Team Pd GD Pt
1 Inverness CT 16 8 31
2 Raith Rovers 16 10 30
3 Kilmarnock 16 10 29
4 Partick Thistle 16 15 28
5 Arbroath 16 13 28
6 Hamilton Academical 16 -15 16
7 Ayr United 16 -13 14
8 Greenock Morton 16 -8 13
9 Dunfermline 16 -10 13
10 Queen of the South 16 -10 13
Updated: 4th Dec
Tuesday October 26th 2021

Dunfermline Athletic 1 – 1 Raith Rovers

SPENCER STRIKE SEALS LATE DRAW

A late late Brad Spencer goal sealed a point for Raith following a typically rumbustious Fife Derby played in blustery conditions. Dom Thomas had put Dunfermline ahead with the match’s one moment of genuine quality soon after the interval, but as the second half progressed the Pars retreated, and Spencer’s strike was the result of a sustained period of pressure from John McGlynn’s men. For the second League match in a row, Rovers earned a point in the face of real adversity, with their support singing their praises at the final whistle.

Following a first half in which there were few chances, the match came to life soon into the second period, with Thomas’s fine strike a real moment of skill from the home side’s one outstanding performer. For Raith, another robust and obdurate performance from a defence playing without absent captain Kyle Benedictus – Rovers showed their mettle in a second half which saw referee Alan Muir issue seven bookings.

Raith made the short journey to East End Park still recovering from the blows sustained in the weekend’s bruising draw against League leaders Inverness Caledonian Thistle – neither captain Kyle Benedictus and striker Ethon Varian, both withdrawn through injury on Saturday, made the bench, with midfielder Ross Matthews also missing through suspension. Accordingly, Rovers began with Saturday’s three substitutes – Tom Lang, Ethan Ross, and Matej Poplatnik – all in starting roles. With a boisterous travelling support at their backs, and on the back of a six-game unbeaten run, Raith would face their near neighbours battle-scarred but unbowed. Christophe Berra – instrumental in Saturday’s draw – took the captain’s armband.

For Dunfermline, the season was showing signs of improvement. Two recent draws against Kilmarnock and Partick Thistle stood in stark contrast to the three heavy August defeats which had seen the Pars’ campaign get off to such an inauspicious start. Manager Peter Grant named an unchanged side from the weekend’s draw at Firhill – including defender Mark Connolly, who had stiffened the Pars’ rear-guard since joining from Dundee United in September. Twin strikers Craig Wighton and Kevin O’Hara have eight goals between them so far, substitute Nikolai Todorov had another five.

Dunfermline started well, with Ryan Dow’s good run in from the left the first break, MacDonald was quick to gather. Aaron Comrie also looked to break infield, supported by Dom Thomas. For Raith, Poplatnik was the first to show, with several deft touches and a zipping run to set up Spencer for a shot at goal. As per Saturday’s game, an early Raith surge saw a booking in the opponents’ defence – Mark Connolly seeing yellow after being bamboozled by Poplatnik’s turn. Although the Pars were arguably first out of the blocks, within ten minutes Raith were fully up to speed too – each side bustling through midfield, and passing well in the wide areas. The portents were good for an entertaining ninety minutes.

The near-side touchline was proving a rich hunting ground for both sides – Dom Thomas had several incursions inside Liam Dick on the Pars’ right, while Dario Zanatta also showed promise down Rovers’ left-flank. One burst outside Aaron Comrie had the home defence at action stations – Raith fired two successive corners, although the blustery conditions made accurate set-piece delivery difficult.

Dom Thomas has been a key figure in recent encounters between these sides, and his importance to the Pars’ attacking options was clear to see – picking up a loose flick from Poplatnik, Thomas drove toward goal, although his shot was well wide. Moments later, the first clear chance of the game – O’Hara scrapped with Lang in the corner, eventually managing to square a ball into the area, Liam Dick blocking Thomas’ goal-bound blast.

With half-an-hour gone, the match was simmering but some way short of the boil. Several passes went astray, and numerous players found their first touch impeded by the conditions. Ryan Dow’s control deserted him when well placed, and Zanatta was frustrate by the bounce of the ball following good work by Spencer. Aiden Connolly’s zipping cross flew beyond Zanatta’s run, with the wind playing a part.

Raith had their best spell of the first half in the run-up to the interval, and created their clearest chance. Tom Lang’s fabulous cross-field pass was brought down by Zanatta in stride, and the winger was off, cutting inside Comrie and Allan and shooting at Fon Williams’ goal – only a despairing block prevented a Raith opener. Minutes later it was Spencer’s cross-field pass finding Liam Dick at pace – Pybus’ block felled the Raith man in full stride. Aiden Connolly forced a fine save from Fon Williams from the free-kick.

