Raith Rovers have another Friday night under the lights this weekend, when Ayr United are the visitors to Stark’s Park.

The Honest Men have been in mixed form in the league recently, with wins over Hamilton and Cove Rangers in their last six games, but that same sequence also features defeats to Queen’s Park, Dundee, and most recently, Partick Thistle, with the Jags winning 1-0 at Somerset Park on Saturday, leaving Lee Bullen’s men third in the table, five points behind leaders Queen’s Park, but with a game in hand.

Not only are Ayr within striking distance of the top of the table, they also have a chance of reaching the semi-finals of the Scottish Cup, after a win over Elgin saw them paired with League One Ayr United in the quarter-final draw.

Friday might also see the debut of their most recent signing, with former Scotland striker, Chris Maguire joining this week.

Rovers on the other hand are now 13 games unbeaten, after last Friday’s match at Ochilview against Queen’s Park ended in a 1-1 draw.

William Akio’s goal earned Rovers a share of the spoils, after his penalty had handily rebounded towards him after a stop from Callum Ferrie.

This will be the side’s third meeting with this term, with both sides currently on one win each.

Raith won the first meeting at Stark’s Park in September, after Kyle Connell and Sam Stanton fired Rovers into a two goal lead, but after Ayr responded through Brad Young and Andy Murdoch to level the score,
Scott Brown won the points for the home side with the winning goal in the 83rd minute.

It was a different story in December however, when two goals from Josh Mullin at Somerset Park saw Ayr run out comfortable winners.

Friday night’s match referee will be Colin Steven.


Head-To-Head Record

Raith Rovers wins: 58

Ayr United wins: 55

Draws: 50


The Honest Men Stalemate

Rovers played for a second consecutive Friday – this time because the live BBC Broadcast was in town. The occasion also marked Jamie McDonald’s 500th league appearance. Well Done, Jamma!

With a win a piece this season most thought it would be a close game, and so it proved to be. Rovers made one change with William Akio starting in place of Esmaël Gonçalves, who dropped to the bench.

Rovers were first to threaten with Dylan Easton finding Sam Stanton in the box, but he could not get the ball out of his feet to make a better attempt on goal. Dipo Akinyemi then found space in the box for the visitors but his effort was over the bar – this would become the theme for the evening.

Rovers then had a penalty claim turned down: Brad Spencer’s deflected chip into the box seemed to come down on the out-stretched arm of Nick McAllister. If VAR had been involved it would almost certainly have been given.

Chances for the Rovers came and went through Easton: shooting just wide, then over the bar. However, the visitors were attacking too with Mark McKenzie and, Ayr’s Captain, Reece McAlear both making half-chances. No goals at half-time in what had been a reasonably entertaining game.

Half-time: Raith Rovers 0-0 Ayr United

Rovers started brightly and a nice move ended with Aidan Connolly curling a ball in from the right. Unfortunately for the home fans it evaded Akio and out for a goal kick.

Then came the most dramatic part of the action. McKenzie just beat Spencer to the ball in the box and went down. Ref Colin Steven immediately pointed to the spot – most fans looking on would probably have said it was a 50-50 decision.

Up stepped Ben Dempsey but cometh the hour, cometh the man, the Rovers’ 500 man, McDonald, who dived fully to his left and pushed the ball well away from goal. Great save.

SAVED.....Jamie gets down to save the spot kick

Both teams continued to make half chances and also had the tendency to clear the bar with them. Rovers’ fans though were frustrated near the end when sub Gonçalves chose to shoot rather than slip in Scott McBride to his left, who was in a great position.

In the end, a draw was probably a fair result with neither side having their shooting boots on.

Full-time: Raith Rovers 0-0 Ayr United

Crowd: 1,939

by David Proudfoot





Manager Ian Murray spoke after the draw at Stark's Park:

Live Updates

Teams are on the pitch. It's almost Rovers time!
Ayr kick off the first half. Rovers shooting into the North Stand goals (away end)
Easton with a nice run into the box, ball out for a corner.
Easton again causing bother. His cross deflected out for another Raith corner.
Easton fizzes in a low cross from the short corner. Keeper can only parry. It falls to Akio, but he doesn't know anything about it and keeper collects.
Stanton bustles into the box. Tries a snapshot, deflects back to him, but his second attempt is saved.
Akinyemi with a nice feint. Turns and goes through on the keeper. His lob clears the bar.
Looked like a handball in the Ayr box there. Ref isn't fussed. Play on!
Sair wan for Spencer in the middle of the park. Looks like he'll be okay.
Easton drills a shot, just wide of the keeper's far post.
McKenzie with the half-chance. Header is too high.
McKenzie set up again with a cross from the right. Heads too high for the second time.
Couple of wee chances for Ayr there.
McAlear booked for a foul on Easton. It's 30 yards out.
Stanton with a very professional foul. Deserved yellow.
Aye win a corner.
Chance for Ayr. Dempsey's shot blocked and out for a corner.
Half time: Raith Rovers 0-0 Ayr United
Connolly kicks off the second half!
Akio unmarked in the box. Connolly sends in a great cross, but the striker doesn't connect.
Penalty Ayr.
Unnecessarily clumsy challenge in the box.
Dempsey runs up…
SAVED by MacDonald. Dives to his left and ball rebounds to safety.
Connolly close with a cross/shot. Not sure if he was trying to score.
Connolly passes to Easton just outside the box. He turns, shoots and hits the netting. Gets an 'ooooooooh' from the South Stand.
Raith 0-0 Ayr
Akio replaced by Gonçalves
Brown with a superb pass, sets up Easton. He takes a touch and hits a great chance over the bar.
Ashford replaces O'Connor
Easton set up again after a lovely wee run. Blasts over!!
Easton with a wee flick over the bar. (It's just not his day!)
Easton wins a corner.
Maguire replaces Mullin
Spencer booked for a challenge on Maguire. Didn't look too bad.
Raith 0-0 Ayr
Corner Ayr
Corner Ayr.
McBride replaces Spencer.
Ngwenya replaces Dick
McAlear shot takes a slight deflection and out for an Ayr corner.
Gonçalves shoots from 25 yard. Keeper holds easily.
Ashford goes in the book.
Lang with a big clearance at the near post. Corner Ayr.
Akinyemi left unmarked. His header just clears the bar.
McGill replaces Easton
Gonçalves races through. He elects to shoot. Clears the bar.
BBC Scotland MoM - Jamie MacDonald.
Corner Raith. Right at the death.
Second Raith corner.
Full time: Raith Rovers 0-0 Ayr United