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Team Pd GD Pt
1 Arbroath 30 28 64
2 Raith Rovers 30 25 51
3 Forfar 30 2 50
4 East Fife 30 0 44
5 Montrose 29 -7 38
6 Airdrieonians 29 0 37
7 Dumbarton 29 -4 34
8 Stranraer 29 -9 33
9 Brechin 28 -10 31
10 Stenhousemuir 30 -25 28
Updated: 23rd Mar
Saturday March 9th 2019

Raith Rovers 1 – 0 Airdrieonians

GILLESPIE ON TARGET AS RAITH WIN

Raith regained second place in the League One table with a well-deserved win over a redoubtable Airdrie side at Starks Park. Grant Gillespie’s second-half strike was enough to take all three points over the hard-working Diamonds, as Rovers’ effort over the ninety minutes – and several key substitutions – earned Raith the win their overall play deserved.

With both sides having enjoyed spells in the first half, Raith’s greater desire and appetite paid dividends, with a Rovers goal looking more and more likely as the second half progressed. Rovers over-take Forfar after the latter’s draw at Brechin;  Arbroath’s second defeat in as many weeks leaves Raith a point clear in second, and twelve points off the top.

After trips to Dumbarton and Stranraer in the last week, Raith must have been glad of a home fixture. John McGlynn made three changes – Iain Davidson restored to the starting line-up along with Liam Buchanan. Nat Wedderburn had recovered sufficiently from his injury picked up against Dumbarton, regaining his starting position in midfield – Ross Matthews, Jamie Gullan, and Craig McGuffie all made way. Robbie Thompson kept his place in goal.

Under clear blue skies but in blustery conditions, bright sunshine met the players as they emerged from the recesses of Starks Park before kick-off. With the strong gusts of wind affecting the flight of the ball (the water from sprinklers showering the press-box pre-match, your reporter included), the early stages saw the Airdrie defence struggle to clear their lines as Raith won two early corners.

Still stinging from the indignity of dropping to third for the first time since early September, Rovers’ management team sent their side out aiming to avoid the sloppy start which affected last week’s encounter at Stair Park. Grant Gillespie, haring forwards early, squared for Buchanan, whose cross drifted through Hutton’s six-yard box and off the far-post – a let-off for the visitors in only the second minute.

Ian Murray’s Airdrie arrived hoping to arrest a poor run of form – last week’s win over Montrose had been the Diamonds’ first three points since the first week of January. Three defeats in February had dented play-off aspirations. However, Airdrie’s away form had been their strong suit; their defence resolute. Today’s fixture would hold no fears for a side only a point behind Montrose, and vying for the crucial forth spot and a route into the play-offs at the season’s end. Darryl Duffy – last week’s match-winner and top scorer with nine goals – started up front; Dale Carrick was ruled out with a knock, defender Josh Edwards taking his place, with ex-Rover Ryan Conroy looking to support Duffy. Right midfielder Jordan Houston looked to continue his impressive run of form, on loan from Rangers.

Airdrie captain Sean Crighton took responsibility for shepherding Rovers top-scorer Kevin Nisbet. The Raith striker showed lovely composure to control a deep Davidson through-ball on ten minutes, the visiting skipper winning the physical battle on the by-line. This would be one of the match’s key encounters.

The wind played a part in Rovers’ next opportunity – Dingwall’s corner caused consternation amongst the Airdrie rearguard. Wedderburn had a swing, Buchanan was nudged, with Crighton making a despairing clearance. With the ball hanging in the skies above Hutton’s goal, the visiting defence looked discomfited. McIntosh’s drive was blocked away by Murray, as Airdrie’s first corner came to nothing. Another Dingwall corner saw Murray jostling with O’Neill at the far post as Hutton looked on.

The first half was twenty minutes old before the visitors created a spell of possession – Houston, Edwards, and Duffy were all involved before Declan Glass slipped an inviting through ball toward Conroy, the pass over-hit by a fraction. Glass’s snap-shot flew over as Airdrie looked to impose themselves after Raith’s positive early spell.