Right on half-time, again it was Dom Thomas’ direct running causing Raith problems – the combative midfielder slipped in Aaron Comrie, although Dario Zanatta did excellently to track his man. Referee Muir’s half-time whistle brought a keenly-contested first half to a close in which each side had had their moments, but neither had sparkled. With chances at a premium, each manager would need a new plan to unpick the other’s defences in the second period.

Conditions had worsened by the restart with steady rain falling and the wind still gusting, but both sets of supporters ensured the atmosphere was still lively, and within minutes, it was the home fans who had a goal of real quality to celebrate. Zanatta had seen a deft chip held well by Fon Williams, but Dunfermline attacked quickly and with purpose, and from fully twenty-five yards, a Dom Thomas strike flew high beyond MacDonald into the top corner. Thomas had been the game’s most combative player till that point, and looked the most likely to break the deadlock. Dunfermline, ahead for the first time in a League game since the opening day, now had a lead to defend.

Raith looked to respond straight away – Ethan Ross’ run was abruptly blocked by Gaspuitis, with Aiden Connolly’s free-kick clipping the back stanchion, only inches wide. Raith noticeably increased the tempo on falling behind, with Dunfermline’s Pybus and Allan both forced into fouls in midfield. With the wind blowing straight down toward the Raith goal, MacDonald’s clearances were holding up in the wind – Raith’s passing from the back frequently looked at risk of coming unstuck, with Dunfermline redoubling their efforts to press the Rovers defence. Paul Allan’s free-kick whistled through the Raith six-yard box, and substitute Ian Wilson’s drive flew wide.

Rovers pushed and probed, but the match was becoming stretched as passions rose. Zanatta was unlucky not to escape from Gaspuitis, while Dom Thomas’ flick nearly set Craig Wighton through the middle. Thomas and Ethan Ross each had their name taken as temperatures rose in the central third; Josh Edwards thumped Aiden Connolly moments later, while Poplatnik earned yellow in a muscular challenge with Mark Connolly.

Raith continued to press. Substitute Kieran Mitchell was suddenly clear down the right, cutting inside for Connolly to shot, only for Edwards’ shoulder-charge to halt the striker in his tracks – a challenge which could easily have seen a penalty given. Poplatnik blasted wide in the aftermath.

Dunfermline tried to re-establish themselves – a double-change saw Todorov and Kennedy introduced, and with his first touch, the former teed up Dom Thomas for another fizzing drive at goal, MacDonald at full stretch as the Pars’ goalscorer’s effort flew just wide. At the other end, again Poplatnik wriggled free from Edwards, putting his shot narrowly over.

An almighty scramble with three minutes to go – a high ball saw a ruck of bodies in the box, Aaron Comrie blocking a goal-bound effort on the line, and Fon Williams all at sea. Within a minute, more pressure at the home end, and with Dunfermline sitting deeper and deeper, an equaliser looked more and more likely. With Poplatnik jousting again with Gaspuitis, and a forest of legs in front of Fon Williams, Brad Spencer planted a powerful drive in from twenty yards, cuing euphoria amongst Raith players and fans alike while the Pars players – so close to their first victory of the season – fell to their knees.

To their credit, Dunfermline attempted a fight-back – a lofted free-kick swirled in the winds above MacDonald’s goal, and Dow’s shot zipped just wide. With the last chance, another hoisted free-kick flew straight through into the grateful arms of Rovers’ custodian Jamie MacDonald, with referee Muir’s final whistle bringing songs of celebration from the travelling support, and audible sigh of frustration from the home support. While Dunfermline held sway for the bulk of the second half, Raith battled and, for the second game in a row, earned a point in adversity. For the second time this season, this Fife Derby ended with a goal apiece.


