Raith Rovers can put league duty aside this weekend, as they welcome Northern Irish Premiership side Glenavon to Stark’s Park in the Fourth Round of the Tunnocks Caramel Wafer Cup.

The Lurgan Blues have been out of sorts of late, conceding 13 goals in their last two league outings, leaving them fourth bottom of the table, with just two wins in nine Premiership fixtures.

Gary Hamilton’s side reached this stage of the competition after a comfortable win in the Highlands, with a 3-0 win against Formantine United.

Raith also started their Challenge Cup campaign with a trip up north, as they kicked things off with a 3-2 win against Ross County’s under-20’s back in August, thanks to goals from Ross Matthews and a brace from Lewis Allan.

That then presented them with a Third Round round tie against Falkirk, which Raith navigated safely, thanks to two penalties from Regan Hendry in a 2-0 victory at Stark’s Park.

Saturday’s match referee will be Bryn Markham Jones.

Current Form:

Raith Rovers: L-W-W-W-W-D | Glenavon: L-W-L-W-L-L

Top Scorers:

Raith Rovers: Michael Miller 6 |  Lewis Allan 5 | Grant Anderson 4

Glenavon: Rhys Marshall 4 | Conor McCloskey 3 | Andrew Mitchell 3


Rovers Progress After Glenavon Test

Raith Rovers made it safely into the quarter finals of the Challenge Cup, with a 3-1 win over Northern Irish side, Glenavon. 

First half goals from Kieron Bowie and Daniel Armstrong handed Rovers a 2-1 advantage at the interval, but it took until the final minute for Raith to make the game safe, with a bizarre goal from Lewis Allan rounding off the day.

Manager John McGlynn made 4 changes from the side which drew last time out against Falkirk. 

In goals, Ross Munro stepped in for David McGurn, while up top, John Baird started in place of Lewis Allan who dropped to the bench. Armstrong and Bowie came in at the expense of Dave McKay and the injured Kyle Benedictus. 

Rovers started out on the front foot, forcing a flurry of corners in the opening five minutes, although they came to little, save for a shot from 20-yards from Baird which flashed wide of Johnny Tuffey’s left-hand post. 

The hosts were enjoying the lion’s share of the ball in the opening exchanges, and they almost took the lead in the 10th minute, when good work from Bowie in the middle of the park saw him race through the Glens lines and fizzing a ball across goal that was just beyond the two Raith players who had hared forward in support. 

At this point, it looked like Tuffey may be in for a busy afternoon, and he had to look alert to turn away a Hendry drive for yet another corner just a moment later, as Rovers continued to probe for the opening goal. 

That duly arrived in the 13th minute however, after a fine piece of individual skill from Bowie. 

The young forward picked the ball up wide on the right, and after cutting inside, he fired the ball past Tuffey from a narrow angle to put the hosts one up. 

The home side looked like they were enjoying themselves, and Armstrong was next to threaten, nutmegging one defender before side stepping another, but he just overran the ball slightly, meaning the fans were denied another excellent goal from the winger in successive weeks. 

Glenavon were entirely pinned back, and Bowie should have had a brace after 18 minutes after being put through, but with just Tuffey to beat, he couldn’t quite get the ball out from under his feet, and his meek shot was gathered by the ‘keeper. 

If they’d been more clinical, Rovers could already have been a few goals to the good, but they were brought level in disastrous circumstances in the 23rd minute. 

Kieran MacDonald looked to have averted danger in the penalty area, but he succeeded only in touching the ball away from Ross Munro and into the path of Rhys Marshall, who had the easiest of chances to prod the ball into an empty net from a yard. 

Even more disconcertingly, MacDonald seemed to get hurt in the process, although he was able to continue after lengthy treatment. 

The game was almost completely turned on its head just five minutes later, when Kyle Beggs drove at the Raith defence, and with players backing off, sent a rasping drive past Munro and just over the bar. 

The home side seemed a little rattled at this point, but they should have regained the lead just after the half hour mark, when good work from Grant Anderson down the left, ended with him aiming a low cross towards Bowie at the far post, who screwed his shot wide of the post from close range. 

It had looked easier to score, but Rovers fans weren’t left to linger on the miss for too long, taking the lead a minute later, when Armstrong was able to turn away from his marker on the edge of the area, before firing past Tuffey, who couldn’t keep it out, despite getting a touch on it. 

They may have been dominating the match, but Rovers were almost clawed back again in the 38th minute, when a fine cross from the right was met by the head of Patrick Burns. It looked a certain goal, but Munro somehow managed to scoop the ball away, diving full length to his right to keep it out. 

Glenavon had grown into the game the longer the half wore on and were starting to give the Rovers defence something to think about, a trend which continued into the start of the second period, as the Lurgan Blues started to accumulate their own corner count, albeit Rovers stood firm to them. 

Rovers were forced into a change on the hour mark, when Grant Anderson was forced off with a shoulder injury, allowing Tony Dingwall his first taste of action this season. 

Rovers chances were being restricted in this half, but Baird did bring a save out of Tuffey in the 61st minute, turning one way then the other on the edge of the box, before firing in a low drive which the custodian did well to hold. 

Glenavon came close to scoring twice just a moment later though, when a free kick from the right was almost headed past Munro by Steven Anderson, and from the ensuing corner, Davidson had to hook the ball off the line following a shot from inside the area. 

