaliser a few moments later. Ryan Conroy gained possession in the middle of the park, and his precise through pass found Stewart, who eased himself in-between the two central defenders, controlling the ball on his chest, before deftly finishing past Rogers to make the score 1-1.
At this point, Rovers looked the likelier winner, and Callachan tried his luck from 40-yards, after the Dumbarton players paused, expecting a foul on Agnew. Rogers however, palmed the attempt away with some difficulty.
However, the longer the game wore on, the more the home side started to come into the equation, with Agnew, as he had been for the entire match, the home side’s best outlet.
Firstly, his pin-point cross found Colin Nish in space, but the giant forward’s header was misplaced. Then, the midfielder attempted an audacious free-kick from distance, which only just dipped over the bar. McGurn then had to be alert to repel a Megginson shot from an angle, which was curling in without the custodian’s interference.
Raith were still very much in it, and Barrie McKay found Kevin Moon with a cross, but he dragged his effort from the edge of the box wide, before Nadé did exactly the same after somehow getting on the end of his own flick on from a McGurn goal-kick.
However, the game’s defining moment came with two minutes remaining, and unfortunately for Raith, it went the home side’s way. A cross into the box wasn’t properly cleared, and as Archie Campbell gathered possession, the referee deemed Ross Callachan’s challenge a foul. Scott Agnew made no mistake from the spot-kick, sending his effort high into the top, right-hand corner to win the match.
The result meant Dumbarton leapfrog Rovers, who now reside in seventh place in the Championship table. Next up is Hibernian, who visit Stark’s Park next Saturday.
©Eddie Doig 2014