0
Great atmosphere at East End Park as the teams come out.
0
Dunfermline to kick off, shooting into their traditional home end.
0
Game on!
3
MacDonald beats Dow to the loose ball and collects just inside the box.
5
Thomas does well. Runs into the box and wins a corner for Dunfermline.
6
Lang heads behind his goal for a second corner.
8
Poplatnik fouled just outside box.
8
Connolly (Dunfermline) booked for the challenge.
9
Corner Raith.
10
Correction - throw in!
15
Dunfermline 0-0 Raith.
16
Corner Dunfermline
18
Thomas and Poplatnik the danger men for each team so far.
19
Zanatta on the run. He’s well marked and out for a corner.
20
Corner Raith.
25
Thomas with the shot. Dick slides in and blocks it.
26
Mistake in the box leads to a Dunfermline corner.
30
Dunfermline 0-0 Raith
39
Zanatta with an incredible run into the box. Great save from Williams.
41
Dick clattered 25 yards outside of the box.
42
Williams with another fantastic save. Corner Raith.
42
Second Raith corner.
44
Zanatta halts a Dunfermline attack. Corner Pars.
45
Half time - Dunfermline 0-0 Raith.
46
Rovers start the second half.
48
MacDonald with the save. Flag was up. Offside.
49
Goal Dunfermline!
49
Cracking strike from Thomas. Hit from 20 yards out, into the top corner.
53
Ross down outside the box. Stand by for an attempt from 25 yards.
55
Connolly or Tait to take it…
55
Raith fans think it’s a goal as the ball nestles in the net. Unfortunately it’s behind the net.
58
Wilson replaces Pybus.
60
Dunfermline 1-0 Raith.
60
Comrie booked.
67
Double booking - Ross & Thomas
68
Corner Raith.
69
Poplatnik booked for a challenge on Connolly.
72
Corner Dunfermline.
72
Thomas for Dunfermline has been a handful.
74
Ross replaced by Mitchell.
75
Dunfermline 1-0 Raith.
76
Connolly bundled over in the box. No foul says the ref.
78
Todorov replaces Wighton.
78
Kennedy replaces O’Hara
79
Thomas with the shot. Looked like a good save from MacDonald, but ref gives a goal kick.
82
Tumilty with two crosses from the right. Dunfermline defence holds strong.
82
Riley-Snow replaces Connolly.
83
Poplatnik turns in the box and fires over.
87
GOAL RAITH!!!
87
SPENCER picks up the ball abd drives low into the keepers right post.
88
Spencer booked for a rash challenge inside the Dunfermline half.
90
Tait booked.
90
Dow shoots just past the post.
95
Full time: Dunfermline 1-1 Raith Rovers
95
Phew!
Dunfermline Athletic
Williams, Comrie, Edwards, O’Hara, Wighton, Dow, Gaspultis, Pybus, Allan, Thomas, Connolly. Subs: Mehmet, Macdonald, Kennedy, Todorov, Breen, McCann, Wilson

Raith Rovers
MacDonald, Tumilty, Dick, Berra, Connolly, Zanatta, Lang, Spencer, Tait, Ross, Poplatnik. Subs: Thomson, Musonda, Riley-Snow, Arnott, Mitchell, Young

 

John McGlynn spoke to RaithTV after tonight’s 1-1 draw:

 

Goalscorer Brad Spencer spoke to RaithTV after the draw against Dunfermline Athletic:

After 10-man Raith Rovers battled to a hard earned point against Inverness Caledonian Thistle at the weekend, they head into Tuesday night’s Fife derby, looking to keep the pressure on at the top of the table.

Ross Matthews first half dismissal left Raith with an uphill battle against the league leaders on Saturday, but Aidan Connolly’s goal had given Rovers the lead with half-an-hour remaining, only for Sean Welsh to equalise with 10 minutes to go.

It left Rovers five points behind Billy Dodds side, while Kilmarnock’s win over Hamilton meant Rovers slipped a place in the table to third.

The Pars also drew on Saturday, with a 0-0 draw at Partick Thistle, their fifth draw in six matches, and while they’re still bottom of the table, a win on Tuesday evening could see them move out the relegation zone, depending on results elsewhere.

One of those five draws was the last meeting between the two last month, when Dario Zanatta had given Rovers an early lead, only for Kevin O’Hara to equalise with 10 minutes to go.

The draw meant Rovers are unbeaten against Dunfermline in four games, however, they don’t have a great record at East End Park, with their last league win coming back in 2009, when goals from Grant Murray and Damian Casalinuovo gave Rovers a 2-0 win.

The sides are split right down the middle in terms of recent results, with three wins and four draws apiece from the last 10 meetings.

Tuesday night’s match referee will be Alan Muir.

Head-To-Head Away League Record:

Dunfermline Wins: 23 | Raith Rovers Wins: 18 | Draws: 9

Dunfermline Goals: 85 | Raith Rovers Goals: 71

Current Form:

Dunfermline: D-D-D-L-D-D

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

Top Scorers:

Dunfermline: Kevin O’Hara 5 | Nikolay Todorov 5

Raith Rovers: Dario Zanatta 7 | Lewis Vaughan 4

Match Odds:

Dunfermline: 9/5 | Raith Rovers: 5/4 | Draw: 12/5