Raith Get First Win Of The Summer

Raith Rovers won their first pre-season friendly since July 2010 this afternoon, with a 2-0 win over Brechin City, in an entertaining fixture at Glebe Park.

Rovers manager, Gary Locke was forced into changes from Tuesday evening’s defeat at Forfar, with both Mark Stewart and Kevin McHattie picking up knocks during the 2-0 loss.

As a consequence, David Bates started at left-back, while Craig Barr, who’d just returned from his honeymoon, partnered Kyle Benedictus in the heart of the defence.

Lewis Vaughan was up-front on his own, although the wide players, Bobby Barr and Chris Johnston were tasked not only with supporting him, but also to supply the striker with an abundance of cross balls.

The home side featured a sprinkling of former Rovers, with Elliot Ford starting at left-back, while the well-kent face of Dougie Hill started at centre-half.

As is the norm with these matches, the game started at a fairly pedestrian pace, with neither side testing the opposition goalkeeper during the early exchanges.

Bobby Barr, who was returning to his former club, made good headway down the left after seven minutes, but his low cross was clattered to safety before the lurking Vaughan could make anything of it.

Raith were looking neat and tidy in possession, with the majority of their play concentrated on the deck, but they were failing to create many openings. At the other end, Brechin were having similar problems, although a couple of set-pieces had caused some consternation amongst the visiting team.

It was the 20th minute before either side fashioned a shot of note, with Bobby Barr letting one fly from approximately 25-yards, an effort which curled well over, forcing a Brechin supporting squire behind the goals into evasive action.

By this point the game had picked up a notch-or-three, and Brechin advanced straight down the park, almost taking the lead through a Hill header. Once again, a set-piece was swung towards the back post, and the ex-Raith defender’s effort was drifting in if not for the full-length intervention of Kevin Cuthbert.

Finn Graham then tried his luck from distance, but his wayward drive didn’t require Cuthbert’s attention this time.

Rovers were toiling with Ally Love’s set-piece deliveries, and another in the 30th minute saw Darren McCormack’s header cleared off the line.

A moment later, Alan Trouten then had a few yards of space inside the box, but despite the goal looming large in-front of him, he chose a different option, possibly inspired by Hal Robson-Kanu against Belgium, he dragged the ball back in an attempted Cruyff turn.

He may need a little more practise with that manoeuvre though, as he turned straight into Craig Barr who hoofed the ball into a tree.

The match was now an evenly contested end-to-end-affair, and Vaughan almost blasted Rovers in-front with ten minutes of the half remaining. Johnston pulled the ball back to him on the right, and while his first touch teed himself up, his second on the volley fizzed just wide.

However, Raith did take the lead a few moments later, with a similarly worked strike. Johnston received the ball with his back to goal and a defender in close proximity, but he showed good technique to twist and wriggle away from his marker, and force the ball past George Bell, to hand Rovers the advantage going into the interval.

Rovers made two changes at half-time, with Jonny Court and Aaron Lennox replacing Craig Barr and Cuthbert, and the replacement goalkeeper would have a hectic opening to the half.

Brechin started it very much in the ascendency, and Paul McLean should have done better with a header a few yards out, but his downward effort failed to trouble Lennox.

Finn Graham then tried his luck with a 30-yard free-kick, and his ambitious effort wasn’t too far over the crossbar.

Brechin brought on Andy Jackson in the 50th minute, and the forward made an immediate impact, rifling a shot from distance just past the post, before a flurry of chances all went begging for Brechin in a matter of seconds, with a stramash inside the area that was eventually cleared to safety.

Rovers introduced A Trialist for Johnston, and a few moments later, they forced a save from Bell, when Court fed the ball to Vaughan, who did well to swivel away from his marker, before driving a low shot into the keeper’s arms.

After a brief spell where they'd been on the ropes, Rovers were on top again, and a great run and cross from Jason Thomson, was met with an equally excellent volley from Vaughan, but his first-time effort was a smidgen too high.

With quarter-of-an-hour remaining, Brechin had a remarkable escape, when a corner was swung into the area, and despite goalkeeper, Bell lying on the ground, three Raith players, took it in turns to swing madly at the ball, with each one failing to turn it home from two yards. The ball was then only half cleared, before another cross was met by Benedictus, whose header was somehow stopped on the line.

