Team Pd GD Pt
1 Dundee 3 2 6
2 Inverness CT 3 3 5
3 Ayr United 3 1 5
4 Queens Park 3 0 4
5 Partick Thistle 3 0 4
6 Morton 3 0 4
7 Hamilton Academical 3 0 3
8 Cove Rangers 3 -2 3
9 Raith Rovers 3 -2 3
10 Arbroath 3 -2 2
Updated: 13th Aug
Saturday December 4th 2021

Arbroath 0 – 0 Raith Rovers

Stalemate At Gayfield

Raith Rovers leapfrogged Kilmarnock in the Championship table, but they couldn’t quite take the top spot, after a 0-0 draw with Arbroath at Gayfield. 

In a game of very, very few chances, neither team troubled the opposing goalkeeper, meaning Raith now sit second, one point behind leaders Inverness. 

It was a much changed side from the one which defeated Inverness Caledonian Thistle on penalties in midweek, with four changes to the personnel, as well as a tweak to the formation. 

Jamie MacDonald returned in goals, while Tom Lang, Ethon Varian and Frankie Musonda all came back in to the starting eleven. 

It meant Rovers started with a 5-4-1 formation, with Musonda starting on the right, and Liam Dick on the left, with Lang, Kyle Benedictus and Christophe Berra sandwiched in between. 

Arbroath made the sharper start to the game, and they really should have taken the lead in the fifth minute, and would have done so without the intervention of Lang. 

A cross from Colin Hamilton found Joel Nouble in the box, and his curling effort seemed destined for the back of the net, if not for the Raith defender’s flying diving header over the bar. 

Then from the corner, Rovers struggled to clear their lines, and Nouble was able to set up Ricky Little, whose blast from the edge of the area flashed just wide. 

Rovers were sitting deep, and hadn’t provided a threat to the home side in the opening passages of play, although a corner kick did provide an opportunity to test the Arbroath defence, but Dylan Tait’s cross was well gathered by Derek Gaston.

Little had another chance in the 19th minute, when a set-piece from the right was swung into the area, and the defender rose highest to nod the ball over MacDonald’s crossbar. 

Rovers defence was holding steady, but it was Dick Campbell’s men who were in the ascendency. 

The game was starting to become a little scrappy, and while Arbroath were threatening down the right-hand side through Scott Stewart and ex-Rover Jason Thomson, too many passes were going astray for both sides. 

Rovers did have a couple of opportunities from free-kicks in decent positions as the half progressed, but from 25-yards out, Tait and then Dario Zanatta could only lash their efforts into Arbroath’s defensive wall. 

The home side were forced into a swap just before the interval, with Little being forced off with a head knock, to be replaced by David Gold. 

It was the final moment of the opening 45 minutes, which had been a little on the attritional side, with neither ‘keeper forced into a save. 

Rovers made a change at the interval, with Musonda going off for Ethan Ross. 

Rovers forced the first chance of the second 45, when Dick’s cross from the left was met by Varian, but he couldn’t guide his header on target and the chance was lost. 

It was a far better start to the second half from Rovers, who were very much on the front foot in its early exchanges. 

Ross’ introduction had injected a little more vim into Rovers forward play, and for the first time in the game, Arbroath were under some sustained pressure, albeit Gaston hadn’t been called into action. 

There was huge concern in the 60th minute, when Michael McKenna’s challenge on Brad Spencer led to both sides’ medical teams running onto the park, and while Spencer was able to hobble off, it looked like a nasty injury, with Aaron Arnott brought on as his replacement. 

The second half had been another scrappy affair, but the Red Lichties almost opened the scoring in the 72nd minute, oddly enough from a Raith corner. 

Zanatta’s short corner routine went completely wrong, allowing Arbroath to hit on the break, although Bobby Linn’s shot was straight at MacDonald. 

Both teams were pushing for a winner in the closing stages, and Raith probably should have taken the lead in the 83rd minute, when good work from Benedictus down the right played in Tumilty, and his cross found Tait on the edge of the area, but he couldn’t apply the finish. 

Arbroath couldn’t quite get the ball clear however, and with the ball coming back into the penalty area, Tumilty saw the space open up for him, but again, he couldn’t connect properly and Gaston gathered easily. 

