Rovers suffer first league defeat at Excelsior
Rovers arrived in Airdrie top of the league and in buoyant mood. The starting line-up saw changes in the attacking positions with Josh Mullin and Dylan Easton replacing Lewis Vaughan and Callum Smith.
It was the home side that started the better: bossing the majority of possession but rarely threatening Kevin Dabrowski’s goal, with the big keeper only having to make a couple of routine saves. In fact, as the half progressed, it was Rovers that had the best chances with Sam Stanton’s shot from the edge of the box just turned around the post, and a Mullin free kick flashed wide.
Rovers best chance came with a moment of opportunism from Stanton as he saw Joshua Rae in the Airdrie goal off his line, his attempted lob looked to be goal bound but was denied by the post.
Half-time: Airdrie 0-0 Raith Rovers
The second half followed a similar pattern – both teams well matched without playing particularly well. Scott Brown came close but his right-footed shot was the wrong side of the post for the travelling support. Then, Jack Hamilton who worked tirelessly throughout, and often quite isolated, probably should have given Rovers the lead. A well-worked move saw Easton play him in but his shot was too close to the keeper and Rae kept it out.
Rovers then paid the price for the missed chances: a neatly worked move from the hosts found Calum Gallagher and his first time strike was neatly converted in the bottom corner. Airdrie 1-0 Rovers.
Sub, Jamie Gullan, did have the ball in the net but Euan Murray was penalised for a challenge in the build-up and Airdrie held on for a home victory.
Rovers will be disappointed not to leave with at least a point but such is the closeness of teams in the Championship – no game is predictable.
Full-time: Airdrie 1-0 Raith Rovers
by David Proudfoot
Ian Murray spoke to RaithTV after today’s 1-0 defeat at the Excelsior Stadium:
After defeating Inverness and putting an end to a hoodoo of their own last weekend, Raith Rovers will be hoping the same thing doesn’t happen to them this Saturday, when they travel to the Excelsior Stadium to face Airdrieonians.
Rovers are on a run of 17 games without a loss to the Diamonds, a sequence which stretches all the way back to 2011.
However, Rhys McCabe’s newly promoted side have started this season impressively, especially at home, with a 100% home record coming from victories over Partick Thistle and Inverness Caledonian Thistle.
The North Lanarkshire side will be looking to bounce back from a heavy defeat at Gayfield last time out, with the 4-0 loss leaving them seventh in the Championship table.
Rovers on the other hand are now sitting clear at the top of the table, thanks to their late 1-0 win over Inverness, coupled with Dundee United dropping points at home to Morton.
Those results see Rovers two points clear of United, with 13 points from a possible 15 so far.
Rovers last visit to the Excelsior Stadium was back in February 2020, when an early Ross Matthews goal was enough for Raith to take all three points.
Saturday’s match referee will be Lloyd Wilson.
Airdrieonians wins: 10
Raith Rovers wins: 19