Rovers Stay Top Despite Defeat
Raith Rovers will head into Christmas top of the League One table, but the chasing pack closed the gap, after a disappointing 2-0 defeat to Dumbarton at Stark’s Park.
First half goals from PJ Crossan and Ryan McGeever gave the Sons a comfortable cushion against John McGlynn’s depleted side, and they never looked like getting back into it after the interval, as Jim Duffy’s men kept Rovers at arm’s length.
With Ian Davidson and Kyle Benedictus absent through suspension, and Michael Miller and Steven Anderson both injured, Rovers lined up with very much a makeshift back four, with Grant Anderson at right back and Jamie Watson switching over to the left.
In the centre, David McKay was paired with Kieran MacDonald, but despite the forced upon changes, Raith started the match the brighter of the two sides.
Some good link up play from Kieron Bowie and Jamie Gullan, eventually ended with Jamie Watson picking up possession on the overlap, but from just outside the penalty area, his driven effort pinged just over the crossbar.
That encouraging opening wasn’t quite a precursor of what was to follow however, with chances at a premium for both sides, although Rovers almost opened the scoring in the 28th minute, with the best piece of football in the game.
A fine passing move ended with Regan Hendry deftly playing in Tony Digwall, but his attempt to lob Conor Brennan ended with the ball rebounding off the bar, and back into the goalkeeper’s arms.
Rovers were looking the likelier side to open the scoring at this point, but they were behind five minutes later.
Possession was squandered away in the middle of the park to Kyle Hutton, and the ball eventually made its way left to Connor Scullion, whose cross was turned in on the volley by Crossan, with the aid of a deflection.
It was almost two soon after, when Ryan McGeever was afforded an abundance of room in the Rovers penalty area at a corner kick, but his headed effort was straight at Munro.
Rovers were struggling to create anything particularly clear cut, although Gullan was given a sight at goal after Hendry again played him in, but his shot from an angle was blocked by a defender.
Stuart Carswell was the next to threaten goal, with a shot from distance that Munro easily handle, but it was two with five minutes of the half remaining, when McGeever got the run on the Raith defenders to head home a Joe McKee free-kick.
Rovers enjoyed more of the ball in the second period, as Dumbarton looked to restrict their chances and play on the break, and they did it very well, with Rovers struggling to create anything of note on the second period.
John Baird saw his header from a corner rise over the bar, before Hendry tried his luck from distance, but he could only pull his shot wide of the target.
A goal may have made for a grandstand finish to the game, but when the best chance of the game fell to Bowie, he couldn’t take it, as he headed over the bar from close range as Raith threatened from a corner.
The defeat means Raith still lead the way at the top of the table, but only on goal difference from East Fife and Airdrie, with Falkirk just a point further back.
It all makes for an exciting weekend of football next weekend, with the Fife derby taking place in Methil, while Falkirk head to Airdrie.
The match highlights video will appear here the day after the match
Photos © Tony Fimister
John McGlynn spoke to RaithTV after today’s 0-2 defeat
Raith Rovers are at home for the final time in 2019 this Saturday, when they welcome Dumbarton to Stark’s Park.
John McGlynn’s men head into the match top of League One, but only just, leading the way from Airdrieonians thanks to goal difference.
Jim Duffy’s side currently sit sixth in League One, but are just four points outside the playoffs, and go into the match on the back of a 4-3 win over Forfar, a match they were behind in on three occasions, only to come out on top thanks to goals from Joe McKee, Regan Tumilty and a brace from PJ Crossan.
The last game between these two teams only produced one goal, which is a little unusual, with this fixture generally producing a bucket full of goals in the past.
Grant Anderson scored the winner with just over 10 minutes remaining back in August, and it’s been almost three years since the Sons last won in Kirkcaldy, when goals from Christian Nade, Daniel Harvie and Gregor Buchanan sealed a 3-1 win for the visitors, after Ryan Hardie had put Gary Locke’s men in front.
Rovers have a decent record in this fixture, with five wins and two draws from the last 10 meetings.
Saturday’s match referee will be Alan Muir
Head-To-Head Home League Record Versus Dumbarton:
Raith Rovers Wins: 38 | Dumbarton Wins: 12 | Draws: 11
Raith Rovers Goals: 132 | Dumbarton Goals: 74
Raith Rovers: W-W-D-D-W-D
Raith Rovers: Kieron Bowie 8 | Lewis Allan 6 | Jamie Gullan 5 | Michael Miller 5
Dumbarton: Isaac Layne 9 | PJ Crossan 5
Raith Rovers: 4/7 | Dumbarton: 7/2 | Draw: 10/3