Comprehensive Win Takes Raith Top
Raith Rovers made it two league wins out of two with a comprehensive 5-2 victory against newly-promoted Clyde at Stark’s Park this afternoon. Rovers’ goal barrage – they could have scored many more given the number of chances created in an entertaining encounter – meant John McGlynn’s side ended the day at the top of League 1.
Rovers went with the same starting eleven who kicked off the campaign with a win at Dumbarton last week. Opponents Clyde were looking to build on an opening day draw with East Fife as they look to find their feet in the division – former Rovers favourite Danny Lennon’s side included Chris Johnston and David Goodwillie, also familiar faces to the home fans.
The sides, who had not met in a competitive league fixture since 1991, started the game in a manner which suggested an entertaining ninety minutes was in the offing, with an open, adventurous approach. In the opening minute, the visitors created the game’s first chance, and only a timely tackle by Regan Hendry prevented the Bully Wee drawing blood before the home side had time to settle.
A long crossfield Iain Davidson pass then found the galloping Lewis Allen out wide, whose deep cross was scrambled clear. Rovers continued to press forward, and with twelve minutes on the clock they were awarded a penalty when Hendry was bundled over in the box. The same player dusted himself down and steered his shot into the corner of the net, sending David Mitchell the wrong way.
Clyde responded positively, and almost equalised within two minutes. Goodwillie found space in the box, and his quick turn and shot brought a fine blocking save from Rovers keeper David McGurn. The visitors continued to enjoy a healthy share of possession, opening up the play with slick, accurate passing, though Mitchell was fortunate to avoid a caution when he failed to give the ball back to Rovers after conceding a throw-in down the right touch line.
However, it was the home side who doubled their advantage with 23 minutes played. Once again, Hendry was the creator, this time playing an astute pass to Kieron Bowie, who was lurking with intent at the edge of the box. The forward turned and swept a curling shot into the corner of the net, giving Mitchell no chance.
Rovers captain Kyle Benedictus then burst forward and tried his luck from fully thirty yards, though his shot drifted well wide of the target. Goal scorer Bowie, who had picked up a knock, then made way for Joao Victoria, before the home side went close to extending their lead with the best move of the match.
Brad Spencer found Kieran MacDonald with a long pass wide left, and the left back controlled the ball before sending a firm cross into the danger area. Lewis Allan reacted quickest to get to the ball, but the striker’s header flashed narrowly over the bar.
Rovers continued to dominate at this stage, with Regan Hendry orchestrating most of the play in the middle of the park. That said, as the first half grew to a close, it was Clyde who came close to reducing the deficit, raining a flurry of corners and free-kicks into the Rovers box, though the home defence remained resolute, and went into the interval with their two-goal lead intact.
The second half kicked off in the same vein as the first, with both sides looking to push forward, utilising the flanks in an attempt to get in behind the defence. And, after three minutes, it was Rovers who secured what appeared to be a match-winning third goal. Grant Anderson latched on to a pass by team-mate Ross Matthews, and the winger who scored the winner at Dumbarton once again found the net, this time with a low shot which beat Mitchell at his near post.
Shortly afterwards, Anderson almost scored his second goal, though his shot failed to do justice to an impressive, mazy run which had left three defenders trailing in his wake. Anderson, who had picked up an injury, was then replaced by young forward Jack Smith.
Rovers were clearly hungry for more goals, and they added to their tally with a fourth strike with just over an hour played. Spencer played an angled pass into Victoria just inside the penalty area, and the big midfielder shrugged off an opponent before finding the far corner of the net with a low drive from ten yards out. The same player then had a chance to extend the lead further still, but with Henry and Smith calling for a square pass his shot was smothered by Mitchell.
Clyde then made a double substitution in a bid to make an impact on the match, and with fifteen minutes remaining came close to scoring. Benedictus slipped as the ball was played through to Goodwillie, and the Clyde captain steadied himself before rifling a shot towards the top corner. However, McGurn was its equal, throwing himself high to his right to palm the ball out for a corner.
