Late drama in third derby match of the season
Rovers hosted Dunfermline for the second time this season – although for the first in the league – with both sets of fans expecting another close encounter. With Scott Brown deputising at centre back, Scott McGill moved into a midfield role, whilst Ross Millen and Josh Mullin returned to the first 11.
It was the visitors that started on the front-foot and almost took the lead with an early corner and header, but it was well saved by Kevin Dabrowski low to his left. Dunfermline continued to press with multiple corners and long throws; however, a combination of defensive blocks and good saves from Dabrowski kept the score equal.
Rovers’ best chance of the first half was a back post header from Euan Murray but it was just a bit too high, and cleared the bar by a yard. Dunfermline were definitely the better side first half but failed to score, so the teams went in for half-time goalless.
Half-time: Raith Rovers 0-0 Dunfermline
Rovers started the second in more positive mode but failed to really trouble the away goal, in fact it was Dabrowski who was the much busier keeper.
Ian Murray rolled the substitute dice by introducing Aidan Connolly and Dylan Easton and it seemed to give the home side a lift, with Deniz Mehmet having to look sharp from a long range Lewis Vaughan effort.
The drama, though, was to unfold after the 90mins. Neat play from Vaughan and Easton found Sam Stanton in the box, he turned his man and slotted into the bottom corner, giving Mehmet no chance. Rovers 1-0 Dunfermline
The 93rd minute goal had Rovers’ fans in ecstatic mode and leaving Dunfermline ruing their missed chances. The second 1-0 derby win for Rovers means they close the gap on leaders Dundee Utd.
Full-time: Raith Rovers 1-0 Dunfermline
by David Proudfoot
Ian Murray spoke to RaithTV after the 1-0 derby win at Stark’s Park:
After the weather enforced cancellation at Gayfield last weekend, Raith Rovers play their first Championship match in three weeks this Saturday, when Dunfermline Athletic are the visitors to Stark’s Park.
James McPake’s side are on a run of two successive defeats, after a heavy loss to Partick Thistle was followed up with a 1-0 reverse to Ayr United at East End Park last time out.
Those results see the Pars seventh in the table, however, they’re just two points behind the promotion playoff spots, having played a game fewer than most of the teams above them.
This will be the two sides third meeting already this season, with Dunfermline taking the honours in the first meeting on the opening day of the season back in July.
With the two teams unable to be separated after 90 minutes of their Viaplay Cup group tie, Athletic went home with the bonus point thanks to a victory in the penalty shoot out.
It was another tight encounter when the two faced off in the league at East End Park in August, but Rovers claimed their first win at the venue in a decade, with Sam Stanton’s first half goal enough to take all three points.
An indicator of how close this fixture normally is, is that four of the last half dozen have finished all square, although Rovers do have a decent home record against Saturday’s opponents, with their last loss coming in a 2-0 defeat back in 2017.
Saturday’s match referee will be Iain Snedden
Raith Rovers Wins: 43
Dunfermline Wins: 50