Dunfermline Athletic

Raith Rovers 2 Dunfermline 0

Saturday, 9th Mar 2024

cinch Championship: two changes as Kyle Bendictus and Kane Ritchie-Hosler start in place of Paul Allan and Lewis McCann. Sam Stanton (38) 1-0: Dylan Easton (78) 2-0:

This was the sixth meeting of the clubs this season, the third at Stark`s Park. The home side were keen to keep the pressure on Dundee United at the top of the table as they went into the game four points behind the league leaders with a game in hand. Dunfermline were desperately wanting to break the Raith`s sequence of nine undefeated matches in this Fife derby.

Kyle Benedictus returned after an absence of ten weeks since his attempted comeback in the match away to Ayr in December. Kane Ritchie-Hosler also made his start since 28th November. Making way for them Paul Allan and Lewis McCann were on the bench.

The Raith Rovers team showed three changes from that which lost away to Arbroath the previous Friday night. Scott Brown came in for the injured Keith Watson and two former Pars - Kyle Turner and Shaun Byrne - were dropped to the bench to make way for Sam Stanton and Dylan Easton.

For the visitors Alex Jakubiak kicked off attacking the goal at the Penman Family Stand end and there were appeals for an early penalty when Matty Todd went down in the box. Referee Craig Napier did not see it that way and duly brandished the Dunfermline player a third minute yellow card.

A couple of long throws into the Pars box were defended before Ewan Otoo won a corner on the left. Todd delivered the cross but it was too strong. Ben Summers laid the ball off for Jakubiak to drive a 14th minute shot on target but Euan Murray took the brunt of his blast in halting it. Two minutes later a Chris Hamilton pass sent the striker through again but his shot from a speculative angle was off target.

Strong play from the visitors with Otoo and Edwards combining down the left earned an 19th corner. Unfortunately Todd’s well placed cross was headed away. Then at the midpoint of the first half, Miles Welch-Hayes got forward to try a shot from 20 yards out but the ball went wide.

The Derby atmosphere boiled over in 27 minutes when Josh Mullin brought Summers in the centre circle. A melee ensued that resulted in yellow cards for the offender, Hamilton and James McPake.

When Josh Edwards fired a 31st minute free kick on target from 30 yards out, Kevin Dabrowski dived to his left to keep it out. Next minute Ritchie-Hosler swung the ball in from the right to be met by Hamilton but the ball went over the crossbar. The home fans had had little to cheer about but they roared when their side were awarded a 34th minute corner on the right. The ball from the setpiece ended up in Deniz Mehmet’s hands.

Things went even better for the home side from a 38th minute free kick. Lewis Vaughan swerved the ball around the five man wall, diving to his right Mehmet did really well to keep the ball out but Sam Stanton followed in to head home. 1-0

Todd had a long range effort saved. A corner from the right was headed clear and Dunfermline could not cancel out the Rovers strike and went in one behind. That was harsh on Athletic, they had been the better team but they had nothing to show for it. With six players on yellow cards, both teams were in danger of losing a player in the second 45.

Half time: Raith Rovers 1 Dunfermline 0

First blood in the second half came in its third minute. Summers made the break, slipped the ball to Jakubiak who in turn got the ball towards Otoo and on the run he hit a missile-like effort on target from 25 yards out. Dabrowski pulled one out of the hat as he tipped it over for a corner on the right.

A Matthews foul on Hamilton afforded the Pars a free kick 30 yards out but Jakubiak drove ball straight into the advancing Stanton. Next Todd sent Ritchie-Hosler up the right and his delivery only just evaded the leaping Todd and Jakubiak in front of goal. At the other end Rudden’s cross won Raith a corner but it was Dunfermline raced away with it. As the hour mark past the home support were growing more and more concerned as the visitors enjoyed playing the ball in the final third.

Jakubiak had a strong run but his cut back found a defender. On 66 minutes Welch-Hayes cut back from the right byeline only for Todd to be kept out by Murray. Malachi Fagan-Walcott blasted over from corner before Raith introduced Jack Hamilton as a 68th minute sub for Zac Rudden.

Speed up the left and along the byeline won Jakubiak a 71st minute corner but the Pars just couldn’t penetrate the home defence. In an attempt to change fortunes Lewis McCann replaced Ewan Otoo for the final quarter of an hour.

Just as Dunfermline looked the most likely to score Raith extended their lead from a quickly taken 78th minute free kick near the right corner flag. Vaughan passed to Connelly who picked out EASTON on the edge of the box and swept the ball into the far left of the Pars goal. 2-0

The second goal really sealed the points. Jack Hamilton twice had a chance to make it three but hit his efforts wildly over the bar. The Rovers survived a corner and a long Edwards throw in to achieve a shut out. Then in the sixth minute of time added on Sam Stanton went over McCann’s outstretched foot and Raith were awarded a penalty.

Former Par Callum Smith stepped up, he hit the ball left, Mehmet went the correct way to block and then made a double save to keep Smith out again.

Throughout Raith defended their box well despite numerous crosses and throw ins into their box. They weren’t allowed as much of the ball as they would have like but took two chances from nowhere to register the win. Twelve points from their rivals really helps their league position. The defeat meant Dunfermline slipped to seventh equal on points with Queen’s Park above them and Ayr United below them.

RAITH ROVERS: Kevin Dabrowski, James Brown, Scott Brown (c), Euan Murray, Liam Dick, Ross Matthews, Sam Stanton, Dylan Easton (Callum Smith 86), Josh Mullin (Aidan Connolly 57), Lewis Vaughan (Shaun Byrne 86), Zac Rudden (Jack Hamilton 68)
SUBS NOT USED: Kyle Turner, Dylan Corr, Scott McGill, Robbie Thomson, Andrew McNeil (GK)
SCORERS: Stanton (38), Easton (78)
YELLOW CARD: Mullin (27), Rudden (30), Easton (32),

DUNFERMLINE: Deniz Mehmet, Miles Welch-Hayes, Kyle Benedictus (c), Malachi Fagan-Walcott, Josh Edwards, Kane Ritchie-Hosler, Chris Hamilton, Matty Todd, Ewan Otoo (Lewis McCann 73), Ben Summers (Brad Holmes 79), Alex Jakubiak,
SUBS NOT USED: Joe Chalmers, Owen Moffat, Paul Allan, Taylor Sutherland, Michael O’Halloran, Xavier Benjamin, Max Little (GK)
YELLOW CARD: Todd (3), Hamilton (27), James McPake (28), Benedictus (45)

REFEREE: Craig Napier
WEATHER: Dry 6°C
ATTENDANCE 6274

NEXT MATCH: cinch Championship (home) v Dundee United, Friday 15th March 2024, kick off 7.45pm

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