Team Pd GD Pt
1 Hearts 27 39 57
2 Dundee 27 9 45
3 Raith Rovers 27 9 43
4 Dunfermline 27 4 39
5 Inverness CT 27 5 36
6 Queen of the South 27 -13 32
7 Arbroath 27 -6 30
8 Ayr United 27 -6 29
9 Greenock Morton 27 -11 29
10 Alloa Athletic 27 -30 22
Updated: 30th Apr
Saturday March 20th 2021

Ayr United 1 – 1 Raith Rovers

Raith Rise After Somerset Point

Raith Rovers jumped back up to second place in the SPFL Championship table, after a hard fought 1-1 draw with Ayr United at Somerset Park. 

Kyle Benedictus nodded Raith in front at the start of the second half, but after an equaliser from Aaron Muirhead with 20 minutes remaining, neither side were able to conjure up a winner. 

Manager John McGlynn made four changes for this one, as he attempted to get Raith back to winning ways, after three games without a win, or a goal. 

Out went the suspended Iain Davidson, while Gozie Ugwu, Kai Kennedy and Brad Spencer all dropped to the bench. 

In their stead came Frankie Musonda, Lewis Vaughan, Jamie Gullan and Manny Duku, as Rovers went for their first win since defeating Alloa at the end of February. 

These two teams had failed to produce a goal in the two previous meetings this season, and it was a tight affair at the start of this one, with neither side threatening the opposing goalkeeper in the opening exchanges. 

It was the home side who created the first chance in the 10th minute, and it came very much from a route one source. 

A huge kick out from Viljami Sinisalo was pounced on by Cammy Smith wide on the right, and his deep cross to the back post looked ideal for Mark McKenzie, but he couldn’t quite connect properly with his headed effort and Jamie MacDonald was able to avert the danger. 

At the other end, Sinisalo had his first test after 16 minutes, when Vaughan’s free kick was swung into the box, but it was an easy gather for the Finnish under-21 goalkeeper. 

Neither side was managing to exert too much influence over the other in the opening quarter of what had been a pretty nondescript opening 20 minutes or so. 

Both teams seemed to be cancelling each other out, in an attritional half of football that was crying out for someone to put their foot on the ball and stamp a little quality on proceedings, but while both sides couldn’t be faulted for effort, aesthetically pleasing passages of play were thin on the ground. 

On a difficult-looking surface, both teams were playing pretty directly, but that probably suited neither side, with most balls forward being gobbled up by the respective defences. 

Vaughan was doing his best to get close to Duku, and while they had a couple of neat interchanges, they were unable to develop anything of substance. 

Rovers did have one final attack as the interval approached, with Gullan doing well down the left, but with Duku to aim at, he couldn’t find the forward and Sinisalo was able to gather, in the last piece of noteworthy action in what hadn’t been the most memorable of first periods. 

After 45 minutes of both teams creating very little, Rovers were straight on the front foot at the start of the second, with a cross from the right falling to Gullan in the penalty area, but his attempt was deflected over the bar for a Raith corner. 

That was then immediately followed by a second, but it only resulted in a booking for Ross Matthews, after he attempted to block Sinisalo’s quick kick out. 

Rovers were looking a little brighter now, and they possibly should have taken the lead after 53 minutes. 

Gullan’s cross from the left was diverted out for a corner, and from Vaughan’s delivery, Musonda found himself free in the six-yard box, but he failed to get his header on target, nodding an effort over the bar when most probably expecting to see the net bulge. 

At least it offered encouragement though, and Rovers had lifted their performance a few notches since the interval, and they were rewarded with the game’s opening goal three minutes later. 

Again, Ayr switched off at a corner kick, and from Daniel Armstrong’s delivery, Kyle Benedictus was able to take advantage of shoddy defending to nod Rovers in front. 

Rovers looked like they’d taken heart from the goal, and were knocking the ball around a little better, and if anyone looked like grabbing the game’s second goal, you suspected it would be them. 

However, new Ayr United boss, David Hopkin changed things around, with Michael Moffat replacing Joe Chalmers, to give the home side an extra presence up front. 

