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Team Pd GD Pt
1 Arbroath 13 20 33
2 Raith Rovers 13 11 23
3 East Fife 13 3 22
4 Forfar 13 -9 18
5 Brechin 13 1 16
6 Airdrieonians 13 0 16
7 Stranraer 13 -2 15
8 Dumbarton 13 -4 14
9 Montrose 13 -10 14
10 Stenhousemuir 13 -10 12
Updated: 10th Nov
Saturday December 23rd 2017

Arbroath 1 – 2 Raith Rovers

Raith Close Gap At Gusty Gayfield

Considering the season is only reaching the half-way stage, it’s difficult to say with any degree of certainty just how important Saturday’s 2-1 win at Arbroath was, but it certainly felt like a big three points.

Leading 2-0 at half-time, thanks to goals from Greig Spence and Dario Zanatta, Raith stood up to a second-half, wind assisted onslaught from Dick Campbell’s side, emerging with a win which closed the gap to Ayr United to five points at the top, after The Honest Men lost for the first time in 10 matches at Airdrie.

Barry Smith made one change from the two all draw last time out against Airdrie, with Iain Davidson coming in for Jamie Watson.

He slotted in at centre-half alongside, David McKay, allowing Jason Thomson to move back to his more natural right-back berth, with Euan Murray moving to the opposite full-back position.

Raith were shooting with the wind in the first period, and as always seems to be the case at Gayfield, it was a gust that would probably feature reasonably high on the Beaufort scale.

Home goalkeeper, David Hutton was struggling to get any distance on his kicks, a situation which was keeping the Red Lichties under the cosh in the early stages.

Hutton had to look alive in the opening moments, throwing himself to his left to keep out a Thomson diving header from a set-piece, as Raith looked to press home their wind-blown advantage.

The wind was making things difficult for both sides though, with the Rovers players struggling to judge the pace of any through ball, leading to the majority of them frustratingly bouncing straight out of touch.

As a consequence, there weren’t too many stand-out moments from the opening quarter-of-an-hour, other than a slightly embarrassing moment for Arbroath left-back, Colin Hamilton, whose shorts fell down after a coming together with Ross Matthews.

However, Rovers took the lead in the 20th minute, with a goal that had a slight touch of good fortune about it.

Lewis Vaughan’s deep corner was gathered by Davidson at the back post, and although his drive ricocheted off the inside of Hutton’s upright, it fell just right for Spence, who turned the ball home from inside a congested penalty area.

Arbroath had rarely been seen as an attacking force at this stage, although they almost drew level five minutes later, but Graeme Smith was alert enough to tip Blair Yule’s goal-bound shot from nestling into the top-left corner of his net.

Considering the severity of the gale which Raith would be up against in the second period, a bigger lead seemed essential, and the vital second duly arrived in the 32nd minute.

Liam Buchanan was able to turn and gets a shot off inside the area, but it was Dario Zanatta who got the final touch, diverting the ball past Hutton to double Raith’s advantage.

It should have been three just a couple of minutes later.

Spence managed to spring the offside trap, and despite having just Hutton to beat, he got his shot from an angle horribly wrong, shanking his effort yards wide of the target. The concern as the players trooped off at the interval, was that they’d have cause to rue the error.

Arbroath certainly didn’t look resigned to defeat as the second-half began, taking the game to Rovers from the off, and the hacked clearances and sliced punts from the away side, suggested the Rovers players were a little anxious at what they were about to face.

They certainly had a let-off in the 54th minute.

Jason Thomson attempted to divert a through ball away, but he appeared to direct it away from Smith, who was now out of his goal, with Danny Denholm running through. However, from an acute angle, his effort flashed across goal, with no-one in the vicinity to tap it home.

The respite didn’t last long though.

Barely a minute later, a corner was swung in from Raith’s right-hand side, and with the defence static, the ball seemed to strike Ross Matthews before crossing the line.

It was the worst possible start to the half, and with the Rovers defence struggling with the conditions and Arbroath’s bombardment, you felt at that stage it was going to take an extra special performance to weather the storm.

