After hanging onto the coat-tails of Ayr United at the weekend, Raith Rovers get the chance to move to within three points of The Honest Men this Tuesday, when East Fife visit Stark's Park in the final Fife derby of the season. The match was initially scheduled for Sunday the 18th March but was cancelled because of a frozen pitch.

Rovers go into the game on the back of an impressive win at Airdrieonians on Saturday, who up until the weekend had only lost one league game at The Excelsior Stadium all season, coincidentally enough, against Tuesday night's opponents.

After three successive wins had taken them to fifth in the table, Darren Young's side had recently rekindled hopes of a tilt at the playoffs, but an uninspiring loss to Forfar Athletic on Saturday now sees them sixth, and ten points from the top-four.

However, the Methil side are currently 12 points clear of ninth, so barring a an improbable sequence of results, East Fife will be playing third tier football for the third straight term next season.

They'll need to reverse a fairly deep set trend if they're to take anything from Tuesday though, with Raith boasting a 100% record against East Fife this season.

The first meeting in August was the most convincing, with Rovers romping to their biggest ever away win in Methil, with goals from Bobby Barr, Liam Buchanan, Greig Spence and a Lewis Vaughan brace sealing a 5-0 win which could easily have been more.

It was a far closer affair in November though, when a Lewis Vaughan goal was enough to secure the win, in a match where East Fife gave as good as they got.

The last meeting in January featured another glut of goals however, although this time they were far more evenly spread.

Scott Robertson gave Rovers an early lead, but Kyle Wilkie restored parity, albeit Rovers lead again before half-time thanks to a goal from Buchanan. Scott Linton equalised with a great free-kick, but with time running down, Dario  Zanatta ensured the win once again with a fine solo effort.

Raith Rovers are unbeaten in their last 11 outings against East Fife, winning 10 of those meetings, stretching back to 2000. Rovers last defeat in this fixture was back in 1988.

Tuesday night's match referee will be Barry Cook.

Head-To-Head Home League Record Versus East Fife:

Raith Rovers Wins: 14 | East Fife Wins: 11 | Draws: 8

Raith Rovers Goals: 55 | East Fife Goals: 46

Current Form:

Raith Rovers: W-D-D-L-L-W | East Fife: L-L-W-W-W-L

Top Goal Scorers:

Raith Rovers: Lewis Vaughan 21 | Greig Spence 13 | Liam Buchanan 12

East Fife: Chris Duggan 13 |  Mark Docherty 8

Match Odds:

Raith Rovers: 3/5 | East Fife: 19/4 | Draw: 3/1


Rovers Close Gap With Derby Win

It may have been something of a slog for the first 40-minutes or so, but Raith Rovers moved to within three points of Ayr United at the top of League One, with a vital 2-0 win over East Fife.

The victory made it a clean sweep over the Methil side this term, with goals from Bobby Barr and Iain Davidson leaving East Fife winless in this fixture since 1988.

Barry Smith went with the same side which took all three points at The Excelsior Stadium last time out, which was something of a surprise, after earlier suggestions that Scott Robertson was potentially struggling after completing just over 80 minutes on his comeback against Airdrie.

Considering his importance to the side though, it was a relief to see him partnering Regan Hendry in the middle of the park.

East Fife had the better of the very early exchanges, but it was Rovers who had the first sight at goal after five minutes, after a well worked move.

Lewis Vaughan broke away after an East Fife corner came to nought, and his layoff wide to Barr, allowed the winger to cut inside and tee-up Willis Furtado who gathered inside the area, and with time to turn, he elected to touch it off to Hendry, whose first-time effort flew just wide of Ben MacKenzie’s left-hand post.

Any hope that that passage of play was going to set a pattern would quickly dissipate though.

It was one of the few pieces of attractive play on offer in the opening quarter of an hour or so, with both teams intent on getting the ball forward as quickly as possible, as the game struggled to settle down into any kind of rhythm.

Livingston’s Matthew Knox, who’s on-loan with the Methil side almost lifted proceedings in the 16th minute, cutting in from Raith’s left and looking up, but his shot at goal didn’t quite match his build up play, and it stuttered wide of Lennox’s left stick.

If anything, it was the away side who looked more at home, with the Rovers rear-guard looking somewhat dishevelled, especially at corners, with two deliveries causing consternation before eventually being cleared.

Rovers were forced into an early change in the 20th minute, when Furtado limped off to be replaced by Greig Spence.

Raith weren’t making things easy for themselves, and in particular their continued deployment of poor pass-backs to Aaron Lennox, which were consistently over or under hit, leading to some rather uncomfortable moments for the ‘keeper, and the home support.

The game had now turned into a spectacle which could be best described as attritional, and the lack of quality on show appeared to filter into the stands, when a supporter attempted to return the ball, only for him to lash it against a pillar, resulting in it ricocheting even further back the Main Stand than when it started.

Thankfully though, proceedings took a turn for the better in the 39th minute, when Rovers took the lead, after the half’s best piece of play.

Vaughan did well initially, picking out Barr on the edge of the area, and from 18-yards, he cracked a fine drive past Mackenzie and into the bottom corner.