It was another Ayr forward, Luke McCowan who tested the Raith defence next, twisting away from several challenges at the edge of the box, and only a fine sliding challenge from Benedictus prevented him getting a shot off on target. 

They did get an effort on target a moment later however, and it saw the scores levelled. 

Rovers were unable to clear their lines following an Ayr free-kick, and the ball fell kindly for Aaron Muirhead who bundled the ball home to restore parity to the scoreline. 

Rovers were suddenly up against it, and were fortunate not to be behind within a few minutes. 

Moffat found himself clean through with just MacDonald to beat, but after advancing at goal from an angle, he couldn’t fire off a clean finish, and the Raith custodian was able to gather. 

The match had come alive, and Raith forced a save out of Sinisalo from a direct free-kick 25 yards from goal from Vaughan, before Honest Man substitute, Tom Walsh forced MacDonald into action once again, diving to his left to cleanly take a curling effort that may have been looping in. 

Both teams were now going all out for a winner, in an exciting finish that bore little resemblance to the flat first 45 minutes.

However, neither side were able to rustle up a decent chance in the closing stages, and the points, quite rightly, were shared. 

Rovers’ hectic schedule continues in midweek, when they face Stirling Albion in the Scottish Cup, with the winner travelling to Livingston in the next round. 


0
Welcome to today's game Ayr United v Raith Rovers. It's a lovely sunny day here but a bit cloudy in Ayr. Four changes to the weekend game, in come Duku, Vaughan, Musonda and Gullan.
0
Raith get the game underway. Raith shooting towards the town end
2
Benedictus hoofs it up the park and Sinisalo collects comfortably
3
Duku takes the ball for a run, Vaughan makes the run into the box but Duku tries for a shot but it's too soft and Sinisalo gets down to collect
4
Free kick Ayr as Hendry fouls just outside the centre circle in Raith half
6
Ayr try to break through the Raith defence but it doesn't come to much
7
Ayr get the ball into the Raith box but Tumilty is there to put a foot in and Benedictus gets the ball away
9
Chalmers goes for a shot but it does trouble MacDonald
10
Ayr again get another ball in to the Raith box but thankfully McKenzie doesn't connect well and MacDonald can collect
13
Hendry switches the play overs to K MacDonald but Ayr intercept when he gets the ball into the box
15
Armstrong whips the ball up field and Gullan tries to get on to it but Ayr get their first and clear
16
Vaughan gets the ball to the front post and Musonda comes in but Sinisalo comes out and smothers the ball
19
Duku and Ndaba go chasing the ball into the Ayr box. Duku tries to keep the ball in play by back healing but he is a tad too late
22
Free kick Raith in the Ayr half as Armstrong is fouled
24
Raith calling for a foul on Duku but ref waves play on
25
Armstrong picks up the ball and tries for a pass on to Duku but it's off angle and too heavy for Duku to collect
28
Raith flick the ball into the Ayr box, Vaughan is there but he's surrounded by Ayr players and ball is cleared quickly
29
Hendry floats the ball up to Vaughan as he tries to run on to it but the ball is just too quick
30
30 min in Ayr 0 Raith 0. Been a lot of head football but both sides have had equal possession and threats going forward
36
Freekick Ayr as Musonda is booked for a foul
36
Freekick approx 25 yards out of Raith goal
38
Reading gets the ball back to Muirhead who goes for a low shot but the ball is off target and goes out for a goalkick to Raith
38
Houston tries to get the ball across into the box but K MacDonald is there to block
40
Duku takes the ball up the left line he tries to take it to the corner but his control is too heavy and ball goes for a goal kick to Ayr
43
Gullan gets the ball into the Ayr box near the back post, Duku is there but he can't connect and Sinisalo out stretches and collects
45
Ref blows for Half time Ayr 0 Raith 0 not been a lot in the game apart from head football. Both teams have had equal possession.
45
Ayr United start the second half.
46
Gullan with a half chance. Out for a corner.
46
Second Raith corner.
47
Silly booking there for Matthews. Tried to stop the keeper kicking the ball.
51
Hendry fouled on the left. Free kick 30 yards out.
52
Gullan with a weak attempt ends up out for a Raith corner.
52
Vaughan with the corner, Musonda races in, connects and just over the bar.
56
Duku, by the corner flag does well and wins a corner.
56
GOAL RAITH!
56
Armstrong with the corner to the back post and captain BENEDICTUS heads home!
60
Ayr United 0-1 Raith Rovers.
60
Chalmers replaced by Miller (Ayr).
60
Duku creating a bit of pressure. Ayr defence coping... just.
62
Correction - Chalmers was replaced by Moffat (Ayr).
63
Corner Raith.
63
Vaughan short with the cross, out for another corner though.
67
Houston goes into the book.
68
Hendry with a chance there. Goes high and wide.
69
What a tackle from Benedictus in the box. That was going to be the equaliser.
70
Ayr with the free kick just outside the box.
70
GOAL AYR!
70
Raith defence seemed to be caught there abd Muirhead drills home.
71
McKenzie off. Walsh on (Ayr).
72
Free kick just outside box for Raith. Could be Vaughan time...
72
Just too high from Vaughan.
74
Moffat through, but shoots straight at MacDonald.
75
Ayr United 1-1 Raith Rovers.
76
Yellow card for Murdoch.
76
Another free kick for Raith. This time 25 yards out.
77
Vaughan clears the wall, but keeper holds well.
78
Ayr 20-yarder well held by MacDonald.
81
Kennedy and Abrahams on for Duku and Vaughan.
81
Corner Raith.
83
Smith booked (Ayr).
88
MacDonald clears for an Ayr corner.
91
Tait on for Armstrong.
94
Full time: Ayr United 1-1 Raith Rovers.
Raith Rovers
J MacDonald Tumilty Benedictus K MacDonald Armstrong Hendry Duku Matthews Vaughan Musonda Gullan

Subs
Thomson Abrahams Spencer Tait Kennedy Ugwu King

Ayr United
Sinsalo Houston Reading Muirhead Murdoch McCowan Smith Ndaba Chalmers McKenzie Baird

Subs
Urminsky Roscoe Moffat Miller Walsh Zanatta Barjonas

Photographs courtesy of Alan Graham

John McGlynn spoke to RaithTV after the draw against Ayr United

Raith Rovers head to Ayrshire this weekend, looking for their first win in four matches, although to do that, they’ll need to change their barren run in front of goal, which has seen them draw a blank in each of their three matches.

That might be easier said than done however, against an Ayr United side that are heading into this one on the back of a good win over Dundee in midweek, and are under new stewardship, with David Hopkin taking over from the recently departed Mark Kerr.

That 3-1 win at Dens Park moved the Honest Men away from the relegation spots and into seventh, and with the league being so tight, are now only three points outside the promotion playoff spots.

Despite that defeat to Inverness in midweek, Rovers are still in third place in the table, but with a large pack of teams in close pursuit.

These two teams have already met twice this term, and there’s yet to be a goal in either game, although on both occasions, both teams probably felt aggrieved not to take all three points.

Rovers are currently without a win in five attempts versus Ayr, with their last win coming in September 2017, when goals from Lewis Vaughan and Jason Thomson secured a 2-1 victory.

Despite Raith’s winless run versus Ayr, they have an even record against each other in recent years, with three wins and four draws apiece from the last 10 meetings.

Saturday’s match referee will be David Dickinson.

Head-To-Head League Record at Ayr:

Ayr United Wins: 34 | Raith Rovers Wins: 16 | Draws: 23

Ayr United Goals: 95 | Raith Rovers Goals: 72

Current Form:

Ayr United: L-L-W-D-L-W

Raith Rovers: W-L-W-D-D-L

Top Scorers:

Ayr United: Luke McCowan 7 | Cammy Smith 6

Raith Rovers: Manny Duku 10 | Daniel Armstrong 4

Match Odds:

Ayr United: 6/4 | Raith Rovers: 9/5 | Draw: 9/4