Team Pd GD Pt
1 Hibernian 36 34 71
2 Falkirk 36 18 60
3 Dundee Utd 36 8 57
4 Morton 36 3 52
5 Dunfermline 36 3 48
6 Queen of the Sth 36 -6 43
7 St Mirren 36 -4 39
8 Dumbarton 36 -10 39
9 Raith Rovers 36 -17 39
10 Ayr Utd 36 -29 33
Updated: 7th May
Saturday March 18th 2017

Raith Rovers 2 – 1 Dundee United

Raith Up To Seventh After Resilient Win

Raith Rovers bounced back from their disaster in Dumbarton last weekend, with an excellent, yet nervy 2-1 win over Dundee United this afternoon.

Goals either side of half-time from Craig Barr and Ryan Hardie handed Rovers a merited two goal lead, although a response from Simon Murray with ten minutes remaining, meant nails were bitten to the quick by the time Craig Charleston blew for full-time.

Ryan Hardie scores Raith’s second goal

Despite the nature of last week’s 4-0 reverse at the Cheaper Insurance Direct Stadium, manager John Hughes made just one change for the game, with Bobby Barr kicking his heels in the dugout, with his place taken by Jordan Thompson.

It would be quite the understatement to suggest that neither of these sides were in the richest veins of form heading into this one, but it was the visitors, in their neon-pink jerseys who made by far the smarter start.

It was a former Raith man who tested Pavol Penksa first of all, when Lewis Toshney got on the end of a free-kick which was swung into the area, but whilst it was on-target, the Raith ‘keeper plucked it safely from the air to give him a confident start to his afternoon.

He was less involved in United’s next chance, when Tony Andreu let fly from a free-kick 20-yards from goal, but the Frenchman didn’t quite catch it right, and while he still managed to muster some pace into it, his effort went wide of the right-hand post.

The midfielder then came close again a minute later though.

Thomas Mikkelsen did well to get to the bye-line, and his low cutback found Andreu in a yard of space, but his attempt was diverted wide in the nick-of-time by a sliding challenge from Ross Matthews.

Rovers may have been second best for the majority of the opening period, but they should have taken the lead with two gilt-edged chances after quarter of an hour.

The first fell to Ryan Hardie, after he was the fortunate beneficiary of a wild clearance which rebounded kindly to him. However, after bearing down on goal, custodian Cammy Bell narrowed the angle well and blocked his shot.

The second chance was just a moment later, and if anything, was even easier.

Declan McManus was the architect, picking up possession and running at the heart of the United back four, before threading a through pass to Thompson. However, the Nortnern Irishman couldn’t quite adjust his feet in time, and with United defenders closing him down, he could only toe-poke the ball wide of Bell’s left-stick.

It was a clear sign that United were there to be got at, and the flurry of action seemed to lift the players as well as the fans, however, they almost shot themselves in the foot five minutes later.

Jason Thomson’s thrown in went straight to a pink shirt, and after the ball was directed long to Simon Murray, he went down in the area under duress from Barr.

At first glance, it looked neither a penalty nor a dive, but it didn’t do Murray’s popularity any good amongst the Raith fans, who gave the flame-haired forward a power of abuse over the course of the next few moments.

While Rovers had to be wary of the threat provided by the industrious Murray and the talented Andreu, Rovers were enjoying the better of the half as it dragged on, albeit without testing Bell.

However, that changed in the 40th minute, as the home side took the lead.

Thomson was impeded on the right touchline during a foray forward, and from Chris Johnston’s free-kick, Barr timed his leap to perfection to nod a the ball past Bell and into the left-hand side of the net.

With both teams low on confidence, the first goal was going to be even more important than normal, and thankfully from a Rovers point of view, it was they who took the slender lead into the interval.

If John Hughes team-talk centred on the importance of the players not resting on their laurels, then they followed his instruction to the letter, by doubling their lead in the 48th minute, thanks to some woeful defending from the visitors.

Mark Durnan miscued his kick on the half-way line, then decided he’d try and recover his error by controlling it with the palm of his hand.

