Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Rovers & Staggies Share The Spoils

Click here or read below for my match report from this evening's fixture between Raith Rovers and Ross County. It was published on the official Raith Rovers website.

Raith Rovers 1 v 1 Ross County

The teams
Raith Rovers stay top of the First Division after a 1-1 draw against Ross County.
The visitors scored the opening goal just four minutes into the second half when Jonathan Flynn headed home, but Raith replied immediately after Gregory Tade stabbed home following a stramash in the County box.
The first half was a fairly stuffy affair with the Dingwall side dominating possession but after taking the lead, looked second-best to Rovers, who started to apply more urgency to their play.

Raith created the first real opportunity of the match on the 7th minute when a Scott McBride freekick was curled to the back post where the inrushing Dougie Hill just failed to connect.

County hit back five minutes later after Stephen Simmons gave away a freekick on the edge of the box. From the set piece Steven Milne managed to flick an attempt on goal, but Rovers keeper' Andy McNeil was able to tip onto the bar.

Simmons was clearly struggling after being on the receiving end of a 50/50 tackle early on and was replaced by Mark Ferry on the 15th minute.

County continued to control possession, but failed to create another chance till a corner on the 26th minute. Milne again managed an attempt at goal - which seemed to take a slight touch off an arm - before McNeil was able to gather.

Away fans in the McDermid Stand

The next twenty minutes were fairly uninspiring, although County could have grabbed a goal in stoppage time when a freekick was touched on by Richard Brittain, but Andrew Barrowman's scissor kick fell just wide of the post.

The game was in desperate need of a goal and one arrived four minutes into the second half. Iain Vigurs curled a corner to the front post where the unmarked Flynn glanced his header into the Rovers net.

County manager Jimmy Calderwood immediately changed his side's 4-4-2 formation to a 3-5-2 and may have been punished for this six minutes later when Craig Wilson was able to cross a ball in from the right hand side which John Baird could not quite connect with, but Tade was on hand to send the ball home.

The home fans roared their side on and Raith should have scored another on the 56th minute when Ferry swung a ball into the box but Tade headed over the bar.

The momentum was clearly with Rovers and County had to thank their lucky stars when Allan Walker somehow managed to shoot wide when it looked easier to score. Baird raced past the Highlander's defence high up the pitch and smashed a shot at keeper' Michael McGovern who could only watch as the ball spun over him and onto the bar. 
Raith fans in the South Stand

From the rebound, the ball bounced back over Tade and landed in the path of Walker who awkwardly stuck a foot out but could only watch as his effort scraped the post.

The pressure continued and 20 minutes from time Tade met a Ferry cross but hit his shot into the turf and McGovern was able to gather.

However, Raith were almost caught out when a weak Mark Campbell pass caught Iain Davidson cold and Michael Gardyne nipped in and ran clear at goal, but with Campbell bearing down on him, he snatched at his shot and hooked it wide.

Rovers flung men forward and their last chance would fall on the 88th minute when another Ferry cross was headed at goal by Walker but McGovern dealt with the effort comfortably.

Looking back at second half chances, Raith just about deserved the three points, but in the end, it was too little too late. If they had shown the same urgency and desire in the first half, they may have come away with the three points, especially as the County defence looked shaky when under pressure. 

The Main Stand
However, across the River Tay, Dunfermline Athletic could only draw at Dens Park, so Rovers stay two points clear at the top of the league and with just seven games left, it is all to play for.

Meanwhile, with Cowdenbeath losing to Greenock Morton, County move back out of the relegation playoff position and into 8th place.

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