Rovers Excel In Four Goal Win
Raith Rovers continued their fine home form in the league with a thoroughly convincing 4-0 victory against Peterhead at Stark’s Park this afternoon. On a blustery day, Rovers blew their opponents away with a display which would surely convince those in attendance that John McGlynn’s side will be serious contenders for the League One title this season.
Today’s win means Rovers have scored twelve goals in three matches at Stark’s Park this season, and if this form can be replicated on their travels, they will take some stopping.
The Blue Toon have made a decent start to their campaign following promotion from League 2 last season, and came into today’s match buoyed by wins against Forfar Athletic and Stranraer in their last two games. However, in truth Jim McInally’s side had no answer to their hosts today, who could and should have plundered more goals given their overall dominance and number of chances created over a swashbuckling ninety minutes.
Rovers started with recent signing Steven Anderson anchoring a three-man central defensive unit alongside regulars Iain Davidson and captain Kyle Benedictus, a change of formation with allowed Michael Miller and Kieran MacDonald to push higher up the pitch on the flanks. To the delight of the home fans, Lewis Vaughan made the starting eleven, partnering Lewis Allan in what looked like an attacking team.
Following a cagey opening few minutes, Rovers began to press forward, and with six minutes played an enterprising attack upfield resulted in the game’s opening goal. Kieran MacDonald collected a long pass from Steven Anderson wide on the left wing, and the full-back’s neat pass inside was met by Grant Anderson, whose low shot found the net despite Peterhead keeper Greg Fleming getting a hand to the ball.
The concession of an early goal did little to dampen the spirits of the visitors, who quickly pushed forward in search of an equaliser. However, it was Rovers who went close to doubling their advantage when Anderson, clearly keen to add to his goal tally, exchanged passes with Vaughan before the ball was nicked from him as he prepared to shoot from close range.
Rovers, who were comfortably dominating possession for the most part, came close again when a cross from Lewis Allan landed invitingly for Regan Hendry, but the midfielder’s header was mis-timed and failed to find the target with the goal at his mercy.
With half an hour played, Rovers then forced a corner kick, from which Benedictus attempted an audacious overhead kick, before the ball was scrambled clear. However, within seconds the ball was returned to the danger area, and when it fell invitingly for Michael Miller, the defender lashed a left foot shot high into the net to extend the home side’s advantage.
At this stage, it looked as if Rovers could put the game out of their opponents’ reach before the interval. Grant Anderson whistled a shot narrowly wide, before Vaughan, put clear on goal, should have scored but Fleming blocked the striker’s shot from close range. Peterhead, clearly frustrated by lengthy spells pressed deep into their own territory, tried to muscle the home side out of their stride, and Jack Leitch could count himself very fortunate to escape with just a stern lecture from referee David Lowe for a crude tackle from behind on Hendry.
Vaughan then tried his luck with a first-time shot which scraped the crossbar, before a thoroughly entertaining first half was brought to a close.
Any concerns that the momentum Rovers had generated in the opening 45 minutes would somehow subside after half-time quickly disappeared as the home side resumed on the front foot. Within 60 seconds, a looping Hendry free-kick was nodded back towards the danger area by Steven Anderson, and Davidson’s shot was cleared. Peterhead’s Cameron Eadie then somehow avoided a caution for a bad tackle on Grant Anderson – the winger was forced to limp from the field shortly afterwards – before Benedictus did attract the game’s first booking for a late tackle.
Before Anderson was replaced by Jamie Gullan, however, Rovers extended their lead with a moment of genuine quality courtesy of Lewis Vaughan. A long pass found the Rovers striker galloping forward, and, although surrounded by defenders, Vaughan’s lofted shot with the outside of his right foot sailed over the advancing Fleming into the corner of the net. The south stand rose as one to applaud a goal which took the breath away while effectively securing the three points at the same time.
Not that Rovers were going to settle for that. Clearly intent on inflicting further damage on opponents who were one the ropes, chances continued to be created with a frequency which surely had the away side keen to head for the safety of the north east. A looping Iain Davidson header came within a whisker of finding the net, before appeals for a penalty following a clear foul on Gullah inside the box were waved aside by the referee, much to the irritation of the Rovers faithful.
Benedictus then went close with a towering header from Davidson’s deep cross, before Rovers scored a fourth goal with 65 minutes played. MacDonald hit the by-line before whipping a low cross into the box – the ball was met first-time by Michael Miller, whose shot from twelve yards rippled the corner of the net.
At this stage, it seemed that Rovers, looking dangerous with every attack, would inflict further punishment on their opponents, but for all chances were created, the net remained a stranger for the remainder of the match. David McKay replaced man of the match Vaughan, before Jason Brown drew ironic cheers from the south stand when he was given a yellow card for a bad foul. Derek Lyle and Scott Brown accompanied their team-mate in the referee’s book in the closing stages, before Brad Spencer came close to grabbing a fifth goal for Rovers with a shot from 20 years which shaved the outside of Fleming’s post with the keeper beaten.
The home side were rewarded with a generous and deserved ovation at the end of what was a scintillating ninety minutes. It seems incredible to say that the score line flattered Peterhead today, but in truth the margin of victory for Rovers could have been far greater. John McGlynn’s team will look towards next week’s visit to Airdrie in high spirits.
Photos © Tony Fimister
Assistant Manager Paul Smith spoke to RaithTV after the 4-0 home win against Peterhead
Our new signing Steven Anderson spoke to RaithTV after the 4-0 home win against Peterhead
Raith Rovers will be hoping to head back to the summit of League One this Saturday, with a win over Peterhead at Stark’s Park.
That will be easier said than done however, against a Blue Toon side who have lost just twice in 90 minutes in 10 games this season.
Jim McInally’s men have been something of a draw specialist this term, with five draws in league and cup competitions, with only Dumbarton and Raith managing wins over them so far.
That Rovers win came in the League Cup in July, when goals from Kieron Bowie and Michael Miller in the opening 20 minutes put Rovers in control, while Lewis Allan made the points safe with 10 minutes remaining in a 3-1 win.
Peterhead go into the game on the back of two successive league wins, after victories over Forfar and Stranraer, and last season’s League Two champions sit just outside the playoff spots in fifth, level on points with Falkirk, and a point ahead of Forfar and Airdrie.
This will be the two sides first league meeting in 10 years, when they played out a 3-3 draw at Stark’s Park in the second division.
The most recent head-to-head record is equal between the two, with both teams sitting on four wins and two draws from the last 10 meetings.
Saturday’s match referee will be David Lowe.
Head-To-Head Home League Record Versus Peterhead:
Raith Rovers Wins: 4 | Peterhead Wins: 2 | Draws: 2
Raith Rovers Goals: 18 | Peterhead Goals: 14
Raith Rovers: W-W-L-W-L-W
Raith Rovers: Lewis Allan 5 | Kieron Bowie 3 | Regan Hendry 3
Peterhead: Scott Brown 2 | Derek Lyle 2
Raith Rovers: 17/20 | Peterhead: 31/10 | Draw: 13/5