Rovers failed to build on Sunday’s SPFL Trust Trophy Triumph as they fell to a 2-0 defeat to the hands of relegation battling Dunfermline.
A Kevin O’Hara double was enough to separate the sides as John McGlynn’s side failed to gain any ground on fourth placed Partick Thistle as they now have it all to do in the final four games.
Rovers had the first real opportunity of the game with a quarter of an hour played after some good recovery work from Ross Matthews won the ball back in the middle of the park and managed to move his side forward up the pitch, playing the ball out to Frankie Musonda on the left who charged past Matty Todd cutting inside onto his right foot when he looked like trying his luck from distance before being tripped by Pybus, winning his side a free kick in a dangerous area on the left. Aidan Connolly stepped up but his right footed effort from the edge of the box was straight at the wall which allowed Coll Donaldson to clear.
It was a hotly contested game, with the hosts proving that their mini revival could well begin against John McGlynn’s side as Steven Lawless narrowly missed the target from 22-yards out. A sensational piece of skill from Dom Thomas saw him flick the ball over the head of Reghan Tumilty with the back of his heel on the left and sprint away down the line, squaring the ball along the face of the eighteen yard box. Lawless stepped onto the ball and a fierce left footed shot was his choice, but it flew narrowly wide of the right hand post with 22-minuteds played
Rovers were the creators of their own downfall as the hosts drew first blood with 12 first half minutes remaining. Kyle Benedictus’ pass across the face of his own box was picked up by Dave McKay in his own box who gave it to Spencer a few yards in front of him, which triggered the press from the home side, which lead to the midfielder having his pocket picked by Dom Thomas, who instinctively slid the ball into the path of Kevin O’Hara in support, allowing him to run clean through, one on one with Jamie MacDonald, the striker made no mistake in slotting the ball home.
Steven Lawless was left gobsmacked that he hadnt doubled his side’s advantage four minutes before the break. Some great break away play from Dom Thomas saw him draw the full Rovers backline out to the left hand side, letting the former Partick man drift through on goal unnoticed, allowing Thomas to square to the middle of the box, which caught MacDonald in two minds, but Lawless fired his first time effort over the bar from 12-yards out.
Rovers thought they’d managed to get themselves back on level terms just shy of the 55-minute mark after Matej Poplatnik saw yet another headed effort fly inches over the bar. Some good work from Ethan Ross down the left hand side saw him win a free-kick off of Matty Todd, which allowed him to deliver a ball into the area, which Ambrose miscued, allowing the ball to float towards Poplatnik, who’s header was looped from 12-yards and landed on the roof of the net.
Things didn’t get any better from there as Kevin O Hara scored his and his side’s second goal of the evening with 11-minutes to play. Dom Thomas looked to try and catch Jamie MacDonald out at his near post from a corner, which had the keeper scrambling, clawing the ball off the line but into the path of O’Hara only a yard or so out as he managed to bundle the ball under the goalie and into the net to cap off a miserable evening in Fife.
Stolarczyk, O’Hara, Edwards, Ambrose, Donaldson, Chalmers, Thomas, Todd, Pybus, Polworth, Lawless. Subs: Mehmet, Martin, McCann, Jones, Dow, Todorov, Comrie, Cole, Kamwa
MacDonald, Tumilty, Musonda, Benedictus, Connolly, Matthews, Zanatta, Spencer, McKay, Stanton, Poplatnik. Subs: Thomson, Dick, Varian, Ross, Arnott, Young
Some pictures from the Fife Derby at East End Park.
Photographs © Jim Foy.
John McGlynn spoke to RaithTV after tonight’s defeat:
Rovers are back on league duty as they make the short trip to Dunfermline tomorrow night as they look to build from Sunday’s SPFL Trust Trophy triumph against Queen of The South.
John McGlynn’s side go into the game buoyant, having lifted silverware for the first time in eight years on Sunday as they look to go level on points with Partick with a victory over their local rivals at East End Park.
John Hughes’s side will be full of confidence after recent times having picked up five points from their last four games in their battle to beat the drop, with a resounding 4-1 victory over Partick Thistle looking as if it would spark a mini revival, before succumbing to Inverness last time out.
Rovers on the other hand, go into the game hoping that lifting the trophy act will act as a platform to go and help them secure the last play-off spot going into the final five league games.
The two sides have met four times this season and it has been a fixture that Rovers haven’t found too much success in, having drew three times against Peter Grant and now John Hughes’s side and they’ll be looking to change their fortune by grabbing their first and potentially most important victory of the season against the Pars.
Rovers drew a blank in the last encounter between the two sides, with neither side able to find the back of the net in the first match of 2022.
Both the management and the players will have the added motivation of potentially keeping themselves firmly in the race for fourth spot as they look to finish the season on a high and extend the season into May.
Dunfermline Wins: 8 Raith Rovers Wins: 7 Draws: 8
Raith Rovers: W-D-L-W-L
Queen of the South: L-W-D-D-L
Raith Rovers: Dario Zanatta 9, Aidan Connolly 7, Matej Poplatnik 8
Dunfermline: Dom Thomas 4, Lewis McCann 4, Kevin O’Hara 3
Referee: Nick Walsh