After an excellent win over Championship favourites Kilmarnock at Rugby Park on Saturday, Raith return to Stark's Park this weekend for an SPFL Trust Trophy third round clash with East Fife.

The Methil men are bottom of League one after taking just four points from the first quarter, but reached this stage of the tournament with victories over St Johnstone Colts and Peterhead.

Rovers on the other hand reached the third round with a win over Forfar Athletic, and while the scoreline was a narrow one, with Blaise Riley-Snow's goal the only goal of the game, but Rovers created enough chances to win two or three matches during a dominant performance.

These two sides have met once before in this tournament, back in 2001, and Rovers bounced back from a two goal deficit to win by three goals to two. Paul McManus and Ross Graham handed the home side a 2-0 lead at the interval, but goals in the second half from Nacho Novo and Shaun Dennis restored parity, before Novo scored the winner with a minute to go.

Rovers also came out on top the last time the two played each other, in last season's League Cup group stages.

Liam Newton had given East Fife a first half lead, but a penalty from Regan Hendry and a winner from Manny Duku saw Raith home 2-1.

Rovers have the much better record in the most recent meetings, with five wins and three draws from the last 10 matches.

Saturday's match referee will be Mike Roncone.

Head-To-Head Cup Record Against East Fife:

Raith Rovers Wins: 11 | East Fife Wins: 10 | Draws: 5

Raith Rovers Goals: 48 | East Fife Goals: 51

Current Form:

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

East Fife: W-W-L-L-L-L

Top Scorers:

Raith Rovers: Dario Zanatta 7 | Lewis Vaughan 4

East Fife: Connor McManus 3 | Kevin Smith 3



Raith eased their way into the next round of the SPFL Trust Trophy with a comfortable win over an energetic but limited East Fife side at Starks Park. Goals from Dylan Tait and man-of-the-match Aiden Connolly had given Raith a half-time lead with Scott Mercer’s strike in response keeping East Fife within reach, but Rovers’ confidence and class showed in the second half as a Matej Poplatnik goal put distance between the sides.

While East Fife had their moments, in truth this professional performance showed the best of the key ingredients of this season’s Rovers line-up – robust and strong in defence, options on both flanks with excellent full-backs and talented wingers, and a strong core through midfield to the striker leading the line. Raith’s cup run goes on, and few other teams remaining in the competition will want to face John McGlynn’s men in their current run of form.

Raith manager John McGlynn named a full-strength side, resisting the temptation to rotate after the exertions of September’s packed programme – with Tom Lang dropping to the bench, Aiden Connolly was re-introduced on the right wing, with Zanatta on the other flank supporting Eton Varian as long striker. Two-goal hero from Rugby Park Matej Poplatnik was named among the substitutes.

East Fife arrived in the Lang Toun stuck in a real rut in terms of League results – one win in nine left Darren Young’s men rooted to the foot of League One. With some heavy defeats in recent weeks – losses to Clyde Dumbarton and Airdrie in September had seen ten goals conceded with none scored – morale was at a low ebb, but the narrow defeat at the Falkirk Stadium last week suggested a corner had been turned. Injuries hadn’t been kind to the Methil men either – Aaron Dunsmore was ruled out with an ankle injury, while Semple, Murdoch, Davidson, Swanson, and Cunningham were longer-term absentees.

To shake up his troops for this Fife derby cup-tie, Young made five changes, with Ross Dunlop and Pat Slattery brought into the defence, Liam Watt in midfield, and youngsters Sean Brown and Andrew Osei-Bonsu together upfront, and the new strike pairing looked bright early on. Osei-Bonsu jostled with Benedictus and Brown stretched his legs down the inside-left channel. The Raith skipper earned an early yellow for a tug on Mercer.

Raith, brimming full of confidence after the excellent victory at Rugby Park last week, could be forgiven for a slower start. Zanatta’s first cross nearly found Matthews at the near post; Spencer volleyed over after Smith spilled a Tumilty cross with ten minutes on the clock. East Fife centre-half Dan Higgins – returning after suspension following a recent red-card – thumped Varian with his first challenge.

Rovers gradually began to increase the tempo – Tumilty sprinted past Steele and crossed dangerously; visiting keeper Jude Smith had to punch two corners clear under pressure from Varian; Zanatta began to pin Mercer deep in the right-back area. Tumilty released Varian with a fine pass down the right flank, Aiden Connolly eventually having a strike on goal, although the effort drifted wide. Osei-Bonsu earned his side a corner, but Berra’s clearing header was firm and authoritative.

