Five Star Raith Cruise Into Next Round

Grant Murray continued his 100% record as Raith boss with a comprehensive 5-2 home victory against Montrose in the second round of the Ramsdens Cup.Raith began the match with the same starting XI that had disposed of Hamilton at the weekend while Montrose featured ex-Raith midfielder Lloyd Young on the bench.The home team were quick out the blocks and fashioned their first chance after a couple of minutes, a long throw finding Clarke with a yard of space in the box but his header was off target.A minute later Grant Anderson picked up the ball on the right and slipped the ball between the central defenders to Brian Graham but he appeared to allow the ball to just get away from him, giving himself too much of an angle inside the box and his shot went wide.

Allan Walker opens the scoring

Even at this early stage it looked like the Angus side could be in for a long evening and after just 6 minutes they found themselves a goal down. Thomson and Grant Anderson combined well down the right hand side, allowing the former to cut the ball back to Allan Walker who had all the time he needed to control the ball in the middle of the penalty area, pick his spot and slot the ball past Wood in the Montrose net.While the Raith support wondered if it was going to be a case of how many, Montrose made their first attacking move of the game. Paul Watson's deep cross found Martin Boyle but his volley was blocked by Dougie Hill. The resulting corner from Craig McLeish appeared to be dipping under the bar but was palmed away by McGurn.The half chances for the away side were just a brief respite for them though and the next half hour was pretty much one way traffic towards Sandy Wood's goal.Clarke was next to try his luck, sending his shot just wide after a Graham through ball left him with just the keeper to beat. Brian Graham then missed 2 chances in a matter of minutes, firstly sending a header just wide, then driving into the box and sending an angled drive just wide of Wood's right hand post.The same man came even closer after 20 minutes. Running onto a through ball from Walker he chipped the ball over the keeper but his goal bound shot was hacked off the line by Paul Lunan at the last possible moment.The game then started to calm down, allowing Montrose more time in possession. Garry Wood was dropping deep to help out the midfield while right-winger David Gray in particular was impressing with his crosses, although unfortunately for Montrose no-one was able to make the most of them.While Raith had dominated the opening quarter they had suddenly become lacklustre in possession and were squandering any good positions they found themselves in. All that changed in the 32nd minute though, Eddie Malone sending in a fantastic cross from the left that allowed Brian Grahamto bullet home a header past Wood to make it 2-0.

Man of the Match Brian Graham nets second

While the crowd were on their feet to acknowledge the strikers goal they were hushed two minutes later as the same man was injured in a 50/50 challenge with the Montrose keeper. Despite looking like a painful knock the tall front man was back up after treatment, much to the relief of the fans.With 3 minutes to half time it appeared to be all over with a goal that was all to do with the skill and pace of Grant Anderson. Receiving the ball to feet he turned his man wonderfully, outpacing the defence before dinking the ball up to the back post to allow Pat Clarke to finish from close range.While most Raith fans thought that was game over they got a rude awakening 2 minutes later. Martin Boyle wriggled clear of the Rovers defence and took the ball round McGurn who appeared to bring him down. Despite Hill being between the foul and the goal line the referee Stephen Finnie deemed it a red card offence and Raith were down to ten men. Substitute keeper Ross Laidlaw came on for the unfortunate Pat Clarke and his first task was to pick the ball out the net, Paul Watson sending the ball to Laidlaw's right while the keeper chose to dive left.

McGurn's last involvement...

Grant Murray's half time team talk would presumably have concentrated on the importance of the next goal and the second half saw Raith still on the front foot despite being a man down.Grant Anderson was again causing Paul Watson trouble. Picking up the ball he skipped past him, cutting inside before sending a shot low to the keepers left which he had to get down smartly to prevent Raith from extending their lead.Wood was helpless a few minutes later though. Anderson was again the architect with another of his trademark runs down the right, this time his cross found two Raith players running in but Graham just got to it ahead of Hamill for his 7th goal of the campaign.Both sides then made substitutions, Lloyd Young coming on for Craig McLeish and for Raith, Callaghan replaced Grant Anderson.The substitute was instantly involved in one of the best moves of the match. Bringing a difficult ball under control he played in Graham who looked up and picked up Thomson rampaging down the right. Gathering the ball he drove into the box and sent in a cross cum shot that smacked off the left upright.Whether the Raith players sensed the match was won or perhaps just because they were shorthanded, Montrose started to create some chances and as they did in the first half they came from the boot of David Gray. Firstly he put in a great ball that Martin Boyle somehow contrived to head wide from the centre of the six yard box. He had better joy after 78 minutes though, his deep cross found Scott Johnston at the back post and his knock down eventually fell to Lloyd Young who slotted past Laidlaw from close range.Despite the goal offering Montrose the chance of a late comeback it was Rovers who dominated the final 10 minutes. A huge kick out from Laidlaw dropped over Lunan's head and allowed Graham to have a snap shot from 18 yards but the keeper parried it away. It was to be his last contribution to the match and he departed to a standing ovation to be replaced by Greig Spence.The ex-Celtic man was immediately involved, just failing to get on the end of a Walker cut back that was played just too far behind him. Spence wouldnt be denied however and in the last-minute he scampered onto another enormous kick out from Laidlaw. Holding off the challenge of Alan Campbell he coolly finished past Wood to make it 5-2 with virtually the last kick of the ball.

