Son’s Undone by Double
A midweek away game? It must be Dumbarton, again. The Rovers lined up as they did against Partick for the second game at the Sons in two weeks.
The match started with the Rovers facing the stiff breeze that was fanning a grass fire on a nearby hillside. The Son’s won an early corner which Murray half headed across goal, Prunty made an acrobatic attempt to hook the ball in but missed. Jim Lister had a shot blocked before the abrasive front man had a second attempt when the ball was played back to him fired over. In the 8th minute the floodlights came on as the Rovers failed to light up the play. A free kick – which was not met with universal approval by the travelling fans – was headed at McGurn by Lithgow.
The Rovers got forward through Grant Anderson but Spence was unable to threaten when claiming his cross. In the 13th minute the Rovers broke the deadlock. Stuart Anderson playing a dangerous ball in and namesake Grant headed over the outrushing Grindlay. Greig Spence nipped in to nod the ball home unchallenged as the home defence started waving arms at each other. Thomson was booked by Somers cheaply then a deep free kick whipped across the Rovers goal, missing everyone.
Lister shoved Mensing aside trying to get onto a long ball and Mensing reacted in kind – Simon was booked, the home man was not even spoken too. The resultant free kick was bundled past. The visiting support were again annoyed when Turner clattered Ellis, as he made a clearance, but again no action was taken. Grindlay was quick to block winger Anderson’s effort after he was played in by Graham. The home keeper was called into action again when Grant Anderson again ran forward.
The Sons were trying to get the equaliser and Agnew had an effort go over after a period of possession. Turner shot wide from 26 yards before taking out Spence in the centre when Graham broke up field. Two minutes later when play next broke down the home man was rightly booked.
1:0 up at the half the Rovers support knew that the home side could still threaten. The home side were expected to start fast but their Smith’s complete miss-kick was collected by Gindlay before the chasing Graham could capitalise. In the 28th minute a good ball into the Raith box was flapped at then half pushed away by McGurn. It fell for Agnew who took a touch before firing wide from the edge of the box. Lister went to ground in the box with Somers watching him closely then he penalised the big man the next time the ball went in.
In the 53rd minute Murray was replaced by Joe Cardle with the Rovers switching to 4-4-2 with Thomson and Hamill in the wide defensive roles. Ellis headed Walker’s corner wide then Grant Anderson’s break and ball to Graham was not hit with enough venom to threaten. Agnew had another effort go over before Graham’s low cross from wide reached Spence on the other side but his shot was blocked. The home side were next to threaten and McGurn claimed the shot.
Grindlay was again the busier keeper when in the 65th minute Thomson fed Grant Anderson who’s effort was blocked low then he was quickly on his feet to pick Graham’s shot from the air. Cardle drove forward from the left and his low curling effort was pushed away by Grindlay and Graham’s attempt to follow up was off target despite it looking easier to score. Lister was spoken to after knocking Stuart Anderson to the ground off the ball but not booked. Stuart was not alone in being amazed when he was booked moments later after it looked like he was fouled from behind by an over-eager home man…
In the 69th minute Dumbarton scored with a great strike. A free kick into the box was knocked away but Gilhaney at the edge of the box fired across goal into the top corner. He seemed pleased, 1:1.
Hamill who’d again been decent in his new role was replaced by Malone. Grant Anderson threatened from wide and again Grindlay blocked well, perhaps Grant should have squared the ball. Walker was penalised for something no-one in the Raith support saw and expressed his dis-satisfaction. Allan was no-doubt as frustrated as the rest of the Rovers and their fans with an at best erratic refereeing performance and though an unnecessary booking it was understandable.
Walker returned to doing what he can do well firing a great cross field ball to Grant Anderson wide. Grant moved forward and his cross towards the penalty spot was headed across goal and in by a half stooping Brian Graham. Going 2:1 up didn’t alter the Rovers efforts to push on and Cardle looked dangerous trying to tee up Graham then Grant Anderson, Spence and Graham combined to set up Cardle who’s low curler went wide with the keeper struggling. As the home side failed to get back on top Graham over hit a pass to Spence when the youngster had no-one to beat except Grindlay.
Callachan came on for the last few minutes for wide man Anderson. The Rovers continued to push and Thomson hit the side netting with a shot that looked in. The Sons won a late corner and Lister was penalised again for a foul. The Rovers also managed a last corner after Callachan’s second good run wide then as time ran out Graham put over Cardle’s smart cut back.
Oddly the Rovers climbed the league before kickoff with the points penalty for another Fife side, then despite winning slipped down a place on goal difference. No matter what it’s certain that the Rovers will be not be relegated but what league/division/structure we and others will be in next season is a different matter.
Report – John Mainland / Photos – Eddie Doig
Photographs copyright Eddie Doig, edited by Tony Fimister.