Top-of-the-table as titans clash at Tannadice
Not many would have predicted that Rovers’ first trip to Dundee Utd this season would have been a table-topping encounter, and even less would have believed it was Rovers leading the way, but the two point advantage had Rovers in confident mood.
A combination of appetite for the game and a fantastic gesture of free buses from the club, meant a convoy of almost 2000 Rovers fans made the trip up the A92. All eyes in Scottish football were poised on what was billed by many as the game of the day.
Euan Murray, Josh Mullin and Lewis Vaughan were all restored to the starting line-up with Louis Moult – scorer at Stark’s Park earlier this season – leading the line for the hosts.
Rovers won the toss and decided to let the home team shoot towards their own fans for the first half. The game started in relatively caging mode with the home team having the majority of possession, and Kevin Dabrowski had to look sharp saving down to his left as Utd had the first strike on goal.
Indeed, it was the hosts that made most of the first half inroads without really troubling the big man in the Rovers’ goal, though. As the half progressed Rovers started to find a bit more rhythm but again, struggled to create much in front of goal, and the half ended goalless.
Half-time: Dundee Utd 0-0 Raith Rovers
Rovers started the second half in much more positive mode and were beginning to move the ball around with the slickness Rovers’ fans have become accustomed to this season.
Rovers were first to threaten with some nice play down the left hand side but Sam Stanton’s cross flashed across the face of goal without any takers on the end of it. Then nice interchanges from Lewis Vaughan, Dylan Easton and Stanton eventually saw the latter’s header well saved by Jack Walton in the home goal.
Then, just approach the hour mark, and after a couple of decent saves by Dabrowski, was the pivotal moment in the match. Stanton picked out Dylan Easton with a nice through ball, and although there didn’t look to be too much danger for the hosts, the Rovers’ man decided it was time to ‘put on a show’. He did his trademark jinks, twists and turns in the box, then found half a yard and curled one beautifully into the corner to give Rovers the lead. Dundee Utd 0-1 Rovers.
Great scenes in the Rovers’ support, and with half an hour to go they were now starting to believe that three points was a real possibility. Rovers defence continued to put bodies on the line to block shots before Utd’s best chance: a Moult shot from the edge of the box which, although curling away from Dabrowski, was well saved by the big keeper.
As the game was closing out, a last ditch and potentially goal-saving challenge from Ross Millen was cheered like a goal by the away fans, and just epitomised the spirit in the team and in the squad. Rovers saw the game out and the three points headed back to Kirkcaldy.
Great scenes at full time as Rovers’ fans, players and coaches celebrated the victory. It’s a win that sees Rovers extend their lead at the top to five points as this remarkable season continues.
Full-time: Dundee Utd 0-1 Raith Rovers
by David Proudfoot
© Eddie Doig 2023
Ian Murray spoke to RaithTV after today’s win at Tannadice:
Dylan Easton spoke to RaithTV after today’s win:
After the seemingly customary last minute winner on Wednesday evening against Arbroath, Raith Rovers head to Tannadice to face second placed Dundee United this Saturday, in Scotland’s biggest game of the weekend.
For much of the midweek encounter, it looked like Rovers would be drawing level on points with The Terrors, but Lewis Vaughan’s 95th minute winner edged them two points clear of Jim Goodwin’s side.
Raith are in exceptional form, and have now won six straight matches and are unbeaten in a dozen, but United are in impressive form themselves, still unbeaten in the league, and go into this one on the back of a ground out 1-0 win over Ayr United last weekend, with top scorer, and former Raith loanee Kai Fotheringham bagging his 10th goal in all competitions.
This will be the two sides second meeting this term, with the first ending in a one all draw at Stark’s Park back in October.
Lewis Vaughan had given the home side the lead in the 24th minute, but an equaliser from Louis Moult ensured the Taysiders headed back to Dundee with a share of the spoils.
If Rovers are to move further clear at the top of the table, they’ll need to win at Tannadice for the first time since a 2-1 victory back in November 1996, although admittedly, the sides haven’t met too often since that match 27 years ago.
Saturday’s match referee will be John Beaton.
Dundee United wins: 30
Raith Rovers wins: 14