It’s Friday night football this week, as Raith Rovers travel to Somerset Park to face Ayr United.

It’s a contest between third and fourth in the Championship, with both teams going into this one on the back of decent form.

The Honest Men have yet to lose at home this term, and like Raith, their only dropped points on their own turf have come against Dunfermline, with Ayr drawing 0-0 with the Pars at the start of November.

Since then, they’ve played two won two in the league, both by the same 2-0 margin, against Dundee, and last week, Alloa Athletic.

That’s helped Mark Kerr’s side into fourth place in the table, level on points with Rovers, but behind them on goal difference.

Ayr had the upper hand against Raith the last time they shared a division, pipping Barry Smith’s side to the title on the last day of the season in 2017/18, and you need to go back to the opening day of the 2016/17 campaign for Raith’s last win at Somerset, when goals from Ross Matthews and Ross Callachan saw Rovers take all three points in a comfortable 2-0 win.

The two teams can’t be separated in the most recent meetings between the clubs, with three wins each and four draws from the last 10 match ups.

Friday night’s match referee will be Alan Muir

Head-To-Head League Record At Ayr:

Ayr United Wins: 34 | Raith Rovers Wins: 16 | Draws: 22

Ayr United Goals: 95 | Raith Rovers Goals: 72

Current Form:

Ayr United: L-D-D-W-L-W

Raith Rovers: D-W-D-W-L-D

Top Scorers:

Ayr United: Luke McCowan 3 | Michael Moffat 3

Raith Rovers: Manny Duku 8 | Daniel Armstrong 3 |Ross Matthews 3 | Frankie Musonda 3

Match Odds:

Ayr United: 7/5 | Raith Rovers: 9/5 | Draw: 12/5


Defences On Top In Somerset Draw

Raith Rovers played out a nil nil draw with Ayr United this evening, in a game where both teams could argue they could have taken all three points. 

Rovers had the upper hand and enjoyed good possession over the 90 minutes, without seriously troubling the Ayr defence, while Jamie MacDonald had a fine game to deny the home side on the counter attack. 

Raith went with an unchanged starting eleven from the side which drew two each with Dunfermline in last weekend’s Fife derby, while Ayr United had former Raith full back Michael Miller in the middle of the park. 

It was an even opening few minutes, but Ayr created the game's first good opportunity, when Luke McCowan did brilliantly well to get to the bye line and pick out Michael Moffat in the middle of the penalty area, but MacDonald spread himself superbly to block the forward’s first time ffort from 12 yards. 

However, Rovers created their own good chance just a couple of minutes later, when Daniel Armstrong’s cross from the right picked out Manny Duku in the penalty area, and his first time side foot effort fizzed just wide of the target. 

Rovers were starting to look brighter now, and were testing the Ayr backline with a number of crosses which the Honest Men central defenders were doing well to repel. 

It had been a rat-a-tat-tat start to proceedings, and Ayr had another attempt at goal after 13 minutes, when they broke after a Raith set-piece was cleared to Bruce Anderson, who managed to hold off two defenders, to allow himself a sight at goal, but he could only drag his effort from distance wide of MacDonald’s post. 

Rovers were looking the brighter though, and Ethan Ross, Dylan Tait and Armstrong were all looking lively and causing some angst in the Ayr defence, who were doing just enough to keep Raith’s crosses at bay. 

It had been an impressive opening half hour for Rovers, but while they’d enjoyed the lion's share of possession, there must have been some frustration that they’d failed to trouble Finnish under-21 goalkeeper Viljami Sinisalo in the home net. 

Rovers missed a fine chance in the 34th minute, when Duku’s knock down found Kyle Benedictus who had made his way into the Ayr penalty area, but despite doing everything right initially, controlling the ball and finding space for the shot, he could only ping his effort wide of the post. 

It was pretty much the final action of the first half, which had seen plenty of attacking intent, with Rovers probably shading it, but the only save of note had come from that MacDonald save in the opening moments. 

The wet conditions were making things difficult for all concerned, and as the game progressed, there were a number of occasions when the ball squirmed away from a player as they attempted to create a chance. 

It was timing, rather than the conditions which cost Raith in the 54th minute, when Duku combined with Ross Matthews and placed the ball past Sinisalo, but the linesman’s flag was rightly up, with the Dutchman drifting a yard offside. 

Ayr were straight up the park though, and after being played through, Moffat was again denied by a strong arm of MacDonald to prevent the striker his 101st Ayr goal. 

Despite those chances, the second half was panning out like the first, with plenty of back and forth and crosses into the area, but with very little clear cut chances being eked out. 

Rovers made their first change with 25 minutes remaining, with Lars Lokotsch replacing Duku. 

The German got a sight of goal in the 73rd minute, when he galloped onto a loose ball, but with defenders around him, he could only guide his shot from distance well over the bar. 

A minute later, Sinisalo was forced into his first meaningful save, when a fine, bending strike from Kieran MacDonald was tipped wide at full stretch from the Finn. 

