Pre-season Begins With A Draw
Raith Rovers preparations for the new season kicked off at Ainslie Park on Wednesday evening, with Barry Smith’s side drawing 1-1 with Edinburgh City.
Although a few of Raith’s recent acquisitions may be well kent faces to the Rovers support, the starting eleven still had a reasonably fresh look to it, with two trialists starting proceedings in both the left-back and left-wing positions.
Up-top, Liam Buchanan partnered Lewis Vaughan, while fellow new signing, Euan Murray lined up beside Iain Davidson in the central defensive positions. Aaron Lennox started the match between the sticks, while the fourth new signing, Greig Spence started the match amongst the substitutes.
Raith and Edinburgh faced up to each other in a friendly at the hosts former venue at Meadownbank back in 2014, and while that ended in an even 2-2 draw, the opening exchanges of this one, suggested Raith would likely prevail.
Lewis Vaughan made good progress down the right-hand-side in the early stages, and while his hooked cross into the area took a strong bounce off the Ainslie 4G surface, Buchanan arguably should have done better than send a fierce drive from just inside the area over the bar.
Vaughan was then the recipient of the next chance, after Bobby Barr made headway down the same right flank, but while his cross was a good one, Vaughan was unable to get his glancing header on target.
The two combined again just a few minutes later, although Barr’s low cross was slightly behind the forward on this occasion, leaving Vaughan unable to gather and get a shot off quickly.
It appeared that the visitors very much had the upper hand at that stage, but Edinburgh eventually started to assert themselves, with Josh Walker seeing a half-volley easily claimed by Lennox, while the ‘keeper was called into a more exacting stop as the half reached it’s climax, spreading himself well to block Marc Laird’s effort, after the midfielder was teed up by Lewis Allan.
The changes were rung at the interval, with a trialist, Buchanan and Vaughan making way for Spence, Ross Callachan and Jonny Court, but it didn’t have too much of positive impact on the performance initially, as the match continued in the same tousled fashion, with over cooked passes and poor decisions stymieing any goal-scoring ambitions.
It was a different story for Edinburgh though, and after they’d already tested Lennox twice, they took the lead after 54 minutes, with an effort that very much resided in the self-inflicted category.
Ian Davidson appeared to get his footing all wrong, allowing a through pass to squirm away from him and straight to Allan, who had ample time to pick his spot and nudge Edinburgh into the lead.
Rovers struggled to haul themselves back into it, although Benedictus came close when he headed a Barr corner over the bar, and Spence really should have equalised with around 20 minutes left.
Callachan was the creator, picking up possession in the middle of the Edinburgh half, before nonchalantly flicking the ball through to the former Alloa man.
However, with a City defender in close proximity, Spence could only finish straight at Antell in the Edinburgh net.
With the game dwindling to a close and substitutions arriving willy-nilly, it appeared that Rovers would be on the end of a defeat, but that all changed with the last piece of play in the match.
Barr collected a pass from the right, before bringing it under control and pinging in a drive from outside the box which struck a post, rebounding kindly for Court, who had the straightforward task of sliding it into an empty net.
With the first friendly out the way, Rovers attentions will now turn to Clyde away this Saturday, which has a 12:30 kick-off.
© Eddie Doig