Goodwillie would not be denied, however, and two minutes later scored with a firm shot which found the net off the underside of the crossbar. The Rovers defence, which had been solid throughout, appeared to have momentarily switched off.
Not that the home side was in the mood to feel sorry for themselves following concession of that goal. Within a minute, they grabbed their fifth goal of this absorbing match. The lively Victoria had a shot blocked, but the ball fell invitingly for Smith, who rolled it into the net off the inside of the post from around ten yards out. Matthews then made way for another youngster, Dylan Tait, as McGlynn looked to take advantage of Rovers’ healthy lead by giving game time to his inexperienced players. Tait’s involvement was immediate, as Raymond Grant earned the first yellow card of the game for a trip on the substitute.
Spencer then joined Grant in the referee’s book for a foul, before Michael Miller stung Mitchell’s fingertips with a firm shot which the keeper did well to stop. Davidson then rose to meet a corner kick with a header which beat Mitchell but was hooked off the line as the fans in the south stand prepared to celebrate another goal. However, it was the visitors who claimed the final goal, with a low shot by substitute Ally Love which evaded a clutch of defenders before finding the far corner of the net.
Unsurprisingly, Regan Hendry was confirmed man of the match, a fitting accolade for what was an outstanding performance by the young midfielder.
Any match which produces five goals for Rovers can be considered a satisfying afternoon’s entertainment, but considering that many more chances were created which could have seen the goal tally rise further, this match did represent something of a statement from John McGlynn’s side. The season is in its infancy, but the manner of victory here does suggest that there are at least grounds for optimism for the season ahead as far as the Rovers faithful are concerned.
Photo © Tony Fimister
Raith TV spoke to John McGlynn after the 5-2 home win against Clyde FC
After starting their season with a fine 1-0 away win at Dumbarton last weekend, Rovers kick-off their home campaign with a visit from Clyde this Saturday afternoon.
The win was their first victory with a clean sheet on the road since a 2-0 win over Arbroath just before Christmas, and it was one of just two wins on the opening day of League One, which suggests the division is going to be another tight affair this season.
Clyde were one of six teams involved in a draw, with a 1-1 result against East Fife.
Danny Lennon’s men were the dominant side for the first 45 minutes, taking the lead from the penalty spot thanks to David Goodwillie, but they were pegged back in the second-half through Anton Dowds equaliser after 60 minutes.
Clyde ended a long spell in the bottom tier last season, coming through the League One playoffs after a losing out on the title on the final day to Peterhead.
It brought to an end a run in League Two which started back in 2010, and despite their newcomer status in League One, Lennon has assembled a side which will be expecting to challenge in the upper echelons of the league this campaign.
This will be the first meeting between the sides since the 2007-208 campaign when Rovers were 3-0 winners at Clyde in a League Cup first round tie, but you have to go back 28 years to find a home win by Raith in this fixture, with a 1-0 victory in the First Division in March 1991.
Unsurprisingly with statistics like that, Raith have a poor record in this match-up in general, with just that one win and two draws from the last 10 meetings between the clubs.
Saturday’s match referee will be Euan Anderson.
Head-To-Head Home League Record Versus Clyde:
Raith Rovers Wins: 22 | Clyde Wins: 19 | Draws: 16
Raith Rovers Goals: 91 | Clyde Goals: 71
Raith Rovers: L-L-W-L-W | Clyde: L-L-L-D-D
Top Goal Scorers:
Raith Rovers: Lewis Allan 2 | Grant Anderson 1 | Kieron Bowie 1 | Michael Miller
Clyde: David Goodwillie 3 | Darren Smith 1 | Kristoffer Syvertsen 1 | Tony Wallace 1
Raith Rovers: 17/20 | Clyde: 14/5 | Draw: 12/5