A fine chance followed: Edwards overlapped on the left, and his cross found Duffy – the striker’s powerful downward header cleared off the line by Davidson. The Airdrie striker’s despair spoke volumes – the veteran Raith defender’s intervention had kept the scores level.

On the half-hour, Campbell played in Glass beyond Gillespie. Running at pace, the youngster could only play the ball behind the advancing Conroy, the visitors’ momentum lost in an instant. Glass was perhaps the first-half’s most eye-catching performer – quick in possession, and intelligent without the ball, Raith’s Gillespie had to keep constant watch as Airdrie looked to spring Glass into the final third. With one jinking run, Glass left Gillespie for dead near the touchline, his driven cross flying through Thomson’s airspace and away.

As the sun disappeared behind thick cloud and the biting wind became more prominent, the half became more scrappy as half-time approached – both Duffy and Nisbet cut frustrated figures as Davidson for Raith and Crighton for Airdrie tightly shackled their opposite numbers. With both sides having had strong spells in the opening half but clear-cut chances at a premium, the first-half had been an absorbing if not a thrilling affair.

Raith began the second half with renewed vigour – Barjonas flew past Houston, Nisbet’s shot blocked by a forest of legs in the six-yard box. An early Airdrie corner was headed narrowly over by Crighton, the big defender turning away in frustration.

Several more chances came Rovers’ way. Wedderburn, with time to set himself, sent a drive spinning high over Hutton’s cross-bar. Buchanan, in space behind Crighton, couldn’t connect truly to trouble the Airdrie keeper. Nisbet’s header found the net, only for the linesman to rule correctly the Murray had failed to keep the ball in play before crossing. Again finding space, Nisbet’s curler fell just the wrong side of Hutton’s far post. Raith had started the second half as they’d started the first – but would Rovers’ greater possession and appetite generate an opening goal? A Houston snap-shot was all Airdrie could generate in response.

Raith came again. Dingwall released Buchanan, who played in Nisbet – Edwards’ crude challenge rightly earning yellow. Crighton also earned a booking after felling Euan Murray at full tilt. Jamie Barjonas was an increasingly important figure as Raith drove forwards – working well with Dingwall and substitute Flanagan, the Rangers’ loanee stood tall in possession, ran well into space, and demanded possession from colleagues – one thirty-yard sprint to the by-line earned a corner against his opposite number, his chase of a lost cause winning the cheers of the South Stand. Buchanan played in Nisbet, the Raith striker getting underneath his finish.

Gullan’s introduction on sixty-eight minutes brought another surge from the home side – Gillespie released Flanagan behind full-back Robertson with a slide-rule pass, the resulting cross hacked clear with Gullan and Nisbet both poised – the Airdrie defence at action stations. The hard-working and tireless Buchanan having done his job, Gullan’s direct running created further problems for the already stretched Airdrie defence.

On seventy-three minutes, the breakthrough Raith’s attacking endeavour had deserved. Nisbet’s flick sent Barjonas clear down the inside left-channel – with the Airdrie defence in full retreat, Barjonas’ pin-point cross found Gillespie haring in on goal, the Raith midfielder making no mistake from close range. Houston cleared at the back post with Barjonas behind him seconds later, as Raith nearly nicked a second. With Arbroath, Forfar, and Montrose all losing at the time, the South Stand roared Raith forward, urging their charges to secure all three points. Flanagan drove narrowly over, as the match entered its final ten minutes.

To their credit, Airdrie responded. The wily Leighton McIntosh created room for fellow substitute Kyle Wilkie to shoot – Davidson blocked at full stretch, with the visitors claiming a handball. With Darryl Duffy now with support up alongside him, Raith would have to work to win all three points. Crane’s cross-shot forced Hutton to look lively at his near-post. Gullan, sprinting dow the near touch-line, exemplified Raith’s second-half determination and drive, forcing Crighton to concede a corner – Murray’s header and rebound were blocked away.

