Team Pd GD Pt
1 Raith Rovers 28 16 53
2 Falkirk 28 36 52
3 Airdrieonians 28 11 48
4 Montrose 28 10 47
5 East Fife 28 8 45
6 Dumbarton 28 -9 38
7 Clyde 28 -8 34
8 Peterhead 27 -14 26
9 Forfar 28 -21 24
10 Stranraer 27 -29 16
Updated: 11th Mar
Saturday March 21st 2015

Raith Rovers 2 – 1 Alloa Athletic

Vaughan Creates Buzz Against Wasps

Raith Rovers returned to winning ways tonight, against a spirited Alloa Athletic side, who made them fight all the way for the three points.

Manager Grant Murray made just one change from the midweek match against Hearts, with the suspended Christian Nadé being replaced by Mark Stewart, who partnered Lewis Vaughan up front. Alloa’s caretaker manager Paddy Connolly, once again started recent signing Michael Chopra on the bench.

With Alloa the side who were in more desperate need of the points, it was no surprise that they started the match the quickest, in what was a fairly tousled opening period, with neither side keeping hold of the ball too well. Whilst Alloa may have been in the ascendency, they failed to trouble David McGurn in the Raith goal, and it was the home who chiselled out the first half chance after nine minutes.

A ball into the box was well flicked on by Lewis Vaughan, allowing Grant Anderson to drill an effort towards goal which was well charged down.

A moment later, Raith had a slight let off, when a pass through was picked up by Liam Buchanan who was offside. If he’d left the ball for Mark Docherty who was behind him, the Alloa man would had found himself with just McGurn to beat, a point that wasn’t lost on Docherty, who bellowed at the former Dunfermline man for his decision.

The front two of Stewart and Vaughan were starting to link well, whilst Anderson was keen to get involved out wide. The latter’s inswinging cross found Stewart in the box, and his header was smartly tipped over by Wasps goalkeeper Craig McDowall.

Vaughan then brought the ball down well in the middle of the park, before releasing Stewart who made good headway down the left, before firing in a cross that fizzed across the goal, but too high for the awaiting Raith players.

Alloa had yet to create a particularly effective opening, although they were finding an unusually large amount of space at the edge of the Raith penalty area when they ventured forward. Kevin Cawley almost managed to take advantage of that fact after 25 minutes, when his turn and drive had to be turned around the post by McGurn at full stretch. They came even closer to taking the lead from the corner routine that followed, which involved a low cross, and a step over, which allowed Buchanan a sight at goal, but his shot struck the top of the bar.

The frustrations that Alloa felt at that point, must have intensified further, when Raith took the lead just two minutes later. Once again it involved good work from Vaughan, who slotted a pass through to Stewart, who showed good strength to hold off the defender and stroke it past McDowall to put Raith one up.

However, the home side weren’t ahead for long, as Alloa pegged them level just five minutes later, although the equaliser was probably merited. Mark Docherty’s ball into the box was gathered up by Buchanan, who exploited the yard of space he’d been given, to swivel towards goal and dispatch a clean finish past McGurn to restore parity.

Both sides had one more chance each as the half ended. Firstly, Cawley had a sniff of goal from 20-yards, but his effort was blootered wildly over the bar, then McDowall did well to divert Stewart’s first-time shot past the post.

While the first half had been reasonably even-stevens, Raith reappeared for the second period looking fired up, and took the lead again in the 47th minute. An excellent cross from Grant Anderson from the right corner flag, was taken first time by Vaughan who crashed his volley past McDowall.

Raith looked like they were meaning business at this point, and for the first time in the match, were looking dominant. A good piece of interchange from Stewart and Vaughan, saw the youngster’s shot from inside the box blocked. Then, Raith somehow failed to take advantage of a four on three break, when a passing move between Stewart, Vaughan, Callachan and Conroy, broke down when Conroy received a pass after straying offside.

Whilst most of Raith’s play had come through the middle or right-hand-side, Rory McKeown almost managed to create the third goal from the left on the hour mark. His excellent switch of play found Conroy, whose first touch took him away from his marker, but he failed to catch his shot properly, and McDowall was able to parry it away.

Alloa had failed to eke out anything in the second half, and it was no surprise to see Michael Chopra replace Phil Roberts with 25 minutes remaining. His introduction freshened things up for the away side, and the substitute wasted little time in making his presence felt, with some neat touches, as well as a shot from distance which deflected over.

For the next fifteen minutes or so, Raith looked edgy, but while the fans feared that the final few moments could be fraught, they instead turned into the Lewis Vaughan show, with the youngster grabbing the game by the scruff of the neck, and tormenting the Alloa rearguard. First, he gathered a pass from Anderson, dinked the ball over the head of one defender, but was crowded out before he could shoot.

He then teed up Stewart who had his shot blocked by the goalkeeper, before Vaughan demonstrated the finest piece of skill of the evening, sidestepping four separate challenges, lunges and tackles, before sending his shot too close to McDowall.

The keeper was caught out as the 90th minute approached, by Vaughan’s first time shot, after Anderson did well to retrieve the ball out wide, but with McDowall caught out, the ball curved just past the post.

The result moves Raith six points clear of seventh placed Dumbarton, and they can go into Tuesday evening’s home match against Queen of the South in fine fettle.