Rovers came close once again in the 66th minute, when Baird got on the end of a corner kick, allowing Steven Anderson to bacheel the ball towards goal, but it struck the post and trickled wide. 

Rovers had a huge let off with 20 minutes remaining though, and it all came from their own set piece on the Glenavon bye-line. 

After driving the ball across to Hendry, he was dispossessed, giving the Northern Irish side a three on two breakaway. 

Despite playing it to perfection and giving Andrew Mitchell a clear run on goal, the striker panicked, and fired wildly over the bar. 

Glenavon continued to pose some problems for Rovers in the final stages, but the game was put beyond the Northern Irish side in the final minute, with as strange a goal as you’ll see all season. 

Bowie was sent clear, but as he ran in on goal, the linesman raised his flag to indicate he was offside, an action that caused Bowie and all the Glenavon players stopped. However, referee Bryn Markham Jones overruled his assistant, and while the Glenavon players failing to react, Bowie sprung into life, squared to substitute Lewis Allan who finished into the empty net, much to the chagrin of the visitors. 

The result means Rovers will now be part of the quarter final of the Challenge Cup draw, which takes place on Wednesday. 


Photos © Tony Fimister


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Live Updates

Welcome to Starks Park for today's Tunnocks Caramel Wafer Cup tie against @Glenavon_FC It's 13 degrees and sunny (For now)
The teams have finished the warm up and are in the dressing rooms receiving last instructions.
Glenavon kick off towards the South Stand.
MacDonald takes a knock.
MacDonald resumes play.
Armstrong back heels to Bowie, the keeper concedes a corner.
Rovers with a second corner puts pressure on the keeper and the ball is cleared.
Baird collects the ball 25 yards out and fires narrowly wide.
Armstrongs cross is deflected and tests the keeper on his line.
A long ball into the Rovers area is collected by Munro.
Good work by Ziggy, lays off to MacDonald but his cross sails over the bar.
Glenavon fans in the corner in full song.
A long ball out goes to Ziggy, his cross ran out at the far side.
Rovers with their 4th corner, played short out to Hendry his shot is pushed out by Tuffey for another.
6th corner for Rovers, S Anderson wins it at the back post but fouls a defender.
Miller with a long ball to Kieron Bowie who beat a defender and slipped the ball home under the diving Tuffey.
Armstrong curls in a cross, the ball going straight to Tuffey.
MacDonald with the cross, Bowie almost gets a second but for the diving keeper.
Harmon yellow for a trip.
Latest score, Raith Rovers 1-0 Glenavon
A mix up in defence allowed Marshall in to equalise. Goal Glenavon.
Play back underway after a water break.
Singleton down after a challenge on Armstrong.
Glenavon send one over the bar from distance.
Anderson with a great cross hit with power found Bowie who couldn't divert the ball into the net.
Daniel Armstrong the recipient of a long ball beat his man to fure padt Tuffey to make it 2-1 Rovers.
Tuffey receiving treatment.
Tuffey back in the game.
Bowie on a solo run wins a corner, Tuffey blocked his cross.
A diving header from Burns is athletically saved by the diving Munro at the back post.
Rovers repell the first corner of the game for Glenavon.
+1 Doyle received a warning for a foul on Bowie.
+2 Half time.
HT score, Raith Rovers 2-1 Glenavon (Bowie 14' Armstrong 31') (Marshall 23' )
We're back underway, no substitutions to note.
Bowie tests Tuffey with a low shot from the edge of the area.
Hendry goes on a mazy run but is undone by the feet of a defender.
Glenavon playing crosses into Beggs looking to see if he can get the better of MacDonald.
Rovers a man down, Grant Anderson getting treatment.
Anderson coming back to the field.
Baird jousts with Harmon to win a long ball, Tuffey settled the matter by rushing out to collect the ball.
Grant Anderson off, Dingwall on.
Baird twists and turns a defender, gets a shot but Tuffey dives to save.
Latest score, Raith Rovers 2-1 Glenavon
MacDonald yellow for tugging a shirt.
Glenavon corner, Davo hooks the ball off the line at the back post.
Doyle blocks a ferocious shot from Bowie.
Rovers free kick, Baids header goes offa defender for a corner.
From the corner Steven Anderson back heels the ball onto the near post.
Baird off, Allan on.
Doyle yellow for shoving Armstrong into the adverts.
Davidson down, looking in pain.
And Lazarus rises just a quick as he went down.
Marshall yellow for being gobby.
Glenavon trying to get an equaliser going down the physical route.
Armstrong off, Tait on. Armstrong gets a yellow for failing to leave the field at the place instructed by the referee.
McLoskey going for the cross but runs out of pitch.
Spencer running out of room, shoots but the ball goes over the bar.
Attendance 1301 MotM Bowie.
+1 Bowie wins a corner due to a deflection.
+3 Dingwall going for a spectacular finish but his overhead kick ends up in the South Stand.
+4 The ball is in the Glenavon net the away side dispute this but the referee awards the goal. GOAL ROVERS, Lewis Allan.
Full Time. Raith Rovers 3-1 Glenavon (Bowie 14' Armstrong 31' Allan 90+5') (Marshall 23' ) Attendance 1301.
Rovers are in the hat for the quarter finals. We wish our visitors @Glenavon_FC a safe journey home.