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| Dunfermline Athletic 0 Raith Rovers 2|
By Alistair Campbell - Wed, 21st Aug 2013
Photos by Neil Farrell
The season is still in its infancy, yet this was already the Pars’ third Fife derby. Unusually for this fixture, Raith Rovers enjoyed the status of being in a higher division than their rivals, and they made this difference tell, taking an early lead following another defensive lapse, before wrapping up the tie with a second half penalty after Geggan had tripped Cardle.
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The Pars have a chequered history with the Ramsdens Cup in its various guises. Often it has been seen as a distraction from the main business of getting promotion, at best being an opportunity to blood one or two fringe players. Certainly, it is a competition where the Pars have tended to underperform, but having had a good result against Cowdenbeath, they had a chance to progress further at the expense of their traditional rivals. This meant that Jim Jefferies relied on experience in his choice of squad. He did start the Dundee United pair Ferguson and Moore, but opted for Geggan at right-back and the back-up of Potter and Dargo on the bench. The formation was different too – although the defence was a normal back four of Geggan, Young, Morris and Whittle in front of Scully. However, it looked like a midfield five of Ferguson on the right, Wallace on the left and Byrne, Falkingham and Thomson in the middle, with Jordan Moore leading the line on his own. On the bench, as well as Dargo and Potter, Stephen Husband was finally back from suspension, and he took his place alongside Millen and Goodfellow.
|Josh Falkingham in action.|
Rovers went for a 4-4-2- which contained a few familiar faces, none more so than that of Joe Cardle on the left wing. Jason Thomson was right back, David McGurn, he of the sensational saves, was between the sticks, and Calum Elliot and Greig Spence formed a potentially dangerous strike-force.
|Josh Falkingham tripped outside the box.|
The Pars won the toss and opted to defend the goal in front of the Norrie McCathie stand. Cardle’s first touch saw him unable to control a fierce pass, which was met with some derision, but he soon got the chance to show his deadball skills when Morris found himself the wrong side of the ball and sliced a clearance out for a corner. Cardle hit to the back post where Hill lost his marker and headed the Rovers ahead. 1-0.
|Shaun Byrne in action.|
So yet another early defensive mistake from the Pars, and worse was nearly to follow when Morris played a free-kick to Young who wasn’t looking, he hurriedly tried to return it and Morris only just got the ball back to Scully. However, the Pars perked up a bit – Falkingham dodged one tackle in 7 minutes but got chopped at the very edge of the box –but Wallace’s free-kick cannoned off the defensive wall. Soon after some lovely touches on the left saw the ball fall to Moore but his half-volley flew over the bar. Byrne, after grabbing his first goal at the weekend had a good chance too just before the half-hour when a little burst of pace allowed him to latch on to a good passing move, but McGurn saved well from his flick.
|Shaun Byrne has a shot on goal.|
Meanwhile the visitors had had a chance to extend their lead when Jason Thomson’s deep cross was only half cleared and Elliot’s flick found Liam Fox but the former Livi midfielder dragged his shot past the post. As expected, there were a few firm challenges going in, with the Rovers being penalised more, but the only yellow card was flashed in the face of Jason Thomson, for apparent simulation.
However, Raith were close to doubling their lead in 36 minutes, Falkingham carelessly over-ran the ball at the edge of his area allowing Elliot possession, and after Moon had had a go the ball broke to Spence who took the ball to the side of Scully, but Morris was back to block, with Cardle’s follow up beng blocked also.
So the Pars trailed at the interval, but just by the one.
Half time: Pars 0 Rovers 1
|Shaun Byrne v Jason Thomson.|
Both sides made one switch at for the second period, with Husband coming on for Ferguson, and Gordon Smith replacing Greig Spence. This meant a slight switch to the Pars format, looking more obviously like a 4-3-3 with Thomson moving over to the right, and Wallace, who had swapped wings with Ferguson two thirds of the way through the first half, moving back to the left.
|Callum Morris v |
Kerr Young v Joe Cardle.
However, it was the visitors who started the half the better. Cardle had an optimistic dig from 35 yards from an early free-kick, before missing a good chance when set-up by Elliot’s cushioned headed from a long ball, volleying over from 9 yards. JoJo was demonstrating the type of incision that the Par were lacking, so it was no real surprise when he twisted his way into the box, before falling over Geggan’s outstretched leg to win a penalty. Scully nearly got to Fox’s effort, but it squeezed in low to the keeper’s right. 2-0 Rovers, and their fans were singing “who’s the wee team now?”
|Joe Cardle hits the wall with this effort.|
Josh Falkingham in action.
The Pars needed something back and soon; a free-kick was rolled to Husband but his long-range effort skewed well wide, before a lofted Byrne pass was well-controlled by Moore and although he tested McGurn from the angle, the keeper was equal to the test.
|Ryan Scully tips this effort over the bar.|
Jordan Moore has shot on goal.
Dargo came on for Wallace, but the Pars couldn’t get into the game, nor could they get that little bit of luck that would help – in 79 minutes Moore’s turn and cross was miscued into McGurn’s hands by Watson. The Pars pushed forward, but with five players in the box on occasion, there was no-one able to pick up the second balls once crosses were defended, and possession would be lost. A late push with Husband instrumental on both sides of the park came to nothing, and as the game moved into stoppage time Geggan volleyed Whittle’s sliced cross well off target.
Final Score: Dunfermline Athletic 0 Raith Rovers 2
|Josh Falkingham v Joe Cardle.|
Stephen Husband in action.
The result is about right – again we shot ourselves in the foot, and we lacked the cutting edge that Cardle provided (he deservingly picked up the sponsors` fizz). We have to face up to the fact that we are third tier side and may struggle against higher placed opposition – how good a side remains to be seen, but youngsters are known to be inconsistent, and the so called experienced players are still pretty young as well. Having been impressed with Ferguson the first time I saw him, he seems to have gone backwards; Moore is worth another chance – he has a mixture of skill and strength, but not so much pace as far as I could see. Husband’ passing offers something that we had been lacking and I expect him to feature more as JJ shuffles his pack again. MotM to Whittle, more for his body of work of late than this particular performance as there were no stand-outs.
|Jordan Moore v Paul Watson.|
DAFC.net Man Of The Match: Alex Whittle
|Choose your Man Of The Match
| Dunfermline_Athletic: Ryan Scully, Andy Geggan, Alex Whittle, Kerr Young, Calum Morris, Shaun Byrne, Ryan Ferguson (Stephen Husband HT), Jordan Moore, Ryan Wallace (Craig Dargo, 73), Josh Falkingham, Ryan Thomson|
| Subs (not used): Ross Millen, John Potter, Ryan Goodfellow|
| Raith_Rovers: David McGurn, Jason Thomson, Callum Booth, Paul Watson, Dougie Hill, Liam Fox, Joe Cardle, Kevin Moon, Greig Spence (Gordon Smith, HT), Calum Elliot, Grant Anderson (Lewis Vaughan, 85)|
| Subs (not used): Ross Laidlaw, Reece Donaldson, Laurie Ellis|
| Shots on||2 ||6 |
| Shots off||5 ||5 |
| Corners||2 ||6 |
| Offside||1 ||0 |
| Fouls conceded||15 ||18 |
| Possession|| || |