Welcome to a bright and sparsely populated Starks Park. This is your alternative to the commentary in Gaelic.
Not much to report so far, the ball hasn't entered either box yet
Anderson with a snap shot charged down
Convoy almost catches McDowall out from a tight angle, but it goes - possibly off a post - for a goal kick
Marr receiving treatment after a collision with Stewart
Alloa sub: Benedictus on for Marr
Stewart brings a save from McDowall, straight at him but took him by surprise
Cawley shoots across the goal but past the post after a sharp turn
Anderson cross whipped in, Stewart close to it but couldn't quite connect
Stewart and Anderson switch roles, Anderson inches from getting his head on a driven cross
Great play from Vaughan dropping deep, defended well though
McGurn denies Buchanan low down to his left, and from the corner the same player hits the bar
Goal Raith! Stewart nips in past a defender to dink the ball over the keeper!
Buchanan with a terrific chance, in behind a static defence but McGurn's response was equal to it
Goal Alloa. Buchanan the man again, firing into the bottom corner on the turn. He's been a real handful so far.
Cawley hammers a long shot well over
McGurn with a wonderful save - the whistle had already gone but it was a beauty
Stewart denied his second by McDowall at full stretch
Vaughan chips a ball through for Stewart but it was too close to the keeper
Barr's name is in the book for a foul on Docherty
A pretty lifeless first half, Rovers playing like the season is over already. Alloa look hungry, but most of their play is focussed on one player.
Goal Raith!!! Anderson whipped a terrific cross in, and Vaughan swivelled to volley home!
Quick Callachan throw to Stewart, he tees it up for Vaughan but can't get out of the way of his volley
Barr down in the box but no penalty given
Rovers break 4 on 3, but Conroy strayed offside
McGurn takes his eye off Docherty's speculative shot but gathers it at the second attempt
Close from Conroy, he gathers McKeown's deep cross and beats his man with a single touch, but can't beat the keeper
Buchanan unmarked for the first time this half, heads against the post but was offside
Alloa sub: Chopra on for Roberts
McKeown down receiving treatment
Callachan works the keeper from fully 40 yards, he fumbled it but recovered with Stewart lurking
Vaughan juggling the ball through the defence, but he's crowded out
Alloa sub: Rutherford for Docherty
Conroy snapshot almost catches McDowall out, but he scrambles it clear
Stewart on the break ties his marker up in knots, then forces a fingertip save from McDowall
Vaughan beats four players but has nothing left for the shot, which is straight at McDowall
Vaughan beats his man yet again, plays in Conroy but his shot is blocked
Anderson robs a defender and slips it in to Vaughsn who shoots past from 20 yards
+2 Almost an equaliser, Holmes skims the bar with a curling strike
+3 Full time
Raith Rovers
McGurn, Thomson, Watson, Fox, Anderson, Stewart, Callachan, Conroy, Vaughan, McKeown, Barr
Subs: Hill, Elliot, Scott, Robertson, Matthews, Campbell, Cuthbert (GK)

Alloa Athletic
McDowall, Doyle, Meggatt, Gordon, Marr, Holmes, McCord, Docherty, Cawley, Buchanan, Roberts
Subs: Chopra, Layne, Rutherford, Benedictus, Tiffoney, Flannigan, Cowser (GK)

Photographs © Tony Fimister 2015

Rovers gaffer Grant Murray was pleased with the 3 points

Raith Rovers will look to bounce back from two consecutive league defeats this Saturday evening, when they take on an Alloa Athletic side, who are fresh from picking up a point in a 2-2 draw at Ibrox on Tuesday.

The encounter will be the fourth occasion that the sides have met this season, and while Rovers are unbeaten against the Clackmannanshire outfit, there’s been little to choose between the teams.

A Ryan Conroy strike sealed a 1-0 win for Rovers at the Indoddrill Stadium in August, while Grant Anderson equalised for Raith in a 1-1 draw at Stark’s Park in October, after Liam Buchanan had nodded the visitors ahead.

It was an even tighter affair back at the Indodrill in January, where neither side could muster up a goal on a bitterly cold afternoon.

For this final meeting of the campaign, Alloa will have a new man at the helm, after previous manager, Barry Smith resigned after a 1-0 defeat to Dumbarton. Currently in charge is caretaker manager, Paddy Connolly, who has so far presided over a 3-1 defeat against Falkirk, and that 2-2 draw versus Rangers.

The Wasps have recently moved to strengthen their squad, by signing striker Michael Chopra, who was a free agent, after leaving Indian side, Kerala Blasters. Chopra has played in the English Premiership with Sunderland, and has amassed transfer fees of over £9,000,000 during his playing career.

Alloa are currently in eighth place in the Championship table, tied on points with second bottom Cowdenbeath, but with a better goal difference. However, the Blue Brazil have two games in hand, and with the two sides meeting on the last day of the season, the stage could be set for a dramatic finale.

Raith Rovers have an impressive recent record against this weekend’s visitors, with five wins and one draw from their last ten league meetings. Alloa’s last league win at Stark’s Park, was a 1-0 victory in the Second Division, back in April 2006.

Saturday’s referee will be Brian Colvin

Head-to-Head League Record at Stark’s Park:

Raith Rovers Wins: 26 | Alloa Athletic Wins: 7 | Draws: 11

Raith Rovers Goals: 108 | Alloa Athletic Goals: 54

Current Form:

Raith Rovers: D-L-W-L-L-L

Alloa Athletic: L-W-L-L-L-D

Biggest Home Win: 15/11/1930 Division Two Raith Rovers 7 Alloa Athletic 0

Biggest Away Win: 12/10/1935 Division Two Raith Rovers 1 Alloa Athletic 3

Top Goalscorers In All Competitions:

Raith Rovers: Ryan Conroy 9 | Christian Nadé 7 | Mark Stewart 4

Alloa Athletic: Greig Spence 12 | Liam Buchanan 11 |Kevin Cawley 4 | Mark Docherty 4

Match Odds: Raith Rovers: 19/20 | Alloa Athletic: 3/1 | Draw: 5/2