SFL v Raith Rovers


Fixture: Irn Bru SFL Division

Attendance: 6534, Kick Off: 3.00pm.

Referee: Charlie Richmond

The Pars were the first foots at Starks Park for Sunday`s First Division match between top of the league Athletic and third placed Rovers.  Pat Clarke was preferred to Andy Kirk up front, otherwise Dunfermline were unchanged.  John McGlynn went with the same eleven and bench that drew at Falkirk in midweek.

The stands had filled up with a big New Year crowd and the playing surface looked well as the match kicked off after a slight delay.  Raith kicked off attacking the goal in front of the travelling support. An Andy Dowie header out of defence sent Steven McDougall through the middle in third minute but when he picked out Clarke his shot from 20 yards was blocked. Immediately after thaty Nick Phinn was played into the right side of the opposition box but his cut back failed to find Graham who was handily placed in front of goal.

Dunfermline kept up the early pressure when Paul Willis forced the first corner of the game in seven minutes but Laurie Ellis headed away the danger. Raith`s first shot was a tame effort from Gregory Tade on the quarter hour that Chris Smith held with ease.

Graham won a 16th minute corner but neither Willlis` delivery nor Phinn`s follow up could cause anything to worry the orange shirted Raith keeper. A massive Smith throw sent Willis speeding up field and a delft touch took him past the defender to break and then cross for Clarke. The striker connected but his effort was deflected behind for another corner where Alex Keddie was penalised for `climbing`.

At the other end John Baird made Smith save from a dipping 30 yard shot. Then Tade got the better of both Graham and McCann before sending over an inviting ball for Scott McBride right in front of goal but the defence came off the better and the scoresheet remained blank. The visitors continued to live dangerously with Keddie turning the ball behind for a corner but Smith had no problem when that came in from the right.

Dunfermline pushed up but were almost caught out in 39 minutes when McGurn`s kick out was flicked on by Tade for Baird to pull the trigger on the top of the Pars box but he didn`t connect well and the shot was directed well wide right.  Iain Williamson next pumped a high one in from the right but Tade was eased off the ball between Woods and Dowie.

After three added minutes Referee Charlie Richmond brought the first half to a close. Dunfermline started the game the better but Raith certainly got into it better the longer it went.  The big derby day crowd had not really had much to cheer in terms of goalmouth incident and everyone was hoping for something to ignite in the second 45.

Half Time: Raith Rovers 0 Dunfermline 0

Walker sent in a free kick from the left after Woods had halted McBride somewhat illegally and Baird seemed to come back from an offside position as he set up McBride but the Bridie swished at the shot and Walker`s follow up went wide left.  Almost immediately Walker broke through again on the right but Mason was quickly back to thwart his attempt.

In 51 minutes McBride`s cross was sent behind for a corner on the right.  Iain Williamson`s delivery dropped nicely for Mark CAMPBELL who turned the ball past Smith from six yards.  Raith`s lead lasted all of three minutes.  A cross from the right was unconvincingly defended and Nick PHINN was nicely placed to smash the ball home from 18 yards.

Chris Smith let an Allan Walker corner through his hands but Tade behind him was too surprised to convert the 56th minute chance.  Clarke drove a 35 yards free kick into the Raith wall before Walker hit an inswinger from a Raith free kick out on the left causing Smith to hold at his near post.

Dunfermline upped the pace forcing a corner on the right and generally taking the ball to their opponents.  A Willis -Graham -McDougall move pierced the Rovers defence in 66 minutes but when Willis met the cross his shot was blotted out by the central defence.  Andy Kirk replaced Pat Clarke and Stephen Simmons replaced Iain Williamson as the match entered its final quarter.

A Baird pass sent TADE through into the right side of the Pars box and the Frenchman beat off the challenge of Andy Dowie to slide the ball past the advancing Smith for his first goal since September. 2-1 Rovers.

Ten minutes from the end Smith came out and punched clear as Tade attacked a bouncing ball but the chance dropped to Baird and his shot then, from distance, fell narrowly left of target. The Pars pushed up so much goakeeper Chris Smith was out at the edge of the centre circle to pump the ball back up in front of the Rovers goal.

There were nervous moments for the Kirkcaldy fans as the ball was switched about in front of McGurn causing the whistling to start in 87th minute. Smith fired another free kick from his own half that had defenders and attackers jumping for contact but eventually Kirk got on the end of it only to see McGurn pull off a great save.

Austin McCann sent a 91st minute free kick curling through the penalty box with no contact.  Joe Cardle powered over the final chance of the game and Phinn met that at the right post with a strong header that hit Kirk on the back to stay out.  In the end it was a home win and Raith have taken now seven points off their Fife rivals this season.

RAITH ROVERS: David McGurn; Grant Murray (c), Mark Campbell, Laurence Ellis, Lillie Dyer, Allan Walker, Iain Davidson, Iain Williamson (Stephen Simmons 68), Scott McBride (Mark Ferry, 83); John Baird (Graham Weir 89), Gregory Tade.
SUBS NOT USED: Craig Wilson, Andrew McNeil (GK).
YELLOW CARD: Walker (13), Baird (79), Davidson (91)
SCORER: Campbell (51), Tade (71)

DUNFERMLINE: Chris Smith; Calum Woods, Andy Dowie, Alex Keddie, Austin McCann (c); Paul Willis (Joe Cardle 74), Nick Phinn, Gary Mason, David Graham;  Pat Clarke (Andy Kirk 67), Steven McDougall.
SUBS NOT USED: Neil McGregor, Ryan Thomson, Kyle Allison (GK)
YELLOW CARD: Mason (45+1)
SCORER: Phinn (54)


NEXT MATCH: (away) Scottish Cup v Montrose
Saturday 8th January 2011, kick off 3.00pm

Sammy says thanks very much for visiting our web site where we have lots of news for young Pars fans.