Starting upfront again for Raith after a hard-working and influential shift at Rugby Park, Ethon Varian was again a focal point for John McGlynn’s side. Showing impressive strength, Varian frequently clashed with Higgins and Dunlop, winning headers and holding up play to bring in runners from midfield. Varian’s first-touch was particularly impressive, frequently giving lay-offs or headers

Rovers’ first came just after the half-hour – Spencer found Liam Dick in acres of space on the left-wing, and with the visiting defence having switched off momentarily, Dick had time to cross, finding Dylan Tait who had time to set himself and fire back across Jude Smith to give Raith the lead.

While Raith fans may have felt their side were on their way, East Fife responded brightly, and were back on terms within a minute. A loose clearance was collected by midfielder Scott Mercer thirty yards out, who took a touch, and fired a clean curling strike into MacDonald’s far-post. Although Raith had begun to enjoy the lion’s share of possession, East Fife had bristled at conceding a goal, and were good value for their equaliser.

Back came Raith – Spencer skipped through midfield, drawing a foul twenty-five yards out, and with a dipping and swerving left-footed effort, Aiden Connolly found the top corner from the set-piece with Smith helpless. With three goals in four minutes, the match had burst into life, with each goal showcasing moments of real quality.

With the match flowing from end to end in the run-up to half-time, the interval interrupted a fine spell of open play which continued on the resumption of play. Berra’s header down nearly gave Benedictus a shot on goal from a free-kick, Varian clashed with Higgins in the box although a penalty would have been soft, and following a trade-mark cross-field pass, Tumilty’s fizzing cross saw Varian’s near-post flick fly just wide.

Ethon Varian’s afternoon was cut short following a head knock just short of the hour, with Matej Poplatnik taking the field to a celebratory cheer from the South Stand, and within two minutes, the substitute had notched Raith’s third – Zanatta’s deep corner was nodded back across goal by Christophe Berra, and Poplatnik found a yard of space to head Raith into a two-goal lead.

Rovers began to play with much more fluidity through midfield – Spencer and Connolly exchanged a quick-fire one-two, with the latter gaining ground before Tait had room to fire a zipping drive just over. Despite East Fife having five in midfield, everything seemed to flow through a combination of Spencer Matthews and Tait, with Raith’s wide players revelling in the service they were receiving. Poplatnik’s audacious lob nearly caught out keeper Smith, the visiting goalie recovering his ground just in time.

East Fife had also made changes to try to reverse the tide - the experienced Danny Denholm was introduced alongside youngster Kyle Connell, on loan from Kilmarnock. With Osei-Bonsu moved to the left, the visitors enjoyed some better quality possession, and earned a corner. Former Rover Kevin Smith was brought on to partner Denholm upfront, giving East Fife a more robust presence in the final third, although Raith’s defensive duo of Berra and Benedictus repelled any threat to Jamie MacDonald’s goal.

Despite the increased vigour from their guests, Raith looked comfortable. Zanatta and Spencer exchanged a lovely one-two with Higgins’ despairing clearance coming to the rescue. Connolly brought out a fine save from keeper Smith, with his rasping free-kick curling into the top-corner only denied by a finger-tip save.

Substitutes Aaron Arnott and Kieran Mitchell were given a late run, and the pair made an immediate impact – Arnott’s lovely through-ball found Mitchell in space, with the youngster’s jinking run brought to a juddering halt by Dunlop – with the South Stand on its feet, referee Roncone waved away the strong penalty appeal. Seventeen-year-old Fife Academy graduate Greig Young was also rewarded with a late cameo, along with Blaise Riley-Snow as the match continued as an open and free-flowing contest right until referee Roncone’s final whistle. A potentially tricky tie dealt with comfortably, joint-holders of the trophy Raith will head into the next round full of confidence.


Photographs © Tony Fimister



RaithTV talked to John McGlynn after todays SPFL Trust Trophy Round 3 cup victory v East Fife:

