Rovers Weather The Storm With Win
A second-half penalty from Regan Hendry was enough for Raith Rovers to see off Stirling Albion, as Rovers began their pre-season campaign with a 1-0 victory.
John McGlynn began the match with seven of his summer recruits in the starting eleven, with another two on the bench.
Ross Munro started the game in goals, with Kieran McDoanald filling the left full back position, while Fernandy Mendy was at centre-half beside Kyle Benedictus.
In midfield, it was a hello again to Regan Hendry, who slotted in alongside Michael Miller, while Grant Anderson and Joao Victoria started in more advanced positions.
The only new acquisitions not to feature in the starting eleven were David McGurn and Brad Spencer, who had to be content with a place on the bench, alongside two trialists.
The starting formation appeared to be a 4-3-3, with Anderson at the tip of the attacking trio, with Victoria wide left and Kieron Bowie on the right.
Behind, Hendry was the furthest forward, with Miller and Ross Matthews tasked with a more defensive shift.
Bowie was looking lively in the opening stages, and after having Rovers first attempt at goal in the opening moments, he should have put the home side into the lead after five minutes, after Jamie Watson nodded the ball into his path, but with an unimpeded route to goal, his shot from an angle deflected wide off the outside of the left upright.
There was concern just a minute later, when Benedictus threw himself into a meaty challenge and struggled to get back to his feet, before eventually getting up and moving gingerly.
To rub salt into the wounds, he then went down inside his own area after receiving a head-knock, in what was proving to be an eventful, and painful looking start to his season.
Rovers had started the match well, with Hendry dictating matters in the middle of the park, but after those initial attempts at goal, they’d struggled to create too much in the way of chances.
Indeed, it was the visitors who came close to opening the scoring in the 20th minute, when Jordon Lowden demonstrated some good footwork in the Rovers area, dribbling around Mendy, only for his shot to get deflected wide.
Stirling were coming more and more into the game, and Lewis Hawke, son of former Raith forward, Warren Hawke was unlucky to see his header drift just over the bar, while Dominic Docherty unleashed a shot from distance which deflected just wide, with Munro struggling to get across.
Rovers did get the ball over the goalline in the 39th minute, but the fact it arrived there after goalkeeper, Blair Currie had claimed it, before being huckled into the net under a crowd of bodies, meant it had no chance of being allowed.
There was frustration for Rovers right at the end of the half, when referee Colin Steven blew for the interval with just a few seconds of injury time added on, with Rovers on a decent looking breakaway with Bowie looking threatening down the wing, and with options inside, before his threat was curtailed by the ref.
With Stirling Albion listing 13 substitutes, they elected to make eight changes at the start of the second period, with Rovers deciding to go with what they had as the heavens opened.
McGlynn’s side almost opened the scoring in the 48th minute, when Anderson’s cross after galloping down the left was almost turned home by Bowie, but he couldn’t quite get on the end of it and the chance was lost.
Anderson decided to take matters into his own hand next, turning his man 20-yards-from goal and letting fly, but while his shot didn’t lack oomph, it did lack accuracy, flying just over Currie’s crossbar.
Rovers were now looking good, and Bowie’s attempt was the complete opposite of Anderson’s, with his drive from 25-yards accurate, but not quite hard enough to trouble the ‘keeper.
MacDonald was next to bring a save from Currie, getting forward well down the left before cutting inside, but his shot from an angle was deflected away off the custodian’s shins.
Stirling had been rarely seen in an attacking sense, but they almost scored just after the hour mark, when Gareth Rodgers was unlucky to see his header cleared off the line by Jamie Watson, as torrential rain started to batter down on the players, while thunder and lightning provided a theatrical backdrop to proceedings.
In amongst the storm, Rovers made three substitutions, with David McKay, Iain Davidson and a trialist coming on for Benedictus, Anderson and Watson.
The trialist took Anderson’s place up-top, and he immediately demonstrated a burst of pace and power, powering past the full-back, only for his cross to be just too high for Victoria.
The Portugese forward was cutting a frustrated figure at times, getting himself into favourable positions, but finding himself unable to finish things off, either due to being crowded out, or through losing his footing.
Rovers eventually opened the scoring in the 77th minute though, after Hendry was brought down in the penalty area, and the man who won it elected to take it, sending the ball to Currie’s left after the goalie elected to head right.
It should have been two just a moment later, but after being teed up, substitute Brad Spencer couldn’t place his shot beyond Curie, who had impressed over the piece.
Spencer was looking like a midfielder who likes to get forward, and the former Forfar man had another attempt at goal a few moments later from 20-yards, albeit it whizzed just past the post on this occasion.
It was the final piece of notworthy action in what was a decent spectacle for a friendly, with several of the new signings showing up well.
Rovers will be in action again on Thursday evening, when they entretain Hamilton at Stark’s Park.
Welcome to Starks Park for the opening friendly of the season, this afternoon we host Stirling Albion to a sunny Kirkcaldy where the mercury has hit 32 degrees.
Welcome back to Stark's Park for the first of the 19/20 pre season friendlies against Stirling Albion. It's warm and sunny and team warming up. Sales of new home top seemed to be doing well too.
