Team Pd GD Pt
1 Inverness CT 10 8 23
2 Kilmarnock 10 6 20
3 Raith Rovers 10 5 18
4 Partick Thistle 10 9 16
5 Arbroath 10 9 16
6 Ayr United 10 -4 12
7 Queen of the South 10 -4 10
8 Hamilton Academical 10 -13 8
9 Greenock Morton 10 -7 7
10 Dunfermline 10 -9 6
Updated: 23rd Oct
Saturday November 23rd 2013

Raith Rovers 2 – 1 Queen of the South

Clinical Calum Bags All Three Points

Raith Rovers got back to winning ways today, after a hard-fought, but richly deserved 2-1 win over Queen of the South.

Raith made three changes from last week’s disappointing defeat to Alloa at Recreation Park. Kevin McCann and Gordon Smith dropped to the bench, and were replaced by Callum Booth and Greig Spence. Liam Fox was also missing after picking up a knock, and his place in the middle of the park was taken by Ross Callachan, who made his first start of the season.

Manager Grant Murray had spoken before the match about the importance of bouncing back from two consecutive defeats, and the players certainly seemed to have paid heed to his message, as they took the game to the visitors straight from kick-off.

Cardle is denied by Clark

On 3 minutes, a deep cross from the right hand side by Anderson, was brought down on his chest by Joe Cardle, but as he shimmied inside to shoot, his fierce drive from close range was well saved by Queens’ keeper Zander Clark.

The on-loan goalie was again called into action a minute later, diving low to his right to tip away Calum Eliott’s attempt, although it may have been heading just wide.

Raith’s third early chance came from their left hand side, and it showed exactly what the team were missing last week, with the returning Booth combining well with Cardle, who eventually fashioned a chance for Anderson, but he pulled his shot wide.

Any hopes however, that the start to the match was a precursor to an action strewn 45 minutes were sadly forlorn, even though Queens’ at times looked extremely open in midfield, with Cardle and Moon getting plenty of space to exploit. Booth too was making up for lost time after his suspension, but as has been the case recently, Raith were unable to work anything through the middle, while the crosses from wide areas, although plentiful, were either missing their mark, or well defended.

Jim McIntyre’s side on the other hand were resorting to a far more direct approach, which was curious to see, as it often led to possession, something which was already at a premium for the Doonhamers, being squandered yet further.

It was the 33rd minute of a fairly pedestrian first-half, before the next chance came along, and it almost brought a remarkable own-goal from Mark Durnan. The Queens’ centre half swung his leg wildly at Joe Cardle’s cross, squaffing the ball horribly behind him, and just past the right-angle of Clark’s post and crossbar. From the corner, Anderson’s cross-come-shot was hacked off the line, as the game threatened to come to life.

Two minutes later, Jim McIntyre made his first change of the match, replacing Derek Young for Stephen McKenna, although it was unclear at the time if this was tactical or due to an injury.

There was still time for one last chance in the half, and what a chance it was. Kevin Holt misjudged a huge clearance up-field, allowing Greig Spence a clear run on goal. His first touch seemed to steady himself, but his second appeared one too many, and he took it too close to Clark, who had narrowed the angle, allowing him to block the shot with his legs.

After a frustrating first period, things almost got worse for Raith, as they started the second half poorly, allowing Queens’ their first real opportunity. A long ball forward found Reilly, who was under pressure from Dougie Hill, unfairly in the away fans opinion, who loudly howled for a penalty. With the appeals waved to the side, a shot from Carmichael was deflected wide by Hill for the corner.

The early part of the second half saw almost as many chances as the whole of the first, although now, the openings were being created by both sides. Callachan saw  his shot blocked by Chris Mitchell, then moments later, a great cross from Cardle was passed up by Anderson, who just needed to get his head on it.

Reilly puts Queen of the South in front

Up the other end however, an excellent ball into the back post, looked to have presented a chance to Gavin Reilly, but it was nicked off his toe by Jason Thomson.