Hutton was called into action again after 60 minutes, smartly turning away Buchanan’s fierce drive, but it was all-hands-to-the-pump after that, as the Red Lichties took control.

A long ball forward parted the Raith defence with about 20 minutes remaining, allowing Denhom the opportunity to sprint clear, but his first touch took him away from goal, leaving him with too much to do, although Smith still had to look alert to turn his effort away.

The away side had a large slice of good luck a few moments later, when a wild swipe from Murray, bounced over Smith and was heading in, only for the ‘keeper to dive back and claw it away for a corner, which also appeared to be heading straight in, until Smith just touched it onto the post.

The Rovers goalie was now the busiest man on the park, although he missed a deep free-kick from Rovers left, but with Hamilton possibly taken by surprise, he failed to guide his header into the empty net.

There was still time for one more piece of involvement from Smith, and what an intervention it was.

Gavin Swankie had been introduced as a late sub, and after gathering possession at the edge of the box, he cut inside and unleashed a goal-bound effort into the top-left corner, which Smith did exceptionally to turn behind.

It was the final piece of action in a game which was the very definition of ‘a game of two halves.’ While the first saw Rovers dominant, they had to show a different, far grittier side to their character in the second period to take the three points home.


0
Welcome to a chilly and windy Gayfield park for today's games Arbroath v Raith
0
Raith get the match underway
1
Raith get their first free kick of the afternoon
1
Vaughan gets the ball into the box but nothing cones of it and out for a goal kick
2
Corner to Raith
3
Nearly a goal for Raith and ball goes out for another corner to raith
4
Wind either going to play a part or hinder the game this afternoon
4
A good ball from Davidson into the box and Buchanan head flicks it on. Ball goes over the bar
6
Corner Arbroath as Murray has to clear
7
Arbroath free-kick. Ball floats into box but the header from Arbroath player puts the ball out
10
Murray with a good pass to Buchanan but weighted to heavy and ball goes out for a throw in to Arbroath
14
Davidson trying the high long pass but the wind carries the ball off the pitch for a goal kick
15
Vaughan's free kick gets into the box. Meets Davidson's head but blows for a foul
16
Another Raith corner. Raith doing their best to press
16
Vaughan's corner into the box is again carried out of play by the wind
18
GOAL RAITH
19
Spence gets the ball into the net after Davidson tried for a shot
24
Arbroath try for a shot 25 years out. Raith parries it away and Thomson is there to clear it away
26
Raith manage to survive an Arbroath attack. With various Arbroath players lining up to take shots but being blocked each time
29
Good ball from Robertson to Murray who takes it further up the park.
30
Murray tries for a shot on goal but his effort is too high and goes well over the bar
30
GOAL RAITH
31
Ball picked up in the box and low shot into the net
34
Brilliant low across the ground pass to Thomson who is then immediately fouled
35
Arbroath come close after a pass into the box meets the head of one of their players but it goes inches wide
36
Davidson up for the header and fouled..free kick Raith
41
Murray with a very good tackle and wins the ball back for Raith
44
An Arbroath ball into the Raith box is cleared by Matthews. And Arbroath come close from the corner to score
45
Spence clears the ball from the box. Ball picked up by Zanatta who then tries to switch but Arbroath intercept
45
+1 half time
46
Second half gets under way
48
Thomson wins the ball in the Arbroath box but isn't able to capitalise
49
Vaughan booked
51
Arbroath free kick about 22yards out. Matthews foul.
51
The Arbroath free-kick just a bit too high and over the bar.
53
Arbroath with much of the possession at the moment. Raith fighting against the wind
54
GOAL Arbroath
56
Thomsons ball into the box can't quite reach a Raith head and keeper jumps to collect
57
Campbell exchanging words with Vaughan
57
Campbell exchanging words with Vaughan
59
Smith finally gets down and holds the ball.
59
Foul on Buchanan. Free kick Raith at half way line
60
Buchanan comes close for Raith his shot just going inches wide
61
Robertson with a diving header clearance in the Raith box
62
Smith grabs and holds the ball after an Arbroath threat
62
Attendance 1035 with a good travelling Raith support
63
Arbroath sub ex Raith McCord on off McIntosh
69
Smith's goal kick just about getting to the half way line
69
Double Arbroath sub; Linn, Gold off on swankie and Kader
72
Raith on the attack
73
A pass from Robertson to Buchnan in the box but nothing comes of it
74
Smith with a one handed save. Arbroath corner
76
Matthews booked
77
Raith sub; off Buchanan.. on Barr
80
Matthews with a bursting shot forces the keeper to outstretch to save
82
Arbroath corner
82
Doesn't come to anything as the shot in goes out the park
83
Foul on Spence
84
Thomsons free-kick into the box is met by an Arbroath player who clears
85
Zanatta fights to keep the ball deep in Arbroath territory and is fouled but ref says no
87
Smith dives and collects the ball
89
Arbroath cone very close forcing Smith this time to outstretch to save
91
Again Arbroath threaten and Smith comes low to gather
91
Raith free-kick
92
Smith free kick gets deep into Arbroath half
94
Didn't think there was that much stoppage in the game
94
Full-time
94
Raith give fans an early Christmas present with a 2 - 1 win
Raith: Smith, Thomson, Murray, Spence, Robertson, Buchanan (c), Vaughan, Matthews,Davidson, McKay, Zanatta

