Brad’s Brace Helps See Off Brechin
Raith Rovers made it two wins from two in their League Cup campaign, with a comfortable 4-0 win over Brechin City at Stark’s Park.
A fine first half finish from Lewis Vaughan had the home side in front at the interval, and a brace from Brad Spencer and another from Dario Zanatta had Raith on easy street against the Highland League side.
Manager, John McGlynn went with the same side which started the 1-0 win over Cowdenbeath at the weekend, meaning a first competitive home start for Liam Dick at left back, along with Matej Poplatnik up front.
Brechin on the other hand were only able to name a squad of 14, with new signing, Iain Davidson, a man so familiar to Raith fans he has a testimonial this Friday, unable to take a place in the squad.
Rovers started strongly in the first few moments, and while they failed to bring out a save from Brechin goalkeeper Jack Wills, the flow of the game was all heading towards his goal.
It was all a very patient style of play, with pretty much everyone in the Rovers starting eleven getting a decent touch of the ball in the opening stages.
Dylan Tait was the first player to have a dig at goal after eight minutes, when a cross from Raith’s left was headed away, but only as far as the midfielder at the edge of the area, who did well to bring the ball down on his chest and half volley the ball straight at Wills.
The home side continued to press, and Reghan Tumilty was making good headway down the right, and his cross in the 15th minute seemed ideal for the three or four teammates who had ventured into the penalty area, but it somehow avoided everyone and the chance was lost.
Vaughan was the next player to combine with Tumilty, when their exchange allowed the full-back to put another low cross into the area, but despite Aaron Connolly connecting, he was unable to steer his chance on target.
Rovers were completely dominating possession, with Zanatta on the left and Connolly on the right continuing to get crosses into the penalty area, but to Brechin’s credit, their central defenders were doing well to head everything that came their way clear.
Despite Rovers being on top, Brechin arguably eked out the best chance of the half after 30 minutes, when Jack Milne pounced on a mix up in midfield, running at the Raith defence before playing it right to Kieran Inglis who found space on the right, but his shot from outside the area flew wide of Jamie MacDonald’s left-hand post.
Perhaps taking inspiration from Kieran Tierney in a Scotland shirt, Kyle Benedictus was getting forward well from a central defensive position, but despite his forward forays, his crosses were failing to worry the Brechin defence.
The game looked like it was threatening to peter out with the interval approaching, but in the 43rd minute, Rovers took the lead, thanks to a fine finish from Vaughan.
Zanatta’s cross from the right caused confusion between Wills and Garry Wood, and while the Rovers forward still had plenty to do just inside the penalty area, he was able to chest the ball down, before crisply finishing the ball on the half volley to give Rovers the advantage.
It was another fine strike from a player who, with two goals in as many games, is hinting that he might be in for a big season this term.
Rovers continued to look comfortable in the opening phases of the second half, with Connolly, Zanatta and Vaughan all looking lively, without testing Wills in the visiting goal.
Perhaps growing frustrated at the lack of chances being created in front of him, Tumilty elected to take matters into his own hands, or feet in the 54th minute, but his shot from distance was well wide of Wills net.
Poplatnik was the next player to threaten, when he looked like he was about to get put clear by Zanatta’s through ball, but Jamie Bain did well to cover and nod the ball back to his ‘keeper.
Rovers did make it two in the 62nd minute however, and again, the move started out wide, when a cross from Connolly picked out Spencer on the edge of the six-yard-box, and he did well to steer his header into the bottom corner of the net.
With Brechin pretty much on the back foot for much of the game, you felt that that was probably it in terms of the game’s outcome, and it was put beyond doubt five minutes later.
Zanatta looked like he was keen to get the ball to the bye line and get a cross in, but after initially losing possession, he managed to regain control of the ball before cutting inside and sending a wickedly deflected effort away from Wills and into the net to make it three.
James Keatings had replaced the Slovenian forward Poplatnik in the 64th minute, and he almost made it four in the 71st minute, when some fine interchange play eventually saw Connolly tee him up, and his first time effort had to be well turned away by Wills who got down to his right to tip it wide.
At this point, it looked like the game could be as many as Rovers wanted it to be, and it was four with seven minutes remaining.
Zanatta’s cross from the right initially looked like it had been scuffed into the box, but with the Brechin defence struggling to get back into position, it fell just right for Spencer, who side footed home from 10 yards.
Rovers weren’t slacking off though, and James Keatings almost made it five a few minutes later, when his deftly chipped finish from outside the area dipped over Wills, only to rebound back off the crossbar.
Brechin managed to make it to the end of the match without further damage however, and with Rovers getting this weekend off, they’ll be back in action next midweek, when they face Livingston away next Wednesday evening.
John McGlynn spoke to RaithTV after the win in the Premier Sports Cup
Competitive football returns to Stark’s Park this evening, as Raith Rovers host Brechin City in a League Cup group stage match.
Rovers will be looking to build on an opening day win over Cowdenbeath, when a goal from Lewis Vaughan was enough to earn John McGlynn’s men all three points.
Brechin on the other hand went down by three goals to nil against Livingston at the weekend, and will probably need to win their remaining three matches to have a chance of qualifying for the next stage of the tournament.
This is the teams first ever meeting in the League Cup, and their first meeting of any kind since a five goal thriller in League One two years ago.
Ross Kavanagh had twice given Brechin a first half lead, only for Kevin Nisbet to cancel them both out, before Liam Buchanan scored the decisive winner midway through the second period.
Rovers do have the upper hand in this fixture recently, but only just, with four wins and three draws from the last 10 meetings.
Tuesday evenings match referee will be Scott Lambie.
Head-To-Head Cup Record Versus Brechin:
Raith Rovers Wins: 4 | Brechin Wins: 1 | Draws: 1
Raith Rovers Goals: 14 | Brechin Goals: 9
Raith Rovers: 1/7 | Brechin: 16/1 | Draw: 15/2