Dunfermline Athletic

Raith Rovers 1 Dunfermline 0

Saturday, 28th Oct 2023

cinch Championship: five Dunfermline changes. Benedictus return lasts just one half. Sam Stanton (90+3) 1-0:

The third Fife derby of the season and it was not even the end of October. Dunfermline made five changes from the side that lost to Ayr United. Chris Hamilton, Michael O’Halloran, Ben Summers, Joe Chalmers and Craig Wighton dropped out to make way for Paul Allan, Sam Fisher, Owen Moffat, Alex Jakubiak and captain Kyle Benedictus. Summers absence was due to a dead leg sustained against Ayr while the other four were on the subs bench.

Raith Rovers made three changes with Ross Millen, Euan Murray and Josh Mullin coming in for the benched trio of Adam Masson, Aidan Connolly and Dylan Easton.

The autumn sun shone on the 1986 strong travelling support who were housed in the Craiglea Timber Frames Stand and the teams changed ends before Raith kicked off attacking the goal in front of the home support. The visitors forced an early corner and Fisher met Allan’s glancing header to test the home defences all within the first 90 seconds. Dunfermline certainly started the better team and looked dangerous, the Rovers attempts to go forward ended up with overhit balls.

The next shot on target came from Aaron Comrie when he got the break of the ball and was able to the ball inside and fire a good left footed shot that Kevin Dabrowski dived to his right to save. Pressure was piled on Raith with Jakubiak getting into a good position in front of goal and then Moffat smashing an on target effort from the edge of the box that got blocked.

The first thing for the home support to cheer was the 14th minute corner when Josh Edwards was forced to head behind a McGill cross to the back post. The corner and two subsequent throw ins from deep up the left deployed the Pars defence.

Jakubiak responded sending Lewis McCann up the left and Dunfermline had a corner of their own. Fisher’s header on Allan’s cross was deflected for another but that was defended before the ball could be sent in. Next home captain, Scott Brown clipped the ball behind when under pressure from McCann but Raith survived yet another Allan delivery.

Then in 26 minutes the home side were set up with a very good chance. Millen’s cross from the right touchline was met by Lewis Vaughan but he hooked his shot over the crossbar from 15 yards out. Ewan Otoo was shown yellow three minutes later for his challenge on Mullin and from the free kick Rovers earned a corner. The corner created danger but McCann cleared the ball at the back post.

Byrne and McGill then exchanged passes before the 30 year-old former Pars man fired wildly into the Penman Stand. Alex Jakubiak then required the physios on after he came off second best in a challenge with the big Polish keeper as they both went for a long through ball.

Showing no pains, the Pars striker was on the end of a good move that led to a fine delivery from the right but his attempt at goal was stopped by a defender. A 45th minute corner from the right fell to Rhys Breen but his shot went wide right. The half had been closing with Dunfermline having the upper hand but they had to defend an added time corner. It had been a fine first 45 from the visitors but would have been even better had they managed to get one past Dabrowski.

Half time: Raith Rovers 0 Dunfermline 0

Kyle Benedictus did not reappear for the second half and it was Chris Hamilton who emerged wearing the captain’s armband. After just five minutes of the half Byrne was a bit high on his tackle on McCann. The physios attention was required but the big man was soon back in the battle.

Dunfermline tested the 25 year old Rovers keeper twice in 56 minutes. Edwards cut the back back for Moffat on the left side of the box. The on-loan Blackpool player spun and released a fine shot that Dabrowski beat away and then pulled off an equally good effort from Comrie as he followed up.

The home side had come into the game without testing Deniz Mehmet and James McPake made his first substitution twenty minutes into the second half, Michael O’Halloran replacing Owen Moffat. Within a minute Raith brought on former Par Aidan Connolly for Scott McGill.

Mehmet was having a quiet afternoon but on 70 minutes Connolly teed up Vaughan for a shot from 25 yards out and diving to his left the Pars keeper saved the net bound effort and then held Millen’s return from the right. Another sub apiece saw Craig Wighton on in place of Lewis McCann and Dylan Easton on for Josh Mullin. In between Edwards crashed a ball across the face of goal and was not far away from finding the top corner.

Chasing a high ball in towards the Pars goal Breen pulled up with what looked like a hamstring injury. He was helped off by the two physios with midfielder Joe Chalmers subbed on and Ewan Otoo going back into the back three.

Edwards created another opportunity in 88 minutes when he received a pass from Wighton and his cross was just missed by the flying in Comrie. Easton pumped an 90th minute free kick straight into the hands of Mehmet before another Edwards ball through the Raith six yard box narrowly evaded both Wighton and Comrie.

Raith had barely had a shot all game but in the third minute of the eight that were eventually added on, Sam STANTON rifled in a low shot to win the match. It was a cruel outcome and although there was a strong response to snatch an equaliser from a Joe Chalmers corner it would be another defeat.

Raith would admit that it wasn’t their best performance of the season and didn’t give their fans much to cheer but they claimed the three points. Dunfermline remained in eighth place.

RAITH ROVERS: Kevin Dabrowski: Ross Millen, Euan Murray, Scott Brown, Liam Dick: Josh Mullin (Dylan Easton 77 (Adam Masson 90+6)), Sam Stanton, Shaun Byrne, Scott McGill (Aidan Connolly 66), Lewis Vaughan, Callum Smith.
SUBS NOT USED: Callum Hannah, Andrew McNeil (GK)
SCORERS: Stanton (90+3)
YELLOW CARD: Easton (90+6),

DUNFERMLINE: Deniz Mehmet: Sam Fisher, Kyle Benedictus (c) (Chris Hamilton HT), Rhys Breen (Joe Chalmers 81), Aaron Comrie, Paul Allan, Ewan Otoo, Josh Edwards: Owen Moffat (Michael O’Halloran 65), Alex Jakubiak, Lewis McCann (Craig Wighton 75)
SUBS NOT USED: Miller Fenton, Liam Hoggan, Harrison Sharp (GK), Max Little (GK)
YELLOW CARD: Otoo (29), Allan (90+2), Fisher (90+6), Mackay (FT)

REFEREE: Iain Snedden
WEATHER: Cloudy 12°C

NEXT MATCH: cinch Championship (away) v Morton, Friday 3rd November 2023, kick off 7.45pm at Cappielow Park

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