All roads lead to Station Park this weekend, as Raith Rovers and Forfar Athletic duke it out for a place in final of the Championship playoffs.

The tie is finely balanced, with Rovers holding a slender one goal advantage, thanks to a 2-1 win on Tuesday evening at Stark's Park.

Kevin Nisbet had handed Rovers the advantage in the 40th minute, but that lead was short-lived, with John Baird restoring parity just before the interval.

However, the half-time arrival of Jamie Gullan helped swing the tie in Raith's favour, with his 63rd minute shot smashing off the inside of the post and into the net with just under half an hour remaining.

Despite that advantage, Rovers face a big ask in the away tie, especially as they haven't travelled well this season, with Arbroath, Airdrie, East Fife and Forfar all picking up more points on the road.

They're also up against the side with the best home record in League One, with the Loons unbeaten at home since December.

While Rovers have lost eight times in the league this term, they've never lost by more than a single goal, and they've also managed to score in every away league game this season.

The teams can’t be split in terms of the most recent head-to-head record, with four wins and two draws apiece from the last 10 meetings.

Saturday’s match referee will be Euan Anderson

Head-To-Head Away League Record Versus Forfar:

Forfar Athletic Wins: 18 | Raith Rovers Wins: 11 | Draws: 10

Forfar Athletic Goals: 69 | Raith Rovers Goals: 55

Current Form:

Forfar Athletic: L-D-W-W-W-L

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

Top Goal Scorers:

Forfar Athletic: John Baird 21 | Dale Hilson 14

Raith Rovers: Kevin Nisbet 34 | Liam Buchanan 13 | Lewis Vaughan 9


Raith Seal Final Place

Raith Rovers made it through to the Championship playoff final this afternoon, after a 1-1 draw with Forfar at Station Park, which sealed a 3-2 aggregate win.

It was Raith’s first playoff win in six attempts, and they now face off against Queen of the South next week, with the winner lining up in next season’s second tier.

John Baird had given Forfar the lead early in the second period, but a Kevin Nisbet penalty following a Michael Travis red card, saw Rovers hold on what was occasionally a bad tempered affair.

John McGlynn made one change from Tuesday evening’s 2-1 win, with Jamie Gullan replacing Liam Buchanan up front, and Rovers were on the front foot in the opening moments, when a long ball forward saw Nisbet get the better of his man marker, before appearing to be in on goal, only for referee Euan Anderson blow for a foul.

The away side were enjoying the lion’s share of possession in the opening skirmishes, with Jamie Barjonas attempting a shot at goal after five minutes that failed to trouble Marc McCallum, while Gullan’s set piece into the area was met by Euan Murray, but his attempt was off target.

Raith were enjoying some patient possession in the opening period, but while they weren’t making too much headway in terms of shots at goal, they were taking the sting out of the occasion, with Jim Weir’s team unable to impart any influence on a game they had to win.

The Loons had barely been seen in an attacking sense, and it took until almost the half-hour mark before they notched an effort at goal, when Dale Hilson’s set-piece skittered wide of Dean Lyness’ post.

Rovers continued to dictate the flow of the football, and good work down the left from wing-back Callum Crane, eventually allowed Ross Matthews to deliver a good ball into the area, but while his cross was ideal for either Dave McKay or Nisbet, the colleagues appeared to get in each others way and the chance was lost.

As the half went on, the feeling was that Forfar were just starting to make inroads, and a couple of corner kicks in the last few moments of the half had the large travelling support on edge, but Travis could only send a header over Lynass’ crossbar.

Barring a goal or two, the first-half had gone as well as could be expected from a Raith point of view, but Forfar seemed to have a little more about them at the start of the second half, as they at last started to pin the away side back.

Jamie Bain drew a save from Lyness after getting on the end of a corner in the 47th minute, and Hilson was presented with a fine opportunity just a moment later after good work from Baird, but from just inside the area, his attempt suffered the ultimate indignity of going out for a throw-in.

Raith fans had their hearts in their mouths in the 53rd minute, when Hilson appealed for a penalty after going down under a challenge from Ian Davidson, but while the penalty wasn’t awarded, the momentum was very much swinging towards the home team, and they took the lead in the 55th minute.

As is normally the case, Rovers were undone by set-piece defending, when Baird’s run across goal wasn’t picked up by anyone following Bain’s corner-kick, and the forward glanced a header in at the near post.

It was a hammer blow to Rovers, but they were level almost instantly, and had a man advantage, when Travis was dismissed in the 58th minute, after pulling on Nathan Flanagan’s jersey after the winger had been played through on goal by Nisbet.