Live Updates

Welcome to today's game in tmhe SPFL Trust Trophy Raith Rovers v East Fife. One change for comes Connolly and Lang is in the bench. Its a damp driech day in Kirkcaldy
East Fife get the game underway. Raith shooting towards McDermid stand
Benedictus gets a well timed foot in to stop an Osie-Bonsu cross
Dick gets the ball out to Zanatta who crosses in but East Fife mop up and Smith gathers
From an East Fife free kick ball is placed into the Raith box Benedictus does enough to put Brown off...Raith goal kick
Raith free kick at the half way line after a foul on Varian
Benedictus booked after a foul on Brown at the half way line
Raith missing an opportunity for a goal as the ball is blasted over the bar
Raith pushing forward and trying to settle the game to their style of play but not finding a way through the East Fife defence
Raith corner after a Matthews shot is put out of play by East Fife
From the corner ball put to back post but Smith punches clear
Raith corner as Tumilty tries to cross the ball low in the East Fife box
Again from the Raith corner ball gets to the middle of the box but again Smith out stretches a punch to clear
Tumilty with a well placed pass up field to Varian. The latter takes the ball in to the box, a short pass to Connolly who takes a shot but nothing comes of it
East Fife get the ball deep into the Raith box but Berra is there to head clear
From an East Fife corner McManus gets the ball to the middle of the box but Berra jumps up and heads clear
Tumilty to Varian, he fights to hold on to the ball, passes back to Tait who tries to play the ball upfield to Connolly the latter hasn't made the run and the pass was heavy too
Tait puts a shot in but Smith saves
Dick gets the ball through nicely into the East Fife box but no Raith player there to convert to a goal, East Fife clear
Thirty min in Raith 0 East Fife 0 would would fair to say Raith with most of the possession and push up front but just not finding a way through
From East Fife free kick ball gets into the box but Varian heads out
Dick gets the ball into the box, ball eventually falls to TAIT, who scrambles to get the ball under control but when he does he fires home Raith's first of the afternoon
East Fife score
Raith fail to clear the ball effectively... ends up to Mercer who takes a shot, ball is deflected and goes low into into corner
From a free kick CONNOLLY gets the ball up and into the back of the East Fife net for a cracking goal
Zanatta wins Raith a corner
Connolly with a well placed ball to Zanatta. He drives forward crosses the ball over the box but no one there to pick it up
Spencer to Zanatta who takes the ball just into the box and wins a corner for Raith
+1 ref blows for half time Raith 2 (Tait '34, Connolly '38) Easy Fife 1 (Mercer '36). Raith with most of the possession and deserve to be on top
Raith get the second half underway
Far as can be seen, no changes for either side at half time
Raith free kick just in their own half after a foul on Varian
Tait to Connolly but the formers pass is just a tad too heavy
Zanatta gets the ball into thw East Fife box but Smith is quick to collect
Free kick Raith after a foul on Spencer approx 25 yards out
Ball is floated into the box, cut back to Berra who places it to Benedictus whose effort is is saved by Smith
Raith looking for a foul after Varian is fouled just outside the Raith box, ref says no
Tumilty gets the ball crossed into the East Fife box, Varian is there but heads wide
Raith playing with 10 on the pitch as Varian is being treated for a bleeding nose
Raith sub off Varian and bring on Poplatnik
East Fife with double substitution as off go Slattery and Brown and bring on Denholm and Connell
Tumilty gets the ball into the East Fife box and forces a Raith corner
From the corner ball is placed to the back post, Berra heads it back and POPLATNIK is there to head home Raith's third goal of the afternoon
Poplatnik booked
Connolly to Poplatnik who brings the ball up field ...he passes to Tait who has a pop but ball is over the bar
East Fife third substitution off goes McManus and on comes Newton
Poplatnik sees an opportunity as he sees goal keeper off his line, lifts the ball high but it's off target and Smith is able to react eventually get the ball
Connolly gets the ball to Poplatnik who forces an Raith corner
Zanatta from the corner gets the ball well into the box Berra is there but so is East Fife and ball is cleared
Zanatta gets the ball to Tumilty, he takes a touch then had a pop but his shot is wide
East Fife fourth sub off goes Osie-Bonsu and on comes K Smith
Tait to Zanatta who turns just outside the East Fife box..he goes to ground and soft foul given
Connolly takes the free kick and Smith outstretched for a tight save at the top corner
Raith double go Zanatta and Connolly and bring on Arnott and Mitchell
Aidan Connolly is given Man of the Match by the Rovers fans
Mitchell does well to hold on to the ball...he gets it into the box, gives the ball a touch and he is bundled to the ground in the box .. no foul says the ref!!
Raith sub off Dick and Tait and bring on Riley-Snow and Young
Riley-Snow passes to Mitchell who cuts it back to the centre of the box but no one there...however Poplatnik was at the far side post
Today's attendance is 1177
Ref blows for full time..Raith 3 (Tait '34, Connolly '38 Poplatnik '61) East Fife 1 ( Mercer '36). Comfortable game for Raith who controlled the game well