Pat Clarke hits number three

It was an impressive performance from Raith and in fairness it could have been even more comfortable had McGurn not been sent off at the end of the first half. Graham was again impressive and is in superb form, not just in terms of goalscoring but in his all round game. Grant Anderson and Thomson are forming a dangerous partnership down the right hand side and at the back Hill has started the season impressively.While the opposition hasn't perhaps been the strongest Grant Murray's record of played 4, won 4, goals scored 15 is great by anyones standards. If this is whats known as a honeymoon period then the Raith fans will be hoping it never ends.

Report - Shaughan McGuigan, Pictures - Tony Fimister


Photos copyright Tony Fimister



Live Updates

The match is underway in front of a fairly small crowd
Terrific through ball from G Anderson puts Graham in on goal. It's a narrow angle and he can't find the target though.
GOAL RAITH! Alan Walker nets at the back post!
A swerving shot from 35 yards fizzes just over from Montrose
Graham puts Clarke clear through on goal but he drags his shot just wide from the edge of the box
Clarke sends another shot narrowly wide from a tight angle
Hill concedes a free just outside the box, level with the 6 yard line, although the player fell inside the box. It sails harmlessly wide.
Graham rounds the keeper but has his shot cleared off the line. The defender did very well.
Rovers are in complete control here.
Three very poor deliveries from our wide men - Hamill spoons a cross, then blast a pass into the dugouts, before Anderson puts a cross behind the goal
That's a beauty though! Malone fires a cross right on to Graham's head, and he gives the keeper no chance!
Graham's hurt - he and the keeper both go for a ball and he gets flattened
Back on his feet - he's okay
G Anderson booked for sliding in on the keeper. Looked 50/50 to me.
With a better final ball Montrose would be back in this - Rovers' defence is stretched a couple of times in succession, but it comes to nothing.
Beautiful! G Anderson turns his man in midfield, charges into the box, then puts it on a plate for Clarke! 3-0!
Penalty and a straight red for McGurn. Montrose's striker goes round him and goes to ground.
Laidlaw replaces Clarke
Watson sends Laidlaw the wrong way with the penalty.
Half time. Rovers are coasting, and could easily have had half a dozen goals there. Re the red card - it looked like he'd sent the ball well wide, but there may well have been contact.
Rovers are back out on the pitch very early - a couple of minutes before Montrose. Ready for a fast start to the second half maybe?
Hill yellow carded for a nothing tackle
Walker rides a tackle and sends Graham on a run, but the ref pulls play back to book Montrose's McNally
Another great run down the line by Anderson, and his cross is perfect for Graham to score!
Graham's movement in the box to lose his marker was sublime. He's in outstanding form just now.
Ex-Rover Lloyd Young is on for McLeish
Callachan on for G Anderson. He's had another good game.
Thomson slams the ball against the post after good control from Callachan to kill a tricky ball. I think it was meant to be a cross though!
Tidy save from Laidlaw down low at his near post
Callachan volleys a Malone cross into the side netting. He did well to even get it that close on the stretch.
There's a let-off - a Montrose player heads narrowly wide from a decent cross
Montrose net, but Laidlaw was bundled over in the process and it doesn't count
Lloyd Young pulls one back for Montrose. It was a bit of a stramash - bodies everywhere
McNally - already on a yellow - takes Graham out, and isn't even spoken to.
Almost a hat trick - Graham blasts a volley at goal, but it's well saved. It's his last touch though, as he's replaced by Spence
A decent chance - Walker gets to the bye-line, but puts his cross just behind Spence
Good one touch football ends with Callachan dribbling into the box, but he puts his shot too close to the keeper
Walker tries to chip the keeper but it drifts over the bar
GOAL! Spence chases a long ball and slots it past the keeper under pressure from a defender. Great finish.
That's all folks. A much more even second half, but we did well with a man short to get a couple more goals.
Brian Graham named as man of the match, after his 6th and 7th goals of the season - and it's still mid August!