Scottish Cup 3rd Round and another Fife Derby
Rovers made the short trip along the A92 for what was to be the 4th game between the teams already this season. The previous encounters have been closely fought battles, however, this one was to be quite different.
With Rovers stretched for defensive cover, Ian Murray opted for a 3-6-1 formation with new signing Daniel O’Reilly – the only recognised central defender – coming straight into the side.
Dunfermline started the game reasonably well as Rovers adjusted to the new formation, however this didn’t last long. As Rovers’ numbers in midfield started to take control, and it was clear each one of the six in midfield had licence to get forward to support Jack Hamilton up front when possible.
Rovers could have taken the lead after nice work down the right from Aidan Connolly, his cross was met by Hamilton but could only be deflected onto the post by Lewis Vaughan.
However, it wasn’t long before Hamilton did find his shooting boots. Dylan Easton made a fantastic mazy run into the box and his cut back was perfect for Jack Hamilton to slot home. Dunfermline 0-1 Rovers.
Rovers had chances to extend the lead but failed to put any of them away, so went in 1-0 up at the break.
Half-time: Dunfermline 0-1 Raith Rovers
Dunfermline had a positive 10-15 min spell after the break, although rarely had Kevin Dabrowski’s goal in too much danger; indeed, it was Rovers that came closest as Josh Mullin’s deflected effort hit the cross bar and went over.
20 mins into the second half and Rovers took full command. Mullin’s free kick into the box eventually found Sam Stanton who made no mistake from 10 yards out. Dunfermline 0-2 Rovers.
A few minutes later saw Rovers kill off the game as a contest. As Connolly looked to be shaping a cross from a wide free kick, Lewis Vaughan deceived everyone with a trademark front post shot which beat Deniz Mehmet and sent the away end into raptures. Dunfermline 0-3 Rovers.
It looked as though Rovers’ clean sheet was to be spoiled when Dunfermline were awarded a late penalty; however, the man who is becoming a cult hero in these parts, Kevin Dabrowski, pulled off a fantastic save to keep it at 3-0.
A thoroughly excellent performance from Rovers, and maintains bragging rights in Fife until at least the New Year league game. Rovers reward is an away trip to Livingston in the next round.
Full-time: Dunfermline 0-3 Raith Rovers
by David Proudfoot
© Eddie Doig 2023
Ian Murray spoke to RaithTV after the win in the Scottish Cup:
Goalscorer Jack Hamilton spoke to RaithTV after progressing in the Scottish Cup:
Raith Rovers kick off their Scottish Cup campaign this weekend, and it’s a Fife derby to boot, as they head to East End Park to face Dunfermline.
It’ll be the first time the two sides have met in the competition since a fourth round meeting in January 2019, when a Lewis Vaughan hat-trick sealed a memorable 3-0 win at Stark’s Park for the home side.
The Pars have won just once in their last six matches, but they do sit just outside the playoffs having played a game fewer than fourth placed side Airdrie.
Despite it only being November, this will be the sides fourth meeting already this season, with James McPake’s side winning on penalties on the opening day of the season in a League Cup group stage match, after the game had finished one all.
Rovers came out on top in both league matches 1-0, with Sam Stanton scoring the only goal on the last visit to East End Park in August, and the same player’s last gasp winner from was all that separated the sides at a dramatic meeting at Stark’s Park last month.
This will be Rovers third consecutive away match in what is a tough sequence of six matches away from Kirkcaldy in just seven games, however, they are on a fine eight game unbeaten run, with their most recent outing a 4-1 win at Hamilton in an SPFL Trust quarter final tie, which sealed a semi-final match up against Airdrie.
Rovers do have a good record in this fixture, with four wins and four draws from the last 10 meetings, and Friday night’s match must be played to a finish, with replays now no longer featuring in the the competition.
Friday night’s match referee will be Willie Collum.
Dunfermline Athletic Wins: 52
Raith Rovers Wins: 45