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Team Pd GD Pt
1 Arbroath 36 25 70
2 Forfar 36 7 63
3 Raith Rovers 36 26 60
4 Montrose 36 -1 51
5 Airdrieonians 36 7 48
6 Dumbarton 36 0 46
7 East Fife 36 -7 46
8 Stranraer 36 -12 42
9 Stenhousemuir 36 -26 37
10 Brechin 36 -19 36
Updated: 4th May
Saturday February 24th 2018

Raith Rovers 2 – 2 Arbroath

More Points Dropped As Raith Falter

For the second week in succession, Raith Rovers contrived to throw away a lead due to a last minute leveller.

Goals from Jason Thomson and Willis Furtado, either side of a Ryan Wallace penalty, appeared to be enough for all three points, but a late Leighton McIntosh goal saw Rovers lead at the top reduced to four points.

Rovers manager, Barry Smith made two changes from last week’s frustrating draw with Albion Rovers.

Out went Liam Buchanan and John Herron, and in came Ross Matthews and Scott Robertson, with the changes signalling a rejig of the Raith system of recent months.

Twenty-goal Lewis Vaughan moved from his central midfield position to up-top alongside Furtado, with Matthews and Robertson dovetailing each other in the middle of the park. Although unfortunately, this would only be a temporary measure, with Robertson hobbling off after quarter of an hour.

Perhaps buoyed by Vaughan playing in a more advanced position, there seemed a zip about the home side in the opening moments, with Zanatta doing well down the right, winning a corner from which Kyle Benedictus almost got his forehead to, while Vaughan’s 20-yard free-kick appeared to be registering on target, before being deflected over the bar.

Arbroath haven’t lost in the league since their last trip to Stark’s Park in December though, and they almost took the lead in the eighth minute, when a deep cross to the back post from Bobby Linn was diverted to safety by a great header away from Thomson, with an Arbroath forward waiting to pounce.

There was concern in the 13th minute, when Robertson was forced off with a knock, and was replaced with Buchanan. This forced Vaughan back into the centre, with Buchanan taking a place alongside Furtado.

That change appeared to diminish Raith’s potency,  but there was drama in the 21st minute, when referee Mat Northcroft awarded Rovers an indirect free-kick twelve yards out, when goalkeeper, David Hutton picked up Tom O’Brien’s pass back.

However, as is so often the case, the phalanx of bodies stopped Vaughan’s effort after it was tapped to him by Buchanan.

Euan Murray then should have done better with his header from the corner, but he powered it wide, before Zanatta could only shoot straight at Hutton after evading three challenges and cutting in from the left, with the stopper repelling his effort with his boot.

Rovers were on top at this stage, and Furtado was the next to threaten, playing the ball past O’Brien and attempting to collect round the other side by using his pace, but while the defender was beaten for speed, his goalkeeper was alert enough to bail him out and collect at the striker’s feet.

Arbroath then had a huge let off in the 33rd minute.

Furtado’s cross from the left appeared slightly too close to the ‘keeper, but Buchanan’s lunge saw both he and Hutton collide, with the ball rebounding off the bar and being cleared away. Despite taking a sore one, the custodian was okay to continue after treatment.

Despite being the dominant side, it appeared Dick Campbell’s visitors were going to go into the interval with the score line blank, but Rovers got the goal their play deserved in the 42nd minute.

An in-swinging corner from Vaughan was played straight under the bar, allowing Thomson to head home from close range for his fifth goal of the campaign.

There was as much relief as joy at the goal, with the half becoming increasingly frustrating with Raith struggling to break down an obdurate Red Lichties defence.

Arbroath looked the quicker out the starting blocks in the second period, taking the game to Rovers from the restart, although their cause wasn’t helped by Denny Denholm finding himself in a great space to send in a cross, only to kick the turf and fall over instead.

Amusing stumble aside, it was a decent start to the second period for Arbroath, and a reminder to the home side if it was required, that their lead was an extremely precarious one.

Indeed, just how precarious was demonstrated in the 62nd minute, when Arbroath equalised.

