Saturday, 22 January 2011

Raith Rovers 2 v 2 Greenock Morton

Click here or read below for my report of the match at Starks Park this afternoon. It was published on the official Raith Rovers website.

Last Gasp Strike Denies Rovers Victory
An 89th minute pile driver from Peter Weatherson denied Raith Rovers the opportunity to stretch their lead to four points at the top of the First Division this afternoon.

With Dunfermline Athletic’s game against Stirling Albion postponed, Raith were looking to take advantage against Greenock Morton.

At half time it looked like the job was almost done as Raith led 2-0 after John Baird and Allan Walker hit the target.

However, Morton made amends for their first period mistakes with Derek Lyle scoring just eight minutes into the second half and Weatherson completing the comeback, smashing a free kick into the top corner in the dying embers of the match.

The first half began with both sides creating chances and Morton boss Allan Moore was visibly perplexed when David O’Brien looked clean through on goal, only for referee Craig Thomson to bring the play back for a previous foul.

Michael Tidser had a long-range effort on goal for Morton, before keeper’ Colin Stewart made a comfortable save from Raith’s lively Baird.

O’Brien was running riot again on the 13th minute as he cut right through the Rovers midfield and David McGurn was relieved to see the winger’s shot stray wide of his post.

Three minutes later Raith took the lead through Baird. Morton failed to clear the ball from their box and Baird nipped in, dispossessed Grant Evans and had the simplest of tasks to slot the ball past Stewart from just indise the six yard box.

Raith really started to turn up the heat after their opening goal and Laurie Ellis was unlucky to see his front post header flash wide. Moments later, Raith carved open the Ton’ defence with a fantastic Iain Davidson pass forward which ended with Walker laying off Scott McBride, but the winger’s curling effort was on the wrong side of the post.

Mid-way through the half Raith had a scare when a Lyle cross was headed inches wide by David Graham.

However, Morton were picking the ball out of their net soon after when Walker controlled a cross deep inside the box, switched feet and found the back of the net with a simple finish.

Morton had a great chance to strike back on the 33rd minute as Lyle ran through the Rovers defence, but he was thwarted at the last possible second with a superb Stephen Simmons sliding tackle.

Just before the break, Baird latched onto a long pass from the midfield and caught the ball on the half volley, but his effort was weak and Stewart tipped the ball round the post.

Morton came out in the second half fired up and it took them just 8 minutes to grab a goal back. Raith failed to clear their lines and Lyle intercepted the ball, belting it into the top corner, giving McGurn no chance.

Morton were now in the ascendancy and after Mark Campbell was caught on the ball Graham flicked the ball off him but from a tight angle, fired over the bar.

Five minutes later, McGurn made an unbelievable stop to keep Raith ahead when he reached out a desperate hand to make a point blank save from Allan Jenkins.

After the narrow escape, Raith began to push forward in search of a third and final goal. On the 66th minute, Walker dispatched a long ball up to Baird who crossed into the box, but Stewart saved McBride’s diving header.

One minute later, Rovers launched an all out assault on the Morton goal with no less than three chances being cleared of the line in quick succession starting with a Baird header blocked by Stewart, the rebound fell to Ellis who blasted in a shot only to see it cleared off the line by Kean to Campbell whose header was saved by Stewart.

Baird thought he had won the game for Raith on the 76th minute when Simmons played him clean through and the small striker thumped the ball home only to see linesman Graeme Leslie raise his flag for offside. It must have been a very close call, but to be fair to Leslie, his flag was up immediately.

Allan Moore urged his players to start pushing forward in numbers and just three minutes from time Graham should have equalised for the away side. Lyle found himself clean through but McGurn spread his body and saved well but when Graham received the rebound at the edge of the box he somehow missed the open goal.

However, with Raith sitting back and looking vulnerable, Simmons conceded a needless foul on the left edge of the box and from the resulting free kick; substitute Peter Weatherson lashed the ball into the net with the aide of a slight deflection.

All in all, a disappointing result for Rovers who will feel they practically had the three points in the bag at half time. However, Morton showed great desire and spirit to haul themselves back into the match for an important away point.

Raith now move two points clear of Dunfermline,at the top of the League Table but now both sides have played an equal number of games.

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