In the 50th minute, a break down the left-hand side by Raith allowed Cardle to again pick out a man in the box, but this time Spence, from 12 yards out, headed straight at Clark, when he seemed to have time to bring it down.

With almost an hour gone, Ross Laidlaw had been given very little to do, but Raith had him to thank for keeping the scores level, with a save that was McGurn-esque in appearance. A whipped in free-kick found the head of Chris Higgins, whose strong header seemed to be heading in, but for a split second intervention from Laidlaw to tip it away.

Back came Raith in a see-saw second period, and this time they were denied by the athleticism of Clark, who kept out a Spence header, from 8 yards.

With time ticking by, it appeared that the game was heading along similar lines as last week, with one goal possibly going to be enough. With that being the case, there was dismay in the home stands, when Queen of the South went ahead in the 61st minute. A long ball was played over the head of Booth and picked up by Chris Mitchell, who laid the ball on a plate for Gavin Reilly, who finished from close range.

Any thoughts that a repeat of last week was on the cards were immediately diminished however, as Rovers responded straight away. A quick free-kick seemed to have went astray, but Calum Elliot picked the ball up 18 yards out at an angle, and fizzed a shot past Clark into the bottom right hand corner of the net.

Elliot equalises straight away

Grant Murray then made two substitutions, swapping in Gordon Smith for Spence, and Laurie Ellis for Hill, who appeared to have sustained a back injury.

With the game now evenly balanced, there was controversy with 15 minutes to go, when play was stopped due to an injury to Calum Elliot. The subsequent uncontested drop-ball, seemed to rile Jim McIntyre, who appeared to order his team on. As a result, substitute Paul Burns sprinted down the wing and almost set up Gavin Reilly to make the score 2-1. The ball seemed to have been deflected wide, but referee Mat Northcroft signalled for a goal-kick, as those of a Raith disposition vented their anger towards the away bench.

With less than 10 minutes remaining, Raith spurned two gilt-edged chances to go ahead. First Ellis timed his jump wrong at a corner, putting the ball over with the back of his neck, then Elliot shot over an unguarded net from 8 yards, although he was at full-stretch.

With time running out however, Rovers grabbed a late winner, thanks to a cool finish from man-of-the-match Elliot.

Joe Cardle broke down te left-hand side for the umpteenth time during the game, picking out Elliot, who had defenders all around him, although crucially, none were tight enough, allowing him to turn, and sweep home a lovely finish into the bottom corner, which initiated another celebratory melee from the Raith players in front of the stand.

Elliot strikes the winner

Raith saw out the time, and remain in third place in the league, 5 points behind Hamilton, and 3 clear of fourth placed Falkirk.

Thoughts now turn to the Scottish Cup, and it’s back to Dens Park next week, a venue that has seen some great wins for Raith in the competition over the years. It’s also a chance to make amends for the 2-0 defeat that Grant Murray’s men suffered a fortnight ago.

The next league match is another important fixture, this time at Falkirk, on the 7th of December.