Subs: Barr, Osei, Court, Watson, J Berry, K Berry, Lennox

Arbroath: Hutton, Gold, Hamilton, Little, O'Brien, Whatley (c), Linn, Martin, McIntosh, Denholm, Yule

Subs: Kader, Swankie, Henry, McCord, Hester, Prunty, Gomes

 

RaithTV chatted with Barry after the 2-1 win against Arbroath

 

RaithTV chatted with Euan Murray after the 2-1 win against Arbroath

After a week in cold storage due to the enforced cancellation of last weekend’s match against Albion Rovers, Raith head to Gayfield this Saturday to take on Dick Campbell’s Arbroath.

The Red Lichties go into the game on the back of a 2-1 defeat to Stranraer, a loss that sees them sit just outside the playoff spots in fifth, but they’d shown good recent form until that point, with three successive wins.

That mid-table position is driven by their form at Gayfield, as despite having League One’s third best away record, only Forfar, Queen’s Park and Albion Rovers have picked up fewer points at home.

It’s certainly not a lack of goals that’s holding them back from taking up a top-four position, with Arbroath the second top scorers in the division, with 34 strikes in 15 games, a figure that only Ayr United have surpassed to date.

Ex-Raith midfielder, Ryan McCord has been Arbroath’s most dangerous player to date, with nine goals to his credit, but his performances in general have marked him out as one of the most creative players in the third tier this season.

The clubs last met at Stark’s Park in October, and despite a bright start from the visitors, two goals in five first-half minutes from Lewis Vaughan and Jason Thomson sealed a 2-0 win for Barry Smith’s men.

It’s been over eight years since Raith last visited the venue in a competitive fixture, when goals from Robert Sloan and Mark Campbell sealed a 2-0 win for John McGlynn’s team.

Raith Rovers have a good record in this fixture, with just one defeat in the last ten meetings, with five wins and four draws in that sequence.

Saturday’s match referee will be Euan Anderson.

Head-To-head Away League Record:

Arbroath Wins: 13 |Raith Rovers Wins: 14 | Draws: 3

Arbroath Goals: 53 | Raith Rovers Goals: 51

Current Form:

Arbroath: L-L-W-W-W-L

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

Top Goal Scorers:

Arboath: Ryan McCord 9 | Danny Denholm 8 |Bobby Linn 4

Raith Rovers: Lewis Vaughan 18 | Greig Spence 9 | Liam Buchanan 8

Match Odds:

Arbroath: 15/8 | Raith Rovers: 11/8 | Draw: 13/5