SFL v Raith Rovers


Fixture: Irn Bru SFL Division One

Attendance: 6289, Kick Off: 3.00pm.

Referee: David Somers

Raith returned just three days after their Co-operative Insurance Cup defeat at the hands of their local rivals and made one change to their starting eleven; Damien Casalinuovo, on loan from Dundee United, coming in for Graham Weir.  Jim McIntyre also made the one change, preferring Andy Dowie to Chris Higgins in the centre of his defence.

Sammy`s pre match tribute was to the Johny Cash number "Walk the Line" .  Scotland`s number one club mascot waving a large black and white chequered flag, patrolled the line in front of the North West Stand in tribute to Pars fan Joe Moore who came out of that stand last Saturday to take on the role of linesman after Referee Anthony Law was forced to retire through injury.

Raith kicked off into the afternoon sun and pinned the Pars back until the fifth minute when Steven Bell burst from his own half before sending a great ball out to Joe Cardle on the right. The winger crossed a diagonal ball into the six yard box from 20 yards out and Andy Kirk stuck the chance away only to look up to find out the offside flag had been raised.

The visitors had a great opportunity of their own on 11 minutes when a wayward pass landed at the feet of Darren Smith and he sent Casalinuovo in on goal but Neil McGregor covered back to send him wide and eventually chip his shot on to the roof of the net. Four minutes later a hotly disputed Raith free kick 25 yards out allowed Allan Walker to loft a ball into the back post area but Iain Williamson couldn`t reach it as it went out over his head.

On 19 minutes David McGurn was forced into serious action to tip a Graham Bayne header over the bar and Gibson`s corner from the right was also sent over the bar off the boot of Dowie.

Raith were always a danger and in 25 minutes Tade worked a route deep into the right side of the Dunfermline box to cut back for Williamson to try his luck but he dug out the shot from under him and sent it straight into Greg Fleming`s hands. At the other end a McCann cross was just too far ahead of Bell and he could only head the ball over the bar from eight yards out.

Rovers pressed with McGregor blocking a Smith run and then Dowie dealing with an up and under from Craig Wilson before Williamson could take possession of it. Fleming was out of his box to clear a Williamson boot up the park in 33 minutes.  In between Dunfermline came up with a corner delivered by Gibson that McGregor left for Dowie with no success and a Cardle shot that went for a throw in on the far side.

The game had been hotly contested but when Rovers scored just three minutes from the interval things certainly boiled over. Dunfermline failed to clear properly and when Woods and Burke went for the same ball the latter presented Calum MURRAY with the chance to shoot from 25 yards out into the top right of the Pars net.

Next minute Gibson tangled with Smith midway into the Raith half down on the touchline. Both were shown yellow cards but then as Smith was being shown his, and judging by the gestures of the Raith players, the linesman appeared to have seen an elbow used by the former Killie man.  Referee David Somers then showed Gibson red and despite all the protests the Pars were reduced to ten men.

The stadium was a cauldron of noise and Mr Somers not exactly popular with the Dunfermline fans as he brought the first half to a close.

Half Time: Dunfermline 0 Raith Rovers 1

The second half was going to be hard for the Pars and Raith had an early chance when Casalinuovo raced on to a through ball to win only a corner.  The Pars survived that but only after Ellis had missed an overhead kick in the centre of the box.  A 55th minute free kick was fired over the crossbar by Kirk as the referee continued to attract the wrath of the home fans.

Rain began pelting down but this did nothing to dampen the fervour both on and off the park.  On the hour a roar went up to welcome a Pars corner on the right and Bayne saw his fine header from Cardle`s cross saved on the line. Instead of going level the Pars found themselves two down as Raith struck on the counter. Smith squared the ball from the left and CASALINUOVO headed past Fleming from six yards.

Nick Phinn was introduced at Alex Burke`s expense and then in 67 minutes Cardle made an opening on the right and he picked out Kirk for a shot that was saved but broke left.  A good old fashioned goalmouth stramash ensued and Phinn`s follow up was somehow kept out as well. McDougall replaced Bayne and while Tade sent a good chance wide left when through on Fleming, Dunfermline were coming as close with Phinn testing McGurn.

Dunfermline pushed for a goal with everyone bar Fleming in the Raith half and no matter what they tried McGurn always seemed to come out on top. McDougall played a one two with Cardle on the 18 yard line but the keeper saved and then Woods launched a great strike from out on the right but McGurn pulled off a superb save.

At the end the 2086 Raith fans had plenty to celebrate; a victory over their local rivals, revenge for Wednesday night`s cup knock out and going joint top of the First Division with Queen of the South.  The last league meeting in March 2000 was a win for the Rovers so it remains no league victory over the Kirkcaldy club since 1997. There`s always the next time. 

DUNFERMLINE: Greg Fleming; Calum Woods, Neil McGregor, Andy Dowie (Scott Muirhead 79), Austin McCann; Willie Gibson, Steven Bell, Alex Burke (Nick Phinn 64), Joe Cardle; Andy Kirk, Graham Bayne (c) (Steven McDougall 68).
SUBS: Stephen Glass, Greg Paterson (GK)
YELLOW CARD: Bayne (40), Gibson (43), Woods (45+2)
RED CARD: Gibson (44)
RAITH ROVERS: David McGurn; Craig Wilson, Laurence Ellis, Mark Campbell, Douglas Hill, Grant Murray, Iain Williamson, Allan Walker, Gregory Tade (Mark Ferry 77), Damien Casalinuovo (Lee Bryce 77), Darren Smith (Robert Sloan 69).
SUBS: Gary O`Connor (GK), Craig Wedderburn.
YELLOW CARD: Murray (24), Smith (43), Casalinuovo (48), Hill (63)
SCORER: Murray (42), Casalinuovo (60)

WEATHER: Changeable, windy 16C

NEXT MATCH: (away) First Division v Dundee
Saturday 12th September 2009, kick off 3.00pm


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