Raith Rovers v Stenhousemuir at Starks Park, Kirkcaldy on 5.1.19
SPFL Ladbrokes League One Att 1,398
Raith Rovers 5 [Davidson 18, Gillespie 33, Murray 37, Vaughan 39, Duggan 51] Stenhousemuir 1[Ross 25]
Raith Rovers – Thomson, Davidson, Murray, Benedictus, Gillespie, Buchanan [Flanagan 76], Crane, Wedderburn [Milne 72], Nisbet [Duggan 11], Vaughan and Armstrong. Subs not used –Wright, McKay, Smith and Watson.
Stenhousemuir – Smith [McMinn 55], Reid, Donaldson, Tena, Ferry, McGuigan [Vaughan 81], Cook [b68], Ross, Dickson [Halleran 87], Duthie and McBrearty [so 21]. Subs not used – McMenamin, Gibbons and Paterson.
Referee – Grant Irvine Assistants – Ralph Gordon and David Milton.
The first match of 2019 was always going to be a difficult one for Stenhousemuir as they were up against full time Raith Rovers who despite a set back the previous week had started to play closer to their potential.
Morgyn Neill was suspended but Connor McBrearty was able to play after his dismissal the previous week had been overturned. Harry Paton and Kevin O’Hara had returned to their parent clubs and with several players carrying injuries it was not the optimum time to play the Fife team.
These facts though should not be looked as an excuse though as they were in the end well beaten by a rampant Raith Rovers side. The home side suffered a blow in the 4th minute when a through-ball by Daniel Armstrong was met by Kevin Nisbet who in the process of trying to shoot picked up an injury that saw the league top scorer limp off the pitch.
Despite this set back the probing passes of Armstrong and Grant Gillespie were causing problems throughout the game and the home side eventually took the lead in the 18th minute when Iain Davidson took advantage to slip the ball into the net.
Three minutes later the Warriors suffered their own setback when Connor McBrearty was red carded after a last ditch tackle was mistimed. It is unlikely that there will be an appeal this time. Somehow Stenhousemuir got a lifeline in the 25th minute when Seb Ross headed home a Ruaridh Donaldson cross.
Rovers responded with a series of attacks and Graeme Smith brought off a couple of fine saves. All his good work though was undone in the 33rd minute when he miskicked the ball straight to Gillespie who took full advantage to advance on goal before firing into the net.
This time there was to be comeback as Raith continued to pressurise and ex-Warrior Euan Murray rose high to head Raith’s third goal in the 37th minute. Two minutes later it was 4-1 with Lewis Vaughan this time being the marksman.
The Warriors were relieved to get into the dressing room at half time without any more punishment. Any ideas of an easier second period though were soon dispelled when Smith had to jump at full strength to stop a Chris Duggan lob after 47 minutes. Duggan though was to get his goal in the 51st minute when he took advantage of a Smith slip as he came out to close the ball down and slipped the ball into the net as Smith tried to retrieve the situation. The keeper though was injured in the process and had to be replaced by Lewis McMinn.
The substitute spilled the first effort that he faced but after that had a steady game. Duggan struck the woodwork in the 73rd minute and Raith were to have the ball in the net through a Murray header and a Duggan shot before the end of the game but on both occasions the Warriors were saved by the assistant referee flagging offside. Nevertheless a 5-1 defeat is always hard to take but it could have been worse which is small consolation.
|January 5, 2019
|SPFL Ladbrokes League 1