Game is under way with Raith kicking off
Bowie already testing Currie for Stirling with a low but tame shot
Kieron Bowie has a shot saved from 22 yards.
Teams settling in with comfortable passing between Benedictus, Munro and Mendy
Heaver for Stirling gets the ball crossed into the box, Munro comes out and collects comfortably
Cammy Thomson with a run on the righ, crosses but Munro pinched the ball from the head of Hawke.
Good build up play by the Rovers sees Bowie hit the post from the edge of the 6 yard box.
Warm reception from the home crowd as McGurn and Davidson come down to warm up
Hendry shoots from the corner of the 18 yard box, Currie fumbled but recovered.
Mendy making his presence felt as he shoulder nudges a Stirling player off the ball. Free kick Stirling
Nando takes his first prisoner in the form of Scott, Mr Steven issues a verbal warning.
Benedictus goes down for the second time, hope he isn't injured.
Warm receptions for McKay and Spencer as they make their way round to warm up
Hendry controls the ball well and passes a lovely ball to MacDonald who can't quite get on to the end of it to convert
Great cover by Miller. Corner to Stirling
Mendy staves off a Docherty challenge and boots the ball away
Truesdale for Stirling comes close but his shot is blocked by one of his own team mates
Good play between Munro and McDonald as they thwart Stirling from pushing forward
Munro collects a high ball cross from Stirling's Lowdon who is proving a menace so far this afternoon
Hendry tries to find Anderson but the pass is just too much for the latter and Currie comes out to clear
Great long ball switch from Mendy to MacDonald
Watson clears a Stirling corner, ball comes back in and Mendy there to boot clear
Teams taking advantage of a well needed water break as play stops after a small head knock between Watson and Hawke. Both players fine
Raith playing well there on the outskirts of the Stirling box passing back and forth the length of the box but can't quite break through
Hawke for Stirling comes close as his header just glances the Raith crossbar
Mendy comes in to block a shot from Stirling ball goes out after connecting with a Stirling player. Linesman signals goal kick ref says corner.
MacDonald's pass into the Stirling box is blocked and cleared
Anderson plays well but his shot/pass is blocked. Corner Raith
Hendry's corner gets to far post. Meets the head of Benedictus. Currie collects
Hendry sees off a few players passes to Bowie who takes the ball further his shot is blocked, Raith corner
Great cover from Bowie as he gets back and challenges and wins the ball
Victoria gets the ball into the box but again it's cleared
Half time Raith 0 Stirling Albion 0 looking positive from Raith. Mendy and Hendry top players for this half, good stuff from them
Second half gets underway
Stirling Albion look like making wholesale changes for the second half, we'll try to keep up.
The task of naming the substitutions would be like herding cats so we won't bother.
Victoria lays the ball on to McDonald but it's too much for him as ball runs away and out for a throw in
Watson, Anderson and Benedictus off.
McKay, Davidson and Trialist B on.
Miller and Matthews off, Trialist A and Spencer on.
Anderson with a great ball through the box. Ball nearly gets to Bowie but it's nicked clear before he makes contact
MacDonald with a lovely ball this time. He gets it up and over to Anderson about 8 yards out. Anderson connects but ball goes out for a goal kick
Anderson picks up the ball turns and shoots. His shot goes over the bar
Long ball to McDonald who goes for a shot...Raith corner
Good play between Matthews and Victoria. The latter gets the ball to Miller whose shot is challenged
Rumblings of thunder as Raith contemplate substitutions
Amazing long ball to McDonald who controls fantastically. He passes to Victoria who decides he going to take the shot on himself but loses the ball
Stirling think they've scored as they thump home the ball but it's ruled offside
Bowie with great ball across the box but no one there to slot home
Victoria picks up a loose ball in the box but he trips over his own feet and the ball is cleared
MacDonald is deemed offside as he picks up a pass from trialist B
Raith penalty as Hendry is challenged and bundled down in the box
GOAL RAITH....IT'S REGAN HENDRY
Bowie's gets the ball down to the byline..cuts it back in to Spencer whose shot is blocked inches from the line
Stirling go for a shot but Davo gets in there
Spencer tries for a shot but his effort is just wide of the post
Bowie bundled off the ball free kick Raith
McKay wins the ball and goes for a run. His pass is cleared, Raith corner
793 is the attendance today
Man of the match is Mendy. Well deserved today.
Victoria turns just inside the box but his shot is high over the bar
Full time Raith 1 (Hendry) Stirling Albion 0. Good run out for Raith today. Good play from MacDonald, Mendy, Hendry and Bowie. Next game is Thursday 4th July.
Munro, Miller, MacDonald, Mendy, Benedictus, Hendry, Anderson, Matthews, Victoria, Watson, Bowie.
Subs, McGurn, Davidson, Trialist B,Spencer, McKay, Trialist A.
Currie, McGeachie, Lowdon, Truesdale, Banner, Nicoll, Scott, Docherty, Hawke, Wilson, Thomson.
Subs, Binnie, McLean, Creaney, McGregor, Rogers, Jardine, Brennan, Heaver, Macklin, Campbell, Wright, Peters, McDonald.