The forward made no mistake from the spot, firing the ball high past McCallum to the keeper’s right, and the home side started to lose the place thereafter, with Baird in particular, eager to speak to the referee at every available opportunity.

The match was starting to descend into a series of petty squabbles, which was of no concern to Rovers, as the time ticked down with Forfar struggling to make any headway.

Rovers almost extended their lead with three minutes remaining, when Flanagan’s clever free-kick from the right-hand side was met first time by Nisbet, but a well timed block denied him his 36th goal of the season.

Gillespie then tried his luck in injury time, but Rovers held on comfortably to seal their first ever place in a playoff final, the first leg of which will take place at Stark’s Park on Wednesday evening, with the second leg in Dumfries next Saturday.


© Eddie Doig 2019



RaithTV spoke to John McGlynn after today's game against Forfar Athletic

Live Updates

Welcome to Station Park Forfar for todays Championship play off second leg match against Forfar Athletic.
It's 12 degrees and slightly cloudy, the streets round the stadium are full of cars and busses, a large crowd is expected.
5 minutes to kick off and you could cut the anticipation with a knife.
Both sets of supporters in full voice.
Forfar kick off towards our right.
Nervy early exchanges, Nisbet through but ruled to have fouled the defender.
Matthews and Nisbet working well, the ball comes to Barjonas whose shot from 25 yards trundles out of play.
Gullan on the ball for a corner, Davidson heads high over the bar.
Good work by Gullan, Rovers corner, Benedictus heads and McCallum pats the ball w.
Crane floating in a cross, Nisbet at the back post heads into the side net.
Roars from the home support as McKay guides the ball out and Coupe ends up in the adverts.
Crane wins a header left of goal, the ball loops to Nisbet who couldn't get a touch.
Gullan looks like has a groin injury.
McK and Benedictus clearing from the Rovers box.
Coupe with a cross/shot sees the ball go to Lyness.
Murray jousting with Hilson, Crane cleared the ball up the park.
The early play went to the Rovers, Forfar coming into the game more.
Latest score. Forfar Athletic 0-0 Raith Rovers (1-2agg)
From a free kick the ball goes out to McKay his cross to Crane is plucked by McCallum.
Davidson fouls Baird, free kick 25 yards out.
Hilson strokes the free kick wide of the left post.
A Wedderburn cross finds Nisbet, his header is picked by McCallum.
Hilson takes out Wedderburn but only received a warning from Mr Anderson.
Forfar corner, Bain crosses Barjonas cleared and Irvine sclaffs the shot well wide of goal.
A deep cross to Baird who scoops his shot high over the bar.
A long throw in from Crane, Matthews header landed on the roof of the net.
Murray cross, McCallum stealing the ball from the head of McKay.
Double corner Forfar, Travis heads onto the roof of the net.
+1 Half time.
Forfar Athletic 0-0 Raith Rovers ( 1-2agg ) Half time score from Station Park Forfar.
Bain with a shot/cross sees Lyness punch clear.
Hilson with a shot from outside the area finds the far side assistant referee.
Travis catches Nisbet with an arm.
Nisbet back on the field.
Cries for a penalty as Hilson lands on his Erchie in the box.
Barjonas off , Flanagan on.
Goal Forfar.
Baird the scorer.
Flanagan tripped by Travis in the box, penalty.
Flanagan tripped by Travis in the box, penalty.
Travis straight red card.
GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAL ROVERS. Nisbet converts from the spot.
Wedderburn yellow as he flattens Baird.
Matthews and Baird receive a lecture from Mr Anderson.
Challenges starting to get agricultural.
Baird is fuming at something, he'll be lucky to stay on the pitch at this rate.
Latest score, Forfar Athletic 1-1 Raith Rovers (2-3agg)
Coupe off, Moore on.
Bain receiving treatment.
Bain limping off.
Wedderburn off, Gillespie on.
Bain off, Malone on.
Spencer yellow for tripping Matthews.
Nisbet down injured, getting up slowly.
Whytakes out Gullan, free kick, which is gathered by McCallum.
Matthews yellow for tripping Hilson.
Irvine shoots high over the bar from distance.
Eckersley off, Easton on.
10 man Forfar not giving up.
Irvine yellow for a foul on Benedictus.
Flanagan nips down the right crosses to Gullan who blasted the ball over the bar.
Nisbet off, Buchanan on.
Correction, Gullan off, Nisbet is still on the pitch.
+1 Gillespie yellow for a trip.
+3 Easton yellow
+5 Full time.
Full Time from Station Park Forfar. Forfar Athletic 1-1 (2-3aggregate) Raith Rovers (Baird 54') (Nisbet penalty 58') Attendance 2152