From a long set-piece, Jean Yves M’Voto nodded it back into the area, and whilst it appeared meat and drink for Willo Flood, he allowed it to run under his foot for Hardie, who took a touch, before firing past Bell and into the bottom left corner.

Rovers scented blood at this point, and McManus drilled a good ball across the face of goal, but it was just too far ahead of Hardie who couldn’t connect.

Rovers continued to press, and Durnan made amends for his earlier indiscretion, but only just, as he nodded a cross past his own post under pressure from Hardie.

After that though, United started to enjoy far more possession, with substitutes Alex Nicholls and Ali Coote at last stretching the home defence with width, something which they’d failed to provide for the first hour or so. Despite that though, the vast majority of their crosses and punts forward, all seemed to land on the head of M’Voto, who was something of an immovable object in the centre of defence.

Coote was proving something of a handful, and after drifting inside, he probably should have reduced the arrears, but his shot was too close to Penksa who saved well.

With ten minutes remaining however, United set up a grandstand finish.

A free-kick into the area was headed clear, but after being directed back into the penalty box, Murray was the most alert player in there, gathering it up amongst a clutch of players, before placing it into the right-hand corner.

United were now launching everything they could into the area, but Rovers almost made sure of the win with two chances in the closing stages.

First, Barr almost grabbed a carbon copy of the opener, but this time, his header from a Johnston corner crashed off the inside of the post.

Then Johnston somehow missed a huge opportunity, when he was teed up by McManus, but with half the goal sitting vacant, he stabbed his shot over the bar.

There was drama down the other end before full-time, with Penksa saving at the feet of Durnan, after the central-defender had bulldozed his way through.

Four yellow cards were then brandished for the same incident, after a massive stramash in the Rovers six-yard-box, as tempers flared in the closing seconds.

The win lifted Rovers up to seventh in the table, and despite the poor run, they find themselves just three points behind fifth placed Queen of the South, who visit Stark’s Park next weekend.

With all three bottom clubs winning, it’s still incredibly tight at the bottom, although with Dunfermline losing to Ayr, half the division is now involved in a scrap to stay up.


0
A massive game this afternoon - both teams looking to put an end to runs of poor form
0
Raith will be looking for a reaction to that horror show in Dumbarton last week, while The Terrors won't want a repeat of their terrible defeat by St Mirren
0
Only one change for the Rovers - Jordan Thompson in for Bobby Barr
0
Dundee United take the field in their away strip (lurid pink)... I'm not sure how orange clashes with blue!
4
Dundee Utd have started on the front foot, Raith soaking up the pressure so far
5
Andreu with a free kick 20 yards out...
5
...well wide
6
Matthews takes a Mikkelsen cutback off Andreu's toe, from the corner the ball goes narrowly past the post with two lurking
10
Raith starting to make inroads, hitting balls around the back of the United defence
13
Great chance for Hardie! He gets in behind Edjenguele but Bell saves with his legs
14
Another chance! McManus jinks through the heart of the defence, slides it to Thompson, but he put it inches wide
19
Barr almost hooks a Johnston corner into the net
20
Murray takes a dive in the box, then mouths off about it, but no card from Mr Charleston
22
Mikkelsen wipes Penksa out in mid-air, and yet again the ref seems it unworthy of punishment
30
Dundee United in the ascendancy again on the half hour mark, it's a decent open game with plenty of vmcommitment from both sides
36
Big shout for a Raith penalty - Thompson broke into the box and seemed to be shoved to the ground. Nothing given.
40
Murdoch booked for a crude challenge on Callachan
40
1-0 RAITH! Big Mango Barr rises unmarked to slam the free-kick in with his head!
45
Half time
45
Great goal to go in to the break in front. Solid at the back, plenty of energy, not too many chances though.
45
No subs at half time
46
Toshney hammers it over from the angle of the box after a corner
48
2-0 Hardie after Durnan misjudged a high ball. Great finish!!!
53
Good break from deep by Johnston. He passes to McManus who puts a teasing ball just out of reach of Hardie's slide.
55
McManus booked for holding Robson back
55
Dundee Utd sub: Nicholls on for Van Der Struijk
57
Durnan does very well to put a dipping cross behind, Hardie had the trigger back...
59
Dundee Utd sub: Van Der Velden on for Andreu
60
First glimpse at goal for the visitors in a whole, Murray shoots tamely at Penksa
67
Callachan unfortunate - the ball bobbled just before he struck it, and his shot flew wide
67
Final sub for the visitors - Coote on for Murdoch
68
Coote cuts in but shoots too close to Penksa
68
Apologies for misinformation about one of the subs - it was announced as Andreu, but it was actually Mikkelsen that went off
74
Penksa with a great double save - the initial shot took a wicked deflection, and he got down quickly to block the rebound
74
He's taken a knock in the process though and is receiving treatment...
74
... looks like he's okay. Phew!!!
80
2-1. Murray scuffs a shot past Penksa following a free kick
84
POST! Mango glances a terrific header past Bell, but it hits the woodwork
87
Big save from Penksa! He stood up to deny the equaliser
89
M'Voto named man of the match. That award will be the pride of Big Jean Votie!!!
90
Major stramash in the Rovers goalmouth. The ball was knocked out of Penksa's hands, the whistle went for the foul, then Edjenguele reacted angrily. Four yellow cards shown, no idea who to!
90
+2 Johnston skies an absolute sitter! Defence all over the place and McManus picked him out well at the back post.
90
+3 Hardie booked for kicking the ball away
90
+3 Full time!
90
+3 A massive win, thoroughly deserved and it was clear how much it meant to the whole club as the players left the pitch
Raith Rovers
Penksa, Thomson, Callachan, M'Voto, Benedictus, Johnston, Thompson, Matthews, McManus, C Barr, Hardie
Subs: McHattie, Roberts, Skacel, Court, McKay, B Barr

