Rovers Stay Top After Draw
Raith Rovers remain top of League One, but they’re now only there on goal difference, after squandering a two goal lead to Clyde at Cumbernauld this afternoon.
First half strikes from Kieron Bowie and Jamie Gullan had given Rovers what appeared to be a comfortable cushion at the interval, but a fine second half performance from the hosts saw the game end all square, following a brace from David Goodwillie.
John McGlynn made two changes from the side which disposed of Glenavon in last weekend’s Tunnocks Caramel Wafer Challenge Cup, with David McGurn returning between the posts for Ross Munro, while Jamie Gullan replaced the injured Grant Anderson.
Rovers started the game brightly, although it took them until the eighth minute to fashion a half chance, when Regan Hendry curled a shot goalwards from 20 yards, which Clyde custodian David Mitchell comfortably gathered.
However, Clyde were straight down the other end, and Goodwillie attempted to clip a shot over McGurn, who despite letting the ball squirm from his grasp, still did enough to keep it out.
It was an early indicator that Rovers were going to keep a close tab on the former Scotland striker, who was already on 13 goals for the season.
However, Rovers strong start to the match was rewarded by a goal in the 11th minute.
Kieron Bowie drove at the heart of the Clyde defence, and from 25 yards, sent a deflected effort looping over Mitchell and into the net.
The hope at that stage was that Raith could impose themselves on the game the same way they did on the same opponents in August, but Goodwillie was proving to be a constant thorn to the Raith rearguard.
He caused danger again after 25 minutes, bursting in behind the defence on the right hand side, before lofting the ball to the back post to number Darren Smith, but just as it seemed he’d have the chance to nod home, Iain Davidson did well to clear from under the bar.
The home side had enjoyed a good spell since going a goal behind, but they found themselves two goals down after half an hour.
Good work from Bowie saw him tee up Gullan, and his shot from 20 yards seemed to flat foot Mitchell, who was unmoved as the ball pinged past him.
Rovers were looking rampant at this point, and Baird should have made it three just three minutes later, but after being put through with just the keeper to beat, he could only screw his shot into the side netting from close range.
He was even closer a moment later, after the ball fell to him in the penalty area, after Mitchell had blocked an effort from Bowie, but his first time effort was blocked, just as the Raith support thought their side were about to race into a three goal lead.
Rovers spent the rest of the half in control of the fixture, without testing Mitchell further, and they’d be left to rue those missed chances, as Clyde came racing out the blocks after the interval.
Baird almost run onto a slack header back to Mitchell right at the start of the half, but apart from that, it was Clyde who largely controlled the second 45.
The home side were awarded two free-kicks in quick succession in dangerous areas down the right, and while Rovers defended them well, the momentum seemed to have switched to the hosts.
A set piece eventually made its way to Ally Love, and his cross was headed into the path of Goodwillie, who slotted past McGurn from inside the area to half the arrears in the 54th minute.
It was almost 2-2 within a minute, when Goodwillie was found at the back post from a cross, but McGurn did superbly to tip his header wide, much to Goodwillie’s amazement.
With Rovers up against it, McGlynn made a change in the 68th minute, bringing on Kyle Benedictus for Gullan and going to a back three, but Clyde were level within seconds, after Goodwillie outpaced Benedictus, and finished at the near post from close range.
Rovers had went from looking assured to hanging on, and their plight became even harder with 15 minutes remaining, after Steven Anderson was given a second yellow card after bringing down Goodwillie on the edge of the area, and from the direct free kick, McGurn had to look alert to hold the forward’s effort.
Rovers appeared to ride out the storm however, and could have won the game themselves in the final ten minutes, after fashioning out a number of chances.
Baird was the first to threaten, after being played in by substitute Tony Dingwall, but from an angle, Mitchell was able to repel his low shot with his legs.
Baird then had the ball in the net with five minutes left, but the assistant referee had his flag up for offside, and then Bowie could have won the game in the dying embers of it, but after doing so well to roll away a challenge inside the area, he couldn’t get his attempt on target from 12 yards, hammering his attempt over the bar as the clock ticked down.
The point was enough to keep Rovers top, as they go into next week’s top of the table clash with East Fife at Stark’s Park next Saturday.
© Eddie Doig 2019
RaithTV spoke to John McGlynn after the 2-2 draw at Broadwood Stadium
Two of the third tier’s most in form teams go head to head at Broadwood this Saturday, as Raith Rovers travel to face Danny Lennon’s Clyde.
After picking up just one point from their opening three matches, a sequence which included a 5-2 defeat at Stark’s Park, the Bully Wee have lost just once in six outings, lifting them to sixth in the table, just two points outside the playoff spots.
That 5-2 victory for Raith was provided by five different goal scorers, with Regan Hendry, Kieron Bowie, Grant Anderson, Joao Victoria and Jack Smith all making their mark.
That match was their first meeting in the league since 2005, and it was Rovers first league win over Clyde since 2002, and just their second league victory over Clyde in 17 attempts.
Clyde have one of the better home records in the division, with only the top three winning more points at their own venues, and only the top three teams have scored more goals than the Broadwood outfit too, with David Goodwillie scoring 13 goals in all competitions this season.
Rovers have a poor record in this one, with two wins and two draws from the last 10 meetings.
Saturday’s match referee will be Peter Stuart.
Head-To-Head Away League Record Versus Clyde:
Clyde Wins: 31 | Raith Rovers Wins: 12 | Draws: 14
Clyde Goals: 105 | Raith Rovers Goals: 61
Raith Rovers: W-W-W-W-D-W
Clyde: David Goodwillie 13 | Chris Johnston 2 | Darren Smith 2
Raith Rovers: Lewis Allan 6 | Michael Miller 5 | Grant Anderson 4 |Kieron Bowie 4
Clyde: 9/5 | Raith Rovers: 6/5 | Draw: 13/5