Dunfermline Athletic

Dunfermline 0 Raith Rovers 1

Saturday, 26th Aug 2023

cinch Championship: Rhys Breen and Lewis McCann start in place of Chris Hamilton and Paul Allan. Sam Stanton (35) 0-1:

Raith Rovers showed great resilience to hold off Dunfermline as they laid siege on their goal for the final half hour. Their win ended the Pars 26 unbeaten league run.

Five weeks after these Fife rivals played out a Viaplay Cup 1-1 draw in Kirkcaldy, the sides met again in the first cinch Championship derby of the season. Raith arrived with four points from their opening two league matches, the Pars had exactly the same success.

Both teams made two changes from their previous picks. James McPake brought back Rhys Breen following suspension and Lewis McCann after illness. Chris Hamilton and Paul Allan moved to the subs bench. Ian Murray brought in Jack Hamilton in preference to Lewis Vaughan and Scott McGill for the suspended former Alloa Athletic full back, Liam Dick. That meant four former Pars lined up against their old club - Ross Millen, Euan Murray, Callum Smith and Shaun Byrne.

Craig Wighton kicked off with the home side attacking the goal in front of a vociferous travelling support. A competitive start from both sides raised the decibels inside the KDM and the game immediately had an atmosphere that could be cut with a knife. Aaron Comrie won the first corner of the afternoon but Joe Chalmers fifth minute cross was fisted clear by Kevin Dabrowski.

The opening goal nearly came in 12th minute. A good move through Josh Edwards up the left to Lewis McCann was punctuated by a stinging shot from an acute angle but Dabrowski beat that away. Comrie’s follow up was then dramatically tipped on to the left upright and behind by the Polish keeper. Ewan Otoo had the next attempt when Chalmers delivered the resultant corner from the left, but his low shot from 22 yards out slipped out wide right.

Raith’s response came from a good overlapping run by Josh Mullin getting wide left to pick out Smith in front of goal but the defence held out and cleared. The Rovers won their first corner at the midway point of the first half and from the left side Mullin sent the ball into a six yard box crammed full of eleven players. The cross resulted in a frantic scramble for the ball and thankfully the defence again came out on top.

The deadlock would not be broken but it took a great save to keep out Chalmers in 32 minutes. The midfielder exchanged passes with Sam Fisher before belting a low effort from 25 yards out that Dabrowski was at full stretch to touch around his right hand post. Chalmers corner picked out Breen but the Rovers defence scrambled the ball away.

Instead just three minutes later it was the visitors who were celebrating. After robbing Otoo out on the left, Smith drove to the byeline and cut back the ball to the near post where Sam STANTON glanced the ball past Sharp. 0-1

The Pars tried hard to immediately get back on level terms. Edwards flashed the ball across the face of goal and Comrie came close to latching on to a chance in front of goal but they would fail to penetrate the Rovers defence and McPake’s men went in one behind.

Half time: Dunfermline 0 Raith Rovers 1

Within 20 seconds of the restart Michael O’Halloran tried to get an effort away on target but he was closed down and his shot went well wide left. Breen had an attempt in 50 minutes but was off target but next minute a Wighton cross fizzed across goal with O’Halloran just failing to be on the end of it.

Next there was a one on one opportunity for Stanton but Sharp came out on top and excitement boiled up as McCann and then Wighton attacked the Rovers defence. Comrie came close to converting a cross from the left and the noise level went up another level.

McGill came to Raith’s rescue in 61 minutes when Edwards stole from a Millen throw in and laced a great ball up the left that Wighton directed towards O’Halloran on the edge of the box but the Taith defender swept the ball clear. O’Halloran then became the first Dunfermline player to be substituted, Ben Summers coming on for his home debut.

Edwards and McCann forced a 65th minute corner and Summers fired the setplay in low but the defence was to be caught out. Another corner followed however this time from the right and although McCann got his head to Chalmers cross the keeper held.

McCann laid the ball back for Otoo but he blasted his shot narrowly over the bar. Then when Mullin upended Edwards Dunfermline had an opportunity from a 75th minute free kick eight yards out near the left corner flag but McCann sent that wildly over the bar. Dunfermline were doing all the pressing and Edwards earned another corner on the left but still they found it tough getting shots at Dabrowski. Then there was hope when Otoo got through on goal but the offside flag was raised.

Fisher swung a fine cross field pass wide to Edwards but his delivery fizzed through the Raith box I touched. Then Murray injured himself in deflecting behind another Edwards cross. He was unable to continue and Dylan Easton replaced him with six minutes to go.

Attacker Taylor Sutherland was thrown on and Rhys Breen withdrawn. Summers had a shot blocked before Rovers defended a long Edwards throw in. Captain Bene moved to centre forward and the home fans roared their team on as won a 94th minute corner. McCann got in a shot but not enough to find the net and Summers follow up was blocked.

The added time stretched to six minutes but despite an onslaught on the visitors goal it survived. The Pars proud 26 match undefeated league run had gone and the Kirkcaldy folk celebrated their first league win in Dunfermline since 2009.

DUNFERMLINE: Harrison Sharp: Sam Fisher, Kyle Benedictus, Rhys Breen (Taylor Sutherland 86): Aaron Comrie, Ewan Otoo, Joe Chalmers, Josh Edwards: Craig Wighton, Michael O’Halloran (Ben Summers 62), Lewis McCann
SUBS NOT USED: Chris Hamilton, Miller Fenton, Andrew Tod, Max Little (GK).
YELLOW CARD: McPake (27), Fisher (88), Otoo (90+1)

RAITH ROVERS: Kevin Dabrowski: Ross Millen, Keith Watson, Euan Murray (Dylan Easton 84) Scott McGill: Callum Smith, Josh Mullin, Sam Stanton (Lewis Vaughan 70), Scott Brown (c), Shaun Byrne, Jack Hamilton (Jamie Gullan 79).
SUBS NOT USED: Kieran Mitchell, Ethan Ross, Aaron Arnott, Adam Masson, Robbie Thomson (GK).
SCORERS: Stanton (35)
YELLOW CARD: Byrne (45), Millen (90+1)

REFEREE: Steven McLean
WEATHER: Sunny 18°C

NEXT MATCH: cinch Championship (away) v Inverness Caledonian Thistle, Saturday 2nd September 2023, kick off 3.00pm at the Caledonian Stadium.

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