Brechin manager, Darren Dod elected to swap his goalkeeper straight after, with Bell being replaced by Ben Tough, but the replacement made a poor first impression.

Scampering off his line to claim a cross from Ross Matthews, he was beaten in the air by the somewhat more diminutive, Vaughan, who guided the ball into the net via the back of his noggin to make it two.

The remaining ten minutes were then played out in a rain deluge of quite remarkable proportions, with the full-time whistle something of a relief to the now drookit and bedraggled players.

Raith’s next friendly fixture will be at Stark’s Park on Tuesday evening, when Partick Thistle will be the visitors.


© Eddie Doig 2016


Live Updates

Congratulations to Davie Hancock who completed a 1200Km cycle ride to Contalmaison to commemorate 100 years since the start of the Somme offensive.
1/2 They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old; Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
2/2At the going down of the sun and in the morning, We will remember them.
Rovers kick off down the slope.
Ooft, Davo sends Dougie Hill into the gravel.
Ex Rover Ellot Ford playing LB for Brechin.
Bates occupying the same slot for the Rovers.
Brechin had a miss with an Ally Love free kick and Bobby Barr sent the ball wide from 6 yards.
Vaughan hits the net support with a shot from outside the area.
Bates and B Barr combined well on the left the ball finally run out of play.
Love and Mango tango in the box, the latter cleared up the park.
A mistake by Ford lets Lewis through but he skies the ball over the bar from 25 yards.
Vaughan crosses but Bell looked stranded as the ball is cleared by Trouten.
Barr doing well jinks past 2 defenders and whips in a cross which was cleared by Hill.
B Barr hits the ball over the bar with a dipping effort from 30 yards.
Mr Beaton having a word with Craig Barr.
Graham hits a bobbler from 25 yards, the ball flew through a sea of legs and out at the corner flag.
Eric Drysdale is looking resplendent in one of the new polo shirts currently available at the club shop.
Trouten teed up a shot from 5 yards but Mango cuts in to disappoint the winger.
Bates gave Barr tge perfect opportunity to open the scoring but he sclaffs his shot just inside the box.
Johnston with the cross, Vaughan turned 180 degrees on the penalty spot but shoots just past the post.
Chris Johnston gets his first goal for the Rovers from 12 yards.
Finn Graham shoots over from the edge of the D.
The two number sixes come together, the Raith version coming off the better.
The clouds are out and there is light rain to contend with.
Half time.
HT subs. Cuthbert and C Barr off, Lennox and Court on.
Graham takes a quick free kick and puts his 30 yard shot over the bar.
HT sub Jackson fires wide just inside the box.
O'Neill coming close, Brechin have started the half with purpose.
Hill made way for the aforementioned Jackson.
Cuthbert did well to catch a looping shot from Trouten.
Johnston off, Trialist on.
O'Neill off, Monthomerie on.
Trialist hits Lennox bar trying to clear the ball.
Jackson causing bother ever since he has come on.
Graham off, Lynas on.
Rovers were struggling to cope with high balls into the box from Brechin's corners.
Court with a diagonal ball to Vaughan who jinks and shoots low for the diving Bell to push the ball past the post.
Vaughan swings the ball in front the left and Callachan almost converts at the back post.
Bell off Tough on.
Vaughan taking the paint off the top of the newly painted crossbar from 10 yards.
Lennox chasing down the ball and denies the charging Trouten.
207 spectators today.
McCormack off, Fusco on.
Lynas shanks the ball towards the corner flag from the edge of the D
Trialist and Matthews combined on the left Ross crosses and Vaughan heads in at the near post.
The rain is coming down in sheets.
Confusion in the box, Davo and Lennox missed the ball and Jackson scissor kicked the ball wide of the back post.
Montgomerie skies the ball over the enclosure which must be the fifth ball to leave the ground this afternoon.
Trialist missing an opportunity to put us 3 up, the ball glancing off his boot and out wide.
A stretcher is called for McLean who made a miraculous recovery.
Jackson rockets the ball wide from 20 yards.
Full Time.