Arbroath almost snatched it in the second minute of injury time, after Linn raced clear of the defence and sent a tame shot towards MacDonald which the ‘keeper let squirm away from him, but it was hacked clear as it trundled towards goal. 

There was one last chance in the game, when Anton Dowds headed a set piece towards goal, but again, it was an easy take for MacDonald, as both teams had to settle for a point. 

The game again demonstrated another side to this Raith team, who on their day can play football as well as anyone in the division, but can also be called upon to dig in when required. 

They face another tough match next week, when they face Kilmarnock at Stark’s Park. 

Very noisy away support at Gayfield this afternoon.
Arbroath kick off. They’re shooting into their traditional home end.
No they’re not!!!!! Arbroath shooting their away end!
Early pressure for Arbroath so far.
Nouble unmarked in box. He must score! Incredible blocking header saves the day.
Little just wide with his attempt.
Great start from Arbroath.
Good work from Thomson down the right. His cross is guided out for an Arbroath corner.
Free kick Raith. 25 yards out.
Headed out for a Rovers corner.
Little alone in the box. Connects his head with the free kick from the far right. Ball lobs well over the bar.
Raith getting very little time on the ball.
Corner Raith.
Zanatta to take…
Headed clear.
Craigen slides the ball across the face of the goal. No takers.
Does a goal have a face?
Free kick Raith. 20 yards out. This could be dangerous…
Tait’s shot smacks into the wall.
Arbroath 0-0 Raith Rovers.
Scott Stewart booked for a cruncher on Matthews.
Another card. This time for Little.
Rovers free kick about 28 yards out.
Zanatta looks interested.
Zanatta free kick hits the wall.
Berra carded.
Desperate stuff there from the Rovers. Out for an Arbroath corner.
Clash of heads in the Rovers box. Both players up and about thankfully.
Stewart does well down the right and wins an Arbroath corner.
Little replaced by Gold.
Half time: Arbroath 0-0 Raith Rovers
Arbroath dominated early on, but Raith managed to get some possession in the final 25 minutes.
Raith start the second half.
Ross on for Musonda.
Dick swings the ball into the box. Varian can’t quite connect properly and sails out for a goal kick.
Benedictus wins a corner for Raith.
Ross looking in the mood this afternoon.
Low cross from Dick. Ball trundles past everyone. Finally cleared.
Corner Arbroath
Spencer looks in a lot of pain.
Not looking good at all for Spencer.
Arbroath 0-0 Raith Rovers.
Unfortunately, Spencer is being stretchered off.
Update: Spencer off, but not finally needing a stretcher.
Arnott replaces Spencer.
Zanatta threads ball to Tait. He hits the by line, but cross is smothered by keeper.
Linn replaces Stewart
Donnelly replaced by Dowds.
Thomson tries a shot from far out. Deflects off a Rovers defender and it’s an Arbroath corner.
No chances on target this half.
Linn sends in a cracker from the left wing. MacDonald does well to block the chance. Ends up with a Rovers free kick.
Varian wins a Rovers corner.
Short corner wasted.
Linn breaks straight from the corner. He races the length of the pitch and shoots low, straight into MacDonald’s arms.
Arbroath 0-0 Raith Rovers
Zanatta replaced by Tumilty
Henderson replaces Craigen
Dick almost sent through by Arnott. Just too hot to handle.
Tait shot just inside the box. Blocked! Ross about to pull the trigger, but ball flicked away.
Good skills from Nouble. Arbroath win the corner.
Rovers punting every ball up the park now. Not great.
Ross races up the wing. Hamilton booked for stopping the break.
Linn unmarked. Races through. Shoots low and MacDonald doesn’t hold on to the ball. It’s going towards the goal… cleared away!
Rammy on the halfway line. Yellow for McKenna
Arbroath win the free kick though?!
MacDonald easily holds the header.
Full time: Arbroath 0-0 Raith Rovers
Gaston, Thomson, Colin Hamilton, Little, O’Brien, Chris Hamilton, Stewart, McKenna, Donnelly, Nouble, Craigen. Subs: Hilson, Linn, Clark, Gold, Henderson, Dowds, Antell

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

© Eddie Doig

John McGlynn spoke to RaithTV after the draw at Gayfield: