Rovers Stumble At Dumbarton
Raith Rovers missed a golden opportunity to move further ahead of Falkirk in the League One title race, after a disappointing 1-0 loss to Dumbarton.
The visitors rarely threatened Conor Brennan’s goal in the second period, as the Sons won out thanks to a last minute strike from Stuart Carswell.
John McGlynn made three changes from the side which won 1-0 at home to Clyde, with Dan Arsmstrong, Tony Dingwall and Michael Miller coming in for David McKay, Dylan Tait and Steven MacLean.
Rovers had the advantage in the opening 45 minutes, with the rain, sleet and snow lashing towards Brennan in the Dumbarton goal, but the away side found it difficult to take advantage.
One person who did take advantage of the day was the Dumbarton mascot, who went down on one knee in an elephant suit to propose to her partner before the game.
Despite the difficult wintry conditions, Raith seemed to adapt to them the best, getting the ball down and keeping possession well, but they were failing to capitalise in terms of chances created, which were few and far between.
The ball was failing to stick to John Baird who was up top, with those behind struggling to get up in support.
As a consequence, Rovers superiority in possession was counting for nought, with their only real chance in the opening period falling to Baird from a Brad Spencer cross, but he could only nod tamely into the keepers arms.
Spencer then tried his luck from distance after a pull back from Kieran MacDonald, but his 20 yard effort was way over the bar.
The ball fell to him again on the edge of the area a few moments later, but after a good bit of build up play, he couldn’t quite find space to get off a decent shot, and he curled his effort wide.
It wasn’t all one way traffic though, and Dumbarton should really have taken the lead as the interval approached, when the ball fell to Stef McCluskey, but he lashed wildly at the ball and scooped it over, in what was the last piece of notable play from a quiet first period.
You felt that Raith would have an even more difficult task in the second period, as they now had to battle against the home side, and the elements, and Raith toiled to put together too many chances as the wind and snow battered down.
Again, Spencer was the man the chance fell to in the opening moments of the second period, but he could only drag his effort wide.
Baird then had the ball in the net in the 55th minute, after being played through by Armstrong, but the linesman already had his flag in the air.
That was his last contribution to the game, with Grant Anderson and MacLean replacing him and Armstrong, but in treacherous conditions, both substitutes struggled to turn the game in Raith’s favour.
Dumbarton were having a far bigger say in this half however, and they probably should have opened the scoring in the 70th minute, when a corner kick fell to PJ Crossan at the back post, but he sclaffed his effort wide.
Jim Duffy’s men were the side in the ascendency in the game’s closing stages, and you sensed that if anything was going to happen, it would come from a set piece, although when it did arrive, it was virtually the last kick of the ball.
A corner was cleared only as far as just inside the area, allowing Carswell to blast the ball through a ruck of players and into the net from 16-yards.
It was a hammer blow to a Rovers team that looked to have done enough to take a point from the game, but instead, retained their one point lead at the top, with Falkirk also stumbling.
The two now come together on Tuesday evening, in a top of the table clash at Stark’s Park.
Photo Gallery will appear here shortly
Raith Rovers head to Dumbarton this Saturday, looking to preserve their slender lead at the top of the League One table.
Last weekend’s 1-0 win over Clyde kept Raith a point clear of Falkirk, who triumphed 1-0 over Montrose, and they’ll be hoping for a repeat of the match which was played out on the opening day of the season, when Raith defeated Jim Duffy’s mean 1-0 in the shadow of Dumbarton Rock.
Grant Anderson was the scorer that day, but they found it far tougher the last time the two sides met at Stark’s Park in December, when goals from PJ Crossan and Ryan McGeever gave the away side a 2-0 win against an injury ravaged Rovers team.
That game was actually the Sons last win until midweek, when they beat Clyde 1-0, their first win in six matches, which kept them sixth in the third tier.
Rovers can take some solace from the fact that Dumbarton have one of the poorer home records in the league, with only Stranraer picking up fewer points at home this term.
The teams have an identical record in this fixture in recent years, with four wins and two draws apiece.
Saturday’s match referee will be Kevin Graham.
Head-To-Head Away League Record:
Dumbarton Wins: 28
Raith Rovers Wins: 21
Dumbarton Goals: 130
Raith Rovers Goals: 97
Raith Rovers: L-W-W-D-W-W
Dumbarton: Isaac Layne 9, PJ Crossan 6
Raith Rovers: Kieron Bowie 9, Jamie Gullan 7, Lewis Allan 6
Raith Rovers: 3/4