League Cup Campaign Ends With Defeat
For the second successive season, Raith Rovers travelled to Cove Rangers on the final day of the League Cup group stage and left empty handed, as they succumbed to a dominant Cove Rangers performance by three goals to nil.
Trailing to a 44th minute Jamie Masson goal at the interval, Rovers failed to mount a comeback in the second period, and went further behind to goals from Chris Antoniazzi and Declan Glass, as Rovers toiled against the League Two side.
John McGlynn made three changes from the side which won 3-1 against Peterhead on Tuesday evening.
David McGurn replaced Ross Munro in goals, while Michael Miller dropped out foR Jamie Watson at right back.
The final change saw Grant Anderson replace Joao Victoria in midfield, but the refreshed starting XI almost went one behind in the opening stages, when Masson picked up possession in midfield, and picked out Glass on the edge of the box, who beat McGurn with his effort which whizzed just past the post.
Cove had been quick out the blocks in this one, and they were almost ahead in the 8th minute, when a corner kick eventually made its way to Martin Scott who was six yards out, and while his flicked header appeared to be goalbound, McGurn dived low to his right to flick the ball to safety.
Rovers were struggling to contain Cove, especially at set-pieces, and Antoniazzi found himself unmarked in the six-yard-box after 20 minutes, but his header lacked pace and was straight at McGurn.
Dundee United loanee Declan Glass was having a fine game in the middle of the park for Cove, and he almost opened the scoring a minute later, sashaying away from two challenges on the half way line, before feeding Masson out wide, whose low cross was met by Glass who had continued his run, but McGurn parried his point-blank effort.
Rovers were struggling to make much of an impact, although they did bring out a save from goalkeeper, Stuart McKenzie in the 33rd minute, after Brad Spencer played a neat pass to Lewis Allan, whose shot from 25 yards was pounced on by the Cove ‘keeper.
Scott Ross then came close from a Cove corner when his header was deflected off the line, but the home side took a deserved lead in the final minute of the half, when Glass took advantage of the space awarded to him and strode forward from midfield, before teeing up Masson who was in support on the left, and his low shot nestled into the left-hand side of McGurn’s net.
Even at that stage, it looked a long way back for Raith, and the deficit was doubled in the 52nd minute, when Masson’s cross from the left was pounced upon by Antoniazzi, and while his initial effort was blocked by Iain Davidson, his follow up was eventually steered past McGurn to make the score 2-0.
Rovers then made a change, with Joao Victoria replacing Spencer, and it sparked something of a reaction, with the Portugese frontman providing chances for both Regan Hendry and Allan, but neither could test McKenzie with their efforts.
Despite the fact Rovers were starting to make headway, they were still conceding chances at the other end, and Jordon Brown should have made the game safe with 15 minutes remaining, when he latched onto Blair Yule’s tame long range effort, but his shot from close range was weak and straight at McGurn.
The respite was fleeting however, and after possession was again given away in the middle of the park, Glass was eventually picked out on the edge of the area, and he fired a shot into the right side of the net to seal the victory and leave Rovers bottom of the table.
Allan had a chance to reduce the arrears in the dying embers of the match, but after doing well to resist a challenge on the edge of the area, he failed to steer the ball past McKenzie who did well to stop the shot low to his right.
The result was a disappointing end to the League Cup group stages, especially after what was a spirited win on Tuesday evening.
Rovers get their league campaign off and running next Saturday, with an away trip to Dumbarton.
© Eddie Doig 2019
RaithTV spoke to John McGlynn after the Betfred Cup match against Cove Rangers
After an impressive 3-1 win over Peterhead on Tuesday evening, Raith Rovers complete their Group D fixtures with a trip north to face Cove Rangers at Balmoor Stadium this Saturday.
Neither side are able to reach the next stage of the competition, although both sides will be buoyed by positive performances in midweek.
Cove will be starting the season as one of the favourites for the League Two title, after gaining admission to the bottom tier with a one-sided playoff win over Berwick Rangers, following their Highland League triumph.
Their title credentials have been strengthened by their performances in this competition to date, with narrow defeats to higher-division opposition in Peterhead and Inverness, as well as a draw with Dundee.
This will be the third time the two sides have met in recent years, with both teams registering a win apiece.
The two sides first met at this stage of the competition three years ago, and despite going a goal down, Rovers eventually prevailed 2-1, thanks to goals from Kyle Benedictus and Lewis Vaughan.
It was a different story last season, however when goals from Daniel Park and Jamie Masson sealed a deserved 2-0 win for Cove.
Saturday’s match referee will be Craig Napier.
Head-To-Head Cup Record Versus Cove Rangers:
Cove Rangers Wins: 1 | Raith Rovers Wins: 1 | Draws: 0
Raith Rovers Goals: 2 | Cove Rangers Goals: 3
Cove Rangers: L-D-L | Raith Rovers: L-L-W
Top Goal Scorers:
Cove Rangers: Mitch Megginson 2 | Jamie Masson 1
Raith Rovers: Lewis Allan 2 | Kieran Bowie 1 | Michael Miller 1
Cove Rangers: 13/5 | Raith Rovers: 17/20 | Draw: 13/5