It was a strike which the home side badly needed, albeit possibly didn’t quite warrant, although the hope at that stage was that it was a launchpad for a more settled performance.

However, East Fife should have went in at the interval level.

Once again, a corner was the issue, with no-one willing to attack Craig Thomson’s cross, but although Connor McManus had come round at the back post, he was unable to steer his header in at the back-post.

Rovers started the second period in considerably brighter fashion than they did the first, and were almost two to the good in its opening moments, after some dithering at the back from Scott Allardice.

He was caught in possession by Vaughan, but his cross was flashed across goal at too brisk a pace for Hendry, who couldn’t quite toe-end it into the net.

Again though, it wasn’t much of a precursor of how the half was to unfold, as the match continued in a reasonably similar vein to the first, albeit with Rovers holding the whip hand, with the visitors being comfortably held at arm's length.

Rovers were struggling to stretch East Fife in the wide areas, and with the Bayview outfit defending reasonably well in the central areas, attacks were generally withering on the vine.

Vaughan took matters into his own hands in the 74th minute though, and almost made it two after a jinking run and finely placed shot into the corner, only for MacKenzie to parry it away.

Spence then had the ball in the net a moment later, only to be denied his 14th goal of the season by the assistant’s flag.

Rovers had stepped it up a notch now, and Spence was almost on the end of a Vaughan set-piece into the box, but it was just over his head and into MacKenzie’s arms.

The points were deservedly made safe in the 87th minute though, after a corner from Vaughan was nodded goal ward by Euan Murray, with Davidson rising at the back post to power home.

It had taken until the final third of the match for Rovers to exert their dominance, but it was job done as they look to take advantage of any Ayr slip-ups before the end of the campaign.




Barry spoke after the derby win against East Fife

Live Updates

The teams come out, Rovers in blue and East Fife in red and white
Crowd is on the low side unfortunately
Rovers attacking the north end with the same starting 11 as Saturday
Benedictus nips in to concede a corner after some scrappy defending by Regan and Davidson
Matthews drills a shot inches wide after a tidy lay-off by Furtado
Hendry gets a finger wagging for a hefty challenge on McManus
Knox picks up a headed clearance by Thomson but scuffs his shot well wide
Robertson slide-tackles Thomson to concede a corner - he takes it himself but fires it beyond everyone for a goal kick
A flowing Rovers moves ends with Vaughan nodding Barr's deep cross over the bar. Best football of the game so far.
Livingstone slides in on Davo with his studs up, no contact but the referee has a word with him
Early sub for Raith - Spence on for Furtado who was hobbling
Poor fare so far, neither team getting a grip on proceedings
Lennox has a very tricky pass-back to deal with, but does very well
GOAL RAITH! Bobby Barr drives his shot in the bottom corner after good work from Vaughan
East Fife corner misses everyone with Lennox trapped in a crowd, McManus heads against the post from an impossible angle
Half time
No changes at half time for either side
Thomson gets up the park with a surging run, beats his man but slips as he gets in the box
Terrific battling by Vaughan, wins the ball deep in the East Fife half, he drives a cross to Hendry but he couldn't get a solid touch on it
Lennox catches a looping header from a corner, a tricky one
Good play by Hendry whose persistence wins him a second chance - tries a 1-2 with Matthews but the return ball is just too strong
East Fife's Thomson shoots on the run but it's weak and Lennox gathers
Rovers go down the other end, Matthews crosses to Barr, he clips it to Vaughan but his overhead kick sails over the bar
Davidson, who has been outstanding tonight, puts in an excellent tackle at full stretch to snuff out an East Fife break
East Fife sub: Lamont on for Knox
Barr furious at a foul given against him, many refs would've given a yellow for dissent but Mr Cook is taking a more lenient approach
Page keeps his cool, heading a Barr cross back to MacKenzie
Hendry takes a heavy knock, looks like he'll be okay though
Raith sub: Herron on for Robertson
Brilliant play by Vaughan - “Messi-like says my Neebur! - he shoots and MacKenzie tips wide at full strength
From the corner there's a strong claim for a penalty, Davidson gets a knock, Spence nets and the flag goes up. Phew!
East Fife sub: Wilkie on for Slattery
After 75 minutes of not very much I need a wee lie down
McManus booked for a trip on Vaughan in yet another breakaway
Final East Fife sub: Jones on for Thomson
Vaughan's free kick gathered by MacKenzie, Spence inches a way from a touch that would have been a certain goal
Matthews unleashes a howitzer - well off target - with Vaughan in a good position at the back post
Barr and Vaughan race clear, East Fife scramble it away for a corner
2-0! Davidson with a point-blank header after Murray nodded the corner back across goal
Watson trips Vaughan and then bawls in his face as he lies prone. Could've been booked for either offence.
Rovers have really turned the screw at the end of this match, Vaughan almost nets a third
Iain Davidson named man of the match - thoroughly deserved. Crowd is 1485.
+2 Full time, a deserved win for Rovers who were vastly improved in the second half