With the clock ticking beyond ninety minutes, Raith showed admirable control and maturity. Barjonas and Flanagan linked well, controlling possession while Airdrie chased, harried, but ultimately failed to work an attacking opportunity. When possession was conceded by Raith – Wilkie, McIntosh, and Duffy looking to burst forward – Davidson and the impressive McKay remained resolute in defence. Three valuable and hard-earned points were Rovers’ reward for a strong home performance against tricky opponents – perfect preparation for a crucial trip to Forfar next week.


0
Welcome today's game Raith v Airdrie. Goalkeeper remains unchanged from last week, Davidson and Wedderburn slot back in and Buchanan starts too
0
Teams have emerged from the tunnel
0
Airdrie get the game underway. Raith shooting towards the McDermid Stand
2
Good start from Raith, Gillespie picks the ball up from a challenge passes to Buchanan who returns to Gillespie but his shot goes just wide
3
Raith free kick, foul on Buchanan
3
Raith free kick, foul on Buchanan
3
Dingwall gets the ballinto the box at far post. Ball is headed down to side netting, corner Raith
5
Captain Murray is fouled, freekick Raith
5
Free-kick floated into the box but Airdrie clear
8
McKay thwarts danger by heading the ball back to Thomson
10
Davidson fouled as Duffy for Airdrie presses forward
12
Corner Raith
12
Dingwall plays the short pass to Buchanan, ball returned to the former who gets the ball into the box. A stramash of players and Rovers nearly slot home
15
Rovers applying most of the pressure in the opening 15 min
15
From an Airdrie corner, ball gets into the box Murray heads clear
17
Nisbet deep in Airdrie half passes to Gillsepie, Airdrie player comes in and launches the ball into Pratt Street
20
Raith have had two corners in succession but nothing comes from either
20
Looks like Airdrie are being forced into an early substitution
22
Airdrie sub off O'Neil on comes Robertson
23
Glass for Airdrie pushes the ball forward, weights a good pass but failed to picked up by Airdrie and ball goes out for a goal kick
25
From a free-kick to Airdrie ball eventually falls to Glass and he skies the ball over the bar
26
Edwards for Airdrie floats a ball into Raith box, Duffy picks it up, it looks like it's going in bottom corner but Davidson nicks in and clears inches from the line
30
Campbell for Airdrie booked
31
McKay clears as Houston for Airdrie challenges
35
Corner Raith
36
Dingwall's corner forces Hutton to punch clear
39
Edwards for Airdrie fights off the challenge from Gillespie. His shot doesn't trouble Thomson
41
Free kick Raith as Edwards fouls Dingwall
44
As we near half time, Raith early threats haven't materialised. Raith with most possession but Airdrie coming into it
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+1 half time Raith 0 Airdrie 0
45
Buchanan for Raith gets the game underway
46
After an early threat from Raith we now have an Airdrie corner
48
Buchanan takes the ball for a run down the line. He's eventually challenged by Crighton
50
Ball falls to Wedderburn from an Airdrie clearance. He blasts it over the bar
51
Murray gets the ball into the box but linesman judged the ball was over the byline as he made the pass. Goal kick
53
Barjonas passes to Nisbet, he looks up takes a shot, fans think its going into back of the net but the ball sails inches past the post
56
Cranes header to Barjonas is just a bit too much. Throw in Airdrie
58
Dingwall picks up a loose ball, passes to Buchanan who then passes to Nisbet. The latter is fouled
58
Dingwall from the free-kick gets the ball to back post. Murray is there to head home but Hutton punches clear
60
Airdrie second substitution off goes Glass on comes Wilkie
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Airdrie second substitution off goes Glass on comes Wilkie
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Crighton for Airdrie booked for a foul on Murray
62
Cranes from the free-kick gets the ball into the box. Wedderburn there but again Hutton punches clear
63
Raith sub off Dingwall on comes Flanagan
64
Buchanan with the pass to Barjonas who gets into a tussle with Crighton. Ball out for a goal kick
65
Barjonas again this time challenged by Houston. He forces Houston to give Raith a corner
68
Buchanan lays the ball on to Nisbet but the latters shot is poor
69
Daith sub off Buchanan on comes Gullan
71
Gullan turns, floats the ball across the box but no one there to slot home
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Airdrie final substitution off goes Conroy on comes L McIntosh
73
GOAL RAITH
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Barjonas picks up the ball passes into the box, Gillespie runs in and thumps the ball home
75
Murray cuts the ball into the box, Barjonas is there but he can't quite get on the end of it
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Raith free kick foul on Nisbet
78
Raith protest as Gullan kicks the ball off Hutton to force a corner, ref blows for a goal kick
80
Nisbet passes to Flannagan from 30 yards out the latter takes a shot, his effort sails just above the bar
82
Third Raith sub off goal scorer Gillespie on comes Matthews
83
Airdrie with a threat, Barjonas clears, Airdrie corner
85
Five minutes to go Raith 1 Airdrie 0
87
Barjonas to Crane who gets the ball into the box. Hutton catches
87
Wedderburn with a perfect pass to Flanagan linesman judges offside
89
Attendance is 1339 and man of match is Grant Gillespie
89
Raith corner
90
Dying minutes fight from Raith in Airdrie box but nothing converted
92
Robertson has Barjonas in a headlock. The former throws himself to the floor and ref blows for Airdrie foul??
93
Ref blows for full time. Raith 1 Airdrie 0. A deserved victory for Raith. Raith on the road next week away to Forfar
Raith: Thomson, Crane, Davidson, Murray, Gillespie, Buchanan, Dingwall, Wedderburn, Nisbet, McKay, Barjonas