Rovers were now having a barrage of attempts, and Benedictus was next to try his luck, but his attempt from 25-yards was fired just over the bar. 

Rovers were pressing for the winner, but they almost were victims of the sucker punch with six minutes remaining, when Ayr’s counter saw them with a three on two. 

The substitutes combined, with Dario Zanatta playing in Innes Cameron, but again, MacDonald did well to stop the shot at goal. 

Two minutes later, Ayr came even closer, when Aaron Muihead’s header crashed off the bar from a corner kick, as Rovers, for the first time in the game, were suddenly clinging on to parity. 

It was the final action of note in a game where Raith would consider themselves the better team overall, although Ayr would probably point to the fact they created the better chances. 

Rovers now go without a game until Boxing Day away to Alloa, with Hearts in action next week in the Scottish Cup final. 


Photo's courtesy of Iain Robb Ayr United FC.



RaithTV spoke to Paul Smith after the draw against Ayr United

Live Updates

Welcome to tonight's game Ayr v Raith. Raith name an unchanged side from last week. Ayr have ex Rovers player Zanatta on the bench.
Raith get the game underway
Raith with a throw in deep in their half
Raith fail to clear efficiently and play ends with an Ayr corner
Raith free kick after a foul on Tait
Duku tries to run in on to the ball but Sinisalo is able to collect the ball before Duku
Excellent save by MacDonald as Ayr come close
Corner Raith after fine play from Matthews and Ross as the latter tries to get the ball into the box and Ayr clear
Oooh Duku close but his effort is just wide at the front post
Free kick Raith after a foul on Matthews
Perfect ball from Armstrong into the box but Ayr head clear
John McGlynn can't decide which hat to he went for the beanie and the cap
Excellent play by Raith which ends with the ball being crossed into the box...Ayr clear before Duku can get a head to it
Raith free kick after a foul on Armstrong from Chalmers
Good block from Benedictus to deny a shot from Ayr
Ball again falls to Duku in the box but he is deemed to have fouled. Free kick Ayr
Raith corner as they charge forward
Armstrong tries for an ambitious pop as the ball goes just over the bar
Ayr's Miller is Booked
Hendry's pass doesn't quite reach Duku
Ayr free kick and Moffat breaks free, thankfully he can't get his head to connect with the ball...goal kick
Hendry for Raith is booked
J MacDonald gets the ball low across the face of goal and Ayr clear
Geez...Benedictus picks up the ball in the box, turns and goes for goal...ball just wide
Corner Raith as Tait tries to move the ball forward and Ayr knock the ball out
Another Corner to Raith as Hendry shakes off a clip to the heals to get the ball forward. Ayr intercept and ball goes out
As the first half draws to a close. Raith were slow to start but they've come in to the game. Not getting their usual style of play on the ground due to the pitch but they are getting their chances.
Ref blows for half time and no goals. Ayr 0 Raith 0
Mr Muir gets the second half underway.
No changes
Rovers raiding the Ayr box but the home side come away with the ball.
Matthews yellow for a challenge on Muirhead
McCowan off, Zanatta on
MacDonald saves point blank from Moffat
Armstrong across the face of goal, deflected for a corner.
Anderson goes for goal but the ball is blocked on the 18yard line
Ross limping from a knock
Rovers corner off Moffat for another. The ball comes out Tumilty crosses but no one there
Latest score Ayr United 0-0 Raith Rovers
Zanatta with shot from the corner of the 18 yard box sees it blocked
Players skating about the wet pitch, it's the Flyers v's the Bruins
Duku off, Lokotsch on.
Chalmers is crocked.
Chalmers back on.
Ross with an acrobatic trap, manages to kick the ball into the away dugout
Zanatta fells Ross for a FK
Chalmers off, Cameron on
Lars goes on a run and shoots just over from 20 yards.
Sinsallo parries from Kieron MacDonald, Corner.
The ball comes out from the corner, Benedictus shoots over from 25 yards
Heading tennis from Ayr in the Rovers box, the ball going behind for a GK
Ross benefits from a deflection Frankie on the attack, Rover corner. The ball comes out and Ayr go up the park.
Matthews shoots from distance but he sclaffs it wide.
Rovers threaten the Ayr goal but good defending sees the ball up the park.
Roscoe yellow
Zanatta finds Cameron , MacDonald comes out to block.
Mr Muir getting vocal with the teams in the Rovers box
Ayr corner, the ball comes off the top of the near post.
Ayr corner, the ball comes off the top of the near post.
Ross off , Spencer on
Lars battles Baird but the ball goes out for a GK
Zanatta felled for a FK wide left 18 yds.
Zanatta yellow for downing Armstrong
+2 Tait fires from distance, the ball going on the roof of the shed
+3 Full time. Ayr United 0-0 Raith Rovers. Two good sides slugging it out in the rain on a sodden pitch.