Dundee United
Bell, Durnan, Toshney, Murdoch, Murray, Edjenguele, Flood, Andreu, Van Der Struijk, Robson, Mikkelsen
Subs: Dixon, Donaldson, Nicholls, Telfer, Coote, Van Der Velden, Long


RaithTV spoke with manager John Hughes immediately after the game

RaithTV also spoke with goal-scorer Craig Barr


After the huge disappointment of last weekend’s 4-0 loss to Dumbarton, Rovers head into this Saturday’s match with Dundee United, desperate for a result to keep their noses in front of Ayr United.

The gap remains at four points after the Honest Men also suffered a heavy defeat last weekend, but with the two scheduled to meet on the final day of the season, Raith will be looking to avoid the potential prospect of a last-gasp, winner-takes-all affair.

Both teams go into this one in poor form, with United losing their last two, after defeats to Hibernian last weekend and St. Mirren in midweek, a result which leaves Ray McKinnon’s men fourth in the table, a point behind Morton, and four behind second placed Falkirk.

Rovers have yet to beat Dundee United this season, although they have taken a point from them on two occasions.

The first was in August, when goals from Jordan Thompson and Kevin McHattie saw Raith fightback from two goals down to salvage a point, while there were no goals in the second meeting at Stark’s Park in December.

It was a different story in February though, when United ran out convincing 3-0 winners.

While United have only lost once at Tannadice this term, Rovers will be hoping to take advantage of their indifferent away form, which has seen them win-less on their travels since December last year.

Rovers have a reasonable record in the most recent league meetings, with three wins and three draws from the last ten match ups.

Saturday’s match referee will be Craig Charleston.

Head-To-Head League Record At Stark’s Park:

Raith Rovers Wins: 6| Dundee United Wins: 10 | Draws: 6

Raith Rovers Goals: 33 | Dundee United Goals: 37

Current Form:

Raith Rovers: L-D-L-L-W-L

Dundee United: D-W-L-D-L-L

Top Goal Scorers:

Raith Rovers: Mark Stewart 6 | Declan McManus 5 | Ryan Hardie 4

Dundee United: Tony Andreu 14 | Simon Murray 11 | Scott Fraser 6

Match Odds:

Raith Rovers: 12/5 | Dundee United: 11/10 | Draw: 5/2