Saturday, 12 March 2011

Raith Rovers 0 v 2 Partick Thistle

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

Rovers Slump To Fifth Home Defeat
Raith Rovers slumped to their fifth home defeat of the season against Partick Thistle this afternoon after two second half goals from Kris Doolan and Paddy Boyle.
The home side struggled to find any sort of rhythm, while the visitors created numerous chances and could have won by a larger margin in the end.
Remarkably, this was the first time Thistle had overturned Raith since the Kirkcaldy side won promotion to the First Division in 2009.

With Dunfermline securing a 2-1 win away to Falkirk it means the Pars have closed the gap at the top of the table to just two points.

After an encouraging display at Dumfries last week, hopes were high amongst the Starks Park faithful as the teams emerged onto the park at three o'clock, but it was Partick who would cause the early problems.

Just three minutes into the match Raith midfielder Stephen Simmons lost possession in his own box, but thankfully for the league leaders, the ball was cleared behind. From the corner Ryan McGowan headed the ball into the ground and as it viciously bounced up towards goal Andrew McNeil managed to tip over the bar.

Raith tried to gain a foothold in the game but ten minutes later they were struggling to clear their lines once again. A succession of Partick shots were blocked, with the final one landing to right back Paul Paton whose shot was deflected wide by Simmons for another corner.

The corner resulted in nothing, but minutes later Partick had another opportunity when Chris Erskine was played in on goal, only for Dougie Hill to slide in and make a great last ditch tackle to divert the ball wide of the post. The corner was swung in and Rovers fans held their breath as Doolan looked just inches away from connecting with the cross.

Halfway through the first period McGowan had a clear sight of goal as the ball broke to him outside the Raith box, but his effort was comfortably dealt with by McNeil.

Partick's final attempt on goal in the first half arrived on the 34th minute when Paton's cross was glanced past the post by Martin Grehan.

Raith - still being backed by the home fans – finally managed to get a grasp of the game with their first real chance falling on the stroke of half time. Midfielder Allan Walker slipped a delightful through ball to the pacey John Baird who connected well, but Thistle keeper' Scott Fox tipped wide and the half time whistle was blown by Frank McDermott.

Despite being second best for the first period, Rovers fans were encouraged by the final flurry, however they were soon to be disappointed when Partick took the lead on the 49th minute. A corner was curled into the box and the unmarked Doolan headed down through McNeil's legs.

Looking for a quick response, Raith finally managed a few more shots on goal. A freekick was headed wide of the post by Hill, before a cross to the back post was caught on the volley by Walker, only for Fox to tip his effort over the bar.

However, Thistle regained control of the match, causing numerous problems. On the 66th minute, Chris Erskine went on a lung bursting run down the left wing, cutting inside and blasted the ball at goal but McNeil was able to tip over for a corner.

From the corner Grehan managed to flick a cross ball at goal, but McNeil was able to gather.

Raith's Grant Murray nodded over from a corner before McNeil made yet another save, this time from Doolan who was looking to add another goal to his tally.

Rovers manager John McGlynn rung the changes on the 72nd minute as Mark Ferry, Gregory Tade and John Baird were replaced by Gary Wales, Graham Weir and Iain Davidson.

Raith's final chance came five minutes later after a corner fell to Mark Campbell who laid the ball back to the onrushing Simmons, but his effort was high and wide.

The home side threw men forward as the final minutes ticked away, with Partick relieving the pressure admirably and in the final minute of regulation time they sealed the win. Boyle took advantage of a mistake by Campbell who was unable to get the ball out from under his feet and the left back slammed the ball past McNeil to seal Partick's first away victory since October 2010.

All in all, a very poor Rovers performance and the players will have to pick themselves up quickly for Tuesday evening's fixture against Cowdenbeath.

Meanwhile, the victory for Partick means they have moved up to fourth in the league, comfortably clear of the relegation places and top spot respectively. Ian McCall's side will probably have one eye on next season already now.
written by Will Lyon

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