Rovers Delay Trophy Triumph

The Rovers faced Partick who hoped to wrap up the league title. The Glasgow side having only dropped 3 points in 16 home matches had a large support as they hoped to seal the Championship.

Avoiding the influx of, erm, occasional Jags fans I was accompanied around the pitch to the old stand. Paul Smith was polite enough to talk to the full Raith support at the time, me. He indicated Grant Murray was ill and it turned out several players had been unwell - Grant revealed later on the radio that a couple vomited at half time before carrying on.

Ross Callachan, Eddie Malone and Joe Cardle all came in. Despite the best efforts of a very enthusiastic PA man the Rovers started the better side. In 26 seconds Graham was onto a defensive slip and scampered towards goal, shooting early he hit the side netting just outside the post with keeper Fox beaten. In the third minute Thomson ran forward before feeding Spence who's shot was half blocked and the Rovers couldn't get another shot in. In the sixth minute it was the Rovers threatening again with Fox alertly tipping over Thomson's chip. Thistle looked second best despite a corner and wild effort from Forbes.

An early shot on goal from Graham

In the 12th minute it could have been 0:3 but Spence's run from halfway ended with a good Fox block at the edge of the box. This was followed by a free kick from Walker and a Raith header hitting the foot of the front post and going wide from a corner. It was the home side, not the Rovers who were looking off colour.

In the 24th Forbes dwelt on the ball in the Raith box as the Rovers defence remained largely untroubled. The 27th minute saw Thistle have their first effort on target - McGurn pushed a shot wide - then Craigen hit a shot past. Erskine volleyed over and Forbes shot from a corner saw McGurn in the way.

Partick had their best chance when Doolan failed to hit the target after McGurn's hand had helped a cross across goal. The Rovers had a good shout for a penalty when Cardle was bundled to the ground in the box after good play from Callachan. The half ended after McGurn blocked Erskine's shot after a long ball forward.

Not aware of the illness in the Raith ranks the travelling fans were pleased with the play at the half, but upset they'd not seen two or three of the Rovers chances hit the net.

Thistle could only start the second half better and Erskine's deflected shot went wide. Callachan sent in a dipping shot from 20 yards which went just over. Craigen skimmed the top of the net then Erskine flopped lamely to the ground having over hit the ball into the box.

Cardle goes down in the box

In the 56th Callachan and Cardle ran into each other, both falling but showed how the game was going that it was Joe who was quickest to recover to get the ball! Ross Callachan had slotted into the middle and was putting in a great performance, passing well and working hard.

Hill replaced Ellis as Walker took on water. Craigen shot wide as the home team began to get on top. McGurn was quick to claim before an on-rushing Doolan. A good Rovers spell in the middle of the half didn't see a chance created. Walker was replaced by Stuart Anderson then the lively sub Lawless saw a low past deflected wide with McGurn a spectator.

McGurn was again alert blocking from Lawless and O'Donnell in rapid succession. Cardle was replaced by Grant Anderson as the Rovers understandably tired. Spence did well to play in Graham who's low drive lacked the pace to worry Fox.

In the 85th minute a ball back in from a Thistle corner was cleared as Rovers dug in. Wide man Anderson was penalising for apparently fouling one of two home men in the 91st minute but McGurn claimed the free kick effort easily.

Fox was chosen as Man of the Match and on another day he could have been beaten early on three times. The Rovers will rightly feel their performances against Thistle should have been better rewarded turning one of the three draws into a win but it show wasn't to be.

Fox gets down to save from Spence

This was a great performance against the Champions elect, and in light of the tummy bug in the Raith camp perhaps the Rovers shouldn't be described as party poopers. But they were.

Report - John Mainland, Pictures - Eddie Doig


Photographs copyright Eddie Doig, edited by Tony Fimister

Live Updates

Welcome to sunny Firhill, let's hope that Partick remain champions in waiting until the weekend.
Partick kick off towards the north stand. Graham spurns the first chance, clean through and shoots into the side net.
Thomson charged through defenders and lays off to Spence who's shot is deflected.
Thomson and Spence combining well.
Thomson forces Fox to tip over his lob from the edge of the area.
McGurn,a safe pair of hands gathered a curling corner.
Spence after a 25 yard sprint, only Fox to beat and his shot goes straight at the keeper.
Ellis come close with a near post header.
Raith playing well, Callachan enjoying his start.
Rovers defence remains steadfast despite Partick pressure.
McGurn saves well from a Twenty yard stinger.
Craigen drives the ball past the right post from close range.
Erskine fires well over.
Doolan forces McGurn to dive low to his right to tip the ball past the post.
McGurn tips away a cross only for Doolan to try his luck from close range.
Hamill yellow.
Forbes fires a left foot shot into row Z.
Cardle downed in the box, penalty denied. Walker yellow.
McGurn to the rescue, denies Erskine from six yards.
Erskine sees his shot deflected for a corner. Followed by a skirmish in the box, Ellis clears.
Callachan shoots just over from the edge of the area.
Forbes jinks into the box and chips the ball narrowly over.
Erskine tries to develop his poor play into a penalty.
Lawless off, Forbes on.
End to end stuff.
Laurie struggling.
Hill on for Ellis.
Lawless lays the ball off to Craigen but his shot goes wide.
Lawless cuts a diagonal pass through the defence to Doolan, McGurn was up to the shot.
Cardle switches wings and goes on a run, alas he runs out of pitch.
McGurn saves from Lawless then Doolan.
O'Donnell tries a shot from the edge of the box, great save from Davie.
Walker off, S. Anderson on.
Craigen off, Elliot on.
McGurn plucked the ball out of the air from a well flighted corner.
Doolan off, Craig on.
Cardle off, G. Anderson on.
There's no let up in the pace of the game, both sides are hungry for a result.
A short corner is while in by Partick, it finally finds Mensing who clears.
+2 McGurn saves a free kick from Sinclair.
+3 FT. Well done the Rovers, Partick will have to keep the champagne on ice until Saturday.