Subs: Lyness, Matthews, Flanagan, Watson, McGuffie, Bowie, Gullan

Airdire: Hutton, O'Neil, MacDonald Crighton, S McIntosh, Campbell, Houston, Edwards, Duffy, Glass, Conroy

Subs: Robertson, Stewart, L McIntosh, Millar, McKenzie, Cairns, Wilkie


RaithTV spoke to John McGlynn after the 1-0 win at Stark’s Park

RaithTV spoke to the Jamie Barjonas after our 1-0 win against Airdrieonians

After two successive games on the road, Raith Rovers return to Kirkcaldy this weekend, with Airdrieonians the visitors to Stark’s Park.

Ian Murray’s side go into the game on the back of a 1-0 win over Montrose, their first victory since a 2-1 win over East Fife at the turn of the year.

However, despite a sequence of just one win in eight games, the Diamonds sit just six points behind the Methil men who sit fourth, and still have an outside chance of making the playoffs.

Airdrie do have one of the better away records in the league though, with only Arbroath and East Fife picking up more points on the road this term, while defensively the team has done well too, with just Arbroath and Raith Rovers conceding fewer goals.

Rovers may be going into the game on the back of a three game unbeaten streak, but two successive draws has seen them slide down the table a notch, with Forfar leapfrogging them into second, with John McGlynn’s men now residing in third.

This will be the teams fourth meeting this term, and Rovers have picked up seven points from a possible nine to date.

The first meeting back in August will live long in the memory, with Raith coming from 3-1 down with just a few minutes remaining to win 4-3, thanks to a hat-trick from Liam Buchanan and a goal from Kevin Nisbet.

The two forwards were the goal-scorers again in December, in a far more straightforward 2-0 win in December.

Their last meeting was in January, when Airdrie were a goal up early on thanks to a penalty from Leighton McIntosh, but a Ewan Murray equaliser 17 minutes from time meant the game ended one apiece.

Raith have an excellent record in this fixture, with seven wins and three draws from the last 10 meetings

Saturday’s match referee will be David Dickinson.

Head-To-Head Home Record Versus Airdrie:

Raith Rovers Wins: 8 | Airdrie Wins: 3 | Draws: 2

Raith Rovers Goals: 15 | Airdrie Goals: 7

Current Form:

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

Airdrie: L-D-L-L-L-W

Top Goal Scorers:

Raith Rovers: Kevin Nisbet 24 | Liam Buchanan 10 | Lewis Vaughan 9

Airdrie: Darryl Duffy 9 | Leighton McIntosh 8

Match Odds:

Raith Rovers: 3/4 | Airdrie: 16/5 | Draw: 3/1