Clinical Raith Into Next Round
Raith Rovers made it safely through to the next round of the Scottish Cup, with a comfortable 3-0 win over Queen’s Park at Hampden Park this afternoon.
Despite a spirited performance from the home side, a clinical Rovers team proved too good in the end, with first-half goals from Kevin Nisbet and Liam Buchanan, before Nathan Flanagan made Rovers progression safe with a third in the second period.
John McGlynn made two changes from the side which won 3-1 at Ochilview, with Nat Wedderburn returning after sitting out through suspension, while Grant Gillespie started in the right back berth, with the former Dundee United and Hamilton man coming back into contention following a lengthy injury spell.
Their reappearance in the starting eleven saw Callum Crane and Jamie Watson both miss out, with Watson dropping to the bench while Crane missed out.
Queen’s Park have been in good form of late, with just one defeat in seven matches, and they were in the ascendancy straight away in this one, with a free-kick from Ciaran Summers causing some angst for the Rovers defence, before it was eventually cleared for a corner.
Mark Roberts men were a whisker away from opening the scoring in the 11th minute, when Ross Matthews was caught in possession in the middle of the park, allowing Euan East to make headway down the left, and from an acute angle, his lob managed to beat Robbie Thomson before rebounding down off the bar and away to safety.
However, Rovers fans didn’t have to long to dwell on how close they’d come to going behind, as they were in the lead within 60 seconds.
Daniel Armstrong powered down the right-hand side and outstripped the defenders for pace, before sending in a low cross for Nisbet who side-footed home from close range.
It was a goal which had come slightly against the run of play, with the majority of the match flowing towards Robbie Thomson, and Summers was next to try his luck, but his shot lacked zip, allowing the Rovers goalie to gather comfortably.
Rovers were attempting to build from the back, but they didn’t look particularly comfortable in doing so, and Queen’s fashioned a great chance to equlaise in the 21st minute, when Summers, who was getting forward well from the left back spot, put in an excellent cross for Lewis Hawke, but the target man could only nod over the crossbar from close range.
If Queen’s Park felt a little aggrieved about being one down, they must have been incandescent when they found themselves two behind after 24 minutes, with a goal that was almost a carbon copy of the first.
Ross Matthews was the architect on this occasion, sending in a cross from the right which allowed Buchanan to prod the ball home from six-yards out.
Raith’s ruthlessness in front of goal was the difference between the two sides, and they almost made it three a few moments later, when Armstrong’s deep cross found Nisbet at the back post who nodded past Jordan Hart, only to be denied by the ball striking the opposite post.
Rovers had started to look far more assured of themselves after their second, although Queen’s were still looking dangerous, albeit more sporadically, and East who seemed to need no invitation to shoot, again tried his luck, this time from the edge of the area, but Thomson easily gathered his weak effort.
A third goal early in the second half would have killed the game as a contest, but Rovers started a little slowly, although Thomson was only being tasked with coming for crosses rather than any real saves.
Queen’s were enjoying a reasonable amount of possession, but Rovers carried far more threat in the final third, and they almost made it three in the 55th minute, when Euan Murray’s low cross from the left looked to be ideal for Nisbet to grab his second of the afternoon, but the in-form forward appeared to let the ball roll under his foot and the chance was gone.
Not that there was any harm done, as Raith did make it three a moment later, when Gillespie fed Nathan Flanagan in the penalty area, who calmly slotted past Hart.
Although the chickens weren’t exactly being totalled up at that stage, a three goal cushion seemed more than enough to see Rovers safely home, but Queen’s almost reduced the arrears in the 67th minute, when they struck the crossbar for the second time, with Scott McLean’s fierce shot from fully 30-yards crashing back off the woodwork.
Gillespie then saw his toepoke towards goal cleared off the line after being teed up by Nesbit’s knock-down, before Nesbit was denied himself after advancing through on goal, but Hart narrowed the angle well and blocked his attempt.
Gillespie wasn’t the only player to return from injury in this one, with Chris Duggan coming on for the final ten minutes for Nisbet, with the former East Fife man returning from a lengthy layoff.
The away side were able to see out the closing stages with the minimum of fuss, while their prize for the win was a home tie against local rivals Dunfermline in the next round.
© Eddie Doig 2018
Manager John McGlynn was delighted to progress in the Cup, and talked to RaithTV before the draw for the 4th round
Grant Gillespie returned to the starting XI at Hampden and talked to RaithTV after the match
Raith Rovers head to Hampden this weekend, for a third round Scottish Cup tie with Queen’s Park.
Mark Roberts side currently sit sixth in League Two, however, they have an excellent cup record this term, making their way to the quarter-final of the Irn Bru Cup, while only Edinburgh City have a better home record in the bottom tier.
While Rovers were kicking their heels last weekend due to the international break, Queen’s were in action against Welsh side Connah’s Quay Nomads, losing 2-1 at the last eight stage of the Challenge Cup.
It was Robert’s first defeat as Queen’s boss, having replaced Gus McPherson who joined St Mirren as technical director in September.
The Spiders were relegated from the third tier last season, losing to Stenhousemuir in the playoffs, and they failed to pick up a point from their four meetings with Raith, with Barry Smith’s men racking up 12 goals while conceding just one.
Rovers also enjoyed a comfortable victory the last time the two sides met in a cup competition, with Rovers winning 6-0 in a League Cup tie back in 2013.
Those results have contributed to Rovers excellent record in this fixture, with nine straight wins over Queen’s, with their last loss coming 10 games and 10 years ago in a 1-0 loss in the Second Division.
Saturday’s match referee will be Lloyd Wilson
Head-To-Head Cup record against Queen’s Park:
Queen’s Park wins: 5 | Raith Rovers wins: 8 | Draws: 4
Queen’s Park goals: 20 | Raith Rovers goals: 35
Queen’s Park: W-W-W-D-W-L
Raith Rovers: D-W-L-W-L-W
Top Goal Scorers:
Queen’s Park: Josh Peters | Ciaran Summers | Smart Osadolor | Jamie McKernon, all 2
Raith Rovers: Kevin Nisbet 16 | Liam Buchanan 4 | Lewis Vaughan 3
Queen’s Park: 31/10 | Raith Rovers: 3/4 | Draw: 14/5