Hendry Brace As Raith Progress
Raith Rovers bounced back from Fife derby defeat last week, with a comfortable win over Falkirk in this afternoon’s Tunnocks Caramel Wafer Cup.
Two penalties from Regan Hendry either side of half-time eased Rovers into the fourth round, in what was an impressive performance from the home side.
John McGlynn made three changes from the side which went down to East Fife.
Ross Munro replaced David McGurn in goals, while Grant Anderson came in for Ross Matthews. Seventeen-year-old Dylan Tait also made his first competitive start, coming in for the cup-tied Jamie Gullan.
On the bench, there were places for new acquisition Steven Anderson, and Lewis Vaughan, who continued his return from injury.
Both teams started at a decent pace, and Rovers had a good chance to open the scoring in the ninth minute, when a cross from Kieran MacDonald found Kieron Bowie at the back post, but the 16-year-old looked surprised the ball had made its way to him, and he failed to react quite quick enough to take advantage.
It had been an even start to the match, with both sides looking bright in possession, but Rovers took the lead in the 17th minute, when Michael Miller went down after a mistimed tackle by Mark Durnan.
Greg Aitken saw enough to merit awarding a penalty, and although Robbie Mutch guessed right from Hendry’s effort, the shot had enough accuracy and pace to nestle in the bottom left corner.
Falkirk did ripple the net in the 29th minute, when a header across goal by Denny Johnston was prodded goalward by Gregor Buchanan, but the ball ended up in the side netting.
There was a flare up in the 33rd minute, when Hendry attempted to hit on the break, something which was considerably more difficult with Charlie Telfer clinging to his back like a particularly persistent limpet.
When Aitken blew for a foul, both players were involved in some argy-bargy which attracted a few others across, and the handbags eventually ended with the main protagonists going into the book.
Rovers may have had a youthful look about their midfield, with Bowie and Tait havinga combined age of just 33, but both were doing well, with debutante Tait looking assured in possession and driving forward well.
With five minutes left in the half, Falkirk came close again, when Louis Longridge’s cross into the area was met by the diving head of Johnstone, but again, the effort ended up in the side netting.
Rovers were quick out the blocks at the start of the second half, and they doubled their lead in the 48th minute, and again, it was from the penalty spot.
It was Tait who went down this time, after being tripped by Ian McShane, and again, Hendry made no mistake, blasting the ball down the middle and past Mutch.
Steven Anderson came on for his Rovers debut a few moments later, replacing Iain Davidson, who had been excelling in the backline.
Ray McKinnon attempted to arrest his side’s slide by changing things round in the 55th minute, with Aidan Connolly and Declan McManus replacing Lewis Moore and Scott Leitch.
The pattern of the match continued though, and it was almost three on the hour mark, when Bowie again found space at the back post from a corner, and slammed a shot against the post, while the rebound fell to Lewis Allan, whose shot from 10 yards was blocked by Mutch.
Connolly was making a difference to Falkirk’s forward forays, and he drove on well down the left hand side, outstripping two challenges and pinging in a drive which Munro did well to gather.
A buzz then went round the home stands, as Lewis Vaughan was ushered back from behind the goals to get stripped for action for the final 20 minutes, coming on for Bowie.
The scoreling should have been changed before he came on however, when Paul Dixon received a pass from Connolly, but with the goal in front of him, he could only blaze his effort well over the bar.
It was almost the perfect introduction for Vaughan, who took charge of a free-kick 25-yards from goal, and curled a brilliant effort off the junction of the bar and post with Mutch at full stretch.
Falkirk got a golden themselves back into the game in the 81st minute, when they got their own penalty after Vaughan brought down Telfer in the penalty area, but from the penalty spot, Telfer could only lash his attempt off the bar, to sum up a poor day for the visiting Bairns.
Rovers saw out the game comfortably from there, and it’ll be them that’ll be in the hat for the fourth round draw next week.
Photos © Tony Fimister
John McGlynn spoke to RaithTV after the 2-0 win in the Tunnock’s Caramel Wafer Challenge Cup
Raith Rovers will be hoping for a return to home comforts this weekend when they meet Falkirk in the second round of the Tunnocks’ Caramel Wafer Cup on Saturday.
Both teams go into the match on the back of mixed results, with just one win apiece from their last three outings, albeit they still sit top and third in League One respectively.
Falkirk drew 0-0 in a closely contested game with Airdrie last time out, while Rovers came out second best in the Fife derby, losing by four goals to two despite taking an early lead.
It’ll be the first time the two sides have met since 2017, and the first time they’ve been matched together in a cup competition since 2013, when they came head-to-head in the quarter-finals of the same competition.
Rovers won 1-0 thanks to a solitary strike from Greig Spence, and they’d go on to lift the trophy with a win over Rangers in the final at Easter Road.
Saturday’s match referee will be Greg Aitken.
Head-To-Head Home Cup Record Versus Falkirk:
Raith Rovers Wins: 4 | Falkirk Wins: 3 | Draws: 1
Raith Rovers Goals: 12 | Falkirk Goals: 12
Raith Rovers: W-W-W-L-W-L
Raith Rovers: Lewis Allan 5 | Kieron Bowie 3 | Grant Anderson 2 | Michael Miller 2
Falkirk: Declan McManus 6 | Connor Sammon 5
Raith Rovers: 9/5 | Falkirk: 7/5 | Draw: 12/5