Despite Aaron Lennox’s protestations, Northcroft adjudged the ‘keeper had pushed someone in the area, allowing Ryan Wallace to blast home from the spot, a moment which saw Barry Smith forced to watch the remainder of the game from the stands, after the referee dismissed him.

While the penalty award had come out the blue, Rovers had been poor in the second 45, and they almost went behind with 20 minutes remaining.

An Arbroath breakaway from a Rovers corner looked threatening, but a flick from a backtracking Zanatta appeared to clear the danger, however, coming in from the right, Wallace almost grabbed his second, only to be denied from a full-length stop from Lennox.

Rovers missed a gilt-edged chance to take the lead in the 73rd minute, when Furtado and Buchanan appeared to get in each other’s way, with the former rattling his chance from an acute angle well wide of target. However, he’d make amends just a moment later

From another Vaughan corner, the ball was initially headed towards goal and blocked, before Furtado came charging in and blasting home from close range.

Rovers should really have seen the game out at that point, but Arbroath should have equalised with five minutes remaining, when Linn’s low cross from the right was turned over the bar from substitute Leighton McIntosh from the edge of the six-yard-area.

However, the equaliser did come in the 90th minute.

A corner from the right wasn’t cleared well enough, and McIntosh’s effort from inside the area was deflected past Lennox for the equaliser.

The result leaves Rovers four points clear of Ayr at the top, although The Honest Men have played one game fewer.

The team lines are being read out over the PA and Robertson replaces Herron.
It looks as if Buchanan sits out for Matthews in this top of the table clash.
For those of you trying to recreate the Stark’s Park experience in the living room, Shed Seven’s ‘Going for Gold’ is reverberating round the stands.
Benedictus leads the team out...
Arbroath win the toss and change ends. Vaughan will kick off shooting into the South Stand.
Nice run down the left from Zanatta and it’s Raith’s first corner of the match.
Bad challenge from Hamilton give Vaughan a free kick right on the edge of the box.
Yellow for Hamilton.
Vaughan’s free kick deflected over for a corner.
Dangerous cross from Linn, but no head on the end of it. Ends up a corner for Arbroath.
Well held by keeper Lennox.
Solid start for Rovers, but Arbroath look dangerous on the break.
Great run down the left from Arbroath and it’s a corner.
Barr fouled on edge of box, right on the by line. Could be dangerous.
Robertson’s struggling.
Buchanan replaces Robertson.
Vaughan moves back into midfield and Buchanan plays up front with Furtado.
Furtado chases a lost cause, managed to pass back to Barr, who sends in a lovely ball that Zanatta just fails to connect with.
Under huge pressure from Furtado, Hutton picks up a pass back. Free kick in the box!
Vaughan’s free kick blocked.
Murray unmarked from the corner puts it just wide. So close!
Hutton has to save with his foot after a mazey from Zanatta in the box.
Some great chances for Raith there.
Quieter spell with a couple of half chances for both sides.
Zanatta bundled over beside the tunnel. Vaughan’s cross dealt with by the Arbroath defence. Ball falls to Buchanan who is offside.
Ross Matthews yellow carded after a foul 30 yards from goal.
Barr screams down the right. Cross falls to Furtado on the opposite wing. Great ball in to Buchanan whose header hits the keeper then the crossbar.
Corner Raith.
Corner Raith.
Vaughan’s corner bulleted home by THOMSON at the far post.
Dangerous low cross from Arbroath we’ll held by Lennox.
Half time: Raith Rovers 1-0 Arbroath.
Raith looking very dangerous for spells. Arbroath still in it, but looks like only a lack of concentration will stop another home win.
Second half underway.
Corner Arbroath.
Flicked away to safety by Matthews.
Another chance for Arbroath. Ball trundled out for a corner.
Lennox sees off the danger.
The 11s clatter each other and Barr wins the free kick
Furtado sends Zanatta through in the box, but he can’t control it.
Davidson yellow card for foul on halfway line.
Ref plays advantage and Arbroath have their best chance of the game. Ball finally goes out for a corner.
Penalty Arbroath!
No one sure what for, but I’m guessing for a push in box.
Wallace to take...
Lennox dives the right way to his right, but WALLACE penalty is perfect.
I think manager Smith was also sent to the stand.
Linn carded for a foul on Buchanan.
Gold replaces Linn for Arbroath.
Corner Raith.
Two decent saves from Lennox in the last two minutes.
Furtado through on goal, but from a very tight angle puts the ball high and wide.
It’s all Furtado down the right now.
Corner from a Furtado move, crossed in by Vaughan. Ball falls at FURTADO who roofs it high into the net.
Denholm replaces by Kadir and Wallace replaced by McIntosh (both Arbroath)
Denholm replaces by Kadir and Wallace replaced by McIntosh (both Arbroath)
Yellow card for McKenna.
Davidson does well to sclatter the ball out for a corner after a dangerous break.
Spence look like he is getting ready to come on...
Sub McIntosh volleys over from three yards. That was a big chance.
Zanatta replaces by Spence.
Disaster for Raith as McINTOSH collects ball in box from corner. His low shot is deflected and slowly goes over the line. #rrfclive
Raith MoM: Lewis Vaughan.
Corner Arbroath.
Raith not able to clear the lines and another corner for Arbroath.
Full time: Raith Rovers 2-2 Arbroath.
Raith Rovers
Lennox, Thomson, Murray, Benedictus, Robertson, Vaughan, Barr, Matthews, Davidson, Zanatta, Furtado. SUBS: Smith, Spence, Buchanan, Court, McKay, Hendry & Watson.
Hutton, Little, Hamilton, O’Brien, Martin, Yule, Denholm, McKenna, Wallace, Swankie, Linn. SUBS: Whatley, Kadir, McCord, McIntosh, Gold, Skelly & Gomez.

Barry talked to RaithTV after the 2-2 draw with Arbroath

After having their lead reduced from eight points to six at the weekend, Raith Rovers will be looking to get back to winning ways this Saturday, with a home match against Arbroath.

Dick Campbell’s Red Lichtie side have been in excellent form in the league, and are currently on a run of eight League One games without defeat, a sequence which sees them sitting third in the table, two points ahead Alloa Athletic, and six ahead of playoff chasing Stranraer. Indeed, with eighteen points from their last eight games, the Gayfield outfit are the division’s most in-form team.

They go into the match on the back of a fine away win in midweek. Despite going a goal down to Stranraer on Tuesday evening, goals from Michael McKenna, Danny Denholm and a brace of penalties from Ryan Wallace, handed Arbroath a comfortable 4-1 win.

The bulk of Arbroath’s points have actually been won on the road, with 23 of their 41 points coming away from home. Their only away defeats have occurred in the Kingdom though, with the 2-0 loss at Stark’s Park in October, followed up with a 3-1 loss in Methil to East Fife.

Rovers do have a 100% record against Arbroath this term, although neither win was comfortable.

Lewis Vaughan and Jason Thomson were on target in the 2-0 home win, and it was a game of two halves at Gayfield, with a wind-assisted Rovers haring into a 2-0 lead thanks to goals from Greig Spence and Liam Buchanan, but an unfortunate own-goal from Ross Matthews left Rovers hanging on for the three points.

You have to go back 25 years since Arbroath last won at Stark’s Park, with a 2-1 win on a second round League Cup tie back in August 1993.

Raith have a good record in this fixture, with five wins and four draws from the last ten meetings.

Saturday’s match referee will be Mat Northcroft.

Head-To-Head Home League Record Versus Arbroath:

Raith Rovers Wins: 20 | Arbroath Wins: 8 | Draws: 7

Raith Rovers Goals: 66 | Arbroath Goals: 37

Current Form:

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

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

Top Goal Scorers:

Raith Rovers: Lewis Vaughan 20 | Greig Spence 13 | Liam Buchanan 12

Arbroath: Ryan McCord 9 | Danny Denholm 9 | Bobby Linn 4

Match Odds:

Raith Rovers: 3/4 | Arbroath: 18/5 | Draw: 14/5