Words: Shaughan McGuigan Pictures: Tony Fimister

Not too baltic here at SP the sun is out at present. Booth Callachan and Spence replace McCann Fox and Smith. Fox not on bench either
Rovers attacking the McDermid stand goal
Booth and Cardle combine, but the cross is cleared
Anderson cross Cardle unmarked chests the ball and stings Clark's hands from a tight angle
moon shot parried for a corner. Rovers again Callachan plays in Anderson but shoots wide on weaker left foot
Mcintyre getting animated on the touching
hill misjudges a deflection but Laidlaw is off his line pretty quickly to claim the ball with Reilly threatening
Russell cross goes out for a goalkick
getting a bit disjointed plenty of misplaced passes
ball slips to Carmichael. snap shot curls away from goal
Callachan has looked composed today
Anderson cross chested by Durnan. Elliot appeals for hardball. Ref Northcroft speaking to Smith
McShane trips Cardle earning himself a lecture from the ref
Durnan sloppy in possession Spence nips in but Clark gathers the ball
Higgins yellow bodychecking Cardle
Mitchell down following 50/50 ball with Callachan. was a bad pass from Anderson. if had been better Booth was away on the wing
hill clatters into Lyle for a high ball. free to QoS goes out for a goalkick
Still too many misplaced passes....
promising attack by Moon offloads to Anderson whose cross is too deep and goes out of play. Sums up the half so far
Booth does well down the wing and his cross is met by Elliot but there's no purchase on the header and Clark gathers.
Booth corner cleared after some desperate defending
McKenna on Young off
Cardle and Spence link up well the latter's low cross hooked clear
Bit of QoS pressure before Thomson boots the ball clear
Corner. Booth takes and its easily cleared
Callachan comes to the aid of the defence and clears his lines
nice lifted cross from McShane. Lyle is clear but the flag is up
Clark at full stretch to keep out a deflected through ball attempt from Cardle
Thomson cross claimed under the bar by Clark at
QoS free on.the left wing and Watson clears. Spence on 1-1 and dithers. chance gone and its Half time.
forgettable half but would be so different if Spence had scored
Reilly and Carmichael combine well but the shots deflected for a corner
Corner comes to nothing, then the ball flies away down Pratt at for a Queens throw
Callachan bursts into the box but his shot is well blocked
Cardle cross scuffed wide by Anderson. Good chance
Reilly earns a corner - well blocked by Thomson
Hill glances the corner behind for another corner
Great Raith breakaway ends with Spence heading straight at Clark
Cardle frees Elliot in the box but his shot was blazed over. A first time shot may have been a better bet
Elliot fouled in the air. Raith free kick from 25 yards
Clark gathers the fk at the second attempt with Spence rushing in
Good composed play by Callachan again.
Cardle forces a corner with a deep cross that comes to nothing. Easily gathered by Clark.
Queens fk headed towards goal. Laidlaw does his best Mcgurn impression. Great save
Wonder save by Clark from Spence's header. As good as Laidlaws stop
Reilly finishes emphatically past Laidlaw. 1-0 Queens
Raith strike back with a 20 yard daisy cutter from Elliot. 1-1
Raith turning up the pressure - Abderson fools the defender but his cross is underhit
Another surging run by Anderson whose ball in is dealt with by Durnan
Spence off, Smith on
Hill off with a back injury, replaced by Ellis Russell off for Paton
Smith breaks free and flashes a shot over the bar
Anderson dwells on the ball, allowing Queens to cross in but Laidlaw gathers low to his right
Elliot gets attention for a head knock, but plays on after a minute off the pitch
Bad sportsmanship from the dropped ball ends with a good chance being wasted by Queens. Managers debate the incident on the touchline
Rovers corner punched clear by Clark. Another corner - headed just over by Ellis
Heavy touch by Anderson causes a good move to break down.
Handball by Durnan. Cardle free kick straight to Clark
Cardle scythed down by Mitchell. Free kick falls to Anderson. Rovers corner
Elliot stretches and skies the ball over from inches out.
2-1 Rovers. Elliot spins in the box and finishes smartly
Crowd 1497. Elliot gets MOM
Ball safely gathered by Laidlaw.
+1 chaos on the 6 yard box but queens can't capitalise. Queens last chance at an equaliser?
Laidlaw launches the ball forward and the ref blows for FT
RRFC: Laidlaw Thomson Watson Hill Booth Cardle Moon Callachan Anderson Elliot Spence
Subs: Smith Ellis McCann Vaughan J Watson Matthews Stewart(gk)

QoS: Clark Mitchell Holt McShane Durnan Higgins Michael Young Lyle Reilly Russell
Subs: Paton Dowie Dzierzawski Burns McGuffie McKenna Atkinson

Ref: Northcroft

Photographs Copyright Tony Fimister.

Rovers gaffer Grant Murray